Advice on a paper? (*WARNING* Coffee is recommended before reading)

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Warden Majere
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Advice on a paper? (*WARNING* Coffee is recommended before reading)

Post by Warden Majere » January 25th, 2018, 5:18 am

Hello!
I am currently starting work on a paper outlining an idea that I had when listening to a Terrance Mckenna lecture. Just to be clear, this is not for a school assignment, just some good old fashioned mental-masturbation. The paper is on the possibility of human beings evolving into something akin to artificial intelligence, being made entirely out of complex computer code, and even placing our new form of conscioussness into a computer simulation of an entirely new universe. Theoretically, we would be aware of the code that structures our artificial reality, and have the ability to alter it at will. No longer tied to a physical body, we would never die, effectively becoming gods of our very own universe. So, here are some of the points that I wish to cover while laying out my narrative.

1. Man's relationship with Language.
Here I want to cover the contents of our DNA, and the comparisons that we make between it and code. Also, how our DNA is effected by what is called "epigenetics". Lastly, I want to discuss the relationship that language plays in shaping our thoughts, and how we understand the things around us.

2. Conscioussness.
This is where I want to explore what we currently KNOW about conscioussness, what we think that we know, and the questions that have yet to be answered.

3.Artificial Reality.
Throughout all of human history we have been fascinated with manifesting our thoughts and imaginings into reality. From cave paintings, to greek epics, to movies, and now video games. Does this hint at our evolutionary tragectory? Perhaps the next step is a video game so complex as to rival our current universe.

4. The current climate of our technology.
What are our current sources of power? How powerful are our supercomputers? What are the recent and upcoming advances in artificial intelligence? Lastly, what are our current tech limitations, and how do we overcome them?

5. Required Tech
What kind of technology do we still need to develop, in order to create a computer that will never crash? What is required in order to create a perfect map of the conscioussness, copy it, and place it within a program without harming or altering the original subject in any way?

6. Possible locations.
For this to go according to plan, the computer would essentially need to be able to survive forever, as the goal is immortality and evolution. Thus, a safe and secure location would need to be found where nothing could interfere with the mainframe. So, we get to...

7. Black Holes.
Here I wish to discuss what is currently known, and what is not known about Black Holes. If ever we found a way to harness this energy, then it could possibly be the solution for the location as well as how the computer would continue to draw enough energy to sustain a universe for an eternity.

8. Participants.
How will participants be selected? Will it only be those rich enough to afford an eternal retirement? Would only the scientists that created the construct be allowed to enter it? Or would this be a last resort? Does this get forced on humanity in order to avoid certain extinction?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Anyways, there is more that I want to put down, pertaining to what follows the creation of this new universe, and what it means for humanity, if indeed we could continue to consider ourselves as such. Though, I desire to finish this part first. Which brings us to my actual point. My putting this here was not solely to introduce the topic to the community, but to get some advice from those more knowledgeable than myself. What books would you recommend? Is there any particular philosophers or scientists that I should look into? How about links to papers published on work that pertains in any way. I've mulled this over in my mind for months now, but I direly need to discuss it. My friends are of no help (I got shut down faster than I could say "a second you"), and simply thinking can accomlish nothing more.

As I said, any pointers in the right general direction would be greatly appreciated! I understand that this isn't something that is currently feasible for us to even contemplate on accomplishing, but it is still a fun thought experiment! Thank you for taking the time to read this, and many thanks in advance for all of the wonderful comments that you leave!

Walk in peace, my friends.

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Re: Advice on a paper? (*WARNING* Coffee is recommended before reading)

Post by Littlemoon » January 25th, 2018, 8:22 pm

This is an interesting topic. Allow me to answer a few questions that are more of my area.

