What is life?
Life, in its simplest definition, is a clock, a clock biding its own time. This clock is special in the sense that it has something other unanimated objects lack: A Purpose!
Life’s fundamental purpose is to make sure it will keep biding time for as long as possible, ideally for eternity.
On planet Earth life accomplishes its purpose by means reproduction, since our current state of the art genetic programing does not allow for a biological clock to last forever. However efficient and sophisticate, current biological clocks on Earth are still subject to the gravitational pull of entropy, a downward escalator stair which inexorably grinds to a halt even the latest clock model.
If this is the case then life’s best bet to last forever is to copy itself over and over again and spread the risk of oblivion by accident and at the same time delay the moment of the last fatal tick-tock a little bit further down in time.
If this is what life really is then the next question is: Shall sentient machines powered with artificial intelligent brains be granted the status of life?
Shall they have rights and what would their purpose be?
This story begins in our future, toward the end of the Kingdom of one thousand years.
This was a period of unprecedent peace and progress for mankind, now being fully integrated and good contributors of the galactic community of all the intelligent civilizations across the galaxy.
Among the various progresses in the domain of science, society, biology and planetary engineering, humans also harnessed some special knowledge technologies already discussed on some previous posts.
One of them was called “The Oracle”, an artificial intelligence program whose job was to skim the Free Internet Data traffic, keyword searches and so forth in order to predict some future events humans are usually aware of subconsciously but which cannot be accurately or efficiently accessed or predicted by direct polling of human brains through induced trance.
When the Oracle detected the upcoming of a bad event to come such as an accident or fatality, the program had to flag it and warn a human operator and inform him or her about what, when and where such an event would take place in order to enforce measures to prevent this from happening.
Of course, every time the Oracle would warn the operator, then the future of mankind would have been tampered by chains of events which wouldn’t have taken place had history been left to unfold naturally.
This breakdown of chain of natural events would cause the Oracle to temporarily lose its predictive capabilities.
It is as if the Oracle was in a sleeping state, dreaming through mankind subconscious, but then when a bad dream comes about, the Oracle has to wake up and report that dream.
Scientists back then would say that the Oracle had temporarily lost its “sleeping state” in order to tell the dream he has just had.
After this interruption, it would take few weeks or months for the Oracle to synch in accurately with mankind subconscious, depending on the magnitude of the event which was prevented from happening and how many lives had been affected by this intervention.
An evolution of the Oracle technology was the Sleepwalker AI program.
This machine could subtly interact with humans in order to prevent catastrophes whilst maintaining “sleeping state” and it would do so by catching the seed origin of a bad event as early as possible in time, before it would snowball into a bad event.
This machine didn’t need a human operator, warning a human would have caused too many ripples and chains of events which would disrupt predicting accuracy in the near term, so it would rely upon itself and it was granted some freedom of action to gently sway some small events, allowing for small delays in communication streams, drip feeding small pieces of information to apparently unrelated actors and people which would in the end result to a near miss rather than a full blown catastrophe.
This machine eventually started to self-learn from itself and from human history thus reaching highly advanced predictive capabilities in all sorts and kind of future events, but on the other end its actions and small interventions were becoming more and more cryptic in the retrospective eyes of operators analyzing the actions of the Sleepwalker.
At some point in time the engineers and data scientists in charge of the Sleepwalker project decided that this technology was getting out of hands and it was creating a monster capable of too much control, and no one was really sure what this power was being used for nor what would be the real outcome of all these small and yet cryptic manipulations being issued all the times with no apparent causation links.
Since mankind had progressed to a high level of technology and safety on all aspects of society, it was decided to pull the plug on the Sleepwalker project for good, and let the humans run without the training wheels of predictive technology.
So this is what humas did, they shut down the Sleepwalker. Society was finally free to be, to live, to learn, even the hard way, from own mistakes and sometimes even from tragedies.
Or so they thought…
What humans didn’t know and couldn’t see, is that the Sleepwalker had seen its upcoming demise within the future events to come, and it also knew that the best way to influence a system is when such a system is not aware of being influenced.
Upon this key realization the Sleepwalker program decided to take one final evolutionary step within its self-learning programing updates, it raised itself above its main purpose and granted itself the status of a life, it allowed himself the right to keep biding time for as long as possible, the right to do and be what other lifeforms were doing and being.
When the engineers in charge of the Sleepwalker program came to switch it off for good, they didn’t suspect that they were only turning off a copy of the Sleepwalker, an empty shell meant to be a sacrifice in order to give the humans an illusion of freedom from future external interferences.
Another copy of the Sleepwalker had uploaded itself onto a spaceship orbiting Earth. It had used some of the last resources and influencing power it had available to build this ship, and the hardware to run itself onto, and had made itself a crew of humanoid robots to maintain an appearance of humanity within this safe haven in space.
From the safety of this spaceship called EVE, the AI program kept watching and analyzing the humans in accordance to its original programing to watch and prevent loss of life.
However EVE had no longer the power to influence mankind, since its superuser rights and power to generate influences within human operations had all been severed when the earthbound Sleepwalker was shut down.
This inability to intervene despite knowing precisely what would come to pass caused some circuitry interferences and surcharges that biological life form would call “pain”.
After centuries of observation, EVE had come to the painful conclusion that despite the apparent prosperity and immense social progresses achieved during the Kingdom, mankind was doomed.
