In the Future we will Grow Solutions

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 Posted by

“Biomimicry is the examination of nature, its models, systems, processes, and elements to emulate or take inspiration from in order to solve human problems” – (Wikipedia)

We have been looking at nature for inspiration since the beginning of time, from the desire of flight by looking at birds, to being able to explore the underwater world like fish, and being able to see without looking as dolphins and bats do with the use of sonar. Other notable examples of inventions and designs include velcro from plants, batteries from electric fish, artificial photosynthesis – or the photoelectric cells from plants, Nanowires, Nanotubes, and Quantum Dots from microscopic organisms and viruses, and the list goes on.

So how does nature get all this unique and wonderful novelty? all this complexity and innovation?

In the past it was argued that divine beings were involved in nature’s unique creations, but today we understand this innovative process that of emergent complexity. We can even recreate this process artificially in the virtual computing space. You see, nature is solving a problem by trial and error, in fact, you are one of many natures attempts to solve the problem of a preservation strategy of self-continuity using feedback loops of emergent informational structures in the form of genetic code.

To quote the author David Hunter Tow: “By transforming information, life evolves towards greater complexity. The more complex life becomes, the better it’s able to learn, adapt and continue its trajectory in the universe.”

So now that we are beginning to grasp our understanding of our deepest existential questions, who we are? and why are we here? why are we not asking the next question – what should we become? what should we do? and how should we get there?

But before we start planning epic strategies of galactic colonization, or how we will fuse our biological entities with technological tools to become cyborgs and become immortal, or how we will be recreating alternative universes in virtual environments, first we have to recognize that humanity is at that point where it needs to solve a wide variety of organizational problems in order to go on about living on this planet in a stable humanly manner. Problems like resource depletion, systematic ecosystem destruction, unsustainable population growth, climate change, and the inevitable ending of fossil fuels.

Unfortunately, we will probably not proactively solve any of these problems in the current cultural, political, and values state until things get much worse. You see we are becoming stuck in a completely artificial problem we created ourselves, the economic money system that has chugged along the last couple hundred years or so is reaching its end game. Too many IOU’s between different parties, lots of entitlements between ourselves in terms of debts, and the values of these have been manipulated and distorted out of proportion. We tend to think this monetary scheme of inequality is somehow a measure of everything we are capable of? whether we like it or not this scheme is going to hit a bump soon, nature will get in its way and remind us who’s really in charge here, and this will remind ourselves our common struggles and endeavors is a non-zero-sum game.

So going back to Biomimicry, what can we learn from nature that will help the upcoming generations how a different scheme of social organization we could pursue once our addiction to this frail economic inequality game has run out. Since nature is the reason of our humble existence, and nature is our ultimate guidance of what we are capable of and what boundaries exist, maybe we can take a cue from nature and use Biomimicry to define our existence along side with nature? What if instead of fighting nature and trying to conquer nature we were to become a complement to nature – to continue its trajectory of emergence of higher complexity.

What is the ultimate form of Biomimicry? well maybe instead of examining specific examples that nature has created we examine the process that nature has taken to produce all examples in existence, and take this process and apply it into our social organization? So what is this process that nature uses? Well like I mentioned earlier is it simply trial and error, in a way it is using the scientific method for discovering what is possible and with a constant feedback loop of revisions that build up the complex informational structures of genetic code that creates life, and continue to probe the adjacent possibilities to expand and increase its ability to exist in the universe.

So in a way your DNA is the proposed experiment and your life is the trial run – or the experiment, depending how many offspring you have and how successfully you have brought them up to repeat this process – you are signalling back the experiment’s results.

Now imagine if we were to take this process to our social organization? Well I imagined and I have come up with an idea called Zemerge – it may not be the best solution but its the only one out there as far as I know!

We live our lives in a social structural system based on rules, communication semantics, theories, laws, traditions, customs, and shared understandings, etc.

You could call this the Zeitgeist of the day – Zeitgeist meaning the “the spirit of the times” or “the spirit of the age.”

“Zeitgeist is the general cultural, intellectual, ethical, spiritual, or political climate within a nation or even specific groups, along with the general ambiance, morals, sociocultural direction, and mood associated with an era.” – Wikipedia

This zeitgeist is in a perpetual state of change, as new rules and laws are adopted, communication semantics are altered, new theories are proposed, traditions and customs changed, and our shared understandings of the natural world expand. So how does this zeitgeist change? or what process drives this change? well there is no defined process, its chaotic complexity at its best, it is the summation of all our emotions, all our experiences, all our dreams and desires, all our fears and misunderstandings, all our relationships to one another and our environment – projected into the physical world as our social landscape that we call the human civilization.

Now as a humble member of the human civilization I look at our present state of being – our current zeitgeist, and I wonder, where are we heading? there is no process that drives our zeitgeist forward, our process is chaotic in nature void of any direction, it is both creative and destructive in its path forward, there is no way to predict ourselves a century into the future let alone a millennium or longer. Imagine if we had a process – a raison d’etre! a prerogative for existence! imagine if we knew the direction of the zeitgeist a hundred millenniums into the future!

You ask what is this process? it is the ultimate form of biomimicry that will drive our civilization with the same process that drives nature! it is simply trial and error to discover what is possible and with a constant feedback loop of revisions to build up the complex informational structures – the zeitgeist of the era – the DNA of our culture – our social landscape of our civilization, that will continue to probe the adjacent possibilities to expand and increase in complexity! Our dreams and our desires, our abundant capabilities to contribute, create, connect, and transform of what is will be truly brought forth into reality.

