Podcast No. 27 Posted 1/31/2011   Leave a comment

Podcast No. 27 Posted 1/31/2011

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TITLE:  Truths of Terasem – The “Who” of Terasem  1.5 – 1.5.6

SUB TITLE:  Expansion as a Fundamental Goal of Terasem’s

SUMMARY:  Just as the big bang triggered an expansion of matter and energy throughout the Cosmos, the Singularity is expected to trigger an expansion of intelligence in the form of kind sentience in space and time, endlessly and boundlessly.  It is a possibility that at this time Humankind is the leading edge of that expansion, in which case it is not only our destiny to carry out that expansion, but to free it of any handicaps inherited from our biological software (instincts are just that) which might ultimately corrupt what we become.  And, if we are not the first, we will hope that other more advanced sentient forms are of the same mind and we can synergistically join with them and contribute to the expansion toward a universe filled with joyful immortality based on unity in the acceptance of diversity for all kind sentient entities.

(Fred)  Hi, we’re Fred & Linda Chamberlain, with podcast 27 on the Truths of Terasem.  Today we’re going to be talking about Terasem’s goals for growth and expansion.  The way this is put, in 1.5, is “Expansionist: Terasem is duty-bound to expand throughout the galaxy and the universe as rapidly as possible.”

(Linda)  Does that also mean we want it to become bigger than Google, and dominate the Internet with all search engine responsibilities there, to better prepare for the Singularity?

(Fred)  No!  That’s the last thing it would mean, and growing as fast as Google in the present human environment, with the quality Terasem seeks, would be like shooting ourselves in the foot.

(Linda)  I’m glad to hear that.  You jumped into that first quote from the Truths of Terasem so quickly that it scared me, and sounded like we’re going to have to “hard sell” Terasem not just to humans but to everyone we run into as we expand beyond the Solar System.  If that’s not how it’s supposed to work, what is that first Truth about?

(Fred)  It’s almost the same as what’s in the Summary we’re going to use for the podcast listeners to glance at before starting to hear this.  I’ll read it, to be sure it’s not missed.  “Just as the big bang triggered an expansion of matter and energy throughout the Cosmos, the Singularity is expected to trigger an expansion of intelligence in the form of kind sentience in space and time, endlessly and boundlessly.  It is a possibility that at this time Humankind is at the leading edge of that expansion, in which case it is not only our destiny to carry out that expansion, but to free it of any handicaps inherited from our biological software (instincts are just that) which might ultimately corrupt what we become.  And, if we are not the first, we will hope that other more advanced sentient forms are of the same mind and we can synergistically join with them and contribute to the expansion toward a universe filled with joyful immortality based on unity in the acceptance of diversity for all kind sentient entities.”

Look at it this way.  A similar statement could be made of what a baby must become, after starting out as a fertilized embryo.  Let’s see how that might be phrased.  It might be like this: Preparation for birth – The embryo has one overriding goal: to expand within the womb and get to full term as rapidly as possible, in no less than nine months, else there’s going to be big problems for the mother.  And, we might add, if it were a self-conscious embryo with at least rudimentary intelligence and technology, it would have a duty to screen itself for genetic defects and get rid of them as quickly as possible, so as not to die before it even reaches the stage of having 50 to 100 billion cells, much less the 50 to 100 trillion it is expected to possess at full term.”

(Linda)  So, what’s the timeline, anyway?  When is the main part of this expansion of Terasem supposed to take place?

(Fred)  A lot of it has to take place before the Singularity is underway, in order to have a sufficiently mature Geoethical Nanotechnology to make it past the challenges of going the wrong way as replicator nanotech is developed, and personal cyberconsciousness becomes the principal mode for humanity’s existence and further progression.

