RE: The Point of No Return (Story)

Anders Sandberg (
Wed, 25 Dec 1996 14:39:16 +0100 (MET)

The concepts of the being that was to be Uriel crystallised into
a rugged, slightly bitter complex: [Why did you call this
meeting?][Is there a perception of need?][Why so little
preparatory information?]

Michael agreed with an curlicue: <Yes, why Gabriel? It isn't like
you calling a high-level meeting with us without informing us

Gabriel sent out a yellow-smooth streamer of explanation-apology:
{We appreciate that without prior problem-understanding
communication becomes much harder for us, but in this case we
have a need for views that span the space of problem spaces, not
just the problem space at hand}

[A meta-level meeting?][Determining what problems to
solve?][Setting a course?]

{Yes}{A course at least in some vision-space}

| This has to do with your long range simulations | Raphael's
complex was simple and coldly clear, a statement of fact.

{Yes again, clear-sighted one}{Obviously there was little need to
give information beforehand since it could be deduced so simply}

[Enough][Metadiscussions are unseemly at a metalevel meeting]

{I have simulated the future growth and evolution of the
technosphere}{Many complex concepts have emerged from the
simulations, including some predictors}{The directions of future
change are disturbing}

Gabriel manifested an immense complex, highlighting various
substructures. At the core was the four-dimensional cone of the
technosphere, the sphere of self-sustaining
exploration/colonisation/integration expanding in all directions
from the solar system close to lightspeed. Most of it was just
extrapolation, but near the apex-origin reality greens
demonstrated the known state. Inside the cone subtle patterns
played, manydimensional evolution models and decision manifolds.
The explanations unfolded their hidden structures into
experienced reality.

{Obviously the entities and cultures that are spreading will
change over time, and spread their memetic progeny further
outwards, crating this wedge-pattern.}{Each wedge a different
direction, physically and mentally}{Communications mix up the
cultures, but near the edge the spread is faster, so divergence
will continue}

<That is obvious>

{This includes meta-evolution}{The rules are changing at the
frontier, becoming ever more aggressive and efficient}{New
metalevels will emerge in the zone just inside the frontier, and
spread backwards causing recolonisation}

Ultraviolet hypercones sprouted on the edge and began to fill the
large hypercone like growing crystals, inexorably moving inwards
and towards each other.

[That is preposterous][Unlikely due to present colonisation][The
frontier and zone metalevels are optimised for growth, not

| Metaevolutionary rules always outcompete evolutionary rules in
the long run || And when a metasystem using them becomes able to
infiltrate the coreward technosphere, it will spread inwards |

{Exactly}{A back-reaction will inevitably result where a new
order spreads}{It is unlikely the new metasystems will be able to
accommodate structures like us}

<What is the self-effect of this simulation?><Other clusters will
have done the same thing or will do it>

[It doesn't matter at all][The frontier is moving outwards faster
than any recall memes]

{Counteragents cannot be developed since the possible threats
will move inwards at lightspeed}{You cannot defeat a foe you
cannot know}{When you know a metaevolutionary foe it will have
defeated you}

| You are implicating that we should seek to speed up or cause
metaevolution here at the core |

{Always predicting my rhetoric}{True}{We need to out-evolve
evolution before the metaevolution cones reach us}

An infrared cone blossomed from the centre of the cone, spreading
outwards. In some scenarios it ignored the ultraviolet cones and
just spread through them, erasing their existence. In others they
clashed, creating turbulent boundaries of mixing. In some it
failed completely.

[The processing requirements are too large][The frontier is
growing quadratically, while we only have access to a constant
amount of matter/energy/information]

{The problem is equivalent to transcending a chain of systems
along an optimal path}{It is undecidable}

<That suggests the need for an orthogonal creative solution>

[One possibility would be to create a physical or computational
barrier for spreading memes or other structures around the
core][Such a barrier would not stop the recolonisation for long
though, since the systems on the outside would have plenty of
computational power to analyse it]

| What about making a lightspeed-expanding barrier || Such a barrier
cannot be analysed |

<Neat><But how could such a barrier, or rather physical change be
made to propagate?>

{Vacuum decay}{Since the vacuum state is only metastable, it
could theoretically be made to decay to a lower state}{A release
of very large quantities of energy}{The decay at one point would
cause the vacuum at nearby points to decay, creating a spreading
chain reaction}{Soon the decay would be spreading outwards at

A black cone spread from the core, surrounded by a brilliant wave
of light. All other patterns disappeared into its darkness,
eradicated by the quantum storm.

[Sounds exactly like what is needed][Since the metalevels will be
focused on recolonisation by definition, they will not be
prepared for a decay event][But how to achieve it?]

<That requires more research><We also need to study how to
translate our structure into post-decay particle states><Hard
problems, but in principle solvable>

{There is another complication}{Given my models of the
technosphere, other clusters will also come to similar solutions}

In the model, several dark cones began to blossom around the core
at roughly the same time.

{We do not know if the new vacuum states are compatible with each
other}{It is possible that the decay always ends up at the same
ground state}{It is possible that the decay results in different
states}{This is a competition situation}

[Obviously we have to work fast][Faster than the recolonisation
waves][Faster than the other clusters][We need to cause a vacuum
decay first]

Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension!
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y