Posts Tagged ‘writing’

21
Mar

Future Shock (Minus One)

by adminadam in articles, education, home, humor

Too much info and too many wild concepts to consider.

Let’s put it this way — To be able to hold this all in one’s mind without panic, or blind faith, or manic passion, to be able recognize the likelihood and probability of these progressively stranger concepts without a significant rise in blood-pressure; that is what it would mean to not be in future-shock.

When I Was an Animal, by Nick Lepard

The Shock Levels

What of this can you contemplate without exhibiting future-shock? Example symptoms of future shock: total astonishment, fear, blind enthusiasm, and downright-disbelief. By knowing what doesn’t shock you, you will know the extent of your own future-shock. So go ahead, apply this question to the following high-tech concepts: Are you astonished, frightened, giddy? Or do you react calmly to the prospects?

SHOCK LEVEL 0

Would you believe that there are cars and airplanes? There’s also this maze of tubes through which people can throw information at each other. It’s called the internet. Oh, and pay phones are almost completely gone now; everyone carries a mini-phone around in their pocket.

Now if Shock Level 0 comes as a surprise to you, then how in the world are you reading this!? Do you know someone with access to a home-printer? Yes, don’t be scared; they exist too and are relatively cheap, except for the ink cartridges of course; they cost you an arm and a leg, wouldn’t you know it!

SHOCK LEVEL 1

This is where we see the emergence of virtual and online cultures and economies, just a lot more interaction online: Stuff like Second Life, Amazon, WOW, BitCoin, Skype, and Twitter. We can now easily live to be 100 if we are fortunate enough to live in the developed world and take expert care of ourselves.

Level 0 people are quite surprised at what you can do virtually nowadays: Like ride a bike, or own your own home!

SHOCK LEVEL 2

Three people now have lived to be 200 years old! They got lots of body repairs done, did constant detox, nano-operations, and stem-cell “plastic” surgeries to look young. It helps that everyone drinks genetically-modified beer with resveratrol in it now, too.

Accidents happen though; we can still die by way of Acme anvils. Speaking of which, they tend to fall out of the sky much more often than probability would dictate nowadays. Must be the neo-luddites throwing some anarchy into the equation. But I digress…

Oh, also in Level 2 — We explore other planets and send probes to those in other solar systems. There are many artificial and genetically modified organism, like the How-Now-Talking-Brown-Cow and Pink Marshmallow Elephants. Also, human subcultures are diverging; many people are talking about how they are basically different species now: cyborgs and traditional humans. The cultural rift continues to grow.

There isn’t really much inter-breeding going on either, if you know what I mean… virtually sure, but that’s not exactly re-productive… (cough).

SHOCK LEVEL 3

Here we’ve got mature nanotechnology, bots swimming in your veins monitoring your vitals, and some that connect your nerves with your own personal internet cloud. The cyborgs and AI’s are working hard on their own intelligence all the time, so extropy is shooting through the roof in our little solar system. We are also anvil-proof. How? Just click backup in your Macbook Pro’s Mind-Time-Machine. Congratulations, you’ve now got a spare copy of your consciousness just in case anything anvil-related were to happen. I can’t recommend the XP version, though — too buggy.

Also in Level 3: Humans and robots are leaving the galaxy, but there are still some 10 billion left on Earth. The boundaries of Earthlings (as they are all called) are expanding; we’ve surely contacted other intelligences by now, or so most everyone believes — Nöosphere Media Control has been trying to keep it under wraps, you see…

“Ok, so most modern sci-fi geeks would laugh you off stage if you seriously told them it was happening as we speak, but they would believe it could happen someday, right?”, asked the participant.

“Yes, Mage Judy. You are now Level 3.”

SHOCK LEVEL 4 — Try this one on for size…

You exist as multiple copies of yourself; you can’t die unless all self-iterations will it simultaneously. Each self-iteration can, though, change their personality completely — as easy as it was for those 2010-ers to switch to Ubuntu.

Much of the matter in our galaxy has been converted to Computronium, or, all purpose computing clay. One drop of this stuff computes as much as the 2010 human population could and it’s totally malleable. It can create, be molded into, and process anything, so solid reality has become quite fluid, with everything linked to The Ubiquitous Internet 12.0^Cubed.

We’ve gone through a singularity (or two, depending on who you ask) and ultra-intelligence is saturating the whole known universe. We’re also performing physics hacks on the universe’s substrate. If we succeed we’ll tamper and spawn a few thousand more universes slightly removed from ours and linked by wormholes; they’ll have the perfect parameters for new life to develop independently from the elements of their own gradually-cooling mini big-bangs. (See Biocosm)

“So life as we know it is basically kaput then, it’s unrecognizable from my world, that’s what you’re saying…” offered Level-3 Mage Judy.

“That’s exactly right.” said Level-4 Apotheosis Wizard Tim.

THE INSPIRATION FOR THIS ARTICLE:

Future Shock Levels, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Accelerando, a book by Charles Stross

WHAT THIS HELPS ME WITH:

“The classification is useful because it helps measure what your audience is ready for; for example, going two Shock Levels higher will cause people to be shocked, but being seriously frightened takes three Shock Levels. Obviously this is just a loose rule of thumb!  Also, I find that I often want to refer to groups by shock level; for example, “This argument works best between SL1 and SL2”.

