Podcast No. 7 – Posted on iTunes 9/13/2010   Leave a comment

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Podcast No. 7 on The Truths of Terasem – Posted on iTunes 9/13/2010


(Text used to record podcast)

TITLE:  Truths of Terasem – The When of Terasem

SUB TITLE:  Consensus as the fastest path to voluntary unity of the highest kind.
SUMMARY: Synergy and mutual understanding will be vital in applying Geoethical Nanotechnology to burning questions of priorities and risk, where reaching a reasonable middle ground when the dangers are great, is even less dangerous than not pressing forward.  Open communication, mutual empathy and education are the keys to making this happen.

(Fred)  Hi, we’re Fred & Linda Chamberlain, with podcast 7 on the Truths of Terasem.

(Linda)  And… we want you to know… we’ve both consented to being here today!

(Fred)  Right!  Today it’s Group 4.6 through 4.6.6, consensus as a vital element in reaching Geoethical Nanotechnology, and other ethical issues associated with a migration into cyberspace.

(Linda)  When I think of trying to reach “consensus” within a culture as diverse as ours, I see difficulty and conflict over the rights of independent choice.  Will the Singularity demand that we have to choose between personal freedom and survival?

(Fred)  It’s more a matter of agreeing how we’re going to handle dangerous and risky technologies.  We’re already very touchy about how people use matches in dry mountains, during the high fire-danger seasons.  An out-of-control wildfire can start in moments and be disastrous.  With cyberconscious beings thinking far more rapidly than those with biological brains, and on the verge of developing replicator nanotech, a misstep could wipe out the biosphere.  It’s as if one match on dry pine needles could end the world.
(Linda)  Would consensus really be possible, though, given our evolutionary drives to force others to our own will and advantage?

(Fred)  We have to intelligently choose a middle ground.  Some interests with Luddite mentalities would like to foster fear, strangling open, private work on high technologies.  That could result in covert military projects, where spy vs. spy and sales to illicit interests would hold the field.  The opposite end of the spectrum would be to tolerate an absence of restraint, where competitive companies toss caution to the winds in the pursuit of quick profits.  Neither of these extremes would be likely to give us the best chances of surviving the Singularity.

(Linda)  Many might agree that this makes sense, but still be skeptical that we could make it work.  It’s one thing to say that there’s a middle ground, but how do you get to it?  Where do you get a consensus building movement that’s strong enough to make an impact?  How would you organize such a thing?

(Fred)  Open communication, mutual empathy and education are the keys to making this happen. One possible first step, and it might lie some distance in the future, would be for the participants of the Terasem colloquia and the resulting journals to evolve into a core professional association of those in related disciplines, where the charter is to build a set of standards that define the kind of “middle ground” we’re talking about here.  Groups organized around ‘critical disciplines’, could propose sets of criteria to be reviewed by and consented to by the others.  This might take time, but in the end it could lead to such a comprehensively structured proposal that it would then be a compelling set of ideas to use in spreading these memes until a tipping point is reached and Society comes to consensus as well.

(Linda)  How those critical disciplines would be chosen, and relate to one another will be critically important.  Earlier, you mentioned how this relates to ways maximum reliability was achieved in interplanetary space missions, right?

(Fred)  Yes!  You couldn’t translate directly from one to the other, but there are enough similarities to suggest the interaction of various disciplines, each of which would have an input constraining the others.
Here’s the spacecraft development picture.  It starts with mission strategy people who study all the various opportunities for reaching other planets in terms of launch windows, launch vehicle payload capacities vs. velocities, and so forth.  These are one set of constraints.  Then, science teams and spacecraft system people try to find mission goals that match the strategy limits in a sensible way.  There are financial analysts who ballpark the costs and budget profiles, and investigate the feasibilities of getting funding.  Each of these constrains the others.
Finally, a mission gets enough approval to go back to the drawing board and make a detailed proposal.  And that’s only the first set of constraints.  Nothing gets cast in concrete, because the feasibility of staying within budgets has yet to be determined, as each subsystem proposes what it will take in terms of budget and schedule to make its contribution work.

