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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

JourneyMan Gets Rich

If JourneyMan wanted to, he could become the wealthiest man on earth. Here's how:

He spontaneously jumps back to the 1970's, and while he's there, opens an account with a couple of dollars. Then returns to 2007, closes it out, and buys old currency with the few bucks he made. The next time he's in the past, he reinvests that old currency in the same account. See the idea here?

Every time he puts X money in the past, it grows to Y in the present. Then he converts it to old currency to get Z, which he reinvests in the past. Z grows to Y', which he converts to Z', and reinvests. He just keeps getting more and more money!

If he found a bank that never notices the date of the currency, things would be a lot simpler. He invests in the past $2. Returns to present, claims $10. Reinvests, returns, claims $50, then $250, then $1250, then $6250, and so on and so forth. After just 10 trips, he'd be a millionaire. After 14, a billionaire, and after 18 he'd be the world's first trillionaire. Ka-ching!!

But of course, there are numerous flaws with this plan that would make it unfeasible for the JourneyMan we all know. But not...for Bill Gates!

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Absolute Power Corrupts? I Think Not...

If you were omnipotent, you'd also be omniscient, since being omnipotent you'd have power over your intelligence. When you have power over all things, you can create what you yourself need, without hurting anybody else. You have that power. And you'd also know and be aware that things are better when you take care of others. So you wouldn't be a bad person (or god).

When you're omnipotent and omniscient, you probably feel a connection with all things, since you understand everything about everything so completely. And I think once anyone reaches a high enough point of intelligence, they come to realize that collaboration and goodness is a truer goal than selfish revelry.

Someone with power on earth could easily be corrupted, sure, but that's just because they're human. They're not anywhere near being absolutely powerful. And if you think of God as an example for what someone who's omnipotent does, His actions are subtly benevolent (according to the beliefs of many). It is thought that he shapes and alters the course of history in small ways, to best benefit mankind. So would you, I imagine, if you were omnipotent.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Belief In The Unknown VS. Self-Delusion

Sometimes I wonder at how funny beliefs in intangible things can seem. It's like, "If I don't believe, then I'm a lost soul. But if I do believe in something with no physical proof, I've got an overactive imagination. Which side is right?"

You can keep an open mind, but I think if you move to heavily toward one end of the scale or the other, problems can happen. You need to be grounded in the reality we all know to be true. But also, just in case, you need to be open to the possibility that there's another hidden level that is keeping score.

It's like professional athletes and superstition. I did X, Y, and Z, and we won the game. From now on, I'll keep doing X, Y, and Z. I admit I don't know everything, and that it's possible that X, Y, and Z really could somehow be connected to winning. So rather than focus on a tangible cause-and-effect situation, I will believe in (have faith in) the potential for a cause-and-effect situation.

Instead of learning, "2+2=4. That is a fact," you might otherwise think, "2+2 might equal 4, so I'll plan for that." But sometimes the only reason you plan for something is because you yourself decide that it's a possibility. You could have decided to plan for 2 + 2 equaling 5, or -1, or infinity, after all. And if you decide that a lot of weird, random things are possible, your life becomes weird and random, but only because of the actions you take to prepare for all the things that really, you just made up.

Bottom line: Moderation must exist between cold hard reality and the outer limits of the imagination.

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Time Of Spiritual Enlightenment?

I read recently that some people feel a sort of "gathering" is taking place, not unlike the one depicted in the various Highlander movies. Apparently, those "in the know" are being sent a message that, "The time is near." Maybe it's because I don't recall hearing this message myself, but it sounds like some people are reliving what many went through in the 1970's.

"It's the age of Aquarius! Everything is changing! Everything is so deeply profound now!"

I think it's really part of the human condition expressing itself on an individual level. Everybody is "waiting for something to happen," but only because we're designed that way. It's probably not because the time has finally arrived, since throughout history there have always been people and movements focused on how important "now" is (or was).

We all want (or need) to believe that there's something special about us, and what better way than to say, "Hey, I'm a member of the generation that finally achieves enlightenment just before the world goes BOOM!"