About question 1, what do you mean about the contents of DNA? Like the nucleotide?
As far as epigenomic goes I can answer you that:
So epigenetic is about "structures" that are on top of genes. Thus its called epi (top) genetic (genes).
Loosely speaking, epigenetics refers to the biological mechanisms/modifications that are not part of the DNA sequence (don't change the sequence), but can be stably inherited. To simplify, epigenetics can be divided into 3 main categories:
1. DNA methylation
2. Histone modifications
3. Non-coding RNAs

Methylation is the addition of a methyl group in the sequence. The most "common" methylation is what happens in cancers. Methylation, depending the gene that effects, can lead to different causes like obesity, etc.

Histone modifications: Histones are positively charged proteins that help package negatively-charged DNA in the nucleus (That's why we can use blotting technique on it btw). An important part of histones is their tails, which are exposed and can undergo covalent modifications at certain amino acids. While there are many modifications, the most commonly studied ones are methylation and acetylation. In general, lysine (K) is the amino acid that undergoes these modifications. Also, while histone tail lysine methylation is generally deactivating, histone tail lysine acetylation is exclusively activating. Basically it can turn genes off and on.

Non coding RNAs its a very complex topic and, basically, out DNA has like 5% of "junk" information. At least we thought it was junk, but recent studies showed these parts of DNA were an important factor in evolution. It turns out there active of regulating methods for the genes in those "junk" parts.

This only scratches the surface when it comes to epigenetics, but an important factor is the environment you are inserted into. It has a powerful effect in our DNA that gets really disregarded.
If you want to read more about epigenomics, I recommend this link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4207041/

So in sum, yes epigenetics have played an important part in human evolution. I wouldn't say directly, but indirectly they have.

When it comes down to language, language is the only way we can express and, evolve our mind. Humans have the intrinsic necessity to live in a society and to be heard. So I'd say language is an important tool to advance your mind, not to mention cognitively its an important factor. Lack of language impairs your brain.

4. The current climate of our technology.
What are our current sources of power? How powerful are our supercomputers? What are the recent and upcoming advances in artificial intelligence? Lastly, what are our current tech limitations, and how do we overcome them?

I see some of Michio Kaku in this question. According to him, we will reach the civilization I when we understand how to control our climate. I'd say we are still a few centuries off until we have the necessary tech to control our planet. (However Michio thinks we will achieve this in 100 years)
Our most advanced robot is still dumber than a coackroach. This is the best way to explain how far we still are from achieving the science fiction AI.
As for current tech limitations, I can't exactly pintpoint but I think once we grasp quantic computers that will certainly open a lot of doors.

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Re: Advice on a paper? (*WARNING* Coffee is recommended before reading)

Post by Warden Majere » January 27th, 2018, 6:00 am

Littlemoon wrote:
January 25th, 2018, 8:22 pm
This is an interesting topic. Allow me to answer a few questions that are more of my area.

About question 1, what do you mean about the contents of DNA? Like the nucleotide?
As far as epigenomic goes I can answer you that:
So epigenetic is about "structures" that are on top of genes. Thus its called epi (top) genetic (genes).
Loosely speaking, epigenetics refers to the biological mechanisms/modifications that are not part of the DNA sequence (don't change the sequence), but can be stably inherited. To simplify, epigenetics can be divided into 3 main categories:
1. DNA methylation
2. Histone modifications
3. Non-coding RNAs

Methylation is the addition of a methyl group in the sequence. The most "common" methylation is what happens in cancers. Methylation, depending the gene that effects, can lead to different causes like obesity, etc.

Histone modifications: Histones are positively charged proteins that help package negatively-charged DNA in the nucleus (That's why we can use blotting technique on it btw). An important part of histones is their tails, which are exposed and can undergo covalent modifications at certain amino acids. While there are many modifications, the most commonly studied ones are methylation and acetylation. In general, lysine (K) is the amino acid that undergoes these modifications. Also, while histone tail lysine methylation is generally deactivating, histone tail lysine acetylation is exclusively activating. Basically it can turn genes off and on.