This does not mean that people with different Shock Levels are necessarily divided into opposing social factions; it’s not an us-versus-them thing.” — Yudkowsky

16
Jan

Picking years? I’d go with 2084.

by adminadam in art, humor, music, prose

( Not your everyday blog post, this one. More of a metacognitive landscape. )

Can we justify this procession of thoughts, I wonder? With fast-paced production of relevance or another stumbling wordsong? A plug over the idea-ships leaks? There may be a way. But sometimes it works that despite your best efforts to privatize your mind the world finds a way to reach you — much to your surprise. At that odd angle? In this clever way?

And the last one of these chain link interrupters that got (pleasantly) interrupted was centered around the possibility of a kind of goo-like-supercomputing-material in its absolute incarnation — a maximally malleable, adaptable, and indestructible state-of-the-art technology with its roots in robotic airplanes or mechanical insects perhaps. So, I was going to imagine what those insect airplanes could look like because I like to write what I imagine, and I like to imagine that what and how I write will shift us all closer to acceptable outcomes. And that I may in fact allow others in this way to imagine acceptable outcomes fills me with pride and joy, acting as an initiator or writer for it all. Call it memetic enabling if you like…

SO IT HERE GOES.

The Israelis already make a remarkable robot jet — it’s a pilot-less spy plane, but if you think about it, it is also a very advanced calculating machine designed to enhance war plans and to increase their efficacy (it also carries bombs).

Heron_TP_UAV_Eitan_Israel

Atrociousness aside, this line of products is rapidly gravitating up to sentient, god-like levels of intelligence. (or, one could say, down to demon-like depths…) The fact is we are sculpting many creepily powerful beasts. Not all we sculpt will be so atrocious; some will be good to the core or that is the hope. But the next machines to come, and ignore the amorality and asymmetry of the use of such devices in our stacked world for just a second, the next machines will …

And the chain of imagination continues, better yet, jumps to this new and separate text:

Whether you like it our not it is all around us. There are bits of it in the air and in the sea, spread amongst the flowers and lodged into the trees. There are bits of it even in your brain that form bonds with the rest of our corner of the galaxy. And yet, without any greater context this may sound so far like some of that new-age spiritual quackery, like the ubiquity-of-god type set-up. But please know that these are bits of physical matter, extremely dense and fine tuned for high complexity and intelligence. This now-ubiquitous stuff comes from Earthly unorganized matter, from rocks and stones and minerals under our feet, but it is in fact living and awake and it’s all around us now. It’s all around us now in 2084. It’s all around us in 2084…

AND THERE IT WENT.

Having said that, I do not find it an unjustified procession of thoughts — no, no, not at all.

Alright… Let’s hear it now for You Don’t Have a Clue!

27
Dec

Nice Advice (For Writers)

by adminadam in education, home

1) YOU DO NOT NEED TO LEAVE YOUR ROOM

“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quite still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”

— Franz Kafka (at advicetowriters)

~ HOWEVER ~

2) WRITERS HAVE TO HAVE TWO COUNTRIES

“Everybody who writes is interested in living inside themselves in order to tell what is inside themselves. That is why writers have to have two countries, the one where they belong and the one in which they live really.”

— Gertrude Stein (at advicetowriters)

23
Dec

Shenzhen, Maybe Five Kilos

by adminadam in education, home

So hard writing about China
five thousand years old
wielding power,
the width of their culture
not to mention mass
compared to
let’s say
America, at only
250 grams.
The concept is flabbergasting
yet awfully trite
i.e. unimpressive generally,
but if that’s your subject matter
then you gotta write about it,
and how better than in the form of a long detailed documentary.

Or you could weigh the culture using a modern scale.

3
May

3 Line Story

by adminadam in prose

I once tried to write a short story. It was a three-line dialog about a trip a long time ago that these two dudes went on. It went something like this:

“19 miles to midnight.”
“What?”
“Ok, 18.8.”

The only problem was it was too long. I needed a short story, and fast. Two lines would have been nice, but I couldn’t compact the interaction into such a small dialectal space. Surely I had to reverse my thinking and add a line. So I tried it with four:

“How much further, Jim?”
“19 miles.”
“19 miles to midnight…”
“Well, 18.8 to be exact.”

Unfortunately, it lacked a convincing conclusion. How would the story end? Would the passenger fall silent in satisfaction at the respecified 18.8-mile reply, or would there take place some kind of conflict at that? A discreet critique of Jim’s need to speak accurately perhaps? It certainly needed something — either a resolution or dissolution; at this point it was exceedingly flat. But nothing was coming to me…

At some point about a week later on it struck me to limit myself to three lines, as I had originally intended to do, but to sneak in a whole new character as well. So then I had Jim, the driver, the curious cat (to be known as ‘Frederíco’), and another whom I called ‘the old author’, a retired novelist. It went a little something like this:

“Man, I bet it would take you a month if you were gonna hike it.”, said Frederíco, trying with false appreciation to mask what was really impatience.
Jim gave a flat driver’s-grunt and laid out his ETA: “19 more miles to midnight, folks.”
The old author gazed out at the dim rolling dunes and chimed in to keep everyone aware of the stars that would spin and said: “Look!”

At least now the readers could grin knowing that: even outside of his books can the retired novelist write a new fact. And so, from the muse, it was this story I took.

2
May

Were I This Blank

by adminadam in poetry

☯: I used to be a taoist
but couldn’t feel in black and white

✴: I used to be a buddhist
but symbols labeled me at night

☆: I used to be a child
but biology chose me not to rest

♥: I used to be a somebody
but then of just-about-anyone I thought the best

∆: I used to be a liberal
but had great energy to conserve

⚡: Then I saw solar and was green to convert
but knew pollution could not all be environmentally cured

♦: So now I write
because the words are not set tight
before my pen rolls over them
the linear gift of a gem of my choice
the present my thoughts of profound and deep voice