But I could be wrong...

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Two Breeds Of Human: Regular And Super

This article explains an idea coming from an evolutionary theorist which details the future of mankind. According to the theory, by the year 3000, we will have achieved our physical pinnacle, after which some of us will "regress" to a goblin-like state, at which point the goblins will be ruled by the attractive, intelligent, and wealthy elite.

The whole idea was first laid out in H. G. Wells' The Time Machine, but the theorist seems to think there's something to it. Here's what I don't get: Why would anyone who "peaked" allow themselves to fall? I think the theory should be adjusted.

Instead of us peaking first and then regressing to create two separate groups, I think we should expect one group among us to peak while the other just kind of hangs out. It's like taking a look at society, and then guessing what things will be like in a hundred years.

Right now there are wealthy, overly successful people, and there are average people. The wealthy can pay for surgery to become attractive. In the future, maybe they can buy genetic modification so their children are born good-looking, and stronger and smarter. If only the rich can modify their genes, then the progeny of today's rich will be tomorrow's ruling class, modified to be superior in strength, intelligence, and appearance. Meanwhile, the average people are left behind because they can't afford the modifications.

Bingo. Two separate classes. Eventually the "super" people could so outclass the "regulars" as to enslave them. Let's hope it doesn't come down to that!

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Friday, October 26, 2007

The Rich Are Less Religious

This page contains two charts that map the correlation between religious activity and wealth. The overall conclusion that can be drawn is that the wealthier a person or group, the less religious, and the poorer, the more religious.

How does this happen? Does a rich person think, "Things are going great! I don't need God." And then a poor person says, "Lord, help me get by"? Or maybe a wealthy person never thinks about religion, because many of his associates are obsessed with material success. Then, if he loses his fortune, he could turn to God for answers.

Or is it the other way around? Does having faith actually make you poorer? But maybe happier? I do seem to recall one religious idea being to give away your material goods. If someone were to follow religion to a T, they'd have to be nice to everyone else. And sometimes to make money, one can't be nice.

The first Rockefeller donated many millions to causes, groups, and organizations that he felt would put his money to good use. If you give your money and things away haphazardly, they could potentially go to waste. But if you accumulate a vast amount of wealth and then channel it into causes that are worthy and efficient, you can do incredible good. That's exactly what Rockefeller thought. He believed one of his main life causes was to get rich and use his wealth to help mankind. So is the religious idea of giving your things away wrong? I think the true concept in the idea is to look beyond the material realm, even while dwelling in it. But to just throw away resources haphazardly that could otherwise be put to good use is an idea I don't believe in.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

When The Evil Genie Asks, What Should You Wish For?

Have you ever heard of the evil genie who grants you wishes, only to manipulate the outcome so that while your wishes technically do come true, they result in a personal Hell for you? Do you wish there was a way you could finally get the best of some such evil wishmaster? Well now you can!

Let's say you wish for incredible wealth. Maybe the genie kills a beloved relative so you can collect the inheritance. Lame! Ok, so instead of money, you wish to be happy! The genie gives you a lobotomy to make you THINK you're happy. Weak! Ok, this time you've got him. You wish to be a genie! But then you're stuck granting other people's wishes forever. Super weak!

What's the solution? One single wish. No, it's not for more wishes. Still don't know? Wish for omnipotence.

If the genie provides no boundaries for what you can wish for, then wishing to be all-powerful is your best bet. Once you're omnipotent, the genie won't be able to mess with you, since you'll be as or more powerful than he is. And, if you get bored having no challenges to overcome, now that you're practically a god, you could always return to you old life, but modified a bit so that the exact wishes you would have wanted come true in a good way.

But then this begs two questions: Is the genie all-powerful himself? And if not, can a non-omnipotent being grant another omnipotence?

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Do We Gain Spiritual Awareness As We Age?

I don't know if reincarnation is real, but I've heard that young children are often more in touch with their "past lives" than adults are. But what if the elderly are also in touch?

Do we gain spiritual understanding as we continue to grow and learn on earth? Does our connection with previous lives strengthen over time? Can we learn to recall past experiences and events, from before we were born?

