Two excerpts from Volume 4 of the Green Family Chronicles relating to immortality, resurrection and something even more fascinating.
Sally was still waiting, but Marcia and Farrell had found the faculty members they sought right away. The two lovers were interested in the same subjects, and used the system independently to find supervisors. Marcia contacted by phone a young assistant professor interested in VR and system software, mostly, plus the sociology and politics of VR and the system, with social change and political equality for virtual people as important goals.
“Damn, that’s exactly what I am interested in”, Marcia told him. “By the way, I am a very good system and VR programmer. The best, I claim, with all due modesty.”
“I see. Sounds good. I am pretty damn good at that myself. Battle it out with you some day. Are you at all prejudiced? I am of mixed race and here people call me black. It is more subtle now, but some student still feel it makes a difference in the intellectual intimacy they want with their supervisors.”
“Nope, colour blind. Happy to work with a black prof if he shares my interests and is any good. The system recommended you and I’m convinced. In fact some of my realwold friends in doctoral programs have virtual people for their supervisors. I envy some of them. I know one guy who has not only a virtual person as his supervisor but a black virtual person. And he’s one of the ones I envy, dammit. I am a graduate of VRU, by the way, and have taken lots of courses from virtual people.”
“Oh, VRU. Great place. Beth Green herself runs it, and teaches, too, I hear. Did you ever run into her?”
“Did she every teach you anything?”
“Lots, but not at VRU. She’s my mother.”
“I’m Marcia Grey, and Beth Green in my mother.”
“Wow. I met her by videowall a few years ago. Very impressive lady. Impressed even me, and I am not easily impressed. So you know about the Myrina project?”
“Projects. There is a Myrinese one, too, in Myrinaville. Oh, hell, I forgot — there are ones at all the PolyMyrs, too.”
“Two of them in Myrinaville now, one in sung Myrinese. Singing ones in the other PolyMyrs now being constructed. But I am a graduate of the plain old English speaking one.”
“Wow. Hey, you might be even as smart as I am. Not bad, for a black man.”
“Very funny. OK, I want you.”
“Many men do, but I have a very loving boyfriend who would be hard to dislodge.”
“I have a wife who would be even harder to dislodge. My name is Samwise Green, and I am married to your cousin, Allani Green, who may or may not have kept her maiden name, we don’t know.”
“I have a cousin named Allani Green?”
“One of the children your uncle Allan, Beth’s brother, spawned to help Greenize the PolyMyrs. Very nice lady. Darker than I am.”
“Neat. OK, shall we get together and talk grad studies?”
“How about my office in the VR department at WGU, uh, say at 3 PM?”
Marcia met and chatted happily with Dr. Samwise Green, touring his lab, talking about issues of sociology and political equality. She definitely wanted to work with this man, who just might be smarter than her. Unlikely, but it was possible.
“Do you know Teresa O’Donnell, the SCU Herald Ledger boss?”, Dr. Green asked.
“Yes, I’ve met her.”
“Do you know about her mother?”
“Yes! Do you?”
“Resurrected, yes. I know. Still a secret.”
“Fascinating isn’t it?”
“Yes. Did you ask the question, Marcia?”
“The big question?”
“The big, hmm, question. No, I guess I didn’t. What is the big question?”
“I guess I can tell you. OK, here it is: Is it recursive?”
“Is it … holy shit! Everybody who ever lived?”
“Your mother says not, she says some people have left too little information, but she says she knows no limit in theory.”
“Damn! Why didn’t she tell me?”
“Why didn’t you ask? I asked 3 years ago.”
“Damn, maybe you are smarter than me. Shit.”
“That would be a first, huh, miss?”
“Yup. Sorry, modesty is not my strong suit.”
The two talked for an hour, then Samwise said he had another potential grad student coming at 4 PM. Just as he said that, there was a knock on at the door, which was closed. Marcia got up to leave, and Dr. Green opened the door for her.
“Oh, this is just Farrell, my boyfriend. What are you doing here, Farr? I didn’t even tell you where I’d be.”
“No, Marce, I am here to see Dr. Green. I am hoping he will be my supervisor here at WGU.”
“No, he is mine. I need him.”
“I have time for two new students this term, Marcia. Perhaps you will both work with me, if that would not make you uncomfortable. I did plan on having two new students. Why not both of you? I spoke to Farrell on the phone after talking to you, and he seems like good stuff.”
“Oh, he is good stuff, alright, though not the way you meant.”
“Just come on in, Farrell. No need to leave, Marcia. Let’s just have some more of that discussion. I think Farrell should probably be let in on what we were talking about, don’t you?” Samwise let Farrell in and carefully closed the door again.
“Well, I suppose. He is Farrell Green, you know, a relative of yours, and he is in the know about life continuation and even about resurrection. Farrell, you know they resurrected Teresa O’Donnell’s mother a few years ago, from information supplied by her many kids. What’s the big question?”
