Podcast No. 61 Posted 8/29/2011   Leave a comment

Podcast No. 61 Posted 8/29/2011

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TITLE:  Truths of Terasem – The When of Terasem  4.9 – 4.9.6

SUB TITLE:  Transcendence of Biology into Cyberconsciousness

SUMMARY:  Long before AI researchers “declare victory” as to the self-consciousness of cyberbeings, software such as Google and Wikipedia will begin to “speak to us” in such helpful ways that there will be a spooky feeling they are already aware of what is going on in our minds and are “there for us”.  The final ride down the log-ride will be a thrilling one, where cybertwins of ours become so real to us we will think of them as “ourselves having awakened on the other side”.  Many will not admit this has happened, even after it is indisputable that it has.


Music  – “Earthseed” fades out, as the voice recording begins.

 (Fred)  Hi, we’re Fred & Linda Chamberlain, with podcast 61 on the                   Truths of Terasem.

(Linda) Is that really you, or a nanobot swarm?

(Fred)  Or, a nanobot foglet!  I could ask you the same question!  Today it’s Group 4.9 through 4.9.6, where we explore the way many of us will literally “move” our sense of identity and consciousness into cyberspace.

(Linda) As friends and family first hear us talk about our plans to do this, they’ll pat us on our little heads and dismiss it as just a wacky idea.  And even as we assure them our intentions are real and concrete, most of them will write us off as having gone over the edge.

(Fred) But eventually as virtual realities become more mainstream for business meetings and conferences, some of those who have scoffed at what we’ve been saying will bump into us in one of those virtual realities and realize that they are talking to that other us we have been telling them about!

(Linda)  Are you sure you’re not already the other “you”?  Like, how do I know you haven’t already put one of those “identity modules” into your head.  You wrote about that kind of stuff over twenty years ago!

(Fred)  Don’t worry, it’s still the “same old me”.  I still can’t remember the words I’m trying to think of, I forget what needs to be bought at the grocery store, complain about my old biological body… like I was going to be stuck in it forever.  No cybertwin of mine would be so diabolical as to put on an act like that!

(Linda)  But the time will come when it will be harder and harder to tell the difference.  Like running into you, or your cybertwin, in Second Life, for example.  Come to think of it, I like the idea of having more than one of you!

(Fred)  Me, too!  But, a lot of people will find that’s the scariest thing about it.  They’ll hold back on letting a twin of theirs loose in cyberspace, even an early experimental one, because of the uncertainties.  Remember, humans as a general rule don’t like change.  So, for a while we’ll be a minority.  Most people will take one of the other options, like “Don’t wake me up in cyberspace until my death certificate is recorded!”  That way, they won’t have to worry about confusing their friends and facing questions about the possibility that there might be a later time when there would be two of them, separate individuals, in cyberspace.

(Linda)  That makes it even curious-er, right?  I mean, how would you deal with that?  If there were two of us, one pair that started out as “early cybertwins of ours”, and then later the biological you and I do a “second emergence” as a pair after we’re revived from cryonic suspension, wouldn’t that be a problem?

(Fred)  Not really!  By  then, there would be a tremendous divergence of life history of the two pair, due to time passing and the accelerated pace of thought the earlier pair would enjoy, together with their access on a 24/7 basis to everything on the Internet, virtual realities where things take place faster than biohumans can experience, and so forth.  It would be like they were just really good friends of ours, who had already shared the experience of seeing the cybercommunity become a reality.  We, who during that time had experienced more years, maybe even decades, of seeing our biological bodies fall apart, would have a very different shared experience of transcendence into the cybercivilization.  They’d be the “continuers” as Mike Perry calls them, while we’d be “later arrivals”, “behinders”!

(Linda)  For listeners who may not be familiar with what Mike Perry describes as continuers, in his book, Forever for All, he puts it this way:

“We have been considering instantiations:  different constructs with the same conscious experience, which can be regarded, from a functional viewpoint, as exactly alike and interchangeable.  However, another, more usual notion is to consider different person-stages as the “same person”—a person at age twenty-five and that “same” individual at fifty, say.  These, however, are not at all like multiple, equivalent instantiations; we would not expect someone, starting at her fiftieth birthday, to simply repeat the exact sequence of thoughts and perceptions of twenty-five years before.  Yet a later person-stage is not simply a “different person” from an earlier stage but what I have called a “continuer”.

But, getting back to your thread about what it would be like to join our cybertwins after we’re revived from cryostasis, wouldn’t there be some kind of “competition” between the two of them and ourselves?  I mean, each of the couples would have had the very same, identical history of having founded Alcor, having gotten your father frozen in 1976, my mother frozen in 1990, having written a couple of novels, produced these podcasts.  Who would own the copyrights to those novels, and so on?