More and more groups join the picture, and each of them impacts the other.  Quality and Reliability people get involved.  Planning for system integration and checking out electromagnetic compatibility among subsystems prior to final assembly of the spacecraft raises further issues.  The number of different areas that all have to consent and find common ground with the others expands and expands.

(Linda)  Are we talking about something like putting up a skyscraper, where one or two year delays can be tolerated?

(Fred)  Not at all!  All of this may hinge on a launch window only ten days long, with the next best opportunity twenty five years later at the cost of cutting the payload weight by thirty percent.  It’s a set of interlocking consent items that might seem unsolvable, but time after time this kind of consensus has been reached, and held together in spite of unforeseen difficulties, as were experienced with missions like the Viking Lander/Orbiters and Voyager Spacecraft.  These were extremely complex missions with narrow launch windows and substantial unexpected impacts, yet they made it out of their windows on time and performed in a highly reliable manner.

Geoethical Nanotechnology is far more demanding.  There, the task is to do a failure-mode analysis of everything that might go catastrophically wrong in a Singularity’s development of cybertechnology and replicator nanotech, where critical turning points can be foreseen, and specify groups of disciplines that best address each of these, and gather the right teams of minds.  It’s not going to be easy, or quick, but Humankind’s future may hang on it.  Considering all of that, there’s no time to waste.

(Linda)  We’d better move on to how that’s going to work.  Why don’t we start looking at this week’s Group of Truths.  On the surface, they seem much like what we’ve encountered before, but underneath, they’re geared for a very different level of challenge.
(Fred)  That’s certainly the case.  Don’t confuse this group of Truths with just how to find your way to the corner drugstore and back.  They’re more about how to adjust to changes coming so rapidly that those who aren’t aware of them will be more surprised than beachgoers who see a tsunami coming over the horizon.  But, let’s get started.
Truth of Terasem 4.6 says: “Consensus may appear to slow the when of Terasem, but this is only an illusion.”  Perhaps the way to understand this is that the ‘when of Terasem’ in some of the Truths are based on how fast technology can advance if risks are not a problem and some limitations of natural law can be overcome.

Reaching consensus where cyberconsciousness and replicator nanotech are involved, on the other hand, involves real-world events with outcomes ranging all the way from catastrophic backsliding to optimal progress.  This inevitably adds delays, but is faster than being road-blocked by political dissention or hastened into unsafe practices by too little need for consensus.

Geoethical Nanotechnology, seeking new formulas for consent in balancing risk and opportunity, pursues the middle ground between standing pat on the status quo or rushing blindly in, crying “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”  As opposed to traditional consensus seeking, Geo-Nanotech places great emphasis on the risks of “refusing to take risks”.  It advocates rapid technology advances, but with reasonable reliability and safety.  This requires that if risks of damage or other problems might result from companies or individuals excessively pushing the state of the art, enforceable agreements on compliance must be used for added layers of protection, and we must “buy insurance” against adverse outcomes to mitigate impacts upon those who are the most vulnerable.

(Linda)  In these terms, then, it appears that consensus doesn’t slow down Terasem, but enables it to move forward with less resistance.

(Fred)  That’s true.  In this way, Geo-Nanotech may speed consensus and accelerate the advance of technology, rather than the other way around.  With this background, let’s go to the sub-truths of this Group.  The first of them is, “4.6.1 Appear fast or appear slow, without unity only down can anything go.”

This Truth is phrased in a poetic way!  To repeat, “Appear fast or appear slow, without unity only down can anything go.”  Poetry and music, along with rhythm, are heavily right-brain centered.  Could it be that the insight which inspired this Truth came from a powerful right-brain realization, or is it possible that there’s an intent to help the reader of the Truth reach back from left to right brain to create a strong right-brain impression, along with whatever the left brain might make of it?

Let’s put these words into a more linear style.  A way of restating this might be, “If, in disagreement and conflict, you either force action or inaction, the outcome is more likely to be damaging and destructive, than creative and constructive.”  If you lack unity and push ahead anyway, without a synergistic infrastructure, or if you postpone endlessly and never get started, either way you’re more likely to fail.

