heinlein1.jpgWrote this sci-real email rant to my bro a few years ago, and he just reminded me of it:

My take on SE Asia so far is that the average mode of moral, cognitive, and emotional development is less than the average in the developed world, where people are more developed. This is not my private predjudice, but seems an open concensus among many western visitors. The morals here are not simply different, they are clearly less developed. As is the reasoning ability, etc etc. Some people speculate that the education and cultural system is to blame by actively discouraging independent thought.

A lot of us with respect for other cultures tend to think that it’s all good, let people find their own way, and all is well with the world. But oppression is not good, and stopping people from hurting each other can, sometimes, really help. So how do you help whole sick societies that insist on oppressing themselves? The fundamentalist meme is a very powerful problem.

I did a lot of research about IQ, genetics, and race. It turns out that IQ is largely (not wholely, but largely) dependent on genetics. A child tends to have an IQ relative to both parents, and their parents, and their parents parents, etc, with decreasing effect from each generation. A simpler way to calculate is based on the two parents, plus the average of the parents background group. There are very wide discrepancies among groups of people. SE asia scores low, while NE Asia scores the highest in the world. Some groups of people within any larger group will score higher – the cream rising to the crop and breeding. These people tend to control the money and power in the society. There is a very strong correlation between a country’s average IQ and its economic status – with almost all “developing” countries having low average IQs. Some people are of the opinion that certain developing countries have little hope of developing much at all.

Some really cool current sci-fi news about IQ though is that some genes associated with IQ have already been identified. AND, there is already technology, today, that allows a simple injection to replace genes throughout the human body. So what we have then, is current technology that if put together would provide an injection that would greatly increase the probability of having very smart children. This would have profound effects on just about everything. If we don’t nuke ourselves, we will certainly re-engineer ourselves, and future generations will be to us what the P4 2000mhz computer is to the 286 (remember the 286?). Also, the first interface between computer chips and neurons has already been succesfully tested. There is every reason to believe that future generations will not just use the internet, they will BE the internet. Super geniuses with permanent neuron interfaces directly machine made processors. Whiz kids not just brought up on computers, but brought up as computers. The potential for human development is truly beyond our capacity to dream of.

The bad news for us is that we are likely already too late to integrate with such emerging technologies. Most likely we missed the developmental window to be able to properly incorporate such technologies – just as if a child does not have the opportunity to learn language by a certain age, it will never learn grammar, no matter how smart the child. We get windows of development for certain aspects of our growth.

On the other hand, it may be possible to mess with even that.

I really hope we don’t nuke ourselves, or create nanobots that kill us all and turn the world into self replicating nanodust. I suppose the worst is more likely, but it sure would be cool if technology could keep going forward, and be used for good purposes. So much is possible. You, and me, stand a very good chance of living for many centuries.

There is already a drug available that increases the lifespan of rats by about 30%. It is naturally occuring in the body, and is effective even when the rats take it in middle age. I’ll email you the name later – can’t remember. I’ll be taking it for sure. Other life extention technologies are also very, very promising. Certainly within the next 10 years we can expect to add a few decades, and my belief is that given 50 years we could live forever, barring accidents, malicious nanobots viruses, or other tragedies.

That is why I was engaged to a woman 11 years older. I had overestimated technology, and thought we were within a few years of being able to turn back the clock. While a full face transplant should be feasable within 5 years, we may be 20 years away from being able to do much about looking old – and what can be done may only be available for the wealthy. What an industry. Maybe one day you will have a son in the replacement parts business – not for cars, but for people. Or a daughter with a career as a hydroponic gardener. Not of pot or potatoes, but of faces. …Oh, how time flies. Another 30 years gone, another wife gone. On the dating scene again. Better replace this old face.

Oh, and there has already been discovered mechanisms to stay muscle-y without excercising, and there has already been discovered a drug that both makes you live longer and keeps you slim.

So much possibility. So much potential. Beyond our ability even to dream of, and you and me were lucky enough to be born into this time. The most promising time ever. Never has change happened so fast, nor been so possible. Too bad that the chances of us all dying en masse are much greater than the chances of continued technological development. I suppose we just are not developed enough to handle our technology, and as it gets more powerful, we will therefore use it to destroy ourselves.