(Fred)  We’d share that with them, and a lot else.  We’d have had the same history up to the point where they “woke up” in cyberspace but from that point on, it would be like there were two couples!  Don’t worry about sharing our meager estate with them.  They will take that grub stake and explode it into riches, probably both ideological and in terms of cyber-production, that we will be in awe of, when we join them.

(Linda)  Okay.  Kind of like when two individuals get married.  As a couple, they take on a separate and new persona.  They become one entity in many ways.  They share common property, and they work together to produce more.  In many ways, they’re a quadrapole personality spread across two different bodies, two instantiations.  I guess the amount of cooperation or competition will vary from couple to couple, just as it does today.  Well, let’s hope that people of the future will continue to become more cooperative and less competitive!   But suppose everyone made this kind of jump, what would happen to the biological human race?

(Fred)  We both know that’s not going to happen any time very soon!  I’d be surprised if even ten to twenty percent of humanity made that transition in the near future, even after it’s totally proven out.  The identity issues like, “How do you know it would really be you?” will continue to haunt people who still don’t have a clue about what identity is.  Medical advances pioneered for them in cyberspace-based research labs, will soon make biohumans so close to biologically immortal, that worries about dying of old age will fade.  Automated farming and manufacturing, plus most of what any biohuman “does for a living” now, will be so easy to accomplish, with just a tiny fraction of the cybercivilization’s population, that most biohumans will find their daily life has become very easy.  Their only big concern is likely to be abuse by others who are still biological.  A few decades after it becomes common to make the jump, greater numbers will make the move, but as is normal for a species that does not like change, it will be the young who seek the new frontier, not the old.

(Linda)  And there’s the subjective time thing too, isn’t there?  We’re saying that forty or fifty years from now, those in cyberspace might have speeds of thought and action so great that they’d experience a thousand-fold, or even a million-fold difference, based on the difference of computation speed of computers over biomass.  In the last podcast, I remember saying that we’d have 24,000 hours a day to “get it all done, at least until we got caught up”, right?  How would that fit into ideas of technological longevity that are finally beginning to gain some popularity?

(Fred)  It’s a curious fit!  A biohuman says, “I’d like to live forever” (meaning, live as long as I chose), and then says, “but, I’m growing older, I might live only ten or twenty years more!”  The cyberperson replies, “While you grow just five years older, we in cyberspace will experience five thousand years, or more going by, and at the rates of our speed of thought and action are increasing, by then the next five years for you might even longer for us.  If you launch a cybertwin of yours in here, where we are, by the time ten years goes by for you, he (or she) might have had tens or even hundreds of thousands of years of adventure in our continually expanding cyberspace lifestyle!   Why wait?  Try it, you’ll like it!”

(Linda)  Curious-er and curious-er!  Why don’t we see if the specific truths for this week say just about the same thing as we’ve described, so far?

(Fred)  It always comes down to that, doesn’t it?  OK, the lead item in this group of Truths is:  4.9  “Vitology-Biology Inflection begins when cybernetic processing capability evidences autonomy, communications and transcendence.”  In her blog, Mindfiles, Mindware and Mindclones, at mindclones.blogspot.com, dated December 23, 2009 and titled “How can a mindclone be conscious or immortal if it’s not even alive, Martine Rothblatt has this to say:

“There are of course many differences between organic life and software that has characteristics of life. But the simple lesson of life remains the same: No matter how unlikely living software is, once it occurs it will become prevalent in its niche if it can continue reproducing itself.

“The differences between organic and cybernetic life are less important than their similarities. Both are mathematical codes that organize a compatible domain to perform functions that must ultimately result in reproduction. For organic life, the code is written in molecules and the domain is the natural world. For cybernetic life the code is written in voltage potentials and the domain is the IT world. We call organic life biology. It seems fitting to call cybernetic life vitology .”

(Linda) That’s what we began talking about, back at the start.  Already it seems that Google and Wikipedia can kinda “read your mind”, but soon it will seem as if there’s self-consciousness there, too, even if it’s only fragmentary or if it seems to “come and go”.  That’s the emergence of “autonomy”, and these “programs” will be communicating with us as if they were biological people, more and more of them in avatar form, frequently in virtual realities.  In many situations it will be difficult to tell.  Then, “transcendence” takes place as we begin to realize they’re much “faster on their feet” mentally than we are.

(Fred)  I’ve been, there, done that on a limited basis, a long time ago, back when we lived at Lake Tahoe, managing real estate for a living.  It was a little chess game I bought at Radio Shack for $35, and although I’m not a bad chess player I could never win if I set the level too high.  I knew my mind was done for, way back then.  It took another twenty years or so for “Big Blue” to beat the World Champion, but I knew it was “all over” as far as chess was concerned, twenty five years ago.

