What Comes Next?

So what comes next? How do we pursue what comes next? Should we pursue what comes next?

There are a lot of questions here and very few answers. Let's look at each possibility and see if we can find examples of a bootstrap already occurring.

Inorganic -> Biology II

Biology -> System III

Society -> Supersociety

Intelligence -> Superintelligence

What we find is that predicting the next bootstrap is much more complicated that first considered because we now have four different frames through which to achieve it.

Inorganic -> Biology II

The first scenario to consider is that the inorganic is not finished bootstrapping at all. The biological was an impressive leveraging of patterned forces to an entire new system, but perhaps the carbon based bootstrap is just the first and most likely pattern to emerge as a coherent system.

In fact it is likely that if we spend enough time looking and changing our frame of reference we will find all sorts of bootstraps that have occurred because of patterned forces.

The forming, expanding, and dying of galaxies may be at one end of the time and distance scale where we see emergence of entities, with diversity and interaction.

On a much smaller scale, science is uncovering a number of inorganic patterns that can be manipulated to produce unique behavior. It is likely that the conditions for some of these patterns to sustain themselves may take an intelligence to produce.

Consider for example, an set of inorganically based neurons that have produce an intelligence that can sustain itself and spread itself. From what we know about electricity and the forces involved, it is possible that this kind of bootstrap has already occurred 'somewhere' out in the universe. Many AI researchers are actively trying to pursue this kind of bootstrap.

The key thing to consider here is what would identify something as a unique Biology II instead of just another branch of our current biological bootstrap. The answer is that the underlying economics of this Biology II would not use reproduction as the basis of its new economics.

This is a very hard thing to even imagine, but let’s try. Consider something like 'the borg' in Star Trek. Now this example has a bit of intelligence mixed in(otherwise it wouldn't be a very good story), but let’s pretend that the borg didn't have an evil intelligence at its center, but instead just operated on the basis of 'assimilation'. This system seeks to draw resources to itself and grow.

Like I said, the examples are hard, but there may be some merit in looking at general, base elements and considering, 'what system do I want to be at work here' and then arranging the elements in such a way that the elements pursue that agenda. The bootstrap is what emerges out of that we don't expect.

You can see the areas of personalized medicine and nanotechnology here. You can also see the underlying threats of things like the gray goo scenario.

In the end we still have the economics of patterned forces at the inorganic level, but we are looking for ways in which those forces emerge to pursue something other than 'survival of the fittest.'

Biology -> System III

To date, biology has spawned two different bootstraps, the society bootstrap and the intelligence bootstrap. What can we consider and say about a possible third system that could emerge out of biology?

We have two systems, one that values resource allocation, and one that values the observation of time. Do we just start picking out other things that exist and doing thought experiments?

Let's take something like 'physical connection'. In this thought experiment, our biological system begins to value having as many connections with other entities as possible. Consider a being that, when it encounters another being, can read its DNA and assimilate that DNA into its own. So in this system, to maximize the spread of your DNA you have to physically inhabit the same physical space as as many other beings as possible and then diversify out into the universe as far away from many of those entities as possible to ensure that you don't fall prey to some galactic event that wipes out all beings that you've connected with. In this pattern I can see a number of very valuable patterns emerging around very fast space travel and communications. What becomes important? Finding other entities, getting there, and then spreading out.

We see postulation about biological entities by people like Freeman Dyson that proposed a type of animal that is evolved for interstellar travel.

It is unlikely that anything on that scale is going to directly impact us here on earth though. What is much more likely with our current tech are genetic engineering issues that lead to odd and potentially horrifying things that we see in fiction like predators being specifically designed for war or chimeric efforts like the island of Dr. Moreau.

In the end, it is the economics of biodiversity that must produce a system that revolves around something other than grouping or time observation. We also have the added component that the bootstrap must be 'up'. Biology has bootstrapped a number of extraordinary systems in the inorganic space. We talk about these as structure and environment. But these systems are not 'above' the biological and are based on a known area of operations. This becomes much more important at the next two levels where we have a much richer area of 'known' areas to develop new systems in.

Society -> Supersociety

Society allocates resources and has produced, at the top of its evolution, the use of cash money economics to allocate things efficiently. This gets much more difficult because our world is filled with things that are based on the pursuit and allocation of cash/resources that operate at lower levels. Culture(and the governments that it spawns) and art are produced at these 'known' levels. We have difficulty speculating about what kind of system the pursuit of resources could produce that is 'beyond' the known areas. Arranging a universe in a way that accelerates the collection of knowledge needed to figure this out is at the heart of this book.

It is the core tenet of this book that by reforming and targeting the way our money works, that we can enable this next bootstrap. What will occur, I think, is that the reconfiguration of our pursuit of cash will develop exponentially and produce institutions that transcend our 'known' areas. Big dreams, but we have to start somewhere.

Intelligence -> Superintelligence

This one is fairly straight forward, but may not play out the way many expect. This bootstrap isn't just faster intelligence. Faster intelligence gets us there faster because the bootstrap builds on top of the underlying structure of science. But what will the superintelligence be? What systems will emerge when science is so basic to a thing that a systems is being built around it?

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