We actually do accomplish this today to some degree! the scientific drive to understand and discover! the technological progression to improve our state of being and provide abundance! to creative ideas and methods that we all build upon one other! the way we cooperate, communicate, and empathize other’s state of being. These things do probe the adjacent possibilities! they do drive our prerogative to discover and progress! but they are greatly influenced by our undesirable setbacks, like our distorted values motivated by the economic money system, our self preserving institutions and corporations that resist change and progress for the improvement of the human condition, and of course our primitive belief systems that take no cue from the natural world but are simply projections of our ignorant fears and misunderstandings.

I am jealous what our future generations will get to experience, once we remove our artificial obstacles to progress and fix the immediate oncoming problems that are facing in our future, this amazing novelty will emerge out of our social landscape and will transform the physical with no immediate bounds, my pale attempts to imagine anything remote outside of my current frame of zeitgeist is miniscule and unoriginal. Future populations will grow solutions that will continue to grow in complexity, they might even get as complex as recreating whole reality simulations that resemble our reality in order to calculate solutions.

Even thought I will probably not get to experience this emergent explosion of novelty at least I have lived in a time when a small minority is starting to realize the existence of the unimaginable possibilities – the deep unexplored adjacent states of possibilities that our species will experience, and the impact it will have on our universe and beyond!

Even thought we are so far away from this realization I will relentlessly pursue this ultimate goal, to witness the limits of reality and redefine what reality means for us, and then I want to go out like every other mortal human out of this conscious existence knowing that my kind – the greater super organism that I am – is heading in the right direction.

Emergent Reality (Part IV: Cell Colonies)

Saturday, February 18, 2012 Posted by

Transcript of the Video:

I asked myself a simple question, what am I? what are you? No really its a good question – go ahead and ask yourself.

You might say something like I am a person, a human being, a sentient being.

I posses intelligence, I can experience the passing of time, or change, and I can remember the past and imagine a future, I seem to have autonomy over my actions – or free will as far as I know, I experience emotions, I observe through my senses, and I posses this consciousness – which enables me to think, imagine and to ask this question in the first place.

I navigate around in this physical form we call the human body which is made up of more then 100 trillion biological units called cells, so I guess I could say I’m a colony of cells? each of these cells have specific instructions (or more like recipes) encoded in their DNA – which is a discreet (close to digital) string of a protein patterns arranged in several very long series of strings – this DNA holds the steps to guide the cell (along with RNA) in making new proteins that determine all of our biological traits, so collectively all these cell instructions create the whole functioning me.

There are certain cells that develop very differently, we label them as brain cells, the ones that create the neocortex develop an emergent neural network that enables us sensory perception, generation of motor commands, spatial reasoning, conscious thought and language.

So am I purely my consciousness? or am I this vehicle .. this colony of cells? or both?

What is great is there are others like myself, navigating around other 100 trillion cell island colonies.

It’s great! I get to communicate in various ways and we get to work together on shared common goals, we socialize, and we get to discover ourselves and others like myself and what this place is that we all cohabit.

During my lifetime I might hook up with one of these colonies that has a certain different set of cell instructions and a different neural network, I’ll send an envoy of my specialized half recipe cells into the other colony while both colonies enjoy a chemical fix to the emotions. This envoy usually dies off but every once a while one extremely lucky representative cell of mine will meet another very special half instruction cell from the other colony. At this point they merge and mix together both recipes for a new blue print to produce a new unique cell colony.

So in short I am this beautifully complex biological cell colony that experiences what it has become.

I am an entity that exists somewhere in the middle of the informational spectrum between randomness and pure order – the chaotic critical point that creates the very dynamic and complex structure that I call myself.

I am an informational phenomena in this natural system we call the universe, I was brought forth from the process of increasing emergent complexity. What excites and motivates me the most is I get to discover myself and my fellow companions and experience and create things in this domain I exist in. After my cell colony degenerates (or ages) as it looses its cell and neural network information, I will make room for other colonies to continue to experience this wonderful phenomena called conscious life, and if I spawned my own cell colonies then I (at least the vehicle portion of it) will continue to live in the future cell colonies that are descendants of mine and more likely will eventually saturate the entire species. As for the conscious portion of me, it has lived and made a chapter in the story of mankind, however insignificant it may be seem it has affected the future in ways we will likely be never aware of. So have the courage to live a life true to yourself, not the life others expected of you, and have the courage to express yourself, and most of all enjoy the ride!

The Zemerge Project Direction

Sunday, July 24, 2011 Posted by

I would like to reflect on the past year as well as look forward and align the direction and efforts of The Zemerge Project. I’ve been involved in several ways to move the project forward which includes the creation of the ‘Emergent Reality’ videos to spur interest in related subjects, the attempt to create a simple flash simulation called Alpha Zemerge that demonstrates the basic ideas behind the project, and networking with like minded and interested individuals and organizations to grow awareness and establish a user base that one day may contribute in the development and progression of the project.

I’ve had the privilege of receiving constructive comments and feedback and I greatly appreciate it so please don’t stop! I’ve communicated with like minded organizations and individuals like the members of The Zeitgeist Movement, or the creators of RBEFoundation, The New Z-Land Project, or the ipowerproject. I’ve even had individuals promote a new concept word that was introduced in the ‘Emergent Reality’ videos – ‘Memehive’, thank you Jackie! A notable highlight was receiving an email back from Neil deGrasse Tyson, an extraordinary and well known astrophysicist that had a positive outlook on this project.

Some things I have in mind for the future is the creation of a Zemerge Wiki site, where anyone will be able to contribute and grow the knowledge base with anything related to the project. I will also continue to create the ‘Emergent Reality’ videos and I have several episode ideas that I’m currently working with, if there is anyone out there interested in contributing in either the visual aspect or narration/script aspect to making these videos higher quality to what I am able to produce then I would love to hear from you.