Non coding RNAs its a very complex topic and, basically, out DNA has like 5% of "junk" information. At least we thought it was junk, but recent studies showed these parts of DNA were an important factor in evolution. It turns out there active of regulating methods for the genes in those "junk" parts.

This only scratches the surface when it comes to epigenetics, but an important factor is the environment you are inserted into. It has a powerful effect in our DNA that gets really disregarded.
If you want to read more about epigenomics, I recommend this link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4207041/

So in sum, yes epigenetics have played an important part in human evolution. I wouldn't say directly, but indirectly they have.

When it comes down to language, language is the only way we can express and, evolve our mind. Humans have the intrinsic necessity to live in a society and to be heard. So I'd say language is an important tool to advance your mind, not to mention cognitively its an important factor. Lack of language impairs your brain.

4. The current climate of our technology.
What are our current sources of power? How powerful are our supercomputers? What are the recent and upcoming advances in artificial intelligence? Lastly, what are our current tech limitations, and how do we overcome them?

I see some of Michio Kaku in this question. According to him, we will reach the civilization I when we understand how to control our climate. I'd say we are still a few centuries off until we have the necessary tech to control our planet. (However Michio thinks we will achieve this in 100 years)
Our most advanced robot is still dumber than a coackroach. This is the best way to explain how far we still are from achieving the science fiction AI.
As for current tech limitations, I can't exactly pintpoint but I think once we grasp quantic computers that will certainly open a lot of doors.
Thanks for the response, and your interest in the idea. Admittedly, I have no clue what I had in mind in regards to DNA. I know little to nothing about genetics of any kind, and included it within the conversation mainly due to the common comparison that we draw between DNA and code (calling it genetic code). Perhaps I was simply taking the phrase a bit too literally. Anyway, it wasn't the center piece of the concept. Instead, I have more confidence in regards to the "copying" of our conscioussness.

I am unfamiliar with Michio Kaku and his work, would you mind including some links? I would love to read into any of his research, theories, and predictions as they relate to the subject at hand.

"Dumber than a cockroach"? I have seen some intriguing tech that suggests otherwise, though it's possible that the achievements were overstated. An example would be the AI developed by Elon Musk's OpenAI, and how it defeated world champions at Dota 2. https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2017/08/ ... -and-wins/ Granted, the program never actually learned how to play the game, instead learning how to win the game. There were also many other restrictions in play, such as it only ever playing as one hero among a selection of over one hundred. With all of this in mind, the AI spent two weeks learning all that it could about the game, through trial and error of coarse, and went on to consistently defeat world class Dota 2 champions. It was beaten however, as its most major flaw was exploited. "it's much less good at handling situations it has never seen before than a human would be./i]

Another note worthy addition here would be the AI programs developed by Facebook. https://www.snopes.com/facebook-ai-deve ... -language/ In this case, for those who don't want to check out the article, Facebook developed two "AI" programs with the sole purpose of negotiation and communication with humans. The scientists set two computers running this program, and had them begin to negotiate with one another, with one attempting to get a better deal than the other computer. It was during this exchange that the duo began straying from using English, and began devising their own language. It turns out that they decided that there was no logical reason to stick to English, and that their way was the most effective way. Despite what the media has claimed, the project was not "shut down", it was simply altered.

My final mention, is what started this line of thinking for me several years ago. In 2014 a coalition of Japanese and German scientists managed to simulate a single second of human brain activety. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/1 ... ivity.html As impressive as this is, it still took forty minutes to compile that single second, though it was done on the fourth most powerful supercomputer as of four years ago. In my opinion, this is by far the most compelling stride in regards to the development of AI, and the possibility of Artificial Reality. The purpose of the experiment was to stress test our simulation tech, afterall.

All of this considered, I whole heartedly agree that progress will be minimal until the invention and integration of quantum computing. In the last article that I linked above, they touch briefly on the idea of "exascale computers", which they claim would be on par with the computing power of our own brains. While one such computer did not exist at the time of the experiment, Intel predicted that they would have one ready by 2018. So, perhaps we may see some radical jumps in our computing capabilities sometime this year.