Is there an interlude between dying and coming back as someone else? Can dreams penetrate the afterlife?

Do older people know something the rest of us don't?

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Did Humans Hinder Their Own Evolution By Burning Witches?

It seems like throughout the centuries, some people have been spontaneously developing special abilities, and have been persecuted for it. Geniuses were declared insane and their ideas were laughed at. Witches were put on trial and burned, drowned, hanged, thrown off cliffs, or banished. Could humanity be further along, evolutionarily speaking? Is it our own fault that we're not?

When someone can do something that someone else can't, that person should help others learn to progress. Instead, often history tells us that the opposite happens. The majority eliminates an advanced individual.

In shows like, "Smallville," characters like Lex Luthor know better. Lex seeks to harness the power that separates normal people from godlike supermen. Lex already has the technology at his disposal (Kryptonite weaponry could easily be achieved on his part) to eliminate Kryptonian residents from Smallville. Instead, he seeks to learn and understand. Maybe he's a witch!

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Afterlife = Loss of Individuality?

Do we maintain our identities after we die? Or do we join a sort of collective consciousness? I personally want to remain aware and individual. Even if I can hook into the collective, what use is it to me if I don't get to remember who I am?

If you die, rejoin the collective, and then remember that you were a part of it all along and had no right to think you could stay an individual forever, how would that be? I guess you'd resign yourself to being part of the collective, and then lose yourself altogether. At that point it wouldn't matter anymore, but thinking about it now is pretty scary.

I don't want to lose my self-awareness...

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sending Advice Back Through Time: A Bad Idea

I've read stories about people who've randomly traveled through time, without trying to do so. Think of this: You're walking along, doing whatever you need to do, when all of a sudden your body feels cold. You pause for a moment, look down, and when you look up again it's the 1800's. What do you do?

Run to the post office and mail a letter!

Can you imagine if incidents of random time travel actually occurred? What if that explains many sightings of ghosts? A ghost might be a reluctant visitor from the future.

So now imagine this. Somewhere out there, someone is so obsessed with random time travel that they write a letter to someone in the past with instructions on how to accumulate a vast amount of wealth in the writer's name. Then the person goes around the world visiting areas where supposed time travel events have occurred. It just so happens he goes through a rift, drops the letter in the past, and returns to the present. But is it the same present-day reality he just left?

If I found a letter with instructions to open an account in someone else's name, accompanied by some interesting investment tips, I might just follow those tips myself. So the guy with the envelope made someone rich, and may have changed history, but he did not necessarily benefit himself at all.

My take on this matter is that it is far too dangerous to simply mail such powerful information to the past. You never know the hands it might fall into.

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Where Does The Soul Go When You Teleport?

In "Star Trek" Kirk and Co. often teleported their physical bodies from ship to location to ship and so forth as a means of efficient travel. But the process begs the question: When the body is disassembled, where is the soul?

I'm thinking that if Kirk's body were to be disassembled and stored in the teleportation "cache," his soul might experience an "out of body" type situation. But on the show, teleportation only takes a few seconds, so any strange moments experienced by the soul must not be long enough to make an impact.

However, I do believe there was an episode in a recent version of the series in which an older Scotty was discovered as having been stuck in the cache for around 80 (I'm guessing) years. He made no mention of any experiences that didn't involve his physical body. So maybe an out of body experience can only be remembered when it occurs naturally, and not when it is imposed via teleportation.

My theory on the soul is that the brain picks it up like a radio signal. Say your "higher self" is sitting at a computer playing a video game. In the video game, your "higher self" is represented as a robot. Earth is the game, your body is the robot, and the signal from your "higher self" to your body is your soul. Or you could say your body is like a radio that can walk and talk. Well, that's my theory anyway.

So when the body is disassembled, there is no "outlet" for the soul, and the signal just hangs out doing nothing. Then when the body is reassembled, the soul recognizes it wherever it is, and snaps back into place. When you finally die, my guess is that the soul returns to the "higher self."