I’ve also considered that one day I might return to the academia world to work on a masters degree if given the opportunity to do research and development related to this project – I have a Bachelor of Mathematics Honours in Computer Science and I currently work as a web developer, if pursuing this attempt does move the project forward through new opportunities and more exposure them I must strongly consider it. If anyone knows of any academics that might be interested in the development in this project, I would greatly appreciate their contacts or at least forwarding them information about the project, the more individuals we can reach the more opportunities can be created, and with enough interest collaborative pursuits will develop.

As more content is created and more interest is generated I will attempt to have a physical presence with either having setup informational booths at related conventions or having lectures or talks regarding the project. It is important to have something to show for, either a prototype of some system that demonstrates feasibility, this might be some time away but the time will come when we have something.

The Alpha Zemerge flash project that I’ve started has been on hold, I still have the intention to finish it but for now I am focusing on other areas of growth – again its purpose will be to demonstrate how simulations with conjunction with genetic algorithms can yield social decision making optimizations. As for the proposed Beta Zemerge projects I have several ideas listed below, these projects would be open-sourced and developed by anyone interested, and will be available for use by everyone. These projects employ the Zemerge method of using simulations and genetic algorithms all differently in their own way to achieve continually optimizing decision assisting tools, some ideas for these projects include the following:

Food Growing/Distribution:
This would be an online system where communities could mass organize food production and distribution by themselves becoming more independent and self sufficient. Imagine a system where all the local available resources were gathered including land, tools, and expertise/experience needed for food production. Food consumption could be captured for this local population as well with the current local food productions. The objective of this system would be to generate a rule-set that dictates which land produces which type of food and by whom and with which tools and by what method, the capturing feedback information would include how effective each production was and how the consumption looked like for the latest timeframe, individual feedback and preferences could include what types of food you would like to see more. With all these variables and input a Zemerge type solution would generate an ever improving rule-set for the community to grow its food, with conjunction to the genetic algorithms these rule-sets would slightly mutate and mix within the simulations to try out various scenarios to derive continuous optimal food production.

Health Assistant:
This would be an online system where individuals would enter their current state of health along with relevant environmental or behavior variables that may affect ones health. Over time this would generate snapshots into the well being of the users of this system along with all the variables that may have an affect on these users health. Simulations can then be generated based on the correlations calculated between the variables and the health conditions. So if an individual would have a health complication they could go into the system and check a calculated recommendation based how others have coped with the complication and what changes in the relevant variables affected the complication. The system would advise users what steps could be taken to improve their health based on the collective data gathered on all individuals of the past. Simulations could be performed to test various mass variable changes to the population and tested to see what changes in the variables could improve everyone’s health using the system, with the conjunction of genetic algorithms these variables would slightly mutate and mix within the simulations to try out various scenarios to derive continuous optimal health improvement without the current incentives to generate profit that big-pharma is well accustomed to.

Alternative Currencies/Economies:
There are numerous ways individuals can barter without using the traditional currencies based of fractional reserve banking. There are currently many alternatives including time banking, local currencies, online P2P currencies like bitcoins, and there are many other different ways we could facilitate this function, in ways we haven’t even invented yet. We could create a series of simulations that test out the long term feasibility, effectiveness and stability of different bartering/economic systems, real world feedback on the dynamics of these systems would make sure the simulations are on the right track. The rules of bartering and economic engines could be tried out and tested within these simulations, successful techniques or the rules would become more prevalent and could be verified in real world cases. The genetic algorithms would then slightly mutate and mix the rules within these economic simulations to test out various scenarios to derive continuous optimal bartering/economic system development.

Educational Systems:
Figuring out the most effective ways to educate individuals in not always an easy task. This system would be setup to test out various techniques and approaches used in education, figuring out what approaches work the best in what scenarios. Teaching techniques can vary in all shapes and forms, even something entertaining and self rewarding can sometimes be considered educational if done properly. A system like this would track the various techniques of education and treat them as the rules, then the effectiveness of these techniques could be captured by gaining feedback from individuals of how well they absorbed and applied their education. Techniques could be varied and mixed as the genetic algorithms would mutate and mix the different rules that construct the teaching techniques. Over time this would yield continuous optimal teaching systems tailored for specific demographic groups with specific educational goals.

TZM Awareness Spreading Tool:
Imagine if all TZM chapters had an online tool where each chapter could share their endeavours and attempts to spread messages related to increasing the movement’s presence and awareness. Chapters try out various different undertakings such as having informational booths, organizing community events, movie screenings, flyers and handouts, charity projects, and so on. What if we could measure how successful each of these endeavours were – for example by recording the increased traffic to local chapter website or local chapter involvement level – and report these metrics back to the system so other chapters could learn what works the best and what is ineffective. By treating the semantics of these endeavours as sets of rules we could then apply genetic algorithms to steer the movements collective endeavours towards the objective goal which is reaching a critical mass awareness point for real change to happen.

Alternative Energy Generation and Management:
There are variety of ways we can harvest and generate energy, some ways are more efficient and effective, and others are not sustainable and environmentally degenerative, so how can we objectively and consistently compare the different methods? and how can we improve and invent new ways to harvest and generate energy? and more importantly, how can we use energy more efficiently given the multitude of applications we use energy for? What if there was a online system where energy generation techniques could be catalogued and evaluated against each other, and what if this system could also provide the optimal way to use energy given an application. Anyone with an idea and a method could provide the necessary instructions to develop alternative energy generation techniques. As well, anyone that can capture the efficiency usage of an application of using energy could enter their results. Given all this feedback we could objectively compare the statistics of energy capture and usage efficiency. We could then develop simulations of that could test out different scenarios in energy capture and usage, we could then apply genetic algorithms to steer decision making of what energy capture techniques should be employed while which ones should be explored and further tested thus continuously developing and improving energy generation and energy management.

