Re: ant! experiences

Joe E. Dees (
Wed, 21 Oct 1998 02:10:17 -0500

Date sent:      	Tue, 20 Oct 1998 23:37:25 -0700
From:           	Spike Jones <>
Subject:        	Re: ant! experiences
Send reply to:

> Joe Jenkins wrote:
> > ...around 1988 when I found Engines of Creation and literally read it
> > front to back, called in sick at work turned the book over and did it...
> joe, i didnt get to finish my previous thought. i looked thru my copy of
> engines which i purchased in 1989 in san jose. i did not find in there
> the idea i had at the time (it may be there somewhere), an idea that
> might sound a little strange coming from a launcher type like myself.
> in 89 i had been thinking about space stations. k eric goes on about
> how nanotech will be the great breakthru in manufacturing that will
> be needed for real space stations, better launchers, etc.
> my notion at the time was that humans could actually reinvent
> ourselves if we mastered nanotech, so that our scale would not
> be 2 meters but rather 2 millimeters.
our glorified bodies
> could be the scale of ants, yet if our atoms were correctly utilized,
> we would still be these wonderfully brilliant creatures that we are.
> (humble too).
> then, the launcher problem would already be solved,
> by good old 1950s rocket technology. the scarcity of materials
> and energy in space would be solved, by the same old technology.
> even a tiny asteroid would have plenty of raw materials for billion
> of "us". our modest home planet would then be unimaginably
> emmense and its gravitational field remarkably gentle. has this
> notion been explored in sci fi? spike

Wrong, wrong, wrong! There is a certain Godelian critical mass of cortical complexity (translation: quantity of neurons and synaptic connections) necessary for the emergence of self-reference (and much more for context-sensitively evolving self-and-other consciousness). Read "Biology as Ideology" by Richard C. Lewontin, who trenchantly make the point that it is our cortical volume, providing the space for this complexity to manifest (thus the number of connections it allows), that permits the awakening of selfawareness. Mighty Mites as mental whizzes are not merely science fiction; they are irrevocably anchored in the realm of fantasy. Joe