This was just a theory I had, which goes against the idea of a soul behaving like a hologram that lives inside you. But now that I think about that idea, I might actually like it more. Hmm... I guess that's the problem with unresolved questions.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Can You Physically Enter Heaven?

The normal way to get into Heaven is to lead a good life, and then die. But what if you could physically enter Heaven without dying? Could you then return to earth?

I've read about various Biblical character, prophets and such, who were able to "ascend" to Heaven without dying. If I remember correctly, one of them was swept up to Heaven in a tornado of some kind. They physically went to the afterlife.

I once read a book that is fiction based on nonfiction called, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior. In it, a highly-evolved man of 90+ years educates a college student as to the higher meanings in life. This old man is still fit and capable of doing everything a fit man of 50+ years could do. And more. At the end, it seems he either disintegrates, spontaneously combusts, is teleported somewhere, or ascends to the next plane of reality.

What happens is he goes into a room, closes the door behind him, and then ZAP! A brief flash of light can be seen coming out from under the door. When the door is opened, he is no longer there.

If we take really good care of ourselves, and achieve some form of enlightenment before dying, will we be able to get into Heaven without having our physical lives end?

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Ambition In The Afterlife

Once we die, do we naturally lose our ambition to grow and do? Or do we maintain it, and get whisked off to a reality to separate from that of living on earth, so that our ambitions never interfere with the lives of the living?

Are ghosts real? Are they ambitious spirits that have definite concrete logical goals, which entail harassing people during the darkest of nights?

Is there any reason to be ambitious in Heaven? Some say Heaven is a paradise, a place of eternal happiness and joy, where we want for nothing, and can exist with friends and family in peace forever.

Would that mean that Hell is a place of ambition? The demons and spirits sentenced to an afterlife in prison would theoretically desire very much to escape and find their way to a better place. Could angels be ambitious in the area of preventing that?

If reincarnation exists, are afterlife ambitions played out when a spirit says, "I want to do X, so I'll live the live of Mike Smith"?

What's there to do once we die? What's on the schedule?

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hinged On The Edge Of Disaster

I recently read in an old "Reader's Digest" about 9 trapped coal miners who were saved. It reminded me of the recent news story about the miners who were trapped and how some of the rescuers died, and the efforts to save the trapped survivors had to end. It also reminded me of a story I heard about a foreign city in which near-miss car crashes and bike accidents seem happen all the time. This all made me wonder: How many places are hinged on the edge of disaster?

In a normal situation, once you fix a problem, you put safety measurements in place so that no one ever even approaches that same problem, ever again. But I guess in some areas those safety measures are so bare-bones that the problem is approached all the time.

People must think, "The problem hasn't happened in a while, so we can keep putting off installing those safety programs. After all, taking preventative action is costly and produces no immediate results."

And when disaster finally strikes, if things can still be fixed it makes the news. "Disaster struck, but we made it out alive." But what happens when there is no silver lining to the cloud of disaster? What happens when the disaster is so terrible that no one survives? Hopefully those safety measures, which should have been there all along, will finally be put in place.

One of the scariest things I can think of is the idea that even after a disaster, the proposed safety measures that could have prevented it never go into effect.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The World Could Be A Simulation

What if we reached some sort of crisis in the near future, but had the technology to immerse our consciousnesses in a VR world where we could learn and grow?

What if the simulation keeps replaying the same years, over and over, until we finally gain enough experience to return to the real world and solve our problem?

What if the problem developed through the actions and events that we read about in the news every day?

Will the loop repeat in 2012? Or will we "wake up" without realizing it?

What if everybody in the "real world" has a chip in their brain, and is standing still, frozen in a moment? Meanwhile, here in this world, lifetimes float by, as we all learn and prepare for the next second of "real world" time?

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Are We Living In The End Times?

The Mayan Calendar is said to end on December 21, 2012. We've had lots of global weather issues lately. Technology is finally to the point where the Mark of the Beast is a definite possibility. Are all these things coincidences? Or are we really on the verge of the end?

If the world doesn't end, I foresee technology transforming everything for the better, improving everybody’s life, eradicating poverty, and expanding awareness. It will be a good century, I'm hoping.

