The Holodeck: How Do We Get Started? Science by Mark E Deardorff

Source: Star Trek’s Holodeck: What Happens in Star Trek (in this case) stays in Star Trek.

In yesterday’s blog, I showed the rather imponderable amount of energy requiring conversion to mass sufficient to replicate a fourteen and a half Stone Dr. Moriarty. Aside from putting the evil Doctor on a crash diet, different strategies will be required. We must find existing tools that will provide mass, at least the illusion of mass, the feel of mass, the experience of mass.

Current VR is not the answer

The state of Virtual Reality is not reality or virtual. It just provides three-dimensional imagery that illusionally immersively fools the participant’s mind. The participant must willingly suspend disbelief. A person unwilling could look beyond the description to the actual boring reality beyond. Unfortunately, VR never delivers on its promise of a world of wonder when the wonder has always existed beyond the pane separating the desperate from the actual reality.

Next Step: Inert Ferromagnetic Particles

There are two types of fields that exist at a macro level – gravitational and electromagnetic.  The other two, the strong and weak forces occur at the quantum levels and are not particularly helpful in our case. (Though not necessarily in the future.) Of the two macro fields, the electromagnetic is easily manipulable by humans. The easiest thing to manipulate with an EM field is a ferromagnetic metal. Ferro implies Iron (Fe.) Small particles of iron in a rapidly varying and constantly refreshed EM field might provide the type of thing that could create a shell of particles sculpted to the appearance of a human form, or any form ultimately.

It could be modeled after 3D printing or direct sculpting. It depends more on the efficiency of the algorithm and speed of transfer.

A primary problem is still related to the sensation of inertia and elastoplastic response of the system. An active magnetic field could hazily model these effects.

Semiautonomous Nanites Under External Active Field Control

Nanites with minimal intelligence – ability to engage other nanites, move relative to one another, etc. – would, with guidance speed operations of the computer algorithms designed to control the entire system. Much of the system described above would still be operative, but nanites engaged with one another would solve a major problem, creating an elastic response to an action to its surface.

The relative motion and attachment would be commanded with simpler statements thereby reducing the size of the code base and the amount of time devoted to processing a single refresh pass.

The System Above Under AI Control

To add randomness, or more appropriately unexpected behavior, answers to random questioning, non-linear game sequences with text created on the fly, artificial intelligence is an imperative tool. This again adds complication and computing cost. It must be fast and exist for each character created during a session which could,theoretically, be unlimited. This is particularly true in an non-comparable system such as West World where the AI is included in the package. To do it remotely requires bandwidth to handle the capacity for significant bits of information.

Sessile and Plugged In

When William Gibson wrote Neuromancer (1984) he described Cyberpunk as a genre for the first time in Science Fiction. A plugged-in word of virtual reality where humans sat, understanding that they sat, a peered into a system of computation.

A system that we seek is one of appearance and experience. Where our purposive thoughts of action are converted to beliefs of experience and a sense of reality. In this world, we believe what we see. Yet all the while we know of our sessile state. Like a barnacle on the hull of an ocean liner, we are under the control of another an stuck until, somehow, we pull the plug.

Pulling the plug is where the paranoia begins. For if we have fallen under a despot of Electronia, how will we know? If we have been entranced by a Svengali having us believing that while we pick a few grapes gifted to her that we are not actually industrial spy’s taking trade secrets to sell on a dark website?

The point is simple, we don’t and won’t. This is the problem with plugging in.

Sessile With Non-Invasive interface

This scenario is similar to that above with the need for implanted hardware but not a port to receive wiring. Headgear or remote transmission of telemetry is sufficient here. The availability of memories (applies to Sessile and Plugged In above) if available to the control system could be manipulated and incorporated into the VR world significantly improving the experience. In addition, in a Strange Days (1995, Lightstorm Productions) style, by incorporating actual experiences of other humans (or animals, for instance) to provide a unique unexpected rush of emotion particularly if those sequences (snuff sequence) are picturing the moment of de-commencement.