“Uh, big question. Hmmm. You don’t mean, uh, you can’t mean, could it possibly be recursive? Surely not!”
“Damn, Farrell, you beast. Why the hell didn’t I ask that?”
“Your mother avoided leaving you clues?”
“I don’t know. I am feeling stupid, anyway, a totally new experience for me.”
“But could it be recursive? Everybody who ever lived?”
“According to Dr. Green here, my mommy, who thoughtfully kept me out of the loop, said many people have left too little information in society, but she knew of no theoretical limit. Which means some childless illiterate unartistic peasants are lost, but Johann Sebastian Bach, who had so many kids and so much influence, can be recovered.”
“My word exactly.”
“Mine too”, Samwise agreed.
The three discussed this and other things for quite a while, then Samwise said he had to go and work as an engineer for a couple of TV shows. Something he had started doing as a student, and kept doing, partly because one of those TV shows was his wife’s.
What had Samwise Green asked his half-aunt 3 years earlier? Yes it was the same question, but what was her answer?
One day Beth got a video wall call that surprised her. It was Aemillia and two black people she didn’t know.
“Hello, Beth”, Amy said. “I have just called to introduce a couple of people you haven’t met. The sweet girl is your niece Allani Green, Allan’s daughter, one of the PolyMyr kids, and her young man is Samwise Green, your half-brother Samuel’s son. He he is an alumnus of the Myrina project. Samwise is a graduate of Columbia working on a doctorate at NNU and Allani is a graduate of SCU working on a doctorate at Columbia. Allani also works for the Herald Ledger. I think she is their New York editor, in fact, and has an SCUHL TV show, too, which her husband produces. They live with me in your mother’s big apartment, and I love them dearly.”
“Well, I am so glad to meet you, both. I vaguely knew I had some nieces and nephews because of Allan’s work for the PolyMyrs, but I don’t think I’ve met any. I have the most wonderful nieces, the ones that I know about, and it sounds like you will be one of them, Allani. And I am always glad to meet a Myrina project grad, Samwise. That project and its people are very important to me. Are you both just calling to meet me, or is it something more?”
“Yes, Aunt Beth”, Allani said. “I am the main New York editor for SCUHL, which means I am in contact with Teresa O’Donnell a lot. She put in a little item about a relative of a staff member being recovered after some delay because a lot of information was collected.”
“Yes, she did. Do you understand that this is an extremely sensitive area, and that riots could result if the wrong impresssion was given to people? Or even if the right impression was given to them too soon.”
“Yes, I understand. I think we all do. We have discussed it carefully. Now, from talking to Teresa I got the impression that this was very important to her, and from research I saw that her mother died a few years ago. Did you resurrect Terry’s mother, Aunt Beth?”
“Off the record, yes, we did.”
“You are sure it is really her, not a computer simulation?”
“Alright. Thank you. But these questions were not the reason we came here. Samwise has a question. It is not a question that I understand fully, but he says it is of vital importance. Sam?”
“Professor Green. I must know. Is is recursive?”
“Oh. That question. Well, very very off the record. Maybe. Could be. Yes. The resurrected person knows more than the information we supplied to resurrect her. The rest comes from tapping the global info streams through integral transforms, but is not something we specifically supplied. So yes, if we resurrected enough of Teresa’s parent’s generation and got them to supply information to us, in principle we would resurrect their parents in turn. I know of no theoretical limit to that process.”
“Everyone who ever lived?”
“No, some people have left no children and no books or artwork, not even friends. For some people it is hard to know if they ever existed. No way to bring them back. But yes, many, many more people than I have thought about bringing back, for sure. We will need Nancy’s big vision, for that one.”
“Another niece. My sister Ada’s daughter. She does hardware, and is planning structural material that has both solar cells and tanks, so that buildings could be built of self-powering tanks, and eventually almost all the Earth could covered with solar powered tanks holding countless billions of people. I am funding her research into this, and I think in a couple of generations we will see it. We will have to.”
“Is that off the record?”, Allani wondered.
“Oh, no, it is very important that the public knows about Nancy’s hardware work, which can give them hope. Nancy wants to do a tank in every home, first, very soon, and then change over to a vast network of self-powering tanks, in the very material we build our homes and offices from. She is Dr. Nancy McRae, Professor of Computer System Hardware at the Virtual Reality University. I’d be happy to suggest she talk to you.”
“Yes, yes, please do.”
“As to the other, the recursive, well, it is enough to know you think it possible”, Samwise said.
“I do. But it is not something I am going to pursue, yet. Over the next few years I will be concerned about this generation. It is going to be more than just difficult getting all of us. Even if we get all of us, many will have to go through the horrors of death and resurrection, because we weren’t set up for something more humane. This generation will be more than hard enough. Maybe someday we can look at previous ones. Now please, please, be careful with what I just told you. It is all a deep secret.”
