Thursday, November 27, 2008

Trans of Culture

So much of what separates us from the Animal Kingdom, is culture and society - the fact we talk and interact, with each other. Animals do this too, but to a far lesser degree. We talk, we write things down, we are always using technology and sharing what we learn. Animals will do some of these things, but the degree and amount are incredibly larger in humankind.

I don't think it is reasonable to expect that our progression to Singularity will be either smooth or uneventful. It will not be without major upheavals or changes in society. Perhaps some could be avoided if we were all better people, but quite a few are as inherent as the change the automobile, or internet brought to society.

That brings up a crucial and important question. If there is a great crash and from the prophecies of the prophets, we do have every reason to expect this sooner or later, what are we going to build in place of our old society? Just a copy of the old one? This will probably just before we actually do return to build the New Jerusalem.

First, I think intellectual property laws need to be scrapped, or at least vastly vastly weakened. So much of the scientific revolution is simply an exponential increase in the rate of information transfer.

Second, ----- well, there is the problem. I am not a student of sociology. There is so much of our world we simply take for granted, and recoil with horror at other cultures that have done things differently.

One hot button topic would be marriage customs. No one wants to change what we do, but it is clear, what we are doing now isn't working that well.

Others might point to environmental aspects we should improve.

Education would certainly be a good place to start, especially grade school education.

I am not saying this because I think it is hip to criticize all things of my own culture, (because there are an awful lot of great things) but what kind of culture will get us through the next 10,000 years of exponential change?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Information stored in Space-Time

So much of the scientific revolution is simply an increase in the speed at which we gain information. And this is not limited to scientific knowledge either. It must have a corresponding increase in spiritual knowledge, or the scientific part will not be sustainable.

In fact the strongest argument against intellectual property laws, is that they stand in the way of this. If the Singularity is to happen, sooner or later, they will have to come down.

Thus the prophecy that the knowledge of the Lord would cover the Earth as the waters cover the sea, is not a mere byproduct, but a necessary condition of both the Singularity and the Millennium.

Which brings up the concept of the Akashic Record. The idea behind this is, that all of history and all of knowledge is recorded in the akasha, or aether, or simply, Space-time continuum. Yes, for all our vaunted Relativity that does away with the aether, we have replaced with the exact same concept, just we call it space-time now.

So is any of this accessable for information? While many of the promoters of the idea are New Age fringe, the idea has completely good merits. Not to say that I have had any success in using it to come to an understanding of the finer points of, say, the BCS theory of superconductivity.

Still Brigham Young made interesting comments about how, as spirits we could visit any time in history. That sounds pretty akashic to me.

Better for us now, are mechanical means for doing the same thing. And really what is a Liahona or Urim and Thummim other than a mechanical means for gaining knowledge?

Joseph said he could see anything with the one he was given. Actually, seer stones played a significant, if forgotten part of early church history. There was of, course, the incident with Hiram Page, yet, he was not counseled to get rid of it, only that what he got from it was false.

If that was not interesting enough, Brigham recorded:
Dec. 27, 1841: I met with the Twelve at Brother Joseph's. He conversed with us in a familiar manner on a variety of subjects, and explained to us the Urim and Thummim which he found with the plates, called in the Book of Mormon the Interpreters. He said that every man who lived on the earth was entitled to a seer stone, and should have one, but they are kept from them in consequence of their wickedness, and most of those who do find one make an evil use of it; he showed us his seer stone. (Brigham Young, Mill. Star 26:118)
If you wish to delve deeper into this esoteric subject, examine an old blog called The Seer.

Of course, it should be noted, that Satan can deceive by this means as well - hence Hiram Page. It was noted that it was reliable as preaching - which means to me, that if we want sure knowledge, we need to be perfectly able to listen to and receive confirmation from the Holy Ghost.

Alas, I have neither found nor have been given a seer stone, so this information is primarily theory. Still, according to some, we will have them in the New Jerusalem but I can't find the source for that one, so take it with a grain of salt. But the final immortal state of the earth is to be a great Urim and Thummim. Something like a celestial version of what Douglas Adams said the earth was.

All spirit is matter. In theory, could we build one ourselves? Yes, in theory we could. Our theology suggests that something corresponding to an Akashic field exists. The subject in physics is beyond my ken without a bit of research. Still, information is a vital concept even now in physics.

But don't ask me how to make one, or I would have my own spaceship and lightsaber.

Not that I could get into any trouble with either one of those. (I had a better live action example, but it has been lost in the sands of time. Darned Akashic Field!)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Purpose of the Singularity part 5: Just what is it good for?

Ok, back to business... Just what is the Singularity good for? The argument could be made that with regard to actual happiness, less advanced societies do a better job. Perhaps something more like ancient Rome, or pre-Victorian England...

So far in this series, we have looked at the effect of Priesthood keys, how scientific revolutions have come and gone, and why, from a gospel perspective, we are having one right now. If societal attitudes have vitiated scientific revolutions before, then there are some trends amongst us now that bear a closer examination. That, however, will be a future post.

Why do we have computers? Or any other scientific advancement? In short, it is to prepare the earth, and its people for the Second Coming of the Savior, and to accomplish the work we need to accomplish before he comes.

For instance, rise of computers have been tied to genealogy and temple work, which as a Latter-day saint, we feel are part of . The current work in genealogy would be impossible without it.

From the Deseret News - Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve gave the devotional address at the beginning of Education Week at Brigham Young University recently

In the 1970s, Elder Theodore H. Burton presented the concept of computers being used for family records and research. "He was even bold enough to teach and proclaim that the computer technology was given to man for his use to hasten the day of family history, genealogy and temple work."
His proclamation was met with reservations about the size and expense of computers for personal use and how few Latter-day Saints would be able to afford or operate them. Other concerns were the complexity of how to make them compatible with temple records.
"All seemed to be reasonable reservations for their time," he said, yet "today, we are embarking on a new era of family history computer technology."
I have also heard how the 24 temples of the New Jerusalem would be devoted to gaining information about ancestors we now have no record of, but I can find nothing in writing about that.

Now, like any good theory, we can make testable predictions- because of what will facilitate genealogy.
  1. Computers will continue to increase in memory, both RAM and hard drive as well as speed - Good news for Moore's law.
  2. Their searching capabilities will be expanded as well. - this is a good omen for quantum computers because search and sort are some of the things they will excel at.
  3. Communication around the globe will increase beyond even what we have now - good news for the internet
  4. Contrary to some worries, with very real theoretical concerns behind them, Moore's Law will continue to hold its exponential growth. - Exponential growth is the fastest kind of sustainable growth.
Much of this is not unexpected - perhaps though I missed something.

It is a good time for computer lovers.