Synthetic Sentience, and the Advent of Virtual Immortality

Charles Ostman

Without question, there is a state of change at hand, the rate of which itself is an acceleration vector never before experienced in all of known recorded human history. The contextual relationships between rapidly evolving technologies, ever expanding volumes and complexities of information resources, and socio-economic systems which are being spawned from a domain which I refer to as the "virtual terraform", are going to reshape almost every aspect of life as it is currently understood to be.

To study the nuances and implications of this synergistic codependancy process is to empower oneself to become an adaptable entity, capable of evolving, and utilizing the maximum potential of the process functionalities embedded into what is becoming an interactive, bidirectional experiencial conveyance system, eventually destined to evolve into an all encompassing existance matrix.

Embedded into this existance matrix will be manifest the ultimate commodity to which the human species will become evermore symbiotically codependant upon, synthetic sentience. There is a "larger picture" framed within the contextual topology of this event stream . . . . The entire concept of utilizing the fabric of the internet as an experiential conveyance engine is at the very heart of the paradigm I visualize as being the fabric of the near future. Bidirectional telepresense and "tele-existance" streaming are obvious functionalities embedded into this rapidly evolving realm.

That I am currently engaged in a such a project, with my focus aimed at this "convergence" as a process, transcends merely pursuing a "vision" or a business enterprise. It is at the very core of a sense of purpose by which the essense of existance itself can be codified, and perhaps understood. Terrance McKenna seems to recommend an "internal" quest along these lines via various explorations with neural physiology altering chemistries. I tend to lean toward a different path, based more perhaps on an "externalized" existance matrix, utilizing the technologies of the current, and near future. Perhaps, though, our mutual trajectories are aimed at the same relative vector coordinates.

I have seen much in the world(s) I have been allowed access to, some of which are still being processed into a manifold of continuity by which the existance matrix of life of the near future may be extrapolated. I tend to hold the belief that we, as "entities" here at this particular juncture of the time/space continnum, are allowed the priviledge, at least for those in "tune", and cognizant of such, access to a path, not necessarily of our own choosing, but rather as a pre-ordained event srteam embedded into an evolutionary process modality, to which it is our own personal responsiblity to be aware of, and a participant with.

Though the ultimate truth of this rapidly unfolding evolutionary event stream may yet to become fully manifest, I believe that we, as dynamic nodal coordinates within a ubiqiutous existance matrix, are here for a "greater purpose" than mere existance. Perhaps you may hold a similar belief. There comes a point, a certain juncture in such travels, when the larger pattern does indeed become apparent, or at least the potential recognition thereof. In that context, perhaps this is one of those "juncture nodes", where as I might attempt to reason within the confines of my own logical lexicon, I feel compelled to impart a facet through which to gain a view of the world I now see becoming manifest. For many, indeed, perhaps an ever expanding portion of the population, a certain "hunger" exists to engage in an experiential conveyance environment, where the reward for participation is not only the depth of emotional engagement in the synthetic environment being experienced, but more importantly (in my opinion), a safe and autonomous experience perhaps not otherwise available in the "real" world.

In a world where the human population is "seduced" into surrendering its connection to the real world, and is enticed to "opt out" of the natural surrounding environment, the hunger, indeed the requirement, for ever more engaging synthetic environment interaction will no longer represent a voluntary, recreational event. For many, the threshold of situational dysfunction has already been transgressed, into an arena of apparent chaos in which this environment becomes the "norm" of existance. The paradigm of intellectual and emotional stimulation, pursuit of asthetic content, and interaction with sentient beings, will transition, at least in part, further away from the "real world", and into the purchasable commodity of the "synthetic world". This is the beginning edge, the metaphorical threshold point of a synergistic codependance between the internet, where access to the synthetic world is available, and the human population that is drawn to it for interactive sustanance, as an experiential "resource commodity".

At this very moment, many research and development groups, from those engaged in the enterprises of supercomputing, interactive immersive environments, virtual reality, artificial life and "intelligence", synthetically derived cognitive processes incorporating comptational and sensory "organelle" engines which mimic the physiology of living organisms, genetic process modalities with evolutionary and mutational operational properties, just to mention a very small few of the plethora of technologies which are in fact "converging" . . . synergistically interrelated to each other in a contiguously expanding fabric of functionality.