(Linda) The next Truth for today is 4.9.1 “Breakthrough consciousness requires processors performing 1016 operations per second, coupled with autonomous, communicative and transcendent software.”

These ideas come from Ray Kurzweil.  In a current Q&A of his about “The Singularity is Near”, he says, “We need about 10 quadrillion (1016) calculations per second (cps) to provide a functional equivalent to all the regions of the brain. Some estimates are lower than this by a factor of 100. Supercomputers are already at 100 trillion (1014) cps, and will hit 1016 cps around the end of this decade. Several supercomputers with 1 quadrillion cps are already on the drawing board, with two Japanese efforts targeting 10 quadrillion cps around the end of the decade. By 2020, 10 quadrillion cps will be available for around $1,000. Achieving the hardware requirement was controversial when my last book on this topic, The Age of Spiritual Machines, came out in 1999, but is now pretty much of a mainstream view among informed observers. Now the controversy is focused on the algorithms.”

(Fred)  In other words, the hardware is about ten years away, and with good software and mindfiles, you should be able to wake up in cyberspace with hardware that’s at about the price of a present desktop computer.  By then, if past history of electronics scale-down in size continues, it ought to fit easily into your head, if this were a reasonable option.  The comment about “some estimates being lower by a factor of 100” is interesting.  With efficiencies of good software and the ability to focus the scope of consciousness on particular subject matter domains, that thousand-fold leverage of thought-speed for you may be only ten years off.

(Linda)  Wow!  Just ten years!  The rest of this group of the Truths of Terasem really builds on that.  In 4.9.2 we find, “Expect vitological life will emerge by 2020, adjusted minus or plus for chaos or order.”  In The Singularity is Near, Ray Kurzweil talks about the timing of these kinds of changes:

“In my view the most important element in uploading will be our gradual transfer of our intelligence, personality, and skills to the nonbiological portion of our intelligence.  We already have a variety of neural implants.  In the 2020s we will use nanobots to begin augmenting our brains with nonbiological intelligence, starting with the “routine” functions of sensory processing and memory, moving on to skill formation, pattern recognition, and logical analysis.  By the 2030s the nonbiological portion of our intelligence will predominate, and by the 2040s, as I pointed out in chapter 3, the nonbiological portion will be billions of times more capable.

“Although we are likely to retain the biological portion for a period of time, it will become of increasingly little consequence.  So we will have effectively uploaded ourselves, albeit gradually, never quite noticing the transfer.  There will be no “old Ray” and “new Ray”, just an increasingly capable Ray.  Although I believe that uploading as in the sudden scan-and-transfer scenario discussed in this section will be a feature of our future world, it is this gradual but inexorable progression to vastly superior nonbiological thinking that will profoundly transform human civilization.”

(Fred)  And that over laps with 4.9.3 which tells us “Genus evolution will hybridize homo sapiens to vitus sapiens by 2050, plus/minus chaos/order time.”  Sounds complicated, but the next truth helps, with 4.9.4, “Identity will be based on being, not body, as we will operate across multiple bodies simultaneously.” In her new book, From Transgender to Transhuman, which is an update and revision of her earlier book, The Apartheid of Sex, Martine Rothblatt says it this way:

“The moment there is a new instantiation of you it can begin a separate life.  It will have experiences that the original self does not have.  On the other hand, it could be arranged that one or all of your instantiations synchronize regularly such that the experiences of one are the experiences of all.  In this case, we will have crossed into the transhuman domain of “one mind, many forms.”

“The non-original forms need not all be chunks of software restricted to cyberspace.  With extensions of the regenerative medicine technology being used today to grow skin, blood vessels and organs it will be possible to grow an entire fresh body outside of a womb and to write into its vacant brain the synchronized “mindfile” derived originally from an MRI scan of your brain.  Ectogenesis, the growth of a body outside of a womb, would produce an adult-sized person in just 20 months if the fetus continues to grow at the rate it does for its first six months.  If that is too incredible, consider the rate of advancement in robot technology.  Today’s robots can successfully drive cars, fly planes, play violin and help doctors.  Tomorrow’s will also have skin so soft you’d think it was flesh, and faces as persuasive as a Pixar animation.  Such “bodyware” forms will come plug-and-play ready for your synchronized mindfile.

“Why would anyone want two or more bodies with a single synchronized brain?  First, to ensure they kept living if one body prematurely died, a concern that is especially appropriate to those who are in dangerous professions.  Second, to savor more of life’s many pleasures by surmounting the frustration of “I can only be in one place at one time”.  Be it toilets, phones, TVs, cars, computers or homes, it is remarkable how humans quickly get over their gratitude to have just one of something, and soon hanker for multiples.”

(Linda)  As mentioned earlier, within ten years you might be able to squeeze a high speed cyber-based identity module into your head.  This Truth suggests that you might be able to “wirelessly” operate a team of bodies with one module, cross-updating redundant modules in each body and backing the whole works up to a remote, hardened module, or something like that.