Active With Non-Invasive Interface

The “Final” type of system (quotes because there will be other similar systems and never a truly final system) is a system where we are fully in the system but our bodies walk, run, and climb through the system.The bodies are real and simulated. The real bodies may also be enhanced with other personas. The body to whom we are making love we may see as Brigit Bardot or Brian Eno though it may be our real life lover. The shootout with Gary Cooper may be our children with (hopefully) virtual bullets that still knock the target down. Enough physical reaction to deliver some reality. West World without robotic mayhem.

That is not to say that an autocrat may not arise. A virtual or real dictator co-opting and enslaving a population of “plug-ins” expecting that the slavery they are experiencing is a game scenario for group solution. There comes a time when even the most touched among the group comes to realize his captivity and starts jumping frantically at cage and keeper.

Identity Theft In a Virtual World

Now identity theft becomes more than pin numbers, routing numbers, account numbers. no longer is it a numbers racket. It is a mind game. Shuffling coconut shells on a card table on a street corner. “Which one was your mind under?” “Sorry. Wrong one. Here. Have a generic until you remember how to ID the original.”

Sad story that can’t possibly happen, right? If writers of science fiction like Philip K. Dick and George Orwell can conceive of plausible ways that in recent years have borne fruit, it is not a difficult leap to the subterfuge at hand.

How do we protect ourselves? The same way the wise protect them now. Among other methods, some Draconian others straight forward, backups as an example. Acknowledging we are discussing future tech, a concomitant safeguard would be a built-in cranial backup, detached from the brain while the rippled and fissured organ protected by a thin coating of bone sits entranced by a piece of advanced living, possibly organic, software, a highly dense fast piece of memory sits waiting to engage the brain and reload the users personality and memories if tampering is detected by built-in algorithms or by outside intervention.

Another method is even more obvious. Don’t engage in a distributed system in the first place. The US consciousness is suffused with the lessons, too often forgotten, of mass distortions of judgment by citizens having no right not to know better opening attachment of pictures of relatives they don’t have or pictures of graphics guaranteed to titillate. Emotions over reason. What has education wrought?

The future may hold no physical reality, only a virtual world, a place for our minds to avoid the madness brought on by exposure to the virus of a world schlepped to destruction at our own hands or missing the last train to points cosmic yet unrevealed to the unwashed. The Fermi Paradox answered by burying our virtual heads in a virtual sandbox of a life domain of a function space powered by the Energizer bunny keeping our bits of information alive in a perceptual regime with all the reality and diversity of an algorithm as complex as allowed by the laws of probability with stochastic boomerangs.

Simply put, this may be an arc for which a civilization of weak-kneed people fearful of its capacity to rise to the challenge of tomorrow may retreat. The final succor for a people too afraid to venture forth where oxygen is sparse and cosmic rays slice DNA. The remnant, the Luddites, the ones that said, “Don’t go, thar be monsters!” Yes, thar be monsters. Monsters to tame and understand. Planets to investigate and colonize. The Earth is a small place and it ignores us and the rest of the pesky life that chose to spring forth. It will be just as happy with us as without us. Yes, we gave it oxygen. But it, for the most part, continued to ignore us. It did not slow or increase its climatological cycles appreciably though we recently assisted in that a bit.

We just didn’t get. Time to think hard about vamoosing out, not to Mars that’s just a show for the cameras. We need to go much further to places where cosmic catastrophes will not threaten the entire DNA pool of the Gaian species. That is, far enough so that a supernova or gamma ray burst will not devastate all life within a radius that includes the planets and active probes that contain DNA.

A Mars colony has benefits in the short-term. But the species benefit is a long-term issue and must be addressed. This is where the real people (DNA) go – the strong – the insightful – the brave. Those who fall into their VR universe, unless it employs a way to excise itself from the effects of the physical universe, will end sooner or later.

Sorry for the little polemic. Got carried away! 😉

Through The Peeping Class: ‘A Scanner Darkly’ in The NSA Epoch

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. – 1 Corinthians 13:12

Warning: If you have not read A Scanner Darkly, there may be spoilers.