Until next time,
Raistlin

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Re: Advice on a paper? (*WARNING* Coffee is recommended before reading)

Post by Littlemoon » January 27th, 2018, 6:47 pm

Michio Kaku is a very intelligent theoretical physicist and futurist. He "recently" (more than 15 years) came up with a planetary civilization theory which he argues there are 4 types of civilizations: civilization type 1, 2, 3 and 4. There is a possible fifth civilization which I will try to explain.
So civilization 1 is able to control the climate weather in its own planet. It will have the necessary tech for it and once it can control its weather, this will be civilization type 1. It also has to do the amount of energy consumption. So the more technology you have, the more energy this civilization will consume and by measuring this energy differential, we will be able to tell what civilization level it is.

Civilization 2 is stellar, which means it consumes all the energy that their star emits which is rought 10 to the power of 27 kwatts.

A type 3 is a galactic civilization, which means it will be able to control the energy of an entire galaxy, consuming energy of billions of stars. This is where this civilization would enter the galactic discovery.

This is his main theory, other scientists extended to civilizations types 4 and 5 which means the energy available to this kind of civilization would equal that of all energy available in not just our universe, but in all universes and in all time-lines. These additions consider both energy access as well as the amount of knowledge the civilizations have access to. We are talking about controlling multi universes, accessing energy of white holes and black holes. In essence, a God like civilization.

According to Michio, we are a civilization type 0. So we don't even make the scale, but he strongly believes we will be able to achieve type 1 in a century. If you think about it, we are getting closer to it by the minute.

To quote:

"The internet is the beginning of planetary telecommunication system. The European Union is the beginning of a Type I economy. English will probably be the planetary language, as you can go anywhere on the planet Earth and the educated already speak English and are bi-lingual. Also, on the Internet, the number one language is English, followed by Mandarin. A planetary culture is emerging, based on youth culture (hip-hop, rock, and youth fashion), movies (Hollywood blockbusters), high fashion (luxury goods). That same kind of culture, youth culture, the culture of the rich, is now going around the planet Earth. You see the beginning of planetary sports, the Olympics, soccer games. Realize that in the old days, you had competition between tribes. Now we have games not just between small provinces, but games that envelop the entire planet Earth. Innovation and discovery are changing the entire economic, political, and social landscape, overturning all the old cherished beliefs and prejudices." - In The Birth-Pangs of a Planetary Civilization - Video

If you are interested in more about Michio Kaku, youtube has great documentaries about him and with him.

Now to the second part. The most evolved robot we have is Asimo and he can only "sing" and dance in a more humanoid fashion. I'm not even going to touch the Sophia robot because there is some controversy about it.
So, when I say "dumber than a cockroach" I speak in terms of conscience. First we need to define what is conscience and second, how to give it to the robots.
So taking a look back, the first super computer to be developed was in 1946 which weighted 30 tons. This was the first electronic computer to be build.
When we talk about intelligence, in a few years we will no longer use the word "computer". Its like electricity. We know electricity exists but we can't see it. Much like artificial intelligent will be. It will be everywhere and no where. The internet as we know it today will simply be in our brains.We will experience it first hand the feelings sensations etc of the internet. The whole network of the internet in your brain, and the feelings and sensations of everything will be felt instantly.
So in the future we will be able to give mental controls to something. But then this is science fiction isn't it? Wrong. We already do it. Think about MRI scan. We can read thoughts, project thoughts, and even photograph a dream. This isn't science fiction, its a fact. There exists 30k points in our brain that MRIs scan and we can analyze these points and create an image of your last thought. This mean we will have telepathy and much more by thinking about it.