If one were to say, “To hell with everyone else, we’ll do it my way or not at all!” this might destroy unity, but that may not be disastrous, if that’s being done while organizing the local bridge club.  If, however, you’re developing powerful cyberconsciousness software or replicator nanotech, the lack of unity on either going ahead or forbidding development might, in either case, be disastrous.  Even with biotech warfare or old fashioned nuclear weapons, everyone’s at risk.  Consensus is vital.

Onward!  The next Truth today is “4.6.2 Pathways to consent are paved with open communication.”  Rephrasing in the opposite meaning, one might say, “If we use hidden agendas or covert manipulation, consent may be easier to achieve, but even if we get it, once the deceptions are discovered, the consent obtained backfires, difficult if not impossible to enforce, and any future consent may be unobtainable.”  Open communication is essential in seeking lasting consensus.

(Linda)  Earlier, Fred, you mentioned empathy.  How does that fit in?

(Fred)  4.6.4, the next Truth is “Empathy is a precursor for honest communication and conscious decision.”  The meaning is that if you understand what the other person is feeling, you’ll more freely express yourself, fitting what you say with the other person’s values.  There’s an underlying meaning though, worth mentioning.  In Truth 1.6, on consciousness, 1.6.6 states “Synergy of empathy and reason yields consciousness.”  Without going deeply into that Group of Truths, the message is this, “If you lack empathy, by Terasem standards you are not fully conscious.”  Conscious, that is, of what might be going on in others’ minds.  To wrap up this side trip, that Group of Truths also makes logical ethics a precondition of consciousness… “consciousness” of right vs. wrong.  There’s a lot of depth to use of the word “conscious” in the Truths of Terasem.

In 4.6.5 we find, “Accept patience as a fair price for progress.”  This in some ways restates 4.6, “Consensus may appear to slow the when of Terasem, but this is only an illusion.”  The idea is that lacking consensus, “waiting may be the fastest way”.  A perfect example of the price of frustration is that if your computer stalls and you impatiently hit one key after another, you may have to reboot the system and start over.  Take four deep breaths, and you may find that you’re back on track.  Frequently, patience is the fastest way.

The final Truth for this Group is, 4.6.6 “Reciprocity and norms will be as accepted as they are consented to.”  Let’s restate that as: “Reciprocity and norms will be accepted to the same extent as that to which they have been consented.”  If you wait until you have a higher degree of consent, you’re back to business as usual in an even more synergistic way, getting more done more rapidly, and both sides are more likely to honor the agreements to which they’ve consented.  This might sound mundane, but sometimes that which sounds mundane is exactly what’s needed to get you safely to the surface of the Moon and back home in one piece.

(Linda)  We’re out of time, Fred.  So, let’s preview what’s coming up.  Next week we’re going to look at how progress is almost always “unsmooth”.  You no sooner think you’re done, than you’re doing it over, but the result is one notch closer to perfection than it would have been, so it’s OK.
(Fred)  Seems like that’s how it always works, particularly if you rush the ‘consent’ process.  It takes a lot of confidence to keep pushing ahead; what’s sometimes needed is to try enough diverse approaches so you’re not just stuck in dead ends.  But, the bottom line is that the Universe continues to self-organize, even when you feel it’s falling apart, and this is somewhat like that old saying, “It’s darkest just before the dawn!”

(Linda)  Or before the Singularity!  But we’ll talk a lot more about that next week.  And don’t forget our invitation to “Join Terasem”; build your own mental “starship” at the same time you help others.  The launching pad for “waking up in cyberspace” is CyBeRev.org, no fees to participate in this research program!
(Fred)  Absolutely.  And  mindclones.blogspot.com provides discussions about mindfiles, if you want the full picture…  terasemfaith.net is where joining Terasem is explained.
(Linda)  So, join us, and our quest for an endless future…

(Fred)  Come with us – into Tomorrow!


Posted November 13, 2010 by Truths of Terasem - Podcasts in Uncategorized

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