Niccolò Machiavelli in The Prince captures the out-of-body experience of the nation-state. The Chief of State reads instructions as he examines herself endoscopically. Deftly, she routes lubricant coated tubes through secreted passages behind the backs of his trusted stewards and quaking riffraff. All the time, he knows not of the eternal eye atop the pyramid, and the Eye of Providence disembodied, never conscious of her transgressions.

The all-seeing eye of God is premonishment. The State knows man’s thoughts and deeds.  A Scanner Darkly, Phillip K. Dick’s portrait of addiction to intrusion is the image one sees when coherent light shines through the Wiki Leaks hologram. What emerges from the mixture of unintelligible pixelated three-dimensional information compressed onto a warped surface is an Orange Sunshine dream.

The Addiction

Set in Orange County SoCal in the then future 1994, PKD pictures, from his 1968 venue, a destiny of dependency not much different than today, or any day since bubbling heroin first met needle and bulb. The drug in question is Substance D, known colloquially as Slow Death. Robert Arctor / Special Agent Fred is / are the protagonist(s). The confusion is intentional. It is, in fact, the point. Fred is Arctor’s alias in his job as a drug enforcement officer for the Orange County Sherriff. When in the field he acts the part of a user and ends up an addict.

Slow Death is to the mind what the Inquisition was to torso and pelvis. Application of an increasing drug dosage induces tension in the corpus callosum slowly alienating the two hemispheres of the brain. As the communication amid the moieties of the cerebrum turns from laminar to turbulent, clear to murky, from on until the drug shorts the switch.

Fred and Robert Arctor forget the other. At least, they forget their collective identity. About halfway into the sixth chapter Agent Fred begins to question if he is Robert Arctor, even which Robert Arctor he might be, forgetting the obvious fact that there is but one Arctor and that he is it.

Fred, as part of his dis-identification, wears a Scramble suit. At the office, a micro computerized full-body Union suit, it serves to distance personalities from the business. At a display rate of one image per nanosecond, it shimmers with billions of perceptions.

After a fashion, every addict, every freak wears a scramble suit, too. They’re a placental add-on. A no charge parental gift sowed by alcoholic progenitors. The doper gets all the weird looks but only responds with dumbass expressions. Luckily, wearing Mom’s natal gift, no one notices. Anybody to everybody. People pleasers one and all.

The mistaken self-identification by Agent Fred worsens leading to his demise and Arctors banishment to New-Path for extended drug treatment in a rural labor camp. The farm, his discarnate calaboose, the place his mind aims when his Haj begins. When Slow Death first contacts corpuscle and enters Robert Arctor’s brain.

The Pusher

Drug operations are a Byzantine affair. Junkies are held hostage in the selfsame fashion that Byzantium kept foreign royalty on its soil to assure certain behaviors by their monarchs. The American police state bears great resemblance to both. Both it and Byzantium bear the imprimatur of regnal authority.

America, like all societies consigning their liberty to an auction in exchange for security, began a long walk down a rickety plank during the early twentieth century. Black CHAMBER and Project Shamrock (not all that lucky) began a slide away from privacy that predates the dystopias that PKD so often detailed.

The projects listed above, children of the World Wars are now the flowers of Americans swallowing electronic placebos – Windows, Mac OS, iOS and Android all are subject to NSA backdoors. Americans willingly accept much on faith and act nonplussed when things go wrong.

Philip K. Dick, George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Anthony Burgess, Robert Heinlein, Samuel Delany, Cory Doctorow, L. Neil Smith, Neal Stephenson, and Ray Bradbury (there are many more names in Science Fiction) all have important things to say about freedom and human rights from different points of view. Here, however, A Scanner Darkly is essential in the way it displays the human addiction to intrusion by others. There seems to be some imperative built into the race, a need to have others look at us.