These are just couple ideas of projects that could be developed by the open source community and be used by everyone for the advancement of social organization and humanity in general, but there are so many other potential ideas out there and so much possibilities I am excited what we will think of and what we will be able to accomplish once we work together to tackle the big issues that affect out collective future. I welcome anyone with ideas to contribute and expand our knowledge-base with the upcoming Zemerge Wiki site.

I invite everyone to a short questionnaire that would provide useful feedback, get to know who is out there and what your interests are related to the project, and help generate a Q&A section of the site for future individuals who have further questions regarding this project.

Link to Questionnaire

Contributing to this project gives me a personal satisfaction and a passionate drive to strive forward step by step everyday knowing that one day this project can create open-source tangible tools for all of us that assist us in the decision process of social organization, or at least inspire the next generation of technological and social pioneers to continue to expand and build upon the human journey we are all on! – there is an interesting point Iain Stewart made in his documentary “How Earth Made Us”, he said that one day our collective legacy might be reduced to a small plastic layer in the sedimentary rock around the planet unless we change our ways and become a sustainable species, that is why I will continue to contribute and nurture this project while I exist on this rock – and I hope you can join me!

Emergent Reality (Part III: The Sea of Organic Recursion)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 Posted by

Transcript of the Video:

This is you, you exist on a giant rock hurtling through space circling around a giant fireball of nuclear fusion. You circle this giant fireball around 70-80 times on average in a lifetime and then make room for the next generation of beings like you to repeat this ride.

But have you ever wondered how you got here – in the most biologically fundamental sense? and what will you leave behind when you are gone? how has your existence changed the human genome for generations to come?

First let’s start from you and trace back in time. This is you, and let’s just assume you were born in say 1980.

You have two parents born in the 50s, the DNA instruction set that molded you into existence comes from the combination set of your parents instruction sets.

Each of your parents have themselves two parents (your grandparents) that came into existence the same way you did back in the 20s.

So continuing backwards and assuming a generation takes on average 20 years from now on, you get 8 grand-grand parents at the turn of the century.

Then 16 grad-grad-grad parents, and continuing your ancestry this number doubles with each generation resulting in 512 at the end of the 18th century, [over 16k ancestors in the 17th century, and over a million ancestors in the middle of the 16th century! and over a 274 billion ancestors at the beginning of the 13th century,] a ridiculous number a millenia ago, and just a silly number two millenia ago!! With this exponential trend you would have more ancestors then there is observable particles in the universe (~10 to power of 78?) back around 5300 years ago!!!

Clearly there is an assumption overlooked in this logic? This assumption is of course assuming that each of your ancestors is a unique individual living in the past. In reality the farther in the past you go back in your lineage the higher the ancestral saturation (or coalescence of the genome) you achieve within the population. So what does this mean?

Well it means that a normal looking family tree looking like this, with the next generation … can become looking like this!

Now I know what your thinking – my family tree has certainly none of that! But with couple extra generations back then the previous illustration I would almost guarantee that all of our family lineages start looking like that, how am I so certain?

Lets see, back in the time when Christopher Columbus landed in the Americas, or 23 generations ago so 2 to the power of 23 which is over 8 million, at the same time Europe had an estimated population of 70 million people. So as you can see in reality there are patches of duplicates in your ancestry tree and the more frequent they become – it becomes statistically impossible the more farther back in time you go not to have them.

Look at it in another example, George W. Bush and Barack Obama are 11th cousins – yes that is not surprising at all, I’m pretty sure I’m 11th cousin away from a significant chunk of the human population – except who has records going back to 17th century of their family tree anyways? remember at the beginning of the 17th century all of us had a linage of about 250K leaves in this family tree – the chances that you and I share one of these leaves – is fairly high!

In 2003, Douglas Rohde of MIT produced a paper describing a complex computer simulation performed with human migration patterns and population sizes of the past to paint the picture of the intermingled human family tree and to find our common ancestry.

Some of his conclusions are that the most recent common ancestor of everyone living today (so a person in the past that everyone alive today can call them their direct ancestor) may have lived between 300BC and 100AD. Furthermore, given that some populations were remote and intermingling did not happen as frequent, he estimates that back in 5400BC everyone alive was either an ancestor to ALL of us, or to no one alive today – so if you pick a random person from 5400BC they are either ancestor to every single living person today – or they are a extinct branch where no one today is an ancestor to them – in fact he estimated that once you go beyond 5400BC we are all descendants of around 60% of the population while the other 40% becomes extinct lineages.

There is a saying that if an ancient Egyptian had sex 5 mins later then everyone one living today would be different! since we would all be descendants of his child and his child would be ever so slightly different – and as you are aware of the chaotic butterfly effect – small changes in the past can seed wild shifts in the future outcomes.

What does this mean about you and the future, well just place yourself in the shoes of the Egyptian and now realize that you have the power to effect the entire human population of the far future!

As you can see, your family tree becomes intermingled after some time and becomes to look like a mingled bush rather then a tree.

Zooming out you can imagine how your specific genome has coalesced over some time period from the entire past population and will likely saturate everyone in the far future. In a way all of us come from the same identities – and return back to become the same identities – I often like to forget about my ego, and return to a though process placing myself as the whole manifesting an instance and then returning into the whole – try pondering that!

Zooming out even farther you can imagine how new species are forked when two bushes are separated from long time isolation of the species genome.

