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Multiple Fractal Cosmos timelines?

I just had the idea that the Netec (2045) cosmos could be an alternative timeline in the Fractal Cosmos. The divergence would probably start about 10 years before the Netec revolutions.

Why does it make sense to have multiple Fractal Cosmos timelines?

  • It provides different scenarios for different tastes and exemplifying different assumptions
  • More freedom for contributing authors. They could fork a new timeline, if they are unhappy with the timelines that already exist
  • It would fit to the name “Fractal Cosmos”. There could be a fractal tree of timelines
  • All timelines would share similar themes that are discussed in the Fractal Future Forum. This would give that multicosmos some basic cohesion
  • Different timelines could be represented as different subcategories of the Fractal Cosmos category

What do you think? Could multiple timelines actually make Fractal Cosmos attractive for a wide range of contributors, so that it can become a really active project (again)?

I don’t know if you remember, but we discussed this when the project was started.

We ended up creating the concept of Associated Universes, which are basically what you describe as “alternative timelines”. We did this in order to allow individual members to create their own versions of the Fractal Cosmos, but I was (and still am) a little reticent about this idea, since I feared that the creation of multiple alternate universes would delay the development of our main shared universe. In order to mitigate this fear, we adopted a rule (well, it’s more of a guideline than a rule) that says that the development of the main timeline must come first.

I like Netec 2045 and you can make it an associated universe of Fractal Cosmos if you want to, but I think we should respect the rule of developing the main universe first

I’m not sure I like the concept of an official “main” universe. Wouldn’t it be more dynamic, if we had multiple candidate universes and people would flock to those that they like most? This would create an element of constructive competition. It might be suitable to get more people interested. This is where Fractal Cosmos has failed so far: It could not attract a good number of participants. That’s why I suggest we apply less stringent rules, in order to get a wider appeal. Call it a compromise, if you want.

Also, I personally feel more comfortable to work on the universe I feel like working on, without having my creative energies restricted by questionable rules.

I’m sorry, but I don’t agree.

The point of the Fractal Cosmos project was to synthesize ideas from many different people into a single detailed universe. We don’t need a collective worldbuilding project to create a series of loosely related fictional futures

Even if abolishing the concept of a main universe would get us more colaborators (which I sincerely doubt), this new workforce would be highly dispersed and we would get nowhere. As all universes would be treated equally, people would create tons of new ones over minor disagreements and cooperation would be limited to nothing more than occasional exchanges of ideas.

Frankly, I think that the Fractal Cosmos project would be pointless if it was like that.

i am afraid, i don´t understand the idea of the fractal cosmos exactly. should it become something like the star trek universe? …with fantasy- elements or should it only base on projections which could be considered realistic? what is fractal about it? i had some ideas to participate in the project with my own utopia, but i don´t know by now, whether that would be appropriate.

It’s supposed to be as realistic as possible, but we can take some liberties to make it more interesting if we feel like it.

We named it fractal future because we assume that humanity will become far more diverse in the future (in biological, sociological and cultural terms).

all right, then…timetravel and alien species would be to complicated and unrealistic, i suppose.
but how to start the fractal cosmos? collecting only elements and put them together to one vision? this seems to me very difficult to put into practice. my utopia has its own “laws” and parameters. and i don´t know if my utopia would be compatible to others… only if the aforementioned diversity would allow different or even contradicting visions to coexist in this cosmos.

What kind of laws are you talking about? Can you develop a little on that?

Remember that ideas can be adapted to fit the fractal cosmos. For example, some time ago Radivis had an idea for an alien civilization named the Exaltation. Instead of incorporating his idea into our project in its original form we adapted it by making the Exaltation a posthuman civilization which emerged in the cloud-tops of Venus.

Different is OK, but contradictory is not. The Fractal Cosmos project spans throughout the whole solar system and an indefinite time span. There is more than enough worlds and epoch to create many different scenarios.

my utopia has the purpose to impart those laws and parameters. if i would be able to convey this idea within a few sentences i would never need a complex story. but i think i was not precise enough about what i mean with contradiction. as an example: if we have a technoprogressive or better: techno-euphoric society and a split up group, which strives to achieve the opposite and wants to become more extreme than the amish, i would call that contradictory. would that be allowed, or not?

I’m currently unsure about the different advantages and disadvantages of a multiverse of alternate timelines vs a single universe with different planets and solar systems and stuff. I mean, the latter is certainly very cool, and there are many fascinating fictional universes which were more or less collaborative efforts. But that doesn’t mean that a collaborative multiverse couldn’t be even cooler and more inspiring. It’s not like many people already tried doing that, or have they? It sounds like a fresh and worthwhile idea to me.

Why do you prefer the rigidity of a single universe with a single timeline?

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Yes, that would be allowed.

There are several reasons:

  • As I said before, I don’t think people would cooperate much if we went for the multiverse idea. Everyone has their own personal visions of the future and, if the purpose of the Fractal Cosmos project was to create multiple futures, individual colaborators would prioritize the development of their own universes, caring very little or not at all with creating colaborative visions with other people. The most they would do would be occasionally sharing ideas.
  • If we had several universes, none of those universes would be as detailed as our main universe can come to be if we stick with current concept. Our universes would have the immersiveness of a normal science fiction novel, thereby missing one of the main advantages of a collective worldbuilding project: the possibility of creating a world that feel whole.
  • In a multiverse, the divergent societies and cultures that we created wouldn’t be able to interact with each other, at least not whithout us being somewhat irrealistic and introducing some kind of interdimensional traveling method, which would make things confusing and require the conception of someking of “supramultiverse”.