Scanner portrays this necessity as Substance D and the NSA as New-Path. In effect, it is the American way-of-life that generates both the need for Electronia (adulterated by the NSA) and the NSA to use Electronia against its citizens. Where Eisenhower spoke of the military-industrial complex, Dick writes of the electronics-surveillance complex. Eisenhower spoke at the beginning of the Cold War, Dick near its end. The war beginning when PKD wrote was the war on privacy – the war between humans and the State.

The war is currently a silent war. Most people are too busy with other things, new gadgets, new movies, new diversions. The hypnosis of happy lights inures them to the pain. As addictive and deathly as Slow Death itself. America sits and waits for the future while the NSA rifles through their sock drawers.

At least in Scanner, there was humor, dark, sad humor yes, but the inspiration that can motivate. Some dystopias of the early Cold War were dismal and depressive. Sales devices for Librium, Jack Daniels, and fallout shelters. Dick, on the other hand, while brimming our eyes with cleansing tears can open them to vistas that see past the evil. The polemic is always in Dick’s words. It just doesn’t sound like shouting. In fact, it often seems reverent.

The Layman

At the top of the post is verse 12 of First Corinthians Thirteen of the King James Version of the Holy Bible. It was the version most people Dick’s age (born in 1928), and mine (born 1953) knew if exposed to a bible at all. This verse has little religion without context but says much about the novel.

St. Paul writes of a “seeing through a [mirror,] darkly… In other words, seeing a pale reflection. In Arctor’s case, the quote from chapter six relates his concerns about the holo-scan.

In St. Paul’s case, a darkened mirror allows face to face confrontation but only in part. He seems to say that a mirror reveals you the way you see yourself but not the who of you. In other words, you may recognize the animal in the reflection but its behavior will never be predictable. For those who believe in a higher power often find that others see them differently and as much as they might like, they often must admit they have no right to know what others think about them.

Arctor is without certainty. He happily admits he hated his former life if indeed there was a previous life. As the end of the story nears, his family life becomes as twisted as cream stirred in a cup of cloudy tea. He wonders if he sees clearly or through a murk (darkly).

It’s a novel that can be hilarious when Jim Barris tries to show Charles Freck how to make cocaine from suntan lotion. Of course, junkies would believe this. I might have believed this if I were desperate enough. It can be morose as well. When Arctor reviews holo-scan tapes of an evening in bed with a junkie named Connie. His perception morphs her during the event into Donna Hawthorne and then back to Connie. When Fred reviews the tapes he sees Connie dissolve into Donna and back into Connie. Mutually Assured Destruction offered up by Substance-D.

“What does a scanner see? he [Arctor] asked himself. I mean, really see? Into the head? Down into the heart? Does a passive infrared scanner like they used to use or a cube-type holo-scanner like they use these days, the latest thing, see into me— into us— clearly or darkly? I hope it does, he thought, see clearly, because I can’t any longer these days see into myself. I see only murk. Murk outside; murk inside. I hope, for everyone’s sake, the scanners do better. Because, he thought, if the scanner sees only darkly, the way I myself do, then we are cursed, cursed again and like we have been continually, and we’ll wind up dead this way, knowing very little and getting that little fragment wrong too.”

The importance of this passage relates, along with the Corinthians verse, to Fred’s diagnosis resulting from the battery of tests leading to his ultimate banishment to the farm with the mountain view. St. Paul’s description of a mirror points to an object that allows us all to see us the only way we ever truly recognize ourselves. A pattern based on a bilaterally symmetric reversed image of the way we are perceived by others. To follow the maxim, “To thine own self  be true,” one must see through other eyes. Fred, though, in a theocentric lethargy assumes the Pauline mirror requires an infinitely deep reflection. This image, written in 1968, is reminiscent of Paycheck, Dick’s 1962 story of an engineer who assists in the development of a lens that can bend light to follow the curvature of the universe thus seeing into the future. (Yeah, stupid by today’s understanding of the nature of reality and causation.)

Fred fears that his brain dysfunction can never be trusted to decode his face in a manner of his own understanding. He’s screwed.

