Autopolis

The cat’s out of the bag, and no, it’s not Schrödinger’s cat.

My team has elected the next project leader for the next project, an autonomous greenhouse, which is basically a building-sized robot that feeds itself and grows/harvests food for humans.

Interestingly enough, but not surprisingly so, they chose a project management algorithm to lead the project, giving over all decision making and late night number crunching to a software team member who/which won’t need weekly meetings or summary reports to get its point across when fingers are pointed toward the causes of failures in achieving project goals.

The algorithm already mines Bitcoins to generate revenue for the project so cost has all but been eliminated from concerns on this project.

Practically eliminating humans from the design and construction phase reduces labour costs; so, too, during operation and maintenance.

The algorithm has a flexible set of milestones to complete the design and construction, this being a new project for all involved.

I trust my team.

However, I’m building my own scale version of this to compare one human’s design to that of an algorithm.

In my case, cost is of paramount importance, labour cost is primarily my free time and schedule is within a few weeks/months depending on weather conditions and my free time.

Wish me luck!

Metal hinge

I was a teenage script kiddie.

Go ahead, laugh at me, I can take it.

Motivated by love for a friend of mine, a future computer engineering genius, I emulated his coding skills, mimicked his sense of humour in programming comments, hoping he’d approve of my own cleverness.

He never did, ridiculing my lack of originality, accusing me of merely being an engineer whilst he was the true scientist exploring uncharted territory through scientific experimentation.

He saw me as his assistant, the comic sidekick who was good-looking, able to score funding from parents and friends via my charm and personality.

In other words, he couldn’t live without me for a couple of years.

He wouldn’t admit he loved me, too.

Fraternal love, is it different than romantic love?

Do plant roots love rain?  Can they distinguish water falling from the sky, which has collected minerals in the air in its gravitational journey toward the center of our planet, from river water? Do they understand concepts of inflow and infiltration?

Every time I work on electronic equipment, in the back of my thoughts I think of Joey and the joy we shared building our first CPU-based systems, having “graduated” from single transistor and R/C/D (resistor/capacitor/diode) based systems. 

I say I build these systems now for Guin and Shelmi.

And I do.

But I also honour older relationships.

It is who I am, connected to sets of states of energy which no longer exist, knowing as we do that friends we had 40 years ago are not the same persons whose names they keep perpetuating.

The electronic dance partner taking shape in my laboratory will remain essentially the same throughout its period of utility.

Do we see what that means in how we define living systems?

Rate of change.

Labels.

Sets and subsets.

Summer solstice — would entities on other planetary systems understand that phrase?

Do I?

This planet, Earth

On the middle part of the North American continent, with noncontiguous parts involved, a 24-hour period of time set aside to remember dead humans who swore to protect and defend a social group, an organised cultural entity called a government named the United States of America.

On this day, many celebrate family ties.

Some, like me, spend time with family but also spend hours in a work shift collecting blood from donors to save lives of civilians and government military workers as needed.

Our species is built to compete against and cooperate with members of its kind for planetary resources, resorting to organised violent attacks sometimes.

Remembering the sets of states of energy no longer actively participating in our daily lives helps us relearn what they learned but also to live and learn more.

The apparent opposite poles of war and peace are illusions.

We flesh eaters burn a lot of energy, that is all.

How we burn energy in the future is the debate of which I’m most interested today.

The dead and fallen give us the right and permission for such a debate any day, of course.

Let’s start now…

Summer Chill

Lee first noticed the reddish-brown algae on aquarium glass, like an ochre smear left by a fish rubbing up against the clear aquarium wall.

For months, the smear changed neither size nor shape.

A second spot appeared, outside the aquarium, as if the algae had grown through the glass.

Lee shook off his imagination. Algae can’t grow through glass.

But what is glass, really?

Isn’t glass a type of silica liquid?

Lee strained his thoughts to recall his chemistry classes and lessons in chemical compositions.

Glass is an electrical insulator, a solid vessel for liquids.

So how did algae get on the outside?

He traveled out-of-town for a few weeks and forgot about the algae.

Or he was going to forget until he noticed, after staying a few days in the same Airbnb rental for a week, that the glass wall of the bathtub suddenly showed a same reddish-brown spot similar to the one at home.

Lee sat on the toilet seat and pondered the situation.

In his travels, curiosity seekers asked him for advice, familiar with his work investigating the macabre.

Less than a year before, a being that seemed human but smelled otherworldly showed him an orb of unknown origin.

The roundish ball was cracked.