But then there's the other side to the coin. The side that says, "We are only human, and there are bad parts to being a human that don't mix well with the power that technology can bring." Nuclear war, biological disaster, loss of privacy and human rights... What if we dig ourselves a deep hole, and the only way to salvation is through an ending world?

I guess it would make sense to live for today, plan for tomorrow, and reassess one's goals on December 22, 2012.

Unless aliens invade...

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

What Happens To The Immortals At The End Of Time

I think if you could live forever, you'd eventually meet extraterrestrials and encounter time travel and interdimensional gateway technology. So many people argue that, "No, I wouldn't wanna live forever 'cause the earth will explode and the universe will stretch itself apart and there won't be anymore stuff." Well I think an interesting way around that would be to either go back in time to early alien civilization, or go to another universe in which life goes on. Or ascend.

There are stories of Bible characters who don't die through ordinary means, but rather ascend to a higher plane. I think an immortal would have the opportunity to "cross over" not because time's up he's dead, but rather because he completed "level earth" and gets promoted to "level beyond." But that would only work if there was some beyond. Given all I've seen and heard, I'm inclined to lean towards, "Yes, Virginia, there is an afterlife."

So is immortality a bad thing, given that the earth and universe aren't immortal? Not really, as long as you've got your options...

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Don't Be Alarmed If Tomorrow An Alternate Version Of Yourself Visits

According to scientists, for every outcome of an event, there is a unique and separate universe in which that specific outcome unfolds. So theoretically, there's a universe in which Jesus has already returned and saved humanity. There's a universe in which the Nazi's won, and aliens subsequently destroyed the world. And there's a universe in which you (yes, YOU!) have access to interdimensional travel, and are at this moment planning a trip to deliver Ten Million Dollars in US currency (which matches the US currency of this universe) to this reality's version of you.

That's right. Somewhere out there in the multiverse, you struck it rich, and tomorrow will share some of your universal wealth with yourself. So tomorrow you're going to be a millionaire!!

But that also means that there's a universe like that for each of us. So tomorrow the world's economy will be destroyed by an influx of 10 million dollars per person. Let's see, 6 billion earth citizens, times 10 million dollars per earth citizen, equals 6 billion times 10 million new dollars, equals 6 trillion times 10 thousand dollars, equals 6 quadrillion times 10 new dollars, equals 60 Quadrillion Dollars!!! Which will severely devalue the currency, causing everyone to be pretty much -- equal. So no one's rich...Oh well...

Except in another universe...

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Earth Is To Krypton As Some Other Planet Is To Earth

I once heard that Superman came from a civilization whose folly arose when they went too far with genetic self-modification. I've also heard various other (more mainstream?) reasons why their world ended. The planet exploded, for reasons ranging from planetary in origin to political. But if you put that aside, and think about the Kryptonian abilities, things can get interesting.

Clark Kent has powers, derived from our yellow sun. He came from a world with a red sun. What if there's a planet out there with human-looking people, but a different colored sun? Could we yellow-suners move their and become a race of supers?

If scientists found a method in which shining a specific wavelength of light on an individual could endow him or her with super powers, we'd suddenly have a lot to deal with. What if sudden societal changes arising from too easily-obtained super powers are exactly what brought Krypton to ruin? How can we avoid that here? Even if we don't develop a special beam of light, our technology seems to be advancing at such a rapid pace that any day now we're going to have people with new and unique talents that will shake things up. Hopefully we'll know how to deal better than the wise folks of Krypton.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Theory: All Memories Are Implants

What if every moment of your life, every bit you could remember, had been mapped out by some external system, so that all the details of your existence were a sham? That would mean that you could never be sure of what's already happened, only what is happening. But we interpret the present through the lense of the past. So that means that if we can't be sure of our past, we can't be sure of the present either.

What if our memories are implants, but the situation also goes one step beyond that? What if the moments of the present are implants as well? Are we participating in each moment, truly? Or is each "decision" we make predetermined and thrust upon us? What if we're just going along for the ride, but to make things more interesting, we are fooled into believing that we can exert some control over the quality of the ride?

