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Immortal since Sep 3, 2008
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digital cartographers, narrative realization. image workers & pixel [re]searchers. emographers. memetic mappers. space cadets. polytopians.
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    The human species is rapidly and indisputably moving towards the technological singularity. The cadence of the flow of information and innovation in...

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    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.
    This is part I of a two-part post on my thoughts on the Polytopia. In this first one, I will aspire to present the challenges we will face in Polytopia. In the next post, I will examine possible vaccines and counterpoints that could be built into the architecture, as well as possible constructive uses that could help all of us grow.


    I think the exponential growth in technology and its affect on the way we live, communicate, and interact with our environments have far exceeded the change that's necessary in human consciousness to inhabit the Polytopia to its greatest advantage and native use.


    What paradigm shifts will the human race encounter with the coming change?

    Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
    - George Santayana

    Entering the Polytopia requires a shift in thinking. At the moment, where we're heading is towards constructing a reality that will have all the same problems that we have now.

    Lets take Second Life, the most popular metaverse software out there at the moment. It's becoming a macrocosm of what we already live. People buy, sell, fill up their spaces with their objects, create an identity based off of appearances - just through a different medium than our own reality. But its pretty much continuing in the same vein (some might take issue with me here, but the change that I want to see is a complete one).

    And what about ID in the Polytopia? I feel this is a major issue in which much thought is already being devoted to, I'm sure, within both organizations and governments. OpenID already exists. Must we register our "person" in order to access? This will become even more serious when digital terrorism starts being able to profoundly "disease" our own personal existence in Polytopia. Who can be excluded? Will you be able to be "banned"? How might access to the Polytopia be used to exclude parts of the human population (through the physical or through the access to the metaphysical)? In an argument for an ID system, it could be said that once "agents" or "bots" become saavy enough to impersonate a human being's presence in the Polytopia, should there be a way to identify them as such? I do not know if I'm for an ID system or against it, but it is a major issue.

    If we start inhabiting the Polytopia now or in the near future (I'm talking about the majority of the population - that's why I feel comfortable bringing these issues up in this community), I say we will create the same "society" that we already live in.

    Lets not go too deep into the Singularity, uploading our consciousnesses, etc. etc. We know that's on the horizon, and approaching quickly. but that brings up a whole other set of problems - for instance, what does a computer virus become when it starts infects our consciousness? To tell you the truth, I don't know if we'll get to that point. We're too immature as a whole. I find it amazing that in the last 100 years, we've gained the ability to destroy our world using nuclear technology, and we haven't yet.

    As Buckminster Fuller said (I'm paraphrasing), when we're born and grow up, we adapt to the technology available to us. These new generations are growing up with the reality of our technology, as a given. The human mind will adapt.

    By the time we have the possibility to inhabit this Polytopia (and before we're able to upload our consciousness), we will still be reliant on our bodies - basic things do not change - we still need to be born, develop physically, eat, shit, procreate (if its so desired) and die.

    The ability to create human-based avatars within the metaverse software is a handicap, in my opinion. We need to have the freedom to leave behind our bodies in the physical world, not just create new ones in the virtual.

    We are not this body.

    This does not mean that we leave behind our bodies, but rather establish what the relationship is between the two.

    I think the growth of our access to and interaction with information, the physical world, communication, and social interaction will profoundly change how we answer the question,
    who am I?

    This is by no means a complete breakdown of the challenges. Why I post this here is to create an active discussion about it. Let us use our collective intelligence to first of all, be aware of the challenges that we face and to design an architecture that forces us to address these issues, not enter with blinders on. Our idea of what the Polytopia needs to be is already behind where current technology is leading us. We need to get ahead. And fast.

    I propose to start a project here on SpaceCollective which is devoted to exploring the possibilities, challenges and architecture of the Polytopia.

    I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts.
    Sun, Sep 14, 2008  Permanent link
    Categories: polytopia, metaverse, future
    Sent to project: Polytopia
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