Thursday, December 10, 2009

The story of it all - an original second skeleton sketch

This is a story that ends in almost nothing, starts in almost nothing, and contains everything. Everything you know anyway, everything that matters to you.

You all are familiar with the claims of evolution, about all we know as life on this thin varnish covering the planet we know as home. Microscopic elements coming together to form the first cells, the first flesh, the first life. Our microscopic ancestors journey from the sea to land that is mimicked in every womb tens of thousands of times a second every day across our planet. We rapidly grow from tiniest of nothing to self aware complexity unrivaled in the known universe.

This story isn't about that. It is about our future, our return to nothing. It was our beginning, and it will be our final destiny. Its happened several times before and we will see it happen again. We are just now at the point of seeing the very beginning of the miniaturization, the compression, the Great Smallening.

The year is 2745, or 2,090,567 BCE as we would know it from our time. Life has evolved to form many plant and aquatic species for which there are records today, but another path of evolution, some 300,000,000 years in length, is coming to its final destination, its Great Smallening.

Lets back up a little, some explanation is in order. We have watched in the past 90 years as machines have grown smaller, more efficient. Because we have such short lifespans, we see this Smallening as gradual, barely noticable, at least until very recently when the speed of Smallening has become so that we can literally see a hard disk drive that was 35 pounds 10 years ago become a few grams today, both storing equal amounts of data.

Now, it is known that if you were to take 1 gram of DNA, you would be able to store 1000 times all the data currently stored on all earth's human inhabitant's computers, which would include all "entered" data into the record of civilization. This data is mostly vague, descriptive data, so one quickly realizes that packing every single experience, every memory, every observance of every human from every millisecond of every lifetime PLUS a complete simulation of every living and non living thing in our thin varnish of an existence would be staggering by today's standards.

On top of all that person specific data, one can further extrapolate that the very gathering and interconnecting of it would form an enormous amount of incidental data, data that could not exist without the neural network of interconnectedness, data that forms its own kind of existence upon the matricies of combined experience.

All that data is staggering, but lets say it could, for the sake of argument, theoretically be stored in several pounds of DNA, say, about the size of a human brain. That would be 1000 times 1000 times all the data currently stored on all computers in all the world. A million civilizations literary works built over milenia, A million descriptions of all the known biological life on a million planets. A million personal financial records of billions of people for their lifetimes. A million different civilization's views, observations, and perspectives of the universe.

Seems staggering, but interestingly, not unfathomable, and certainly not dependent on our modern silicon based technology. DNA. What we see today is an old, aging, inefficient version of something perfected around 2745, or 2,090,567 BCE as we would know it from our time.

Up to the time of the ancestors, what you know as RNA was the primary means of life propagating itself, passing information from father to son, mother to daughter, progenitor to progeny. Eventually one species came to know itself, to know themselves, and become self aware. The agents. And in 2745, the Agents history, like ours, had become an information age. That is where the similarity ends.

The technology of the Agents was different than ours in that it was entirely organic, chemical based manipulation that they came to be able to use to communicate and store information. How they managed to discover and manipulate this may have come from another planet or some kind of teachings from previous cultures, but the point is, by 2745 they had discovered the ability to store and retrieve information by organic, electro-chemical means. They erected great cities, incredible structures, and buildings all based on this technology but the only thing that remains for us to see today are the vast quantities of petroleum we find underground. Oh, and our own DNA. The evidence of a massive, earth dominating civilization only represented by those two things. Two things that are crucial to our way of life, more than monuments, like the pyramids or The Sphinx, something far more that we take for granted.

But DNA was nothing more than a means to an end, a footnote in the rapid Smallening of the Agents. As the agents became aware of their ability to store and retrieve data using RNA, it was quickly discovered that RNA could be improved into DNA, to store more complex data. DNA was rapidly developed and installed into every cell, every living organism, and subsequently Evolution took on a completely new dimension, new capabilities, and life itself became far more interesting.

The Agents subsequently discovered that DNA could be improved, but the cells of every living thing could not work with the optimized DNA, the compressed, efficient DNA, so they could only implant it into certain, optimized substrates. These substrates then became the vehicles for an information age that far surpasses even the most grandiose dreams of our modern science fiction. We might call them Super-Super-Super computers, but the substrates allowed the Agents to pass their very beings into pure information, and the improved DNA allowed them to store all this information in a matrix the size of a pea.

So at this point, 2945, the Agents had all but entirely translated their population into a completely simulated world, a matrix that stored all their personalities, their perceptions, and their ongoing existence in an elaborate, evolving and indescribably beautiful world that they perceived as avatars inside a virtual world, and the miniaturization, the smallening, resulted in them distilling their entire existence, and all they could possibly hope to experience and perceive into a physical structure about the size of a sugar cube.

Of course, this tiny structure could not possibly hope to survive for any length of time on our volatile planet, so at an imperceptibly small energy cost, the structure was sent into orbit, an orbit exactly 3 times further from the sun as our planet, to ensure survival for a very long time. Being so small, of course, the structure can change its orbit to move with the sun, so it would survive the red giant phase, and when the sun goes to dwarf, the structure could use stored energy to leave the Solar System and move to the next suitable one, using the coolness of space to operate at peak performance. The anaerobic aspect of space also made it optimal for the structure to exist in perpetuity.