There is nothing mysterious or profound by the mechanism by which genes propagate throughout a species, it is simply an inevitable emergent chemical algorithm that continuously improves the recipe of the species genome to suit its environment. Positive and rewarding recipe changes propagate and eventually saturate the entire species, and negative or harmful genes slowly fade out and are pushed out of the species genome.

As you can see we really are one global human extended family, and to extend further just one organic family that includes all living beings on this planet, so lets treat our own family members like they should be treated – with equality, respect and dignity.

There is something else we can learn from this, as you can see living organisms in a way use the scientific method to plot direction, through continuous genome recipe verification and improvement against the physical environment – no one decides or votes which genes propagate, no ones opinion matters, nature simply follows its algorithm of continuous relentless testing and verification and adaptation to its environment by continuous coalescing and recombining the species genome. What if we were to mimic some of these natural algorithms to plot the direction for our social-cultural direction, to solve the modern problems our society is facing today and ascend to our diverse, creative and adaptive future using the same algorithms life has taken us here so far.

The sea of our collective genetic recipes continues to drift, along with every other living thing on this circling rock into a resilient future of increasing complexity and adaptation, for we are the sea of organic recursion where the universe is our playground and our possibilities are limitless!

Emergent Reality (Part II: Thinking outside the Ultimate Box)

Monday, March 28, 2011 Posted by

Transcript of the Video:

Richard Feynman a famous 20th century physicist had a way of gaining an original perspective using the example of ants and martians, he would ask himself the question how would ants – or martians, view a specific concept – thinking outside the norms and perspectives of human condition we are able to imagine a vantage point that attempts to remove human subjectivity with pure abstract thoughts or what Feynman describes an esoteric thought process.

I asked myself the same question once regarding the substance of reality, except I did not use ants or martians but instead I imagined abstract sentient beings that exist in another universe or plane of existence. I imagined these beings having the ability to observe and study our universe – its the ultimate thinking outside the box analogy.

Since these beings exist outside our universe they are not affected by our universe’s forces of nature – like the concept of space and time – for them space and time are simply dimensions to view our universe. They are able to view and examine any point in space at any time during the course of our universe – for them our universe is like a DVD containing a movie, they are able to watch the movie at any point they wish – skipping forward and rewinding is no different then examining a different location.

We on the other hand are sentient beings existing inside our universe, we are like the movie characters on the DVD movie, we experience the passing of time because we are part of the movie script which defines time – time for us has a meaning and we are able to experience it – but to outsiders time is simply another dimension to view our universe, a dimension that describes the process of what we experience that of change, after all if nothing ever changed in our universe time would become meaningless and this dimension would be flattened.

Let us imagine now how these beings are able to examine our universe, are they using some advanced probes and scanners? or perhaps even they’re using they’re own senses. Let’s think about for a second what is happening here, there is an observer, a method of observing which captures some perspective about the thing that is being observed and then it is transferred to the observer to interpret. Well this is exactly how we currently experience our existence – your consciousness is the observer – the sensory organs that collect streaming information about our environment include touch, smell, sight, taste, and hearing – this information is then filtered and compacted so our brain can make sense of it and interpret it. Suppose for a moment that all your senses including your sense of touch, the sense of smell, the sense of sight, the sense of taste, and the sense of sound would all the sudden cease to send information to the brain, can you even begin to comprehend how this would feel like? what would you think about in that state? – I imagine in that state there is only pure thought, no distractions no environment, the universe as we know it does not exist – your complete universe is your thoughts and your consciousness, like you are floating in pure void with no concept of measurement or observation or physicality.

As you can see the intermediary between our senses and our brain is the passing of information. So it appears the only medium by which the observer (whether inside our universe or outside) is able to sense and interpret is information. So isn’t it that far fetched to assume that simply everything that can ever exist and will ever exist inside our universe and any possible universe is pure abstract information at its essence?

So what exactly is information? what is the essence and form of information? If I give you a piece of information what have you gained? how different would you be if you didn’t have this information. The essence of information has one distinctive fundamental property as it seems – it collapses possibilities and increases entropy or the degree of disorder in a system. If you look outside your window to check how the weather is you are gaining information, you are collapsing all the possibilities of weather conditions into one specific one – your model view of the world is a more specific one now, as before your view of the weather was a wild-card – all possibilities were possible, you do not need information to describe the all inclusive case of all possibilities. Its like existing in a universe where only numbers exist, and then I give you a number that can equal to any number – I have not given you any information, I have not collapsed or even reduced the wave function of possibilities.

So perhaps it seems that underneath it all there is only information and the relentless change of information (or the emergent computation) that we experience during the course of a lifetime. As radical or profound this may seem it is quite simple and elegant. We have a chance to embrace and champion information, and use everything we know about information to realign our existence to become truly something extraordinary and magnificent in this spectacle we call the universe.

Alpha Zemerge: January 2011 Update

Saturday, January 8, 2011 Posted by

It’s time I give a progress update with the latest developments with the Alpha Zemerge project since the last update several months ago. I have concentrated on several key areas of the project which include, getting the user interface concept in basic working condition, working on UML sequence diagrams that will plan the execution logic order of the simulation, and creating an input method that will describe the initial population and the wealth distribution.

User Interface

The current state of the UI is a basic concept of how the simulation will display the various elements. Currently the elements include houses, businesses, a bank, a government, and resources. The simulation is set to randomly transfer wealth between the house units and the businesses units to show how this process will look like. When the transfers are complete the house/business elements are resized accordingly to show the overall inequality difference.

