by Steven Craig
In 1968, a book was written about a crystalline life form that was brought to earth and within days, was taking over the whole planet. The Andromeda Strain foretold what it may be like to have to exist with a crystallize life form on a planet that knew only of carbon based biological life forms. At about the same time, over a slightly longer time period, the crystalline artificial intelligence of the silicone chip was emerging and has in the past 30 years, spread to nearly every corner of the planet, inserting itself into the very basic levels of everyday lives. In extraordinary ways, truth will always exceed what the imagination predicts could happen.
The human race is not content to await evolution. When we could not achieve a process in life, we evolved it with our creativity. When we could not carry great loads, we harnessed invention to do so for us. When we had not the power to swim the oceans, we manufactured ships to carry us. When we could not hold our breathes in the crushing depths, we created submersibles to penetrate the those depths. When we had no wings, we build the aircraft of sticks paper and baling wire to carry us into the air. When we could not see to great distances or the microscopic, we evolved the artificial eyes of lens and mirrors and electron scanners. When we were limited to less than 60 bits per second in verbal and written communications, we built electronic machines to communicate for us. When we needed very complex answers very quickly, we built yet other electronic machines to perform the calculations and analysis for us. We did not wait for evolution to take the millions of years to change us, instead we evolved exo-abilities to do for us what it was we conceived in our minds we could do.
And now, some 40 years on from the silicone chip, in universities and laboratories all over the world, the next step beyond is about to be taken. The impossible dream is about to become the next centuries reality. Evolutionary Computation is about to bring the human race to the first biological based computers practicing evolutionary algorithms that will bear our future upon its single purpose: to replace the human thought, and even the concept of the artificial intelligence, with a living, learning, evolving organism. The bio-informational age is about to begin.
The biological based computer will be composed of some of the earliest life forms to evolve upon the earth, tailored, cultured, and flourishing under the designs of the highest evolutionary life forms, bacteria, green algae and protoplasm based cells, linked by DNA modifications into neural-networks of multi-path state and stateless machines, will be the computers of the next century. The packing density, the speed of cell to cell data storage and analysis will surpass any silicone processor even in its earliest forms. The power needs for such a computer will be extraordinarily simple and low in consumption. The storage of data in fantastically small spaces will be massive. And when given the ability to just grow more processing power and storage, the bio-informational processor will be the first true life form tailored to fit the humans race need to take its next great extra-evolutionary step, the leap off this planet into the universe.
Mankind has not yet evolved into a species that can endure the extremes of inter-stellar spaceflight. Our bodies can not long endure the loss of gravity, or the cultural loneliness of the flight durations of tens of years, crossing generations with flights lasting even centuries. The distances to the stars is vast, so vast that we can not yet see it could be done in human terms, only our imaginations say that it can be accomplished.
Bio-informational organisms will be the life form to explore the great interstellar distances. Such life forms will be able to communicate with their creators on earth what they discover as they progress through both time and space. They will communicate with us electronically just as computers will today, but they will learn and grow and understand and take advantage of what they may find as their vessels reach out into the uncertain depths of tomorrow. They will control the machines man builds for their use in their exploration. And using those machines, even establish a base and colonize the places they eventually reach. On those distant shores, they could construct an existence that their biological minds and their exo-mechanical skeletons would not find limited to that of mere robots. With the information given in their libraries by mans histories, with their abilities to learn from their new environments, with the resources that they find with each landfall, their futures would be limited only by their equivalent imaginations, talents and abilities.
Now bio-informational entities, they would construct additional bodies to carry and utilize the clones of their own existence, to continue to reach out and explore the universe about them, while sending back couriers to the earth bound mankind the news of their successes and failures, their exploration and homesteads, and bringing us a welcome to stop in and visit, should we ever pass that way someday. In time, mans invention, or the inventiveness of his inventions, will take the next yet un-foreseen evolutionual step beyond the bio-informational age, repeating the age old and evolutionary process of not being satisfied to simply exist, but to test the limits of each frontier, when ever it is encountered.
The future is always more or less different than envisioned by those that wish to contemplate that existence. Bio-informational entities will pose their difficulties and test our skills in our own extra-evolutionary existence. Only mans mind can limit that evolution to a different future, and only mans mind can open the door to a different future. We have already grasped the door knob and started its faithful turn. Still, it is an extraordinary thought, that variations on the first life forms to evolve upon the earth will make use of the highest life forms abilities to promote their existence into inter-stellar explorers.
Posted on 03/15/2008
Copyright © 2020 Steven Craig
|Member Comments on this Poem|
|Posted by A. Paige White on 03/15/08 at 11:43 PM|
This was a fascinating read! I love Sci-fi and this is an excellent sample of it.
|Posted by Nancy Ames on 03/15/08 at 11:56 PM|
I have been thinking along the same lines lately - very interesting, especially since so much science is originating from science fiction writers these days. The big question for me, since the light, etc. that we see from Earth originated so long ago, has to be about what is out there right now?