Interestingly, after this passage, Arctor recites some poetry in German, Faust by Goethe. The passage applies not to Arctor directly, but to Charles Freck whose attempted suicide follows the passage. Poor Freck. Purchases the artifacts for his tomb only to take hallucinogenics in quantity rather than an overdose of barbiturates. Instead of death, he suffers a rambling reading by a thousand-eyed alien of a list of every sin he ever committed intentionally and otherwise. Being that he and the alien have moved to a “transcendent realm,” his sins will be read “ceaselessly, in shifts, throughout eternity. The list…never end[s].” Freck’s next thought: Know your dealer.

Personal Note

I was born in Burbank, Cali in 1953 and hung out in Glendale during the late 60’s for High School. At USC as an Engineering major and studying economics (mostly the Austrians), knew the pols and their toadies in Orange County. Early 70’s the OC was flat, Orange, and aromatic. The Big Three: Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, and the Japanese Deer Farm (“Where Bambi Goes, Nothing Grows,” if you happen to remember Hudson and Landry) were the points of interest. All that was left was cruising, drugging, tripping, and hanging at the malls waiting for Animal House, Alien, Solaris (a Lem showpiece), Rancho Deluxe or A Boy and His Dog. But considering the state of mind of guys like Arctor, the movie of choice would have been Dark Star. I certainly enjoyed a spaceship where the crew was doped up! Floating while weightless – a meta high.

Phil Dick was an addict. He still would be, were he alive. He wouldn’t be using, but he’d be an addict. I am an addict, too. In a way, in every way except one, I still am. I just don’t use drugs or alcohol anymore to alter my mood. I am just never particularly unhappy anymore. I have no use for it. But I and every other addict who is clean and sober will always remember their addiction. We can never afford to say we are cured.

Read A Scanner Darkly while listening to the Audible voice over. Get the whole shebang from Amazon, and it coordinates with the text. Just don’t stop at the end. Keep reading through the afterword. It is the real personal story from Phil.

Mark E Deardorff

Copyright 2017 by Mark E. Deardorff. All Rights Reserved.

American Law Enforcement: The New Privateers

Was it not for the federal Imprimatur, would RICO laws not apply? It is hard to imagine where law enforcement ends and extortion begins. For when only doubt is required, who is to say that suspicion was actually attained?

When, in the 15th century, England needed to build a navy it chose a simple expedient. Britain turned the Royal Navy into a band of crypto privateers. What better way to finance a fleet? Take the bounty from the profiteering smuggler and convert it tortiously to the Public good.

The Halifax Court served the purpose, ombudsman, Solomon dividing the children assuring a practical benefit to His Majesty’s High Seas.

The Colonies themselves continued the practice offering Letters of Marque to assist in the French and Indian Wars, support the Revolution, the US in the War of 1812, Barbary Coast, John Lafitte, the Civil War, etc.

There is even speculation that the venerable blimps that bring us weekend displays of Harvest season warfare, football, were used in World War II to spy enemy submarines off the California coast. The theory is hotly disputed.

But what of today? Given Kelo v. City of New London broadening the power of Eminent Domain and our President’s love affair with its confiscatory djinn, it is no wonder that any local constabulary would take advantage other tortious analogs. In this case, Civil Forfeiture.

This style of Confiscatory taxation without representation has existed since the fifteenth century. It was used to advantage during prohibition but lost visibility until the Reagan presidency and the rise of the War on Drugs. Under 1984 the Comprehensive Crime Control Act, civil forfeiture came into prominence by allowing local agencies to get in on the action.

Was it not for the federal Imprimatur, would RICO laws not apply? It is hard to imagine where law enforcement ends and extortion begins. For when only doubt is required, who is to say that suspicion was actually attained?

Copyright 2017 by Mark E. Deardorff and ScienceViaMarkets, All Rights Reserved. (Despite the truth about intellectual property.)

[The article by the Foundation for Economic Education cited here tells such a story. But the tales are legion, and many happen to innocent citizens. Citizens that, once relieved of their hard earned possessions, never see them again.]

Source: This State Used Stolen Funds to Pay Law Enforcement | Foundation for Economic Education