Here you can find the input page and the simulation/flash page:

Alpha Zemerge Simulation

UML Sequence Diagrams

In order to get a grasp and plan for the logic on the simulation the best way is to create UML sequence diagrams that visually show the order of execution describing the actions taken on various elements at each step of the simulation from a high level approach. The following image describes the current state of the simulation which is very basic at this point and will continue to expand and evolve over time.

Alpha Zemerge UML Sequence Diagram

Initial Population Wealth Distribution

In order to start a simulation run the user will have the ability to set initial parameters of the simulation, there will be countless of parameters that will describe the state of the simulation. The first set of parameters I wanted to tackle is describing the inequality of the population, or household inequality. The best way describing inequality from a numerical value is using the gini coefficient. At first I wanted to have an input for population size and input of the gini coefficient, but this pursuit become more complex then I originally conceived. I ended up having the user have more control by having the ability to specify five quantiles of income and population size for each quantile. Household income was not the only thing describing household wealth, after all overall household wealth is the defining factor of household inequality. For current simplicity I added a factor value for wealth, so if a population quantile is making 60K a year and its wealth factor is of 5X then this population has the average overall wealth of 5 x 60 = 300K on average.

Here is the original sandbox area where the population creation can be tested out with:

Household Inequality Population Generator (Zemerge Project Sandbox Area)

Here is a graph representing the population of 1000 households with equal quantiles with income averages of 20K/40K/60K/80K/100K.

Alpha Zemerge Income Inequality Example

Here is the same population with wealth representations of income/wealth factors of 1X/2X/3X/4X/5X, notice the steep curves at each end with a small minority having great wealth and small minority with lots of debt, with playing out of different values all sorts of different scenarios can be generated.

Alpha Zemerge Wealth Inequality Example

More about income inequality in the United States can be found here.
Also, a list of indexes describing the income inequality of various countries around the world can be found here.

The next steps over the next while is to continue to expand the complexity of the simulation to have at least a basic working model of a small scale economy. Having the user the ability to play around with various parameters is the key, thus the input of the initial state of the simulation will also be expanded, users will have the ability to describe a state of population from a wide variety of different scenarios and then have the ability to play out the simulation to their desired execution rules and values – including scenarios that mirror The Venus Project concepts! As always I am open to suggestions, collaboration and feedback so please don’t be shy.

A case for Social Cybernation

Saturday, December 4, 2010 Posted by

Let us ponder and inspect the idea of a socio-economic paradigm shift, and plot a social direction with the help of social cybernation. Democracy, a loaded word that has lots of connotations and ideologies associated with, but what does it really mean? and more importantly what does it manifest in our current society? The ideological purpose of democracy is for everyone to participate – for the governing power to derive from the people, unfortunately when we inspect today’s culture and the governing institutions this ideological premise is questioned. Take the various democracy governments around the globe today – they exist as entities operated by groups of individuals the people elect to power. The government needs to balance its budget, grow it’s GDP, uphold a framework of rules and laws of the land, and compete in the world marketplace in order to satisfy it’s interests. It’s interests you would assume be to serve its citizens collective needs and foster a healthy environment that creates incentives and motivates individuals to contribute towards the betterment of the social collective. That is the theory behind what our current monetary paradigm system is trying to achieve, if you satisfy your own needs and desires by earning income then you are contributing to the betterment of society as a whole – this is the staple and structure of today’s mentality – it is why we have jobs, why we have personal property, it is what the culture promotes, and what we don’t question but assume is the golden rule of how society is to function.

Although this mentality or framework has some positive aspects – it will change, not because of some prediction or that a larger growing enlightenment into looking at alternatives that in theory work better, but because simply put – our current paradigm is not sustainable. The current monetary paradigm is heading in a crash course of self destruction by its unintended side effects on so many levels. The mechanism of unrelentless blind consumption driven profit, and the constant incentives to become greedy and abusive to one another, become the influencing factors that apply to nearly every decision any individual in power has to make which results in cancerous effects on society. No longer can our idealistic democracy driven government serve its citizens when its lifeline and existence is threatened by the continuing requirement for sustaining exponential consumption with no regard to nature’s limits, no regard to the wellness of its citizens, no regard to solving problems that disrupt the generation of profit. This monetary paradigm is the greatest threat our species has ever contended against, and will be viewed by future generations as the greatest obstacle we had to overcome in order to progress and mature as a species.

So what about this socio-economic paradigm shift – what sort of alternative are we talking about here? and would we even know if it’s even feasible and sustainable? As a computer scientist I look at this problem from an informational systems theory approach, there exists an infinite solution space of frameworks that tackles the issue at hand, a framework is a series or rules and standards at which we can organize our society. Our society is a massive collection of rules and standards either assumed and inferred from the past or planned out and enforced by law. This collection of rules and standards dictates how we interact with each other, how we create incentives for each other, how we distribute resources and influential power between ourselves, and in the end dictate how we experience our existence on this rock. So shouldn’t we collectively prioritize that the most influential aspect of our existence and the long term sustainability of our species is forever improving and optimizing this set of rules and standards, but in our current society does the average person even contemplate this? or do we assume this is the way things are so be it – I’m just an individual playing out my life in the current set or rules and standards and that’s the way it is. Each of us varying by degree likes to pass the responsibility of our actions or our in-actions onto others or the collective – I was just following orders, no one told me this would happen, this wasn’t my job, or simply I don’t care about that, seems to be the popular approach. We wont be able grow out of our past until we realize that the responsibility lies within each one of us, each one of us is able to make a difference and collectively we can learn from each other to become sustainable and accomplish amazing technological progression.