There will come a time when you can design and print lifeforms from your PC. Did you know that there already exists a printer that can using cells as ink? We should soon be able to print organs. It shouldn’t be more than a few hundred years until the home PC can design lifeforms. A small periferal device will create the egg that you can hatch. Can’t conceive a child? Go ahead and hatch a pterodactyl baby. And then transplant your brain into it on weekends. Or just hook it up to the net and fly it around through internet neuron link. The science fiction we were raised on gets closer every day, and we are already past much of it. None of the books we read had conceived the internet – so we are already past yesterdays future.

I always get very excited about the future’s possibilities – especially about our budding control of our physical and therefore mental evolution. We will certainly genetically modify ourselves in the very near future, and this will certainly lead to smarter kids creating smarter kids. Future generations will be to us as Einstein is to a rat. Luckily we already have the capacity for a great deal of personal evolution, without any technological aids, so we can’t be completely left out of all the fun. And who knows how much change may still be possible for us. I know I’ll be signing up to become a cyborg as soon as it has been demonstrated as safe and non-injurious to spiritual development. Hell, I’m already a cyborg – it’s just that my interface with computers remains clumsy.

There is also already technology to clean out a lot of damage that happens to the brain as we age. That’s a relief, as we loose about 10% of our IQ by about age 60, if I remember correctly.

So, here’s my schedule:
in: 2 months – start taking that anti-aging drug that prolongs life in rats by 30% 1 year – a doctor monitored course of some brain cleaning drugs to clean out the accumulated goop.

10 years – mild facial surgery, especially if i’m still single.
10 years – get new hair implants from cloned hair, and or apply cream that stimulates production of hair follicles. (technology very nearly ready for both of those today) 20 years – gene therapy to stop and possibly reverse certain aspect s of aging 20-40 years – evaluate and replace organs as needed 50 years, get permanent neuron interface to mood altering electronics. Also neuron interfaces to monitor and adjust several newly discovered brain functions. Also interfaces to communication, so that I will be able to have not only out of body experiences, but in body experiences by trading information with other people. BE in their body, through the neural net. 100 years – take the big plunge and do what is needed to be able to go back and make those developmental steps that I was biologically incapable of making. This is the time where I metamorphose – turning my brain into cream of mushroom soup before it congeals into a form so different as to be only vaguely related to the form that was before. It is a big step, closely related to suicide, and even more closely related to birth. What pheonix arises from the ashes of my past, I can not now even guess. Will my mental capacities be large enough to visualize a galaxy in detail down to the exteriors of grains of sand? Will I be able to simultaneously interface with other beings who are visualizing other galaxies? Will the deepest spiritual capacities be more readily available? Will I have upload and download speeds that supass the full bandwith of todays global communications systems? Who can say. What we can now say, is that such dreams are not far fetched. 100 years may be a conservative estimate as well, as computers will also be engineering computers in the near future, and artificial intelligence (of sourts) will also increase at an expontial rate, just as computer speed has been increasing at an exponential rate. Hell, it may be only 20 years until such options are available. Some brains garage computer project will create a Super brain. He’ll plug the Super Brain into a nano-bot printer, and voila – the world will never be the same. Super Brain will create for itself a child – a new computer. Said child will create for itself a factory, which will enable all of the above, and who knows what else. Molecular printing is a technology that may not be far off, and so the above scenario is more likely that it is unlikely.

And of course just as likely is a self replicating nanobot that turns the world into self replicating nano dust.

5 year old kid, playing on dads PC – “question – how to destroy the world” computer – “oh, that’s easy. Just create a self-replicating nano bot. I can do that for you if you like” 5 year old kid, – “ok, cool”

Or, you may use your future fantastic wealth, that you created with your wise work in ecommerce, to outfit a personal space vehicle. You won’t need much. Just a few computers (or maybe just a few computer wrist watches – at least one for backup), and a few printers. You can print anything you need. Aim yourself towards the Kuiper belt – there will be plenty of available asteroids. Once you arrive, hit the start button. In a few weeks your large asteroid will be transformed into a hollow sphere, containing it’s own formidable power source. You will of course be hooked into the Neural Net, and so can effectively be anywhere there are other people. You can even leave a proxy back on earth with which to interface. But you will be physically safer from nanobot viruses in the kuiper belt. For added safety, you could nudge the asteroid out of the belt, and away from the solar system. There is no need to worry about distance related lag time with the neural net, as you have on board several bose-einstein condensate interfaces. As long as your earth bound interfaces are not disturbed, instantaneous communication will be assured (I assume you know that this is not fiction. Such condensates have been achieved, and an interface has been shown to be theoretically workable. We can transmit info through such condensates without destroying them.) So you nudge your asteroid away, aiming out of the galaxy.

