Tag Archives: Black Monolith

Transhumanism, Utility Fog and Rules of Uplift

Mac Tonnies sez;

I have a confession to make: I am a “transhuman ufologist.”

So far as I know, this is the first time the term has appeared on the Web, so I’ve yet to see if it has any staying power. But the idea, at least, is simple enough: I see absolutely no contradiction between the “hard” technological realities of the Kurzweilian Singularitarian crowd and the speculation of informed UFO researchers.

We transhuman ufologists are a witheringly small bunch; although I’ve come across provocative discussions about nanotechnology and machine intelligence within the more intelligent corridors of ufology, committed transhumanists approach the subject of UFOs and the “paranormal” with pronounced disdain. The very definition of “skeptic,” for instance, is summarily forgotten; among the more strident and vocal proponents of transhumanism, the very prospect of extraterrestrial visitation via UFO is considered naïve fantasy good for little more than placating true believers with elusive promises of galactic altruism. Certainly, they argue, we’re better off parroting the so-called Fermi Paradox. (link)

I have at one time or another speculated an advanced civilization that has gone through its own ‘Singularity’ event would use utility fog nanotech to present itself to primitive beings at various stages of its development by utilizing current cultural beliefs and mores.

This is a variation of Arthur C. Clarke’s Sentinal/Black Monolith/Bracewell probe method of contact via direct intervention and uplift. In 2001: A Space Odyssey, the apes at the beginning of the movie were ‘tweaked’ by the Monolith to be more aggressive and imaginative so they could survive the harsh environment of Africa. After that it left until humans dug up another Monolith on the Moon millions of years later, triggering it to send a message to another in orbit around Jupiter (Saturn in the novel). The idea here being that Mankind was ready for another ‘tweaking’ (Bowman into the Starchild).

In the ‘utility fog’ scenario, the probes didn’t leave, they stuck around to influence humanity during different stages of our development, possibly being the sources of demons, angels, gods, elves, dwarfs, fairies, sprites, other ‘magical’ creatures and of course aliens and UFOs. The idea here being the intelligence as represented by the nanoprobes is prepping the human race for eventual ‘contact’ with it.

I don’t know. My beef with this idea isn’t with Mac, but with the ‘utility fog’ itself if this is the case.  It hasn’t been very good or wise at preparing us. It’s like locking a two year old child in a room with a one-way observation window, giving him/her a book about life in the Universe, providing meals on occasion, expounding ‘proclaimations’ via loudspeaker and releasing the person when grown expecting them to behave intelligently. Oh yeah, the person has ‘free will’ to either obey ‘God’ and society, or be punished if they break the rules. And most people still aren’t able to tell the difference between aliens or demons, even if one came up and bit them in the arse! (Or stuck a probe up there anyways!) Some mentors! They put people in jail for that now-a-days!

Of course being alien nano-probes, they could be hardly sympathetic and altruistic to creatures they would consider lab animals. I would counter by saying that if such vast artificial intelligence(s) take it upon themselves to ‘uplift’ pre-sentient creatures, there must be rules and/or code of ethics to follow concerning such projects, as proscribed in David Brin’s Uplift novels. If the rule/laws are broken, the offending race/intelligence is punished. The most severe punishments go to beings who start uplift projects and then abandon them.

There’s no proof of course nanoprobe ‘utility fog’ intelligences are responsible for the UFO or related phenomena, or that we’ve been uplifted. Then again, Mac gives a very compelling thesis why UFO/alien sightings are perceived differently by the diverse peoples/cultures of Earth in prehistory and historically.

But if there’s such a thing as a Galactic Child Protective Services agency, our utility fog teachers should be thrown into the Milky Way crow-bar hotel for gross negligence!