Once we have taken on the responsibility role the question now becomes how do we devise a new set of rules and standards to create a framework that works? I’ve been always fascinated how nature works, and how low level simplicity results in emergent complexity. Life is no exception, and if we look for inspirations in processes that have worked in nature for billions of years then we should pay attention. The solution as it turns out may be quite simple, treat social frameworks as living organisms, with the rules and standards becoming the DNA of the frameworks. Simulate these frameworks using super computers for their fitness level, or their scorecard of what works and what doesn’t, in addition of what we prefer from alternatives. We then apply genetic algorithms on this population of frameworks and witness scientific democratic evolution in action. Social rules and standards that are inefficient, irrelevant, corrupt in nature, and any other destructive aspects of society will fade out and perish as they will have the effect of lowering the fitness score of frameworks, while the holistic, cooperative, and synergistic rules and standards will continue to prevail and evolve. Would this approach be considered a centralized planned economy? I think not, I would call it self-governance with tools to give communities a series of evidence based decisions and would be completely bottom-up decentralized driven from the continues feedback of all individuals to form the fitness landscape where these frameworks will evolve in.

This social cybernation project would continue to advance as the resolution and accuracy of framework simulation would continue to improve – it will be one of the greatest endeavours humanity has ever undertaken but the rewards will be ever lasting and will enable the continuous progression of the human species.

The Zemerge Project (a Zeitgeist Movement inspired Project)

Emergent Reality (Part I: Life and Creativity)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 Posted by

I would like to share an insightful and promotional video made that is a combination of my personal thoughts and views inspired by my favourite scientists/authors as:

Seth Lloyd (author of ‘Programming the Universe’) and his views and reasoning that the universe itself is one big quantum emergent computer.

Stuart A. Kauffman (author of ‘Reinventing The Sacred’) for his insights on the nature of complexity in biological systems and the emergent nature of reality.

Richard Feynman (Physicist and pioneer of quantum computing) for his objective and fresh views on the perspectives of reality.

Robert Wright (author of ‘The Moral Animal’ and ‘Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny’) for his explanations of evolutionary psychology and game theory.

Richard Dawkins (evolutionary biologist and author) for his contribution of the idea of the meme and his beautiful education of evolution.

And of course, Carl Sagan (astrophysicist, author, and cosmologist) for his grandiose and inspiring views of nature and the universe.

The message of the video also aligns itself with the message from Peter Joseph of The Zeitgeist Movement and Jacque Fresco of The Venus Project. I plan to make a series of this style videos in the future, if you would like to help with the development of these videos please contact me and I will place you on an email list for this team.

Lastly, I would like to share a TED video of Stephen Wolfram (Creator of Mathematica and Wolfram Alpha) talk about the central theme of the Emergent Reality videos that will be created:

Although the above pursuit does not have anything to do with the Zemerge Project directly it is the general direction and inspiration of why we should create and develop this project. I welcome everyone to share the video created and look forward to the journey ahead.

Regards,
Tom

Transcript of the Video:

Life, is diverse, is persistent, is creative, it changes and adapts, it struggles and persists, life makes its own rules, life is autonomous, self-organizing and self-driven, life cooperates and competes, in the end life has one purpose – to thrive and exist.

The molecular DNA is the recipe of organic life, its a set of instructions that molds each living being from the environment. This recipe is mixed, mutated and modified from generation to generation – each recipe is tested during the course of a lifetime, improvements to the recipe multiply it, and inefficiencies are phased out – it is the ultimate algorithm of optimal preservation strategy of self-continuity.

In the most abstract view life is an exotic form of emergent complexity which has its beginnings from quarks to atoms to molecules to biological cells. Life’s most intriguing innovation is the neural network of the brain – an evolving organ of ever increasing complexity until it reached a emerging threshold to spawn consciousness, self-awareness and abstract thought process that we are all too familiar with.

Recently these neural networks reached the shores of the next stage of emergent complexity – the emergence of the meme hive – a whole network of information existing artificially in the mass collection of the neural networks that spread, mutate, and mix each meme. Every thought, idea, symbol or practice – either spoken, written, drawn or typed – every single piece of information that ever came out from these neural networks and was transmitted to another is the meme hive. This meme hive no longer requires the organic neural network organs to persist, it can spread, mutate and mix within other mediums, this will continue to progress to a singularity of the memes, a threshold of self sustaining complexity that can be described as artificial intelligence, and perhaps in the far future it will continue to thrive and emerge into another new layer of complexity.

Peering through the meanings and concepts of existence and complexity one can only ponder the ultimate meaning of the universe at least from our viewpoint – and one theme stands out that persisted from the beginning of time to the unimaginable future – and it is emergent creativity.

So if you were to say what is your purpose in life, what is the ultimate goal and satisfaction that is pure in its essence and aligned with the universe at its every core – it is to be creative! to create ideas and mold the environment! create art, music, tools & technology and expressions … and being creative with others! to expand the meme hive and let it flourish as we are a product of this creativeness.

Unfortunately, we live in a time where the meme hive we created over generations has hijacked our ability to mature and develop as a species and may even threaten our ability to persist. Our degree of freedom to experience the vast breath of human experience largely depends on our inequality advantage, and the limited, distorted, and funnelled knowledge that we pickup from the meme hive. Life is too short to conform, to be subservient, to follow empty ideologies and artificial limits, to follow the blind consuming unwilling masses, we have infinite and unimaginable possibilities, if only we worked together to rewrite the game of the meme hive, to create a sustainable society that would allow for our total freedom of self expression without the requirement for servitude, to have unhindered cooperation to be creative on global scales, to contribute to solution projects and human endeavours that span generations and to expand our understandings of nature and its potentials. Life had a breakthrough when single cells formed cellular colonies which resulted into multi-cellular organisms, now its our time for the next breakthrough to connect and help each other on our journey along the creative emergence of complexity.