“Yes, Aunt Beth, we’ll be careful”, Allani said. “But don’t you want people to know you are trying to save them, to get this generation in the machines?”
“Well, yes, I want them to know that, but not the resurrection part, except as a slight delay in capturing someone. Terry’s story was perfect, it had everything: People must wear the baubles and do other things to facilitate information capture, and if they do that, they can be virtual someday, even with a slight delay sometimes if we are a bit slow in capturing them. To make that possible, we are working as hard as we possibly can to provide enough tanks. Anything more than that is still secred. But do see Nancy to find out about that.”
“OK, that’s the storyand we’ll see Nancy if you’ll call her for us as you said, Aunt Beth.”
“Of course. And I am very glad to have met this niece of mine and her smart husband. Thank you, Aemillia, for bringing them over.”
“Oh, no problem. It was good to see you, Beth. We don’t get together often enough.”
“Come and visit, please. Or just put on a S/E suit and get on a trackball sometime, Amy. Tour the virtual half of my new university. Any or all of you, please do come over some time. I think you’ll be impressed.”
“Thanks, I will sometime. Maybe soon. I hear it is something special.”
“Modesty aside, it is. You have no idea.”
Copyright 2008, Douglas Pardoe Wilson
Related Web Pages are:
The main Social Technology page.
FindCompatibles , the key page, with the real solution to all other problems explained
Technological Fantasies , a page about future technology
Practical Immortality , not the immortality of the body, nor making a copy of the mind in a machine, but actual transfer of a person, personality, memory and consciousness into a supercomputer
Social Tech a page about Social Technology, technology for social purposes. I think I was the first person to use this phrase on the Internet, quite a long time ago.
Roughly corresponding to these web pages are the following blogs :
FindCompatibles devoted to matching people with friends, lovers, jobs, places to live and so on, but doing so in ways that will actually work, using good math, good algorithms, good analysis.
Technological Fantasies devoted to future stuff, new ideas, things that might be invented or might happen, such as what is listed above and below.
Practical Immortality yes, practical immortality. Don’t write this off as insanity, please. See the first entry in the blog first.
Sex-Politics-Religion is a blog about these important topics, which I have been told should never be mentioned in polite conversation. Alright that advice does seem a bit dated, but many people are still told not to bring up these subjects around the dinner table.
I believe I was the first person on the Internet to use the phrase Social Technology — years before the Web existed.
Those were the good old days, when the number of people using the net exceeed the amount of content on it, so that it was easy to start a discussion about such an upopular topic. Now things are different. There are so many web pages that the chances of anyone finding this page are low, even with good search engines like Google. Oh, well.
By Social Technology I mean the technology for organizing and maintaining human society. The example I had most firmly in mind is the subject of FindCompatibles , what I consider to be the key page, the one with the real solution to all other problems explained.
As I explained on my early mailing lists and later webpages, I find that social technology has hardly improved at all over the years. We still use representative democracy, exactly the same as it was used in the 18th century. By contrast, horse and buggy transporation has been replaced by automobiles and airplanes, enormous changes.
In the picture below you will see some 18th century technology, such as the ox-plow in the middle of the picture. How things have changed since then in agricultural technology. But we still use chance encounters, engagements and marriages to organize our home life and the raising of children.
I claim that great advances in social technology are not only possible but inevitable. I have written three novels about this, one preposterously long, 5000 pages, another merely very very long, 1500 pages. The third is short enough at 340 pages to be published some day. Maybe. The topic is still not interesting to most people. I will excerpt small parts of these novels on the web sometime, maybe even post the raw text for the larger two.
This site includes many pages dating from 1997 to 2008 which are quite out of date. They are included here partly to show the development of these ideas and partly to cover things the newer pages do not. There will be broken links where these pages referenced external sites. I’ve tried to fix up or maiintain all internal links, but some will probably have been missed. One may wish to look at an earlier version of this page , rather longer, and at an overview of most parts of what can be called a bigger project.
Type in this address to e-mail me. The image is interesting. See Status of Social Technology
Copyright © 2007, 2008, 2009, Douglas Pardoe Wilson
I have used a series of e-mail address over the years, each of which eventually became out of date because of a change of Internet services or became almost useless because of spam. Eventually I stuck with a Yahoo address, but my inbox still fills up with spam and their spam filter still removes messages I wanted to see. So I have switched to a new e-mail service. Web spiders should not be able to find it, since it is hidden in a jpeg picture. I have also made it difficult to reach me. The picture is not a clickable link. To send me e-mail you must want to do so badly enough to type this address in. That is a nuisance, for which I do apologize, but I just don’t want a lot of mail from people who do not care about what I have to say.