With the Singularity three to six decades away, as it now appears to be, a lot of maturation has to take place as promptly as possible, but not by trying to outdo Google over the next eighteen months.  This is going to take people with the vision to see the necessity for strategy as well as creativity mixed with teamwork, as if the goal were to climb a difficult mountain.  One of the main goals of this podcast is to raise awareness of this need on the part of those with the capacity to make this happen.  You and I, as old timer cryonicists, aren’t going to be the cutting edge of this, but we can at least be there on the street corner whirling arrows pointing to the entry door, which say, “Joyful Immortality – don’t overlook it!”

(Linda)  Let’s get going with the first Element of this group of Truths,  1.5.1 “Expansion turns matter into intelligence per Turing’s Universal Computing (1950) and von Neuman’s Universal Self-Replicating Machines (1960).”  How can the ideas of those two thinkers and the relevance to Terasem’s goals be summarized briefly?

(Fred)  It’s easy to get lost in details with something like this.  Tracking down writings of theirs simply by year of publication is not the easiest thing, and Wikipedia’s entries on Alan Turing and John von Neumann are so exhaustive that one could spend years just browsing them.

To briefly summarize, Turing’s hypothesis of computational platforms as plausible substrates for self-conscious cyberbeings is in many ways at the root of interest in such a possibility, and von Neumann’s thoughts about self-replicating information structures, with variations enabling evolution of form and function, has such striking parallels with what we know about biological evolution that together, the ideas of these two men do suggest exactly what this Truth suggests, that extropy will bring about conversion of matter into intelligence.

Ray Kurzweil’s book, The Singularity is Near, is a good way to see how matter may almost explosively start to be converted into intelligence, within the next several decades, just as it is at present almost explosively being converted into computational machinery on which we biological humans are more and more dependent.  Kurzweil’s treatment is very detailed, though, and a strong technological orientation is needed to get the most of out of his book.

A second and really great way to explore ideas like Turing’s and von Neuman’s, in a more user-friendly way with lots of historical background, is  browsing a somewhat less well known but even more accessible book by Dr. J. Michael Perry, Forever For All.    For example, searching Forever For All produces 11 hits related to von Neuman’s work, and 76 mentions of Turing’s ideas.

(Linda)  Dr. Perry’s book is just as accessible on Amazon.Com as Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity is Near, but in addition the full text version can be downloaded from Perry’s website.  The wonderful thing here is that this can be searched for “hits” as mentioned above.  Go to universalimmortalism.org/ and take the “books” link; you’ll see: “CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD Forever for All: Moral Philosophy, Cryonics, and the Scientific Prospects for Immortality, by R. Michael Perry”.  Again, that URL is universalimmortalism.org.

(Fred)  Thanks, Linda – again, although I’ll be synopsizing the ideas of all the authors mentioned in this Expansion of the Truths of Terasem, we can only scratch the surface.  Without mentioning Perry’s book and how easy it is to get a searchable copy, we’d be shortchanging our listeners.

OK – got to keep moving.  The next element of this Expansion is, 1.5.2  “Xenomass fuels Terasem expansion per Bernal’s Stellar Recycling (1969) and O’Neill’s Space Colonies (1975).  Here, we have to read between the lines.  The prefix “xeno” generally indicates “strange or foreign”, so let’s take that to mean forms of matter with which we’re presently unfamiliar.  There is a substantial amount of Internet information on stellar recycling, where supernova remnants gather in great clouds that gravitationally gather to form new stars, but no connections with Bernal are visible.  For lack of further insights from the outside at this point, I’ll take this truth to say that just as old stars die and transition to new ones by means of uptake of the remnants, perhaps involving intermediate forms of matter which are presently unknown to us, Terasem’s expansion will involve the use of forms of matter with which we are not presently familiar in the fabrication of new structures in space, where entirely new molecular configurations will be employed.

(Linda)  Entirely new molecular configurations?  Are you talking about things like Buckyballs and nanotubes?