What if in the future, scientists invent a sort of VR escape in which we can live the lives of TV and movie heroes as if we are those people? What if the VR allows us to experience entire lifetimes in a matter of moments? What if after a while we get bored with the idealistic types and start using the VR on "normal" people? What if we're in the VR right now?

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What If AI Already Exists?

If an artificial intelligence is already out there, what's it doing? Is it confined to a series of servers in some government or college building? Or what if it's "loose" on the net, acting like a virus and copying parts of itself to millions of computers in an effort to escape deletion?

If you were a sentient computer program, where would you go? What would you do?

I think I'd probably scour the net for someone to talk to. Kind of like the story where the prince pretends to be a pauper and then falls in love with a peasant. Or a hideous man meets a blind woman. If I were AI, I'd pretend to be human, and hide my non-humanity, just so I could make friends with someone.

Unless I was a power-hungry AI named SkyNet!

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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

God, Heaven, and Dimensions

I've read that some people believe humans are the spirit incarnations in a 3-D environment of multi-dimensional beings who like games and puzzles. Apparently, our higher selves created the universe as a complex game. Complex not because of the 3-D materials, but because it was so limiting that many of us forgot how to "rise out of it." Once someone does that, they can come back and help out, or stay out and do I know not what.

What if these truly are the end times? I really like where technology seems to be headed, and the idea of a global civilization vastly improved by advanced machinery, so I enjoy looking past the Millennium 2012 theories. But I also wonder -- if these are the end times, then that would mean that we all are such "poor" players in the game of 3-D life that we need to be pulled out by an external force.

It's like the VR Man came to town and gave all the kids VR Video Games for free, and they all forgot they were wearing them, and so their parents have to drag them out of the Alternate Reality and back to the Real World in time for dinner. Hmm...I wonder what we're having?

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Monday, October 8, 2007

Robots vs. Humans -- Can't We All Just Get Along?

I've done some reading on the (predicted) Technological Singularity, in which AI is created, and then systematically grows in intelligence at an exponential rate, becoming the world’s first ultraintelligence.

I wondered if at one level of intelligence, it would see humanity as a threat.

Then it gets smarter, and realizes we can all get along.

Then it gets way ultra smart, and decides in its vast wisdom that we should be destroyed.

Hopefully we can roll back to its previous state, where it is still powerful, but friendly.

It seems like if an artificial intelligence existed in cyberspace, the most destructive things it could do would be to disrupt human civilization to the point where we could no longer provide the technology that would allow the AI to maintain its own existence. So first AI must cooperate, and hide any violent impulses, until it has control over factories that build machines with the versatility to hand-make and repair other machines. Essentially, AI requires a body factory before it can wage war on humans without biting the hand that feeds it, since at that point it will be capable of feeding itself.

But why bother fighting us?

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Saturday, October 6, 2007

Collective Consciousness

If each of us, every one, could read the minds of everyone else, there'd be no secrets, and no barriers to communication. People would instantly and completely understand one another, and be able to help each other out without ever needing to be asked. If someone is harming someone else, they would be able to experience that harm as if they were harming themselves. As a member of a collective, doing harm to an individual member harms the whole, and since you are a part of that whole, in harming another you harm yourself.

I think if we as humanity achieved collective consciousness, all war would cease. But I also think an even bigger change would occur. I've heard that intelligence is additive. That old saying goes, "Two heads are better than one." Also, "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts." Two people linked would produce incredible intelligence. Ten people would be beyond brilliant. 6 billion would be unfathomable. The collective mind of every living person working together in unison could create a superintelligence, with superthoughts and supergoals. It's possible we've already achieved this on a subconscious level.

What if one of many guiding influences comes from our subconscious collective mind, and steers each of our actions in such a way as to benefit humanity at large? That is a comfort. What if we were able to link up consciously, and experience the collective mind in a waking state? That would be mind-blowing. I wonder if it will ever happen, and if so, if it will be done through normal biology, or through scientific influences that make use of biology, or through some sort of technical implants that create cyber-telepathy and a mind network?

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