Postbiological life

Discussion in 'UFOs, Ghosts and Monsters' started by birch, Jun 8, 2017.

  1. birch Valued Senior Member


    It sounds much like "ghosts."
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  3. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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  5. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    Bridge to Captain your required on Bridge Sir


    What is it First Officer?

    Take a look Captain

    It just showed up

    Might there be a still higher level, as yet outside all human experience, that organizes electrons? If so, this "third level" would never be manifest through observations made at the informational level, still less at the matter level.

    You brought me up here for that?

    What do they teach you now-a-days at the Academy?

    It's a bunch of Woo Woo

    Now suck it up and go through it or would you like me to send up the cook to hold your hand while you plot a course around it?


    Yes sir I mean no sir thank you sir

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  7. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    To play devil's advocate, nobody is going to find the visual appearances which one is experiencing during a dream inside the neurons and connections of a sleeping skull, or the game scenes being shown on a monitor in the components and circuitry of a computer. Just the causes or what _X_ correlates to treated as a cause. Another level riding on a lower one can sometimes be hidden publicly but present to itself (subjective for lack of a better term).

    Postbiological evolution

    I'm not sure "biology" is limited to or would perpetually be constricted to soupy chemical arrangements, replicating molecules and "ugly bags of water" territory. Even without technological origins, there might be the possibility of ultra-exotic life: Physicists Discover Inorganic Dust With Lifelike Qualities.

    Brains already introduced that long before the artificial devices, though the conception of it developed from much later human cultural interactions.

    All "new levels" would still be supervening on the original physical affairs.

    The biological stratum doesn't float on its own, but depends upon the agencies and properties sported in chemistry and physics.

    Information is an abstract conception of matter states and patterns as data-bearing quantitative values and relationships. Arguably items like intelligence, virtual realities, and so-forth would emerge from and ride on that level or systemic interpretation of "corporeal stuff". Though there would be the tangled hierarchy situation of first needing intellectual activity itself to, again, ideate such an information scheme or construe physical affairs in that abstract context.

    Memes would supposedly ride on the cultural stratum made possible by the prior two (biological, informational).

    Experience (the qualitative manifestations of consciousness as visual, aural, tactile, etc phenomena) is one level that seems "just there" without any need of interpretation or reasoning to formulate it. Another tangled hierarchy with respect to experience containing and providing the evidence of / arguments for the other stratums; and yet the latter internally asserting that they are prior in rank or came before it (made experience possible).

    The proposal of yet more "levels" being possible might at least be the case in the sense of computer programs being able to simulate higher dimensions and the like for bizarre virtual realities (i.e., who knows what might be later conceived as riding upon substrates like that). But as far as new additions being available "out here" in the original world... only the Future knows. The potential problem with our recognizing such products of ancient extrasolar civilizations:

    An ant wandering through a city would simply be incapable of grasping what the buildings and the maze of roadways / pathways meant (just an inedible version of another jumbled forest or woodland to it). Or a microbe (if it had a degree of consciousness) wandering around in a human brain would not conceive the structural mess of tissue and electrochemical activity as amounting to a collection of activities / accomplishments classified as "intelligence" (as interpreted from a loftier perspective, plan, or self-interest).

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  8. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    The idea, such as my understanding of it is, is not new

    Over 60 years ago I was reading comics about beings who were pure energy or pure intelligence

    Great ideas but non existent at the time and still non existent now

    And never will be existent

    New ideas will continue

    to be thunk (sic

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    but will not have a corporeal existence

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  9. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Perhaps birch was implying an entity constituted only of bosons / force carriers or this take upon what the classic trope could more narrowly mean. (Although with only "ghost" to go on, such suggestions might be wayward liberties on my part). But "hard" science fiction history wise (in contrast to comic books), Fred Hoyle's Black Cloud certainly wasn't a "pure energy" being nor is the plasma proposal in the ScienceDaily article that it vaguely echoes.

    Just for the sake of our / I finally getting the topic on track with what the OP article itself concerns (after possibly rowdily tipping the furniture of the hotel room over in disarray before splitting to get on the band's departing tour bus)...

