Works By Australian Authors
Science Wish List by Rodney Bartlett
(contribution # 8 - written April 25, 1994)
The knowledge that we can live forever would let humans
catch a glimpse of where they're going - the obvious
companion to this is to understand where we come from. The
commonly accepted explanation of where we came from is put
by Isaac Asimov, the author of many science and science
fiction books -
'The only possible scientific conclusion (one that does not
involve supernatural action, of which we have no evidence
whatsoever) is that random combinations of simple molecules
that existed in Earth's atmosphere and oceans about four
billion years ago built up more complicated and still more
complicated molecules. Eventually, molecules formed that
were sufficiently complicated to possess the properties we
associate with life.' ('The Exploding Suns' by Isaac Asimov,
The explanation which is presented here totally agrees that
there was no supernatural action involved. However, it does
not agree that the only possible scientific conclusion is
one that calls upon randomness. This explanation calls upon
established technologies like space travel (which it
extrapolates to the 4th spatial dimension of time) and
biotechnology (which it extrapolates to the advanced state
biological science will undoubtedly occupy in decades to
come). It then conjectures that these technologies are
applied in a theory-of-everything manner Me so that input is
consistent with output (humanity's origins must be able to
consistently produce humanity's present makeup).
If humans have a role to play in the 'creation' (recycling)
of the universe* it only seems consistent that we should
also play a role in the 'creation' (recycling) of ourselves
(learning how to live forever is one way of recycling
ourselves - a second way is described by the poem below):
* Extraterrestrials may actually be genetically modified
humans who have terraformed and colonised other planets,
then travelled through space and time to (in some cases)
20th century Earth.
LITTLE GREY MAN
The people from Earth said to those from the UF0 -
'You are not like normal people! You must go away!'
But the little grey men in the flying saucer were not alien,
Though they came from other planets via another dimension.
They were genetically engineered, terraforming, space
travelling, time travelling, and descendent
Of women and men who inhabit our world in our century:
people known as 'proto-little grey men'.
When they came to the 1990s,
Those strange ones from the 2090s,
A prototype little grey man became abducted,
His memories erased because he was hypnotised.
From his body a cell was first obtained
and afterwards cloned.
Then into the clone's brain a copy
of his mind was loaded.
Repeated gene reforming made many
diverse grey girls and men
Who went back in time (through artificial wormholes
of the fourth space dimension).
[3 dimensions - length, width and height - exist in familiar
physicist Prof. Hawking says time is 4th dimensional space.]
And from the dust of the ground and from the clays
They made beings with apelike body and face.
Apes' adaptations (evolutions) over time
Created beings of almost human kind.
Via EEGs and brain scans, grey clones' minds were duplicated
And, via downloading, to adapted ape brains were
(To explain life after death and the
Into bodies of matter may be downloaded
bodies of photons.)
This energy influx changed brains and was a breath of life-
Processing what they could, apes became more aware of life;
Creating the very human traits of Cro-magnons
And 20th and 21st century humans.
(Anthropology suggests Cro-magnons were the first
whose behaviour was humanlike:
Other beings - like Neanderthals - possessed traits
that were clever but were still apelike.)
Finally - what comes out of a People Factory? People . . .
or 'human machines'? TIME will tell:
April 2, 1996
TIME AUSTRALIA Letters
GP0 Box 3873
Sydney, NSW 2001
'Can Machines Think?' (TIME - April l):
If a chess playing computer called Deep Blue is compared to
an 'unconscious' part of the brain (say, the cerebellum -
that part of the hindbrain controlling balance and
coordination), then future parallel computers might be
compared to the limbic system (those internal brain
structures concerned partly with emotion) and the cerebral
cortex (that intricately folded, 1/8th inch thick, surface
of the right and left hemispheres that allows us to
remember, understand, organise and create).
What would happen if we connected Deep Blue to a couple of
parallel computers that were connected to each other, whose
input came from D.B. and whose purpose was to process Deep
Blue's signals (the 'cortex' computer could separate signals
of long term significance -such as those concerned with the
overall state of the match - from those with short term
relevance - such as those connected with the wisdom of
moving a particular piece to a certain place)? If the
'cortical computer' processed the former signals (called
'logical' and 'intuitive') and sent the latter 'emotional'
ones to the 'limbic computer' for processing, would world
chess champion Garry Kasparov find himself challenged by a
conscious opponent who could 'feel deeply blue' yet, because
the cortical and limbic computers are connected, use
logic/intuition to rise above those feelings, harnessing the
energy from the feelings to boost its chess playing
Suppose we built such a Deep Blue-parallel computers system
from organic components whose particles of matter consist of
pulses of electromagnetic energy serving as the 'ones' and
'zeros' of computers' binary language (a possibility deduced
from 'What's Hiding in the Quarks?' - TIME, Feb. 26) and
miniaturised it to fit inside a skull attached to a body
(maintaining a body would naturally require the system to
have additional parts). Wouldn't we then have what
philosopher Daniel Dennett might term 'human machines' - if
we also one day develop the technology to travel through
four dimensional space Ye time ('It has been argued by James
Hartle and Stephen Hawking that . . . the most probable
structure for space-time under some circumstances is
actually four-dimensional space.' - THE MIND OF GOD by Paul
Davies, p. 63, published by Simon & Schuster, 1992), the
human machines could be you and me.
Wouldn't it also be a good idea to build a nonphysical
backup system that would be downloaded into the physical
brain and could continue functioning after the original
material structures became disorganised and died? This
backup would be similar to what was imagined by 17th century
philosopher/scientist/mathematician Rene Descartes ('an
immaterial, somewhat autonomous soul that steers the body
Consciousness would be extra-special if space-time itself,
not just matter particles, had the equivalent of computers'
binary digits (another possibility gleaned from 'What's
Hiding in the Quarks?') Then brains would be parts of a
'cosmic computer' and since everything would be included in
one computer-generated display, consciousness would have
instant access to anything in space or time. Physicist David
Bohm would then be correct when he contends that human
consciousness (which is a product of the brain's nerve
cells) should be regarded as part of a unity that includes
the entire universe; neurophysiologist Karl Pribram would be
correct when he says the mind works like a hologram (see the
last part of 'Cosmos Factory'); and as Albert Einstein
stated, matter would be interchangeable with energy (we
could regard matter as 'frozen' or 'condensed' energy).