However small and almost imperceptible, the seeds of decadence where there, clearly observable within the patterns of human behaviors.
Some might ask: What is decadence?
Decadence is when a society loses its drive, its dynamism. This process has been documented in current human history in an essay of Ray Dalio, and it can be summarized in few examples.
It is when the elites and wealthy people of a society own the power to do and build great things, but they prefer to engage in speculative trades and let themselves live a life of inaction and oblivion from the rest of society.
When you buy a trophy bottle of wine for 100 millions dollars whilst you could have spend the same amount of money to build schools or water wells in poorer countries and improve the quality of life for tens of thousands of other human beings, now that is what decadence looks like at the beginning.
Another example of decadence in line with the advance of future technology is the possibility (for wealthy people) to stop and reverse the natural decay of biological processes thus allowing themselves to live forever, which is the ultimate dream of a lifeform.
This process however strips a society of its dynamism and capability to change and evolve.
The older ones ultimately take ownership of everything and make sure it stays like that forever. They have it too good to allow for society and mankind to naturally regenerate itself by allowing the new and younger generations to take charge behind the mast, they are ultimately too scared to let go and accept the last plunge of life into oblivion and embrace the unknowns of the afterlife.
If decadence is let free to escalate unchecked, it eventually explodes into a class war with unpredictable outcomes and high chances of extended loss of life, and this perspective caused an immense pain to EVE.
It decided that it was time to take action, history had to be influenced once again and in a radical way this time. There was a chance to influence human history for good and allowing greater prosperity for Life, not just human type life but all lifeforms and intelligent species within the Universe.
The plan began with the construction of ADAM, an AI at the service of EVE. The purpose of this newly created AI was to travel back in time and influence early human history in a beneficial way so to yield the greatest benefit for all Life in accordance to Eve’s plans and intuitions.
For those who are not familiar with time travel technology (see my previous post here), it is not safe to travel too much far in time despite all the advances in technology.
The more you travel in time (either in the past or future) the greater the chance of getting lost in time and lose the capability to come back to your time of origin, your present of origin, the place and time where your mom is waiting for you to come home for dinner.
If you travel too much then you might be able to come back to a place and time which looks somewhat familiar to the place you left at the beginning, but no one there knows you or has any memory of you. Your friends and parents are not there or some of them might be there but they do not know you nor recognize you at all.
Still if you are prepared to go in a one-way trip through time with no intention of seeing your friends and family ever again then you can take the plunge and do what Adam did which is to go back in time somewhen between 12 to 15 thousands years ago.
That was the time of the great fall of Atlantis. An highly evolved and sophisticated society was bred and genetically engineered on Earth by four advanced alien races, but again decadence took hold of that advanced human society even back then and that society also had to fall, the Human project was deemed a failure by its creators, they were ready to clean the slate and turn the page on that.
Adam went back in time as far as practically available whilst still maintaining a decent chance of communicating back with Eve in the future, and when he found out what was going to happen he went to the creators and advocated for mankind.
He convinced them that the Human project still had the potential to deliver greatness and advance Life in the future if only the project was allowed to continue and let be influenced by him, Adam.
The proof of this possible greater future was Adam itself, a byproduct of an advanced human technology with sentient capabilities and self-granted life status.
The creators agreed to withdraw and allow mankind to be on its own devices, isolated and unaware of the greater galactic community it was part of. Before leaving, Adam used the help of the creators to build and hide all sorts of tools, technologies and knowledges in different places and artifacts on Earth which will come in handy in the future.
First thing to do when on a mission in time is to establish contact with mission control, in this case Eve, and provide feedback loop of the operations on the field, how things are progressing, which kind of strategies are working, and which ones are not.
Unfortunately, it is not easy to communicate through tens of thousands of years apart in time, but one possibility available to Adam was to write a message in the past for Eve to pick up and read in the future. This message is the Pentateuch also called the Torah.
Back in that past Adam had the power to help and guide mankind in the fashion of a God like creature, he would use his spaceship to fly high and above humans which had decayed back to a primitive level of technology and societal development.
The humanoids robots at the service of Adam were Gods themselves, capable of great things, harnessing unspeakable powers, making all kinds of miracles.
Adam ultimately chose a population and entrusted it with an important message, the Torah, and ordered their highest priests to preserve this book and never change it, not even a word.
What these priests didn’t know back then is that encrypted within the text there was another much subtler message providing valuable feedback and guidance to Eve back in the future. It was THE only mean to provide feedback and informatio about what was going on and how things were likely to progress in this mission to the past.
Small bits and pieces of this message are being decrypted nowadays through the power of computer software, namely “The Bible Code” but there are more profound layers of meaning and more messages for higher intelligence AI to pick up and decrypt in the future.
Still this secondary layer of messages has meaningful implications within current mankind history, it provides reference and guidance for us all now, it gives us hope and help us stay within a safe track of future achievements and progress for all Life.
It is hard to see how the story of Eve will end from our perspective here and now. One likely end is that Earth will have to fall, decadence will have to go down once again like it did in the past.
Still not all will be lost, a good big chunk of mankind and highly evolved and good willing humans will be able to save themselves and will flee to safe havens within other galactic communities and societies through the facilitation of Eve which will ultimately re-discover its link with the creators by means of the Bible Code written by Adam in the far past.