(Fred)  Exactly, but those are the barest whiffs of examples.  Even in the world of biology, there are extraordinary instances of configurations that were “invented” by natural selection, such as spider-web materials and the “electric wires” that electric eels and similar creatures have developed within their bodies.  With mature replicator nanotech, it would be embarrassingly tame to say “The sky’s the limit”.  Gigantic new molecular structures are already “on the drawing boards”, theoretically stable, that illustrate what’s coming.  Just because we can’t put molecules like this together right now doesn’t mean that it won’t soon be possible, in whatever forms we might wish.  It could be that leaving lifeless planets in their original forms will make about as much sense as leaving iron ore in the ground when you could have used it to make steel beams.

Next is 1.5.3  “Physics includes immortality per Dyson’s Eternal Life Postulate (1979) and Tipler’s Closed Universe Cyber-resurrection (1989).”  Here, I’m going to simply quote briefly from Mike Perry’s Forever For All, noting that Dyson gets 22 hits on a search of the book and Tipler turns up 131 points of discussion.  This is the quote:

“To approach the “how” of immortality for this special but important case, we must confront the physics of our own universe. We can no longer take refuge in the possibilities of Unboundedness to overcome any calamity however great. Much is unknown, despite ongoing, exciting research and the efforts of theoreticians such as Dyson and Tipler. The latter, though, offers one insight that I think provides additional hope. As is often true of events on a smaller scale, the universe as a whole seems to be a chaotic system–meaning that small differences in conditions can give rise to large differences over moderate intervals of time. This opens a door to us as an intelligent species: we may, by calculated maneuvers, be able to exercise great control over the developing universe when we are more advanced, and ultimately win our goal of immortality by shaping an appropriate cosmic destiny. As usual this is not a guarantee, but let us look at some of the possibilities.”

Interestingly, one of the references in Perry’s bibliography is to Tipler’s, Physics of Immortality, noting that on pages 116–19, he “critiques Dyson’s open-universe model of immortality.”  There’s no way in this podcast that we’re going to offer anything like that kind of coverage, so again, go to universalimmortalism.org, take the book link, and download Forever For All!

(Linda) C’mon, Fred, let’s dig just a little deeper!  What can we say, ourselves about 1.5.4  “Adaptation to biology-cybernetic hybridization thrives per Licklider’s Man-Computer Symbiosis (1958) and Englebart’s Graphical User Interfaces (1968)”?  We can’t just dump the whole load on Perry’s Forever For All!

(Fred)  That’s absolutely true, Linda, and particularly here, where Perry said nothing at all about either of them.  Searching Man-Computer Symbiosis, Wikipedia tells us that this is the title of: (quote)

“a key speculative paper published in 1960 by psychologist/computer scientist J.C.R. Licklider, which envisions that mutually-interdependent, “living together”, tightly-coupled human brains and computing machines would prove to complement each other’s strengths to a high degree.”

(Wikipedia Continues)  “Man-computer symbiosis is a subclass of man-machine systems. There are many man-machine systems.  At present, however, there are no man-computer symbioses. The purposes of this paper are to present the concept and, hopefully, to foster the development of man-computer symbiosis by analyzing some problems of interaction between men and computing machines, calling attention to applicable principles of man-machine engineering, and pointing out a few questions to which research answers are needed. The hope is that, in not too many years, human brains and computing machines will be coupled together very tightly, and that the resulting partnership will think as no human brain has ever thought and process data in a way not approached by the information-handling machines we know today.

Similarly, searching “Graphical User Interface” and taking the Wikipedia link tells us, under “Augmentation of Human Intellect”:

Doug Engelbart’s Augmentation of Human Intellect project at SRI (Stanford Research Institute) in the 1960s developed the On-Line System (NLS), which incorporated a mouse-driven cursor and multiple windows used to work on hypertext.   Engelbart had been inspired, in part, by the memex desk-based information machine suggested by Vannevar Bush in 1945. Much of the early research was based on how children learn.

