My Cybernetic Daydream, Part 2

Time is abstract when travelling the stars with an artificial consciousness. I’m not sure if my programming is shutting me off for long intervals of time or if I’m conceptualizing time as long intervals, ticking over at the slow pace of a stellar grandfather clock.

I could look at the ship’s chronometer but that would dilute the mystery.

This brings up something else I’ve been thinking of. Has transferring my original mind to software left anything oddly organic out? Did I have a twitchy foot or enjoy late nights?

Which brings up another less attractive idea: was anything edited out with purpose?

This got me to thinking during my indeterminate cycles of time. If my consciousness has been edited, what is gained, and what has been lost?

Maybe a human’s sense of time would be unbearable during a solitary interstellar journey. It could almost certainly devolve towards insanity unless I was a remarkable human indeed. Or perhaps my original human mind was a bit insane to start? As part of an experiment was that madness removed from this consciousness I now possess?

If so, is there a touch of madness necessary to have chosen to make this journey at all?

Then there is the sense of scale. My human mind would have looked to the elements and objects around him for scale. Trees, mountains, clouds. Cats. Caterpillars.

Yet my cybernetic mind considers molecules of hydrogen diffusing in the vacuum of space, intuits the voids between gravity wells, measures the distance light travels from star to my hull.

My human self would have had a consciousness built around serendipity and events and evenings at the pub with other humans. A head full of things that happened and then became stories.

I guess my robot mind is “experiencing” my travel between stars, and events are happening to me. Am I awake? Asleep? Reading logs from my container’s sensors played back as if I were experiencing them now? Are these moments compressed in time from eons into an evening for the telling?

To who do I tell these stories?


NASA image, star cluster

Westerlund 2. http://bit.ly/1lL8utW

My Cybernetic Daydream, Part 1

One day I would enjoy waking up, quite by surprise, exploring the universe.

When I write the word “exploring” I don’t mean thinking about it while googling the excellent NASA image database. Rather, I mean exploration as an exact replication of my mind, and with it, my personality and curiosity and artistic inclinations.

As I reflect on the notion of interstellar travel as a human being, I would think rather than risk sending my frail body and catching a nasty flu from the exotic fauna of some distant planet, it would be preferable to travel with my consciousness secured in a clever storage medium and build what’s needed once I get there.

If the mood would take me, upon arrival at a rocky planet circling a distant sun, to stretch my legs it would be most efficient to construct the exact legs needed for that walkabout.

Perhaps this fascinating rocky planet has a mass much higher than my familiar body knows back home. Therefore my new legs would need denser material, perhaps be closer to the ground, perhaps not legs at all but instead wheels. Perhaps I might have many small legs, like a centipede has, or a series of coils rather like a Slinky toy.

I might prefer to experience the day, dusk, dawn and night all at once, in which case I would opt for placing my consciousness into a series of probes and settle these into the ground during a choice orbit or two.

Yet what value the seeing if not to share? Therefore I might indulge my fascination with photography and with my clever probes collect the most exciting multidimensional time-lapse souvenirs.

If especially fortunate, I might instead happen upon a planet replete with water and also plant life. In this case it might be interesting to coalesce a beacon of my consciousness upon a tiny probe and deposit this item onto a leaf of a tree, itself projecting from an unusual rock, perhaps overlooking an eastward valley.

Thoughts of the Singularity and uploaded consciousness and the robot’s revolution of futurism and science fiction might seem alien and frightening and very well might be.

Yet my head is in the clouds and the view beyond is simply so vast and exciting to contemplate in a modern way what’s beyond the orbit of our planetary cradle.

Footprint on the moon


Office Ecology

As an adult of mild autistic persuasion, I feel I’m positioned to both experience and articulate my experiences in work roles and the workplace. Naturally, I also have opinions.

Ideally, wherever adults congregate to create something as part of a mutual endeavor, there will be a relatively equal measure of contribution and eliciting the contributions of others. Therein, you have the best solutions to choose from, more than one mind might manage to produce in the same span of time.

It might be argued, as we are of the natural world, that bio-diverse polycultures have an edge over monocultures when it comes to survival. Various plant species sport different chemical resistances to pests and disease, and display varied aptitudes in sensing and making the most of the environment. In combination this can serve to limit the spread of unwelcome influences.

Also present in nature are matriarchal and patriarchal social systems of order, for example in primate social groups. We see many examples of individual organisms thriving in a predator or parasitical relationships with their target species as with the large cats or the tiniest Cordyceps fungi.

My opinion of office environments, from my particular neurological perspective, is that they are functionally a harbor ecosystem teeming with potential action and interactions, populated by tribes of islanders with all the aforementioned qualities.

The office ecosystem itself at best creates inputs to stabilize the continued functioning of the system including location, security, and income, whilst managing external inputs like threat of disaster and competition. Those seep through mediated channels enough to keep the system from becoming static, fostering evolution of the system’s processes.

Enter the human element.

From my perspective I recognize that you can bring the human in from the wild, but that you cannot take the wild out of the human. Without preexisting social or tribal bonds, at best a working team is a hairy (or hairless as the case may be) collection of individuals.

Ritual and working procedures are often codified in a document known as the Employee Handbook.

This particular collection of tribal rules necessarily is designed to both cut across cultural and biological individualism, organize the playing field, impose or encourage a working hierarchy, and protect the business from the consequences of codifying procedure at all.

Now a quality I envy is the ability to influence with unspoken communications. This is a fantastic skill to have, and in most people it is arguably inborn or certainly learned by proxy from an early age. It is a skill that can coax a reluctant lover to bed, compel men to leave home and hearth to war, or win a place of privilege. It’s also useful for skirting or subverting the Employee Handbook whilst minimizing the risks of being caught out.

Alas within office ecosystems we have an imposed hierarchy, which can frustrate individuals of varied persuasion and ambition. In that scenario I begin to see attempts at consolidating influence, position oneself closer to power (seeking power by association) and establishing the modern equivalent of fiefdoms in the workplace with the overt or tacit support of the ‘monarch’ or office management who themselves might see benefit in the misdirection such politics provide.

I wonder at the varied proportions of work activity to political activity, and if it is in our evolutionary history somewhere to curry favor, or seek power by proxy.

Perhaps it is a form of modern de-evolution, or entropy playing out as a natural force in our workplace, unmediated by a higher form of human ambition, that is, the survival of our species.

What I am sure of is that a ratio of work action to political action exceeding say, thirty percent at most, unless honorably managed, confuses collective focus enough to destabilize forward economical progress, and discourages clever problem-solving.

Inevitably the system crashes eventually as drag mounts on a once-agile entrepreneurial environment.

What is your office ecosystem’s characteristics, and how do you rate its odds for survival?