How does this benefit us? The example of alzheimer's comes to mind. Imagine a person wandering the street and the computer chip we implemented on that person suddenly gives out hundreds of pictures reminding who that person is. Or teaching a student high advance mathematics.
We are way off from this but we can do some things with it on mice. The fact we can do something at all is amazing.
We are on the edge of the 4th revolutionary invention which is AI, biotechnology and nanotechnology.
The next step is the digitalization of our brain in a network. If we want to know something about an important person that has long passed away, we go to a library and pull a book about the person. In the future we will have a conversation with the person. So in a sense, we will be able to leave a digitial footprint about us, our habits, our way of thinking etc. There is a project called connectome that is trying to grasp this. But this leaves a question: What is death? So we die but we leave our digital footprint. Are we truly dead? This is called digital immortality.

Of course we are a long way from that but still it is interesting to think about it.

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Re: Advice on a paper? (*WARNING* Coffee is recommended before reading)

Post by Warden Majere » January 30th, 2018, 5:21 am

In regards to Kaku, his ideas are fascinating, and I look forward to learning more about his theories as this project continues. It's incredible how advanced, how civilized we consider ourselves, when in reality we're not even on the scale.

Now, for the exciting bit! What if I told you that tech is closer to what you described than you may think? Have you ever heard of the device currently being developed by Microsoft, called Hololense? The Hololense is a completely independent, and unteathered computer that you wear on your head in order to see holograms projected into your environment. https://youtu.be/EIJM9xNg9xs
I highly recommend giving the video a watch, as it shows what this is much better than I could ever hope to explain to you here. The only thing that I want to mention (as this video does not), is that Microsoft had to design a whole new type of processor in order for this to work. It's called the HPU (holographic processing unit).
I want to discuss this more, but I am exhausted, and I have erased 3x the amount that I actually ended up posting... Anyway, I am anticipating any further thoughts that you, or anyone else, may wish to share on the subject.

Until I am rested,
Raistlin

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Re: Advice on a paper? (*WARNING* Coffee is recommended before reading)

Post by Littlemoon » February 1st, 2018, 5:26 pm

I will certainly check it out. If you are also interested in some post-human problems I advise the book The Posthuman from Rosi Braidotti. She's a philosopher and she has some interesting ideas. It mainly talks about the problems of becoming posthuman and what that implies. It's good that these problems are being debated and not everything seems perfect.

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Re: Advice on a paper? (*WARNING* Coffee is recommended before reading)

Post by Warden Majere » February 7th, 2018, 4:29 am

Thanks! I will pick that up with my next paycheck. Also, I will be sure to post any updates that I come across.

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Re: Advice on a paper? (*WARNING* Coffee is recommended before reading)

Post by Name Is Unnecessary » May 21st, 2018, 7:14 am

3. Artifical reality

This is purely informative for anyone who is interested. If you are looking for a big artificial worlds, you should go with a map generating script. It is easy to accomplish and in fact has already been done. For example, there is game called "The Elder Scrolls 2: Daggerfall" with an almost fully generated virtual world of 62,000 square miles, which I believe is nearly the size of the UK (including generated people and dialogue). And this game came in 1996. The world is generally monotonous, but shows that with relatively little code and the less advanced softwares of the 90's could be created big virtual worlds.

A brighter, newer and much more famous example is "Minecraft". It came in 2009 and the base map script was literally made in a week (since then there were only new features added and bugs fixed). It uses the infinite development engine, if I am correct and is capable of generating a virtual world the size of Neptune. Though, the area you are able to explore by now is in a radius of 30,000 kilometres around your starting point. This has been done because most computers, even newest, will have difficulties to handle bigger worlds (and at 30,000 km radius they also have). What is interesting about this game is that an area does not exist until you approach it (I know how it works) - when starting a new game, only an area around your starting point generates and further lands will not be generated unless you come close enough to the non-generated "void".

So we DO have the sources to create huge worlds. But we need to enrich the scripts with more content and build more powerful computers that will be able to handle the simulations.

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