Log in

No account? Create an account

Epic Brainstorming

To the Urbis fans among my readers (I hope there are a few...), this RPGNet thread might be of interest. I have a huge collection of notes with Urbis ideas scattered around, but I never got around to actually adding them to the setting itself - so I decided to change that by writing at least one new entry for the setting every day (several, if I can help it) and post the results on RPGNet in addition to the Urbis Wiki.

So far, it has been working really well - I've created more than 50 new entries since I've started. They are a bit disjointed, but nevertheless it might be interesting to watch how my creative process works...
Quite a few pieces of Transhumanist fiction (not to mention Transhumanist game settings such as Transhuman Space and Eclipse Phase) posit mind transferral technologies. Essentially, the neural patterns of a living brain are somehow transferred with an accuracy close to 100% (either by slicing the brain up layer by layer, thus destroying the original, or by super-science super-scanners which leave it intact), and then the scanned patterns are used to create a "mind emulation" on a computer (either stand-alone or a robot body) which is for all intents and purposes indistinguishable from the previous mind inhabiting the biological brain - both for outside observers and the personality generated by the mind emulation itself, which remembers its past in the biological body perfectly and only experienced some "missing time" between when the scanning process started and the mind emulation was activated.

Thousands of forum posts have been written in the discussion whether the mind emulation is really "the same person" - whether creating such a mind emulation is truly a form of immortality, or if destructive brain scanning is effectively suicide and a mind emulation truly dies every time its program is shut off. Many people have come down on either side of this debate, and I don't have an ultimate answer to this question either. However, I have some new thoughts on this.

Why do we fear death? Not intellectually, but instinctually?

It's because we have been shaped that way through hundreds of millions of years of evolution. Our genes are programmed to multiply as much as possibly, because those genes that didn't have died out. We fear death because it was in the best interest of our genes to have our brain screaming at us: "Avoid this, or else you will no longer be able to spread your genes, or protect those with similar genes!" If you are male, think of the way your body gives you pain if you are hit in the nuts. Fear of Death is just the same thing writ large, and all that philosophical rationalizing on why death is a bad thing to be avoided is just that - rationalizing done by the part of the brain which we tend to identify as our consciousness, but which usually only does the post-fact justification attempts long after the rest of the brain has already made the decision to do something.

Now Transhumanist life-extension techniques as described aboverepresent a new challenge - all the information that makes us "us" demonstrably continues to exist and spread, which should be a good thing for the purposes of evolution, and yet this way of reproduction is so radically different that our subconsciousness screams "This is Death!" at us - and our so-called "consciousness" comes up with elaborate justifications for why this is indeed death, instead of a praiseworthy act of reproduction.

Now, is our subconsciousness correct? That's a matter for philosophical debate, and I strongly suspect that there is no one true answer. However, I also suspect that evolutionary pressures will eventually reward those minds who do not accept this as a form of death but instead use it to safeguard the continued existence of their minds - and even multiply it.

The Future is getting closer again...

Google built robot cars in secret.

And not only did they build them, they actually let them drive a couple of thousands of miles in California. And the only accident they had was when one of their cars was rear-ended.

I always knew that we would get autonomously driving cars sometime soon, and that that would be a major milestone towards the technological future. But I didn't expect it to be that soon...

To my German Readers

I've decided to become more involved with German politics. For this reason, I've created a new LiveJournal dedicated to it - jhubert_de. Unlike here, I will post exclusively in German over there.

I've also written a first blog entry:

Seehofer begeht Verrat am Wissenschaftsstandort Deutschland

Random Thought

I have begun to suspect that it may be wrong to see the USA having a "freer" market society when compared with the EU. Rather, the role of the US government seems to be to assist the corporate and other economic interests who are currently at the top of their fields to maintain that position and making it harder for competition to develop - whereas the much-maligned EU actually has done a lot to bust up similar effective monopolies in its member states.

I will need to think further on this.

Dream Symbol Dictionary

I've mentioned the Dream Repository (which now has eight user-submitted dreams) before. This week I put in a lot of effort and created a Symbol Dictionary detailing more than 2,200 dream symbols!

The entries are all based on a symbol dictionary written in 1909 (and thus now in the public domain), which is admittedly showing its age. Many of its entries are hilarious (especially the frequent admonishments to "young women"), while some are downright offensive today. Still, I hope users will get a kick out of them...


The Shady Past of Rev. Terry Jones

The Reverend Terry Jones is making the news these days because he plans to bury a number of copies on the anniversary of 9/11.

Which isn't making the news yet are some juicy details about his past, which were recently revealed by the German magazine "Die ZEIT". Apparently, he used to have a parish in Cologne, Germany - but his parish separated from him in 2008. One reason was that they felt that he was more concerned with promoting himself than spreading biblical values - but another apparently was that he was connected with certain "fiscal irregularities". Furthermore, a German court fined him for €3000 in 2002 because he fraudulently claimed to have a PhD.

Like I said, these details don't make the round in the English-language blogshere yet - but they should. So spread the word - there are still a few days until the anniversary, and since the "Good Reverend" so craves the attention, let's give him some that he'd probably rather not want...


The Standard
Jürgen Hubert
Arcana Wiki

Latest Month

August 2011



RSS Atom
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Jared MacPherson