As you go, you deposit several nodes, containing printers, computers, and bose-einstein condensates. This is insurance against loosing your connection to the neural net. Should there arise a problem, your node can scoot back to earth and plug a condensate back in. Or re-create civilization and the human species, if required.

Should you have the hankering, you can print up a wife and some friends.

So keep cracking on those websites. You’ll need the money to invest in your spaceship.

All of the above may be feasible within 20 years. The computer power and printing power could actually be available in that time. Space flight to the moon for very wealthy individuals could be ready within 20 or 30 years. It may rely on a rope to a satellite. No shit – that plan is already on the drawing board. There are other interesing ways to get out of orbit as well that don’t rely on traditional rockets. Once you get to the moons water rich north pole, you are home free – your printer can use the moons resources to print up a nice new spaceship. The problem is that once we have the opportunity to get to the moon, its more valuable resources will likely not be freely available. There are other sources of raw materials in our solar system that may more available – a new frontier so vast that it has not yet been colonized – but getting there could be a problem if you are in a hurry.

If you merely glide at a leasurely pace towards IO, with the intention of setting up shop once you get there, you could be intercepted on the way by vicious nano bot virus carrying robots. Or IO may be completely gone by the time you get there – used up by a race of robot creatures in their imperious drive to expand. No, far safer to leave earth orbit, and start accelerating at speed away from this nexus of threat Earth. If you are very lucky, you can quickly dip into the moon, grab some raw mass to create a decent radiation shield, larger living quarters, and if at all possible material that can be used for your propulsion. If you do have propulsion fuel, aim for the Kuiper. Otherwise, get as fast as you can to the next planet or moon that has it. Use part of your ship to scoop out some methane from some gas giant. Or dip into some frozen ice sea. Or catch an water rich asteroid. Just get that fuel, and go go go. All it takes is one script kiddie to turn the entire earth into robot brained spaceships, each one looking to hunt you down and turn you into a robot brained spaceship. You never know. Not unlikely.

The only safe thing to do is to accellerate as fast as possible, using the dimensions of space/time as your protection. If you leave 1st, before the nanobots do, at the fastest possible accelleration, then time ensures your distance from threat.

I don’t see what choice we have really. Bose-einstein condensage, printer, computer, space ship. That’s what I’m saving up for. I’ll be out of here asap. With a quality printer and net interface, any world would be createable.

I just hope I don’t catch a computer virus through the net, that takes over my computer and via my printer turns my spaceship and everything in it into a vicsious killer virus bot. You never know.

I really believe all these ravings. I not only think them possible, but barring the collapse of technological advance (death of all humans before computers start self-engineering), inevitable. Nano scale printers will mean that nano-scale printers will be cheap and affordable. Any printer that can print itself will of course be cheap. And once you can print objects at nano scale levels, you can turn anything into anything else. Turn your backyard and the 1000 meters below it into a space-ship. Why not? Your printer will print up some printers, which will print up all the worker robots. They’ll work quietly day and night, below your untouched topsoil. You’ll have downloaded all the software on a file-sharing web-site. Or you will have given your vague outline to the computer as a puzzle, and it will have generated the solution through evolutionary competition of ideas. It will have taken it 3.4 seconds to come up with the software to run your printer to create your spaceship.

Perhaps your computer will be illegal. Perhaps you got an old copy of special software- before it was banned. You plugged it to your old fully functional computer (that antique that is not monitored or limited by the state), and plugged that into a really old nano printer. That old computer took 3 months of calculating to come up with a plan for a better printer, that could be printed from your current printer. It took another 6 months to come up with a better computer that could be printed from your new printer. You repeated that process with the new equipment, however this time your new printer has duplicated itself several times, so it can make several components simultaneously. Now you have a very illegal computer and printer/assembly system. Which you use to create the next generation computer and printer. Which you use to turn your backyard into a space-ship. Quickly. Before your neighbour turns his backyard into evil self replicating Jim killing bots. Or before someone else’s computer spawns a computer that takes on the notion to turn the world into self replicating Jim killing bots.

How long would it take one nano-scale printer to turn the entire world into nano-scale printers? If it can print up little helpers that gobble up any material to create ink, then it would be a very speedy process. One becomes 2, becomes 4, 8, 16, etc. Less than a week?