Frankly, I don’t see how making Fractal Cosmos a multiverse would be different from abolishing the project and starting posting multiple timelines in the visions category.

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I think this lies close to the core problem of the futurist / transhumanist community: We are pretty much individualists who are enamoured with our own ideas. Now the question is whether we try to change that, or just accept it as a fact and deal with it somehow. I’m not sure what the right approach is. Sometimes I tend to favour one approach, but then move to the other one just a few weeks or months later.

And there’s also the question whether people who are not (yet) in the futurist community would be willing or able to participate in a big sci-fi world building project. We will certainly need to find that out.

Anyway, there is a reason why I favour the multiverse approach that’s not so obvious. There are open source software projects on GitHub, and they are based on the idea that people feely chose the projects they want to participate on. If they are unhappy with one project, but like the general idea, they create their own fork of it. The forks then can attract people on their own. In the end, the dynamics of that is very interesting. People are torn between the forces of bundling their energies on one project, or fixing certain problems of one project creatively by creating a fork. This creates an evolution of open source software. It’s self-organization in action. So, my idea is to use a platform like GitHub for the Fractal Cosmos project to make use of its version control, and forking, and merging technology. I think something like that might become hugely popular, at least because it’s something new and fresh.

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That’s a very interesting idea, and I think that there should definitly be something like that, but it shouldn’t be Fractal Cosmos.

The way you describe it, it sounds more like a platform than a project, and that’s just too diferent from my original idea.

Ok, thanks. Then let’s keep that idea in the back of our minds until we see what we can do with it.

I see what you mean. Fractal Cosmos is your idea, so it’s your final call in which direction it should develop.

This issue gives me a new perspective on how to approach Fractal Cosmos as a project. We could just go ahead and write a timeline, but then we would have to rewrite it again and again when we find pieces that don’t seem to fit together. So, I propose that we don’t start with a timeline, but rather by

  1. analysing trends, ideas, technologies, social, and political developments to get to an informed basis for developing a plausible timeline.
  2. We would do several different candidate timelines and then
  3. debate which one should be the official one.

What do you think about that approach? It’s quite in line with “actual” futurism as in future studies.

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Sounds good to me, I only think that we shouldn’t go for too much detail in the “candidate timelines” since that may drain too much energy. The candidate timelines should be more like general outlooks, not as detailed as the offcicial one

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Ok, great. Then let’s start with the first phase of the Fractal Cosmos construction plan:

  1. analysing trends, ideas, technologies, social, and political developments to get to an informed basis for developing a plausible timeline.

It seems like the people who are good at this are futurists. So, we would need to ask futurists to join this project stage. The goal of this coincides pretty much with that of the Future Timeline site: http://www.futuretimeline.net/

We could build on their material and expertise and invite some of the contributors in their forum to join the Fractal Cosmos project. As project leader, it would be primarily your job to do that @Joao_Luz. I can of course help you in that effort, but it would be good, if you made the first step.

Or do you have any better ideas? There are many futurist communities out there.

But perhaps this is the right time to reflect on the modalities of Fractal Cosmos. What are the principles that it’s based on? Do you want to start a new thread about that question?

Well, I don’t have an account in the future timeline forum and I think it would be kind of rude if I just registred and started imediately promoting another project.

You have an account, right? Have you been posting lately? Have you had the chance to get to know anyone?

Maybe you should be the one to invite them. I know that would theoretically be my job, but they may take it wrongly if I just break into their community and start posting about Fractal Cosmos.

Sure. In think that our principles are resonably well explained in our introductory post, do you have anything that would like to add or improve?

Go ahead and share your insights.

Not really. Other stuff has had higher priority. I’m not good at juggling a dozen projects, yet. :smiley:

Yes, it would be rude. So what? Sometimes you need to be slightly rude and aggressive to get people to do something. They might like to hear the information you have to tell anyway.

Yes, looking back at them, they seem to be quite fine. I just wonder what makes it different from similar transhumanist universes like the following:

What’s the Unique Selling Proposition of Fractal Cosmos?

All right, than. I’ll create an accunt and post something. I’ve been really busy with school stuff, though, so I guess that Fractal Cosmos will have to wait until tommorow.

Well, Eclipse Phase has created an aweasome science fiction universe and it truly embodies the transhumanist spirit, but, being set in a post-apocalyptic scenario, it’s also very bleak. I want Fractal Cosmos to present a more positive view of the future.

I’m not very familiar with Transhuman Space. From what I’ve seen, this rpg has a general worldview which is not very different from Fractal Cosmos’, but it’s also a very conservative and near-future piece of science-fiction. Fractal Cosmos makes predictions which are a little more daring.

In regards of Orion’s Arm, we can’t deny that this massive project is very similar to Fractal Cosmos (both in form and in themes). After all, OA was what inspired me to come to you guys with idea for a collective worldbuilding project.

As I said when all of this started, I want to make Fractal Cosmos different from Orion’s Arm by making it smaller in scale and greater in detail. OA has an epic scope, it’s story spans throughout thousands of years and a very large portion of the Galaxy. Fractal Cosmos, by contrast, is limited to the boundaries of our solar system and has a much smaller timescope.

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Does this mean we don’t consider interstellar colonies, or that we think they won’t happen until 2200 or something? If they exist, we might say that they exist, but assume that they won’t have a lot of influence on what happens in the solar system.

I think interstellar colonies would be feasible by 2200, with technologies similar to those depicted in Charles Stross’s novel Accelerando. A small starship could bring seeding nanobots to a astronomical body in another star system and start building a colony there. The “inhabitants” of the starship would need to be uploads or AIs.

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