Alpha Zemerge: August 2010 Update

Sunday, August 22, 2010 Posted by

If you are not familiar to what the Alpha Zemerge project will be about please read the project proposition post. The project is coming along slowly with the front end presentation being developed. As discussed in the earlier post the project at first will visually display how wealth in our current monetary system paradigm gets transferred between parties and how wealth creation and inequality develops, and most importantly how unsustainable the whole setup in the long term.

Further specs of the project

One cycle of the simulation will last one second which will represent one hour in simulated time. Thus 24 seconds will represent a day, and 2.5hrs of simulated time will represent a year. If someone will be brave enough to run the simulation for about 11 days (and assuming the simulation doesn’t crash the flash environment) then they will simulate in retrospect a 100 years of economic activity giving an interesting long term outcome of the simulation.

The user interface (UI) will comprise of 8 elements which include:

  • The households represented by icons of a home
  • The employers represented by icons of a business building
  • The bank represented by an official building with the label bank on it
  • The government represented by an official building with the label government on it
  • The physical resources represented by a series of crates
  • An information section on the current status of the simulation
  • Some sort of gauge of how the environment is doing, ie. if the background is more green it is healthier and if its more grey/brown it is in trouble.
  • User input section where the user can alter simulation settings during the simulation

As the simulation will be running lines will be drawn between the home/employer/bank/government icons representing transfer of wealth, the thicker the lines the more transfer they will represent. All of these icons will shrink/grow according to the inequality developing from their starting conditions, thus if all the icons are the same size it could mean they are all wealthy or all poor since it is the inequality they are measuring. As employers produce products/services for the population they will be using resources, hence the resources icons and lines connecting them to the employers will represent an usage of resources. There will be various resources represented, ones which are renewable and ones which are not, for simplicity a set of dozen or so will be chosen with different parameters and used through out the simulation. The user will be able to set government and bank policies as well as population and employer behaviors to alter economic conditions through out the simulation.

Some of these settings currently in the works include:

  • Government taxation
  • Government public spending on services, infrastructure, health, education, security, etc.
  • Government incentives
  • Bank interest rates
  • Bank wealth creation, loan, risk adverse settings
  • Household spending habits
  • Employer efficiency
  • Employer employment rates
  • Employer competition habits
  • Employer advertising habits
  • Investment rates
  • Loans and debt rates
  • Currency inflation
  • Bankruptcy rates
  • Corruption rates
  • Infrastructure inefficiency
  • Population wellness/satisfaction/approval rates
  • Population pensions/unemployment/social security or public safety nets
  • Discrimination/False ideologies rates that disturb and affect the model
  • Demand and supply rates
  • Natural and artificial disasters that affect the model
  • Pollution and degradation of the environment effects

Screenshot of the latest UI can be seen here:

Alpha Zemerge August 2010 Screenshot

Stayed tuned for next monthly update on the project.

The Scientific Method applied to Social Direction

Friday, August 6, 2010 Posted by

When engineers set about to build a bridge, a building or a car they look at what was done in the past, they evaluate what worked and what didn’t and construct a propositional schematic using a non-interpretive language of engineering. They can then evaluate this schematic in a virtual model environment for its effectiveness, physical constraints, and risk management of edge cases. When they are ready to build they are confident in the outcome and they have a plan to follow. There are no opinions, no personal agendas or majority votes how things are constructed, the scientific method of observation – hypothesis – deduction – experimenting is the standard process followed. This iterative process continues to progress human technological advancement.

So why does our society still operate by a plague of outdated ideologies, opinions and beliefs – majority rules is democracy we are told – but the establishment never question its effectiveness and never thinks about advancing to the next stage of progress. Why won’t we use the scientific method to give us the society that is long overdue? A vibrant evolving socially-optimal advancing diverse society where all the relevant factors are taken into consideration for the benefit of all peoples of the present and future as well as life itself. Making profit at the expense of morality will never again clash together as morality and human dignity will be one of the evaluations done during the scientific method process. Just like a skyscraper is evaluated for its ability to withstand high speed winds – a social model will be evaluated for its inhabitant’s standard of living and overall social approval.

Now suppose if instead of creating virtual models of bridges, buildings or cars to verify their validity and steer design direction – we created a virtual model of society for the same purpose? Now suppose the social parameters that make each model what it is would go about the same natural processes as natural evolution does through genetic algorithms – to bring about an evolving optimal social schema for all humanity to come. A world where the scientific method of social modeling steers our social direction is a world where our social values would realign with the relevance of nature, relevance of human empathy, and relevance of long term sustainability. We cannot even conceive how this world would look like as we are stuck in the current human psychosis of old memes and ideologies that limit our perceptions and potentials. So how can we achieve this society? For one support The Zeitgeist Movement, as it is currently the world’s largest grass roots movement advocating these ideas, and support projects like the Zemerge project – the more ideas are out there the more options we will have and the faster we will get there!

“The Zeitgeist Movement intends to restore the fundamental necessities and environmental awareness of the species through the advocation of the most current understandings of who and what we truly are, coupled with how science, nature and technology (rather than religion, politics and money) hold the keys to our personal growth, not only as individual human beings, but as a civilization, both structurally and spiritually. The central insights of this awareness is the recognition of the Emergent and Symbiotic elements of natural law and how aligning with these understandings as the bedrock of our personal and social institutions, life on earth can and will flourish into a system which will continuously grow in a positive way, where negative social consequences, such as social stratification, war, biases, elitism and criminal activity will be constantly reduced and, idealistically, eventually become nonexistent within the spectrum of human behaviour itself.” – TZM Website

Brought to you by The Zemerge Project – a Zeitgeist Movement inspired project.