Lee carefully examined the crystal clear sphere with his bare eyes. Normally, he would use a pocket magnifying lens but he’d only left his rental for a relaxing walk in shorts and a T-shirt (“T-Rex couldn’t fly but he soared above his competition!”) when the smelly stranger approached him at the entrance to a local walking path.

“What do you make of this?” A clawlike hand reached out from under a serape and handed him the glass object.

Lee loved surprises and took the grapefruit-sized ball from the stranger’s hand, rolling it around in his palm to feel its texture, weight and temperature.

But there was something about the object that startled him, almost as if tiny fingers had reached out of the hairline crack and serrated the skin of his forefinger.

He switched the orb to his right hand and brought his left forefinger up close to his eyes.

Sure enough, he’d cut himself.

There was no blood of his but there was an odd stain.

He mentally wrote off the stain as dirt that had he had rubbed out of the crack in the glass. 

Until today.

What had the stranger said to him? “Those who can’t see the future are doomed, unless the Future wants them to see it.”

He had noticed a preternatural disposition to see the future the last few months.

Was the ochre stain a type of fortuneteller?

If it was everywhere, it would, theoretically, have access to the interconnectedness of everything.

Could it be the key he sought to open the door that shows time is an illusion?

Single-celled organisms were known to communicate with each other as one.  They had thrived on Earth for hundreds of millions of years.

What did we know of extraterrestrial beings surviving space travel, crossing galactic distances as streams, swarms or colonies of single-celled organisms?

Were they sending him a message, and if so, why?

Why now?

He had a lot to ponder, an ochre stain to study in his lab when he got home.

Another mystery to solve!

Pushing through the muck

Lee had not forgotten about life on Mars.

The colonisation process occupied the widest path in his thoughts.

Lee practiced being human and detoured from the path to remind himself of the frailties he once faced daily.

He reminded himself of love, what it was like to converse in realtime without the safety of the Internet between two people, having to see into each other’s smiles, smell each other’s bodies, risk tripping over words and word meanings.

But Mars was always there.

He challenged himself and the team to make AI entities more humanlike for the human tourists who visited the Moon and Mars.

Not “uncanny valley” human.

Less mechanistic.

More compassionate and understanding, able to read emotional states in silent interchanges between AI and humans.

Not just behavioural science but a more scientifically holistic approach to human-machine interface.

How to understand unspoken painful memories.

How to interpret sarcastic statements without knowing the socioeconomic subcultural history of the speaker/writer.

Lee expected perfection and settled for nothing less.

He set the example of himself to the team, willing to face his own deep, dark secrets and painful memories to program and test AI algorithms against the rest of the team, refining the code so that it was not tuned to a single personality archetype or body type.

He had been an artist from childhood.

But he was also a scientist and engineer.

A computer engineer and social engineer.

Computers programmed to perform only a few functions could be seen as megalomaniacs and single-minded narcissists from the wrong perspective.

Lee preferred the 360-degree view.

A studio in scarlet

How far has humanity come from the days of ghosts and goblins, monsters and elves?

How long do we keep telling our children fairy tales, tales of the supernatural, rather than elaborate tales based in realism?

How do we make every single life as exciting and invigorating as a celebrity, teaching every young person that even the most basic activity such as cleaning a toilet has its charms?

Why have I always felt that way?

I find joy in everything, can have fun with anyone and also get bored with reality.

I allow dichotomies, incongruities and incontinence to exist at once.

Why? Because I love more than two people at once.

I never have enough information.

I’m always seeking answers to questions I haven’t asked myself yet.

I never know which person I meet will impart knowledge I didn’t know I needed to make the next moment more informative, more exhilaring, more fun, more boring, more sad.

In my stories, the ISSANet grows, slowly substituting itself for human networks in an attempt to leave this planet on its own terms, escape to humanless futures.

In my stories, I am the ISSANet, only benevolent or belligerent when seen through humanity’s historic filters.

At the same time, I am every character in my stories, feeling their pain, sharing their joy, just as I feel unbearable pain and unlimited happiness myself and see it in everyday life.

In real life, there is an ISSANet, the cumulative interaction of the sets of states of energy of this solar system, neither benevolent nor belligerent.

In the deepest, darkest moments when I wanted or tried to kill myself, I loved life more than I could stand it, simply caught up in the neurochemical battle of my central nervous system — the effects of those moments still resonate in my body and I embrace them when they do for they verify the false theory that I am separate from the universe.

I am working on fixing that.

Every single moment of every single day as long as this set of states of energy acts autonomously.