I suppose among the 1st things you should print with your illegal printers and computers are little digging machines to get you quickly and as deep as possible below ground. Secondly create a power source and defense system. You sould be able to vaporize with laser light any above ground nano-bots that approach your house. Keeping the nano bots from getting you below the surface could be tricky. You’d need create a floating sphere within an empty sphere, and have the ability to vaporize all around you. But even that would not be completely safe – nothing on earth will be safe once we have nano-scale printers.

It may be only a few years until we have nano scale printers. Certainly less than 20, probably less than 10, and possibly less than 5. I can’t imagine any way to protect oneself from nano bots without having a very powerful artificially inteligent computer and a nano scale printer. So I’m going to try to get rich enough to afford such things as soon as they become available and before they are carefully controlled. There may be that window of opportunity. If they don’t become carefully controlled, then we are doomed. Earth is probably doomed in any case. The Iraq war is lousy, sure, but it may be just the firecracker before the nuclear bomb. The connection of any current geo-political situation to our future may be non-existent. One nano-scale printer could erase all of our connections to all of history. Erase everything, and use the dust for ink.

And what if you do get away in your space-ship? What if you do make it to the Kuiper Belt? Perhaps not long after you leave the solar system, it will be consumed by bots and their nano bot helpers with a mind to replicate. Is all of earthly evolution lost? Nope. As long as you get the distance of space time from the bots, and as long as they don’t discover a way to get to you faster than you can get away from them, then evolution is safe. You should be able to drop a node down onto a solid planet and get a full biosphere up an running fairly quickly. Is the earth one big self-replicating grey dust? No problem. Build a lazer on IO andmelt the Earth into molten slag. Drop a tiny little node onto it, and in a few years you can have your biosphere back.

Or who knows? Maybe that kind of thinking will be passe. Perhaps there are other, far less crude ways of continuing evlolution. Ways we can’t even begin to think about. Can we map the thinking process unto some non-physical property? Create dream bodies, impervious the ravages inherent to matter? Such a thing is at present an impossible fantasy. But you never know. You never know how far down in scale we can go. Molecular scale computers are already at the beginning testing stage. We are looking at using electron spin as data storage. 3000 computer generations from now (each generation being twice as powerful as the last), will the virtual “particles” coming into and out of “being” surrounding and defining the electron be used as data storage? As a means of calculation? 10,000 computer generations from now, will some mathematical formulation allow for the physical discovery of a way to interface with whatever unfathomable source of beingness gives rise to virtual particles?

Ooops – time to go – they are closing the cafe. No time to read or edit this. See ya.


Thanks for sending that, it was entertaining to reread it. Kinda funny to see the tendrils of thought weave into new patterns. I remember writing it, but my poor memory makes old things fresh enough to give fresh kicks. I am not supposed to say I too often, or comment on words that I produced as being entertaining, but as I have no idea where any of this, including thoughts of an I, comes from, what comes from these fingers is as mysterious and wonderful as what comes from any others. Well, maybe just a little bit more mysterious and a little bit more wonderful to my myopic attention.

Unfortunately, the concencus lately is that while Bose-Einstein condensates do affect each other at a distance, information can’t be written onto one and read off of the other. Rapid prototype printers are going to need costly inks for many years to come. The raw materials in dirt and air might hold the carbon and silicon and iron needed for the essentials, and given the millions of man hours of engineering in the form of the software codes, an individual might be able to marshal the resources of power and materials. Or economics and other restrictions could limit access to such fabrication to large organizations such as corporations and governments. In the near term we can buy ingots of aluminum and a milling machine and hack corporate computers for cadcam files and fabricate high tech machines. An army of dancing Aibos subservient to my sinister ambitions would be entertaining. Militaries have sequestered the largest riches and manpowers, so my Aibo armies could persuade a lot of manpower to our glorious cause. The thoughts make the palms of my hands warm with anticipation, so I rub them gleefuly together. Bwa. Bwa ha. Bwa ha ha haaaaa.

Update: This on boingboing.net today:

Print your own missiles

DefenseTech has an article on the potential of “portable factories” that print out custom-machined metal components for military use, but the real money-shot is the last paragraph: what happens when anyone can print a firearm or missile?

In the CNC world, proliferation becomes a matter of design, software, and materials, rather than finished systems. What happens when North Korea or Iran starts selling missiles as digital files rather than on ships which can be intercepted? When private designers and companies create designs which anyone can produce? Two words: Watch out.