    Susan Schneider was apparently referring to banal artilects, Black Monoliths, cyborgs, and "Horta" territory:
    • I do not believe that most advanced alien civilizations will be biological, Schneider says. The most sophisticated civilizations will be postbiological, forms of artificial intelligence or Alien superintelligence. [...] Even if they were biological, merely having [...] brain enhancements, their superintelligence would be reached by artificial means, and we could regard them as being “artificial intelligence.” But she suspects something stronger than this: that they will not be carbon-based. [...]
    And here's part of the larger context of Paul Davies, via his book The Eerie Silence: Are We Alone In The Universe?, prior to and after the short snippet chosen by the article:
    • To go beyond crude indentifiers of alien technological activity, such as energy and resource usage, leaves us groping for a familiar reference point, with the inevitable temptation to fall back on human experience. Even science fiction tends to portray alien engineering as closely analogous to our own. [...] The giant spacecraft in Independence Day, despite being the product of a million-year plus technology, comes equipped with 1990s computer consoles, sans firewalls. Even in the more carefully crafted science fiction, alien artifacts appear recognizably as machines, in the 20th century understanding of the term: regular in geometrical shape, made of metal or some superior substitute, often inert except in response to a deliberate prod, and built on everyday scale and size. But advanced alien technology might be nothing like that at all. In fact, in contemplating the activities of a super-intelligence it pays to clear your mind of all preconceptions. To help the process, consider a hypothetical alien technology that:

      Is made of matter.

      Has no fixed size or shape.

      Has no well-defined boundaries or topology.

      Is dynamical on all scales of space and time.

      Or, conversely, does not appear to do anything at all that we can discern.

      Does not consist of discrete, separate things; rather it is a system, or subtle higher-level correlation of things.

      We are so welded to the human concept of a machine as, for example, chunks of metal with buttons and knobs, or as information being processed (as in software), that we find it hard to conceptualize technology involving levels of manipulation above these. [...]

      One way to think about information is as a 'higher level' concept than matter. The higher level builds on, but transcends, the lower level. Thus software -- an abstract concept -- invariably requires physical hardware to support it [...] Now, I ask, are these two conceptual levels -- matter and information -- all there is?

      [...] But Ohm's law is not really a basic law at all; in fact, there are materials never envisaged by Ohm for which it goes wrong. On the other hand, the no-faster-than-light law is basic and universal, and may well be for ever non-negotiable. The trouble is, an any given time scientists can only state the laws of physics to the best of current understanding. Who knows whether future advance will show one of the cherished laws to fail under certain circumstances? In science, the last world is never said; there is always room for revision in the light of new evidence. All one can claim is that some laws are more deeply entrenched than others.
    Added to that is something more specific quoted from a book review:
    • "For example, if extraterrestrials have evolved into quantum-computer-based post-biological entities that hover in the outer reaches of space, pondering on ever more subtle mathematical theorems, the chances of detecting them would be slim, Davies points out. 'The business end of a quantum computer is a handful of atoms but you need a big life-support system to power it, which would have to be kept cool. But it is naturally cool in intergalactic space. A slightly warm London-bus-sized quantum brain is not going to be easy to find!'" (Review) The Eerie Silence: Are We Alone In The Universe?

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    Last edited: Jun 8, 2017
  10. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Yeah good sci-fi but that's about it.

    I dislike the woolly woo-notion of "pure energy". Energy is not "stuff". You cannot have a bottle of energy.

    It is a property of a physical system, be that a system involving matter or one involving only radiation. So "pure energy", by implication divorced from any physical system, is a ballocks concept.
  11. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    Same goes for intelligence

    Concept not material

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  12. river

    Yes pure energy is a property of a physical system ( holistic ) . Plasma is pure energy .

    Also biology can become pure biological energy . Because biological energy can and does evolve .
  13. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    Plasma is a state of matter. The three other common states of matter are solids, liquids and gases, so plasma is sometimes called the fourth state of matter. Plasma is created by adding energy to a gas so that some of its electrons leave its atoms.

    Like to try again?

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  14. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    The issue seems to be what kind of physical substrate can support "life", whatever that word means.

    I'm inclined to define life functionally, by what it does. It would need to be something capable of incorporating the surrounding environment into itself, capable of reproducing more of itself, capable of evolving by natural selection and so on. In the case of animal-like life, it would need to be active. In the case of intelligent life, sentient.

    So anything that performs those kind of functions, or a large enough subset of them I guess, would be 'life' in this broad sense as I'm defining it.

    Then the question becomes, what kind of perhaps-exotic physical (or non-physical perhaps) substrates could perform those kind of functions.

    My guess is that the variety of answers out there in the universe would probably surprise us. (All we know right now about life comes from a sample-size of one.)
  15. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    “At the root of all physical reality is not “primary matter” or little atoms of “stuff.” Relativity theory in cosmology and the complementarity thesis in quantum physics suggest that the basic reality is some sort of hybrid “matter–energy.” Quantum field theory and string theory (if it survives as a physical theory, which now seems unlikely) suggest the even more radical idea that this reality is more energy-like than matter-like. Either result is sufficient to falsify materialism in anything like the form that dominated the first 300 years of modern science.”
    Paul Davies, Information and the Nature of Reality: From Physics to Metaphysics

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