Which game should we play? economics, global thermonuclear war, or a nice game of chess? I think we should play lets become a type one civilization. I am Carl Clark a Texas State University graduate student in the school of Mass Communication & Journalism. Other than space exploration these are a few of the things which bonce around in my head. So it is nice to look at a film like The Internet: Behind the Web which considers a small part of a much larger picture, that of human destiny.
In order for us to be type one we need to have nearly complete control of our home world. I’ll let the out spoken string theorist and futurist Dr.Michio Katu explain.
When we created the internet it gave us the chance to take a large step towards type one status. There are a number of things which give me hope for the future in the story of the internet and world wide web.
The first is when the programmers all over the world were deciding what language to use they eventually selected one language. In the documentary The Internet: Behind the Web Dr. Vinton Cerf said ” If we hold enough in common then we can communicate.” This was a conscious decision to make effectiveness and quality of content the deciding factor for survival on the internet. These design decisions gives me hope, because if we can build the internet and world wide web on the criteria of effectiveness there is hope for us to do the same in other areas. Then we just have to make sure whatever we make or problem we solve is effective for the right reasons.
One of our great challenges in this time of adolescence is climate change. Remember planetary power, well, we did it, just unintentionally. In the documentary The Internet: Behind the Web there is a point when some telephone executives come to the lab and laugh at the computer network when it crashed. So set in their ways they could not see the new world right in front of them. I often wonder why the oil corporations or so many other activities of our species do not change when we know the end of an era is coming. Shell has little to no investment in solar or fission energy research. Yet they and Exon are the best placed private entities in the world to crack this technology and create a revolution to light the next 1,000 years. It must be said though they are researching fuel from algae which may make a good jet fuel alternative that is carbon neutral. Still small potatoes when compared with what might be.
It is also interesting to me how prominent Apollo footage was featured in the documentary. Maybe it was more exiting than images of computer servers, or maybe without the impetus of mass constraints to go to space we would not have the PC. With the internet and WWW we have the convergence of the big (the network) and the small (the computer that fits in a lap).
Finally, there is my soup hypothesis. Whatever we make carries with it aspects of the things and effects which created it. Both the internet and space exploration found their origins in military testing and operation. They have also struggled mightily to remove themselves from this destructive and invasive soup
“With Apollo, the Space Shuttle, and the Hubble we were using rockets for their true purpose. Peace, and Knowledge.”
For both space and computers we are not out of the woods. The real space budget of the United States is close to 50 billion and it all goes to the Air Force. NASA’s is just now peaking at 18.1 billion the highest in more then ten years. The Snowden revelations show us the Internet is still firmly in the realm of “national security”
What does all this mean for A.I.? I think it will be born out of the confluence we call the internet. The internet is already a place that started with a founding principal of biology. Effectiveness is king; this is natural selection in digital form. Maybe not as refined as mother nature but hey our airplanes still have less efficient lift profiles than birds do.
So when we give birth to the child of homo sapiens what will the soup it came out of look like? This question will likely determine who or what becomes a type three civilization.