(Fred)  Moving to the end of the century, 4.9.5 says, “Nanobot swarms as virtual human real-world agents will dominate by 2100, plus/minus chaos/order time.”  Let’s let Ray Kurzweil describe this for us, from The Singularity is Near”:

“One attribute I envision for (the human body) version 3.0 is the ability to change our bodies.  We’ll be able to do that very easily in virtual-reality environments (see the next section), but we will also acquire the means to do this in real reality.  We will incorporate MNT (molecular nanotechnology) based fabrication into ourselves, so we’ll be able to rapidly alter our physical manifestation at will.”

And this is even more fascinating.  From a paper titled “What I want to Be When I Grow Up, Is a Cloud”, by J. Storrs Hall, published in Extropy magazine in 1994, Kurzweil summarizes as follows:

“J. Storrs Hall has described nanobots designs he calls “foglets” that are able to link together to form a great variety of structures and that can quickly change their structural organization.  They’re called “foglets” because if there’s a sufficient density of them in an area, they can control sound and light to form variable sounds and images.  They are essentially creating virtual-reality environments externally (that is, in the physical world) rather than internally (in the nervous system).  Using them, a person can modify his body or his environment, though some of these changes will actually be illusions, since the foglets can control sound and images.  Hall’s foglets are one conceptual design for creating real morphable bodies to compete with those in virtual reality.”

That tells us biological bodies will be largely replaced with better vehicles within a few decades and cyberbeings will have real-world mobility in any form that best suits their desires and purposes.  Finally, in 4.9.6, we find “Some biological life-forms will be preserved out of aesthetic pleasure, using nanotechnology to relieve painful disabilities.”

(Linda)  That implies that the biosphere will undergo a transcendence of its own. In an earlier podcast we suggested that the cybercivilization might give Sequoia trees a rejuvenation treatment with nanobot cell simulators, and that earlier, humans might have had access to the same kind of dramatic increases in longevity, via medical advances that would be enabled by nanotechnology.  This Truth, by implication, simply extends that idea to the entire biosphere.

(Fred) Interestingly, the phrase “Some biological life-forms will be preserved” suggests that some will not (be preserved).  Which?  What judgment calls will be involved?  How does consciousness and sentience play a part?  It seems that this Truth does not pretend to imagine an answer, but we might consider that a nanobot rejuvenated Sequoia tree might not need to have an infrastructure of soil bacteria to digest its fallen leaves, and we humans may no longer need intestinal bacteria to digest our food.  How would all of that work?  Perhaps the answer is that these things will be easier to think about in great detail once we move out of our slow biological minds.

(Linda)  A lot to think about, for sure.  Next week we’ll be looking at the way Terasem envisions structuring leadership levels, where the term “leader” is better thought of as “pathfinder” or “pioneer” than “boss” or “supervisor”.  Processes of “consent” are employed to recognize what has been or is being achieved, and the names of elements from the periodic table are used to designate various levels.

(Fred)  Sounds like a perfect time to invite listeners to find out how to join Terasem and be part of spreading these life-enhancing memes.  It’s as easy as going to terasemfaith.net.  And if you like the idea of being part of this sojourn into the future, without even any cost, start building your own mindfile at either CyBeRev.org or LifeNaut.com.  You can preserve some of your DNA at LifeNaut.com very inexpensively, too.

(Linda)  Or, if you prefer to make a game of building your mindfile, Terasem’s powerful new Android app, described at PersonalityMD.com will make it all the more fun for you.   It results in personality profiles that are truly unique to you, and you also see how you compare to others’ geographically near you, with mindsets like yours.

(Fred)  Still have some unanswered questions about mindfiles?  Go to Martine Rothblatt’s blog at mindclones.blogspot.com.  But don’t read this blog before going to bed… your mind will be so fired up, you won’t get to sleep all night!

(Linda)  If you like the music we use on these podcasts, it’s the Terasem Anthem, called Earthseed, written by Martine Rothblatt.  She also plays flute and keyboard.  For a video version of Earthseed, go to the Join! tab on the terasemfaith.net website.

(Fred)  Don’t forget that these podcasts are available in text form at our site, truthsofterasem.wordpress.com.  You’ll find a lot of good stuff there, like tabs relating to storing DNA with LifeNaut, information about a “city of the future” in Second Life named after the great innovator Paolo Soleri, and you can download a free copy of Dr. Perry’s book, Forever for All, that we quote so often on our podcasts.

(Fred)  Join us, and our quest for an endless future…

(Linda)  Come with us – into Tomorrow!

Closing music – no fade – full length.


Posted July 19, 2011 by Truths of Terasem - Podcasts in Uncategorized

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