This seemingly incongruous dichotomy can best be summarized by offering that all of these technologies, and a plethora of newly evolving arenas of development, ultimately to be implemented by the potentially limitless technology domain to be found emmerging from what is now referred to as "nanotechnology", is synergistcally interconnected into a functionality matrix which is forming the very essense of how life, even existance itself, will be defined. And yet, I submit that the previously described scenario may be merely the progenitor of an evolutionary domain, quite likely to be the outcome from a plethora of projects myself, and no doubt many other potential purveyors of the same "artform", are engaged in.

The general vision I can offer here at this juncture is that the concept of "evolvable systems", both in the domains of software and hardware, is no longer an obscure realm of research confined to academia, but rather an emmerging development strategy who's time may already be at hand. Adrift in a seemingly bottomless pit of trendy sounding "buzz words" and hastily thrown together plot lines for the next contingent of movie themes and television program plot lines, there is in fact a manifold of truth, of which perhaps only an extremely minute percentage of the general population have even a remote level of access to. And yet, the implications of what is about to emmerge from this "manifold of chaos" are extraordinary, incomparable to any known previous realm of human history, and absolutely irreversable and global in scale.

Where does this lead to?

Virtual synthetic organisms flourishing within synthetic environments, which in turn reside within the dynamic fabric of a selfmodifying, selforganizing dendritic connectivity macrostructure on a planetary scale, referred to at this time as "the internet".

Self organizing molecular substructures which are the core components for synthetic brain entities, which in turn become the physical components for enabling synthetic sentience rendering as a process, enmeshed into a functionality matrix of contiguous conciousness.

Molecular assembly as a programmable process which yields the components for molecular computing devices, which in turn are assembled into ultra- computing processor engines which are ubiquitously embedded into the global connectivity grid.

Synthetic brain engines which themselves are nanomanufactured synthetic organism components are interconnectable to the ubiquitous computing grid which in turn develops synthetic sentience as a global scale macro entity.

Tangible, hard asset based commodity driven economic systems are supplanted by a virtual asset based economic ecology, in which valuation is measured not by ownership of things, but access to processes, of which synthetic sentience, and the intelligence stream for on demand nano-assembly are the primary components.

Virtual work space evolves into virtual existance space as the dividing line between work and nonwork merges into an artificially contrived existance continnum, the singular reward of participation with is access to the invokation of rapture as the ultimate "consumer" commodity.

The reality matrix of life for the human inhabitants within the symbiotic connectivity grid tissue substrate is driven by a mind/machine interface link in which the perception of the real and the virtual become ubiquitously interchangable. . . . this is just the beginning In the not too distant past, life for most people was based on a fairly simple, and directly observable world. The very definitions of life itself, and the boundaries of one's personal belief systems could be explained, and defended if necessary, in basic, rudimentary terms that could be universally understood by the general population.

But what happens, however, when the observable world, and life on it as it currently understood to be, no longer operates on a series of principals and value systems that are easily understood, or even comprehended at any level, by the population which is about to thrust directly into the "existance matrix" created by these changes? This next great revolution, as an evolutionary threshold, will transform, but also test, the human civilization's capacity to adapt and evolve to this new realm.

The substrate of socio-economic systems, valuation indices of commodities and currency systems, the status of industry base strata and their attendant distribution structures, are already in a state of flux as this fabric is being drawn into a global connectivity grid, currently referred to as the internet. The future which had been speculated upon even just a few short years ago is already coming to life. Knowledge itself is even being compressed into shorter useful lifetime cycle windows. We are rapidly entering into a realm where decision rendering, as a mission critical process, will will simply exceed human capacity.

At the threshold of crossing that event horizon, the ability to have access to the virtual terraform, populated with a potentially infinite number of intelligent agents and sentient entities, will no longer be an interesting luxury. It will become an absolute requirement. And it is here, at this event horizon, as we, the human species, acquieces to a realm where the interface boundary between the real and the virtual, the organic and the synthetic, become seamlessly infused into a an irreversable, ever evolving symbiosis of our own creation, and what evolves henceforth. This is . . . virtual immortality sincerely

Charles Ostman

"What appears to be the future for some, is already the past for others, who are unfolding it into the present"

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