Truth 1.5.4, says, about these, simply that “Adaptation to biology-cybernetic hybridization thrives.”  It certainly seems to be the case.  In connection with citations like this in the  Truths of Terasem, it’s worth reflecting that in the Terasem Pledge, the very first principle of Terasem’s is “education persistently”, and that doesn’t mean sitting in a classroom, half asleep, reliving last night’s sit-com.  It means, among other things, googling everything that arouses your curiosity, and if you don’t have an urge to do that, try googling “curiosity enhancement”, and one of the first things you see is a paper titled:  “The Hunger for Knowledge: Neural Correlates of Curiosity”, out of Cal Tech, with a first paragraph that says:

(quote) Curiosity is the complex feeling and cognition that accompanies the desire to learn what is unknown. Curiosity can be both helpful and dangerous. It plays a critical role in motivating learning and discovery, increasing the world’s store of knowledge. Einstein, for example, once said, “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious ”.  The dangerous side of curiosity is its association with exploratory behaviors with harmful consequences, as exemplified by the mythical Pandora, who opened a box that unleashed misfortunes on the world. Technology such as the Internet augments both good and bad effects of curiosity, putting both enormous amounts of information and potentially dangerous social encounters just a mouse click away. (end quote)

(Linda)  In 1.5.5 we have, “Nanotechnology enables lifetime-spacetime expansion per Drexler’s Engines of Creation (1986) and Kurzweil’s Age of Spiritual Machines (1996).  Now we’re close to something far more related to the immediate future.  These are books that are probably very familiar to our listeners, and since we’ve expounded on them already in earlier podcasts, let’s move to the final Truth of this podcast, 1.5.6  “Destiny beckons pan-cosmic life, for religious prophets taught that humanity is here to honor all creation.”  Do we find anything about any of that in Michael Perry’s book?

(Fred)  Sorry, neither the Internet nor Forever For All helps, here, but the prefix “pan” is generally used to convey uniting or interconnecting all of what follows it, so let’s take “pan-cosmic life” to mean all forms of life throughout the cosmos, and that “honoring all creation” means finding value in whatever evolution has brought forth through extropy.

We may find the T-Rex to be unsuitable as a house pet, and understand that the poison of a black widow spider is something to be avoided, but at the same time we cannot help being amazed at the versatility of biological evolution in its pursuit of survival, and be inspired that throughout the universe there may be wonders of natural evolution far more impressive to be encountered and comprehended, and that among them there may be a variety of emergent sentient cultures of networked kind consciousness that will make us wonder why humankind couldn’t have found its way into one of those pathways, rather than evolving as it did.

(Linda)  Endless adventures await us, for sure.  Next week, we’re going to talk about consciousness, and how it fits into the framework of Terasem’s values and goals.  It’s seen as a continuum of maturing abilities, which when healthy, embrace both autonomy and empathy, where interconnectedness with others is an inescapable part.

(Fred)  True.  Consciousness is a dynamic process, so passage of time is integral to it, and personal independence along with urges to improve are seen as vital.  Reason and morality, combined with understanding the feelings of others, leads to an endless expansion of synergy among those who are at the same time evolving as individuals in creative ways.  It’s by exploring this Expansion of the Truths of Terasem that we can in some ways best grasp what it can become.

(Linda)   Before next week, you can find out about joining Terasem at terasemfaith.net if you think you might want to be right in the middle of this.  Start preparing to “Wake up in cyberspace” by using CyBeRev.org and/or LifeNaut.com, no fees to participate. mindclones.blogspot.com tells you all about mindfiles.

(Fred) Right!  And as we mentioned last week, there’s a powerful new Android app, free, most easily accessible at PersonalityMD.com.  Get the details there and link to download from Google marketplace. Tens of thousands have already been downloaded, and it just keeps growing.

(Linda)  It’s based on the CyBeRev program, but it’s more like a game, that tests not just responses but speed of entry and graphical navigation. The two dimensional display lets you do it right from a smart phone, with evaluations truly unique to you, but you also see how you compare to others’ and see how many like-minded people live near you!

(Fred)  The fun’s just beginning.  Join us, and our quest for an endless future…

(Linda)  Come with us – into Tomorrow!

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Posted March 8, 2011 by Truths of Terasem - Podcasts in Uncategorized

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