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To simulate transformation


(Alan Grimes) #1

It finally dawned on me that

  1. this was the forum I wanted for a “brain dumping ground”,
  2. Having an interest in the general subject matter, I really should be making regular posts…

Anyway, the subject is an attempt to re-package, yet again, a set of ideas that I’ve been trying to float since… jeez 2003 or so.

I think, as we head into a period of time where we can use technology to transform ourselves in increasingly radical ways, we need a way to “try out” these transformations, as well as to illustrate and study simualted societies where these transformations are widely deployed. Furthermore, we need to be able to communicate a broad diversity of possible transformations and allow both high level concepts and low level implementations to evolve before they can be considered safe enough to actually deply in the real world. Obviously, there are overwhelmingly valuable ‘entertainment’ applications for this, but lets stick with the more serious aspects.

What I propose is a neural interface system, that sounds a great deal like what Elon musk is working on with his neuralink project. This would, among other things, provide you with acces to the consciousness of a simulated avatar. The avatar could experience all manner of things with minimal risk beyond psychological trauma to yourself. There could be more serious risks from long-term use but let’s leave that asside.

I really would have thought that with so much talk about “virtual existance”, etc, there would be a much greater interest if not effort into getting a powerful, robust simulation environment running. There actually is some interest that has been generated by the landmark anime series, Sword Art Online which demonstrated a “nerve gear” that would allow the user to experience a VR through an avatar that was similar to their baseline body. This doesn’t quite meet my needs, but at least it’s a start in that it demonstrates how a concept similar to what I’m talking about can be promoted.


#2

I think it’s worth pointing out that before this anime came out, the story was first released as a novel series, which became very popular and prompted an anime studio to negotiate a deal with the author to create the anime version.

The author of the novel explained in the first book that what he originally wanted to do was to show that it was possible to make an interesting story about virtual reality.

While you didn’t really specify in what ways that falls short, I’d guess you’re thinking of a virtual avatar that not only has a virtual body but also a virtual mind that you link with. Perhaps even a simulation that continues whether or not you’re actually concurrently linked to it or not.


#3

WTF who watches anime?!?!


(Michael Hrenka) #4

I appreciate that statement. While I had higher hopes for this forum, it’s still a good place to share crazy and experimental ideas. There is a lack of suitable places for that. This lack scares me a little bit.

Even the transhumanist mailing lists of old are a faint shadow of their past. And it looks like Second Life had now effectively given up by nearly everyone.

To me it appears that we are living in a decade of decline. The energy and optimism to shape the future towards a positive transhumanist future has been dissipated to a great degree. And the best part forward is hard to identify. Even the reasons for this (perceived) decline are mysterious to me (one could blame the end of Moore’s law, but then there are still impressive advances in genetics and AI, and some basic progress in nanotechnology). After all, are there any sane alternatives to transhumanism? No, there is only escapism or insanity as alternatives. And those won’t change our world. To me it feels like most people have given up on the world entirely. Sometimes I feel like that, too. However, thinking along those lines quickly leads to very dark places.

I chose to opt for hope for a better future. If nothing else remains, this hope is final dejection of despair and defeat.

Most people seem to suffer from a nearly complete lack of vision and perspective for the future. That’s probably not even special for our times, but for human existence in general. Our times may be some of the best, actually. It’s still frustrating that the world seems to be lagging behind in vision so much. The only solution might be to invest heavily in education about possible futures. Get the brightest visions of the future to every classroom, to every family, to every media outlet. Then that may transform society thoroughly.

But for now we need to compose, discuss, refine, and share these visions first. Starting with “brain dumping” is a modest, yet important beginning.

I really encourage you do to that. Get your thoughts out of your system and onto a platform that is visited by similar minds!

And then what happened? Smartphones and social media! Who could have predicted that? The superficial feeling of connectedness we get from Facebook and Twitter seems to be more alluring that a remote prospect of full immersion virtual realities.

Perhaps not too surprising. In most times humans were more inclined to look forward to the next drink at the bar than eternal bliss in heaven. Now, even the realistic prospect of creating those heavens for ourselves doesn’t seem to change the fundamental psychological equations. Humans still flock to the cheap, quick, and shallow alternatives. Those who yearn for more have always been a minority. One possible solution might be to use big data to identify that minority and organize it to get something truly amazing going. Hmm…