So, now, the Agents continue their existence. Being small does not diminish their power of observation, however. Are we not a pea in the great Milky Way Galaxy yet can observe it and beyond from our pin-prick of existence? No, the noisy neighbour and founding planet earth is a constant source of entertainment for the Agents. Earth is observed using means of perception impossible for us to comprehend or understand, but the energy we require just for listening, just to move our giant, un-optimized eardrums is completely impossible for the Agents to muster. In fact, the very energy it takes to power the movement of 1 ear drum to hear 1 call for dinner from a passionate food preperation specialist could power the matrix for several years.

The Agents do not comprehend our use of energy as wasteful particularly since energy abounds to such an extreme in our galaxy, but regards us as a rather clumsy, thumb-fisted evolution towards their smallening using electro-physical means and this rather silly step of silicon towards the process.

The really interesting part is that from the Agents perspective, the earthlings have longed for and searched for intelligent life beyond the Solar system, and the Agents are there, just beyond the moon, just beyond mars, ever watching, listening, and knowing so much, so much they could share but no means to do so until the earthings have reached their own smallening. Sorry about the DNA mistakes, but interested to see the result of them.

What is this world of the Agents like? I am not here to rewrite the story of the popular Matrix movies, or snowcrash, or other great novels about possible computer simulated worlds, but you get the idea. Start with the ideal of existence in all possible dimensions, then evolve from there. No hardship, no war, no religion, no violence. No cruelty, no hate, no greed. It is hard to understand how life could be "interesting" without these things because of our context as humans, how we have triumphed in adversity, sprung forth as new flowers grow from the remains of forest fires. That is what we know. We have never known existence without evil, without these kinds of pain. Suffice it to say that absent these things, life not only thrives, it thrives beyond imagination in every possible direction.

To the physical world, the Agent's universe is naught but a tiny frozen crystal, a miniature, very dense thing that if observed under a microscope would be increasingly complex down to its fundamental particles. The information is stored across multiple dimensions and its interconnectedness is compressed in ways yet inconceivable by humans. You could almost say the Agents exist in theory as the "thoughts" of a computer chip, only the computer chip is so vast, so powerful that its individual thoughts could actually be self aware and simultaneously perceive and create their own universe.

Second Life is an example that might help picture what it is like to be an Agent, only in the most crude, primitive way. One visits Second life as an avatar, perceives islands, vast oceans, buildings, and other avatars, chats with them, and interacts with them. The physical "version" is just a rack of servers in SanFrancisco, a bunch of CPU's and hard disks. Two leaps from this. 1. imagine the world in Second Life as indistinguishable from reality, you view it not on a monitor, but with closed eyes as in a dream. 2. imagine the servers are so big, so powerful, that you can actually download your brain into them, so your physical body is no longer required for you to "exist" outside of the servers.

Now 3. imagine the servers were shrunk to the size of a 1 cm cubed computer. Thats probably the easiest part given what we have observed in the past 100 years of technological smallening.

What of food, what of clothing, global warming, greenhouse gasses? If we observe our society, we can gather that all our necessities, our transportation, our massive food industries, our roadways, our electrical distribution systems, or need for so much energy are all geared towards our need to exchange information. Imagine making this ability efficient, that is, making all of our existence as interconnected as our individual neurons are. No need for food, no need for clothes, no physical needs at all, and suddenly all the limits of communication disappear. I dont have to drive 5 miles to see my daughter's graduation ceremony. I dont have to drive a car to see my son's play. I dont have to fly to Japan to breath in the cool, crisp air on top of Mount Fuji. If I can think about it, I can do it. Experience is as simple as changing one's mind. I can be skiing and the next thing I am swimming in a tropical paradise. I can be in a crowded party on top of a building in downtown Manhatten, then in an instant be observing the birth of a star in a multicolored nebulae. This is the life of the Agents. This is what they exist, and experience. If you are familiar with the "Q" in Star Trek, that is pretty close to a description of life as an Agent.

The Substrate is the home of the Agent. I have previously referred to it as matrix for ease of description, but the Agents call home the Substrate, and it has been home since their departure from earth in 2955, or 2,090,357 BCE as we would know it from our time. And believe me, the Agents know everything we know, everything we experience, and perceive it all and have even created a full simulation of our entire civilization inside their tiny, frozen existence, the Substrate.

Contact with the Agents is quite impossible as I previously stated, until we acheive our own smallening. Eventually we will discover, in our own clumsy way, that form of modified DNA that makes up the Substrate, or perhaps, as some of the Agents hope, discover something better, or at least something that provides new insight. Once we have acheived the smallening, the Agents will contact us and we will add ourselves to the network of smallened civilizations currently circling the Sun, and there are quite a few, some from other systems in the Milky way that have naturally gravitated towards our solarsystem, but the reality is, smallened civilizations far outnumber the very mass of the observable, lightened universe, and account for what baffles our current scientists as "dark matter" that they agree must exist to account for the universe.

On their way to becoming smallened, many civilizations fail, as must be. Ours may succeed, may fail, but in the many hundreds of millions of years to come for our planet, there will be many more to come as came before us.

The Agents wish us the best of luck in our journey, and look forward to meeting us in what they observe as the near future.

the end.


Blogger Code Handyman said...

Quick summary. You essentially arent your brain, your body, your arms. All you are, all any of us are, is the software running on our brains. Does software have mass? no. Does software take up space? not at all. Does software travel at the speed of light? Software is a concept, an idea. If stars were neurons, we could exist as the universe, or if quarks could be made to work like neurons, we could "run" our entire civilization in something smaller then a pea. All we require is an interconnected matrix. In this story, the matrix is really, really small.

December 11, 2009 10:48 AM  

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