X. The Cyborg – Consciousness.
A post-human of the star settlement era.
Interview: Anatoli Ulyanov.
Translation: Max Nemtsov.
Published on: 07.01.2011 http://www.looo.ch/global/2011-01/432-settleretics
Our body is not the best suit for traveling in deep space. In order to colonize other planets, we should turn ourselves into cyborgs. This was why in 1996, the marxist and neurocyberneticist, Yan Illarionovich Korchmaryuk, established a new science, and called it «settlerethics». The purpose of it was to transport human consciousness to a post-biological host.
How near is the settlerethics to the cyborgization of the mind? Are we prepared to upload ourselves to the machine?
Considering the level of the global science and technology, everything necessary for it has already been in place as long as 20 years ago. It is even more present now. It’s like Lego blocks; you only have to put them in right combination. In Harvard, they have already put together the settlerethics spy transducer, without really knowing it. The only thing the settlerethics lacks is financing, with no political will to perform it or any real understanding of its necessity.
I have the vague Freudian inkling that the humanity has this death wish, willing to perish together with its planet, and putting every effort into this endeavor. It’s like a planetary «mortido», a characteristic of the species. Alternatively, it may be simply pampering to its own «animal within», that stupid and avaricious ape that lives in all of us who has finally reached a fridge filled with bananas.
You mention the death wish possible for our biological species, yet will it not contradict the evolution?
Not at all, for everything fits the evolution very much. The main principle of survival for any species is the drive towards a maximal «grinding-in» to its own environment. In the language of the synergetics, it corresponds to the drive to fill in the first stable «potential hole» in a conditional surface of a conditional space.
Imagine a «slope» a ball rolls from. The ball will go along a trajectory defined by the principle of the least resistance, and it will roll down until it strikes the first available local hole. In the neurocybernetics, there is a notion of «baking». Picture this slope made of plasticine, and put on a hot frying pan. The slope starts melting down. The local holes will then smooth out, and the ball will roll to the bottom of the slope, to the global minimum.
In Darwin’s evolution, catastrophes «bake» entire ecological niches, thus forcing fattened or lazy species out of them, without letting them stagnate. Like, the destruction of dinosaurs opened up the way for mammals. As for the present humanity— alas, it is still 98 per cent apes, humans still have too much of animals in them, so they behave like that steel ball.
Using the «greedy algorithm», with each their step, they strive to maximize their momentary profit, and minimize their momentary expenses. When the humanity was still weak in numbers and strength, the Earth was the inexhaustible resource for it. The planet had time to clean up the mess of its «expenses», as a cat licks up its kitten’s ass. The kitten has grown up now, though. The biosphere cannot keep up with the multiplied and matured humanity that eats it up from with within faster and more expansively.
Therefore, what we have to do is either to look for a new pseudo inexhaustible resource that can become the Deep Space, or change our behavioral strategy, discarding the «greedy algorithm». Both tasks demand a speedy upgrade of our basic construction, our body, and our brain.
Unfortunately, only 1 per cent of the population is able to understand the things the other mass cannot. A half of that 1 percent consists of geniuses, and another half is comprised of asylum cases. However, this 1 per cent is not the group that has reached the fridge filled with bananas. They are not in power or with money. Therefore, here we have an insoluble contradiction. Those who want the upgrade cannot do it, and those who can don’t want it.
Is it possible that this collective thanatic drive will be a form of, say, evolutionary drive to make way for some next species?
What is this «next» species? This is our techno-technological world with the supercomputer brain, the nervous system of the Internet, and mobile communications networks. The next species is «The Terminator». It will be more progressive, and evolutionarily preferable. Why?
A human learns all his life but everything he has learned can be reinstalled in a computer in an hour. He can spend decades on solving a problem a machine can solve in a minute. A human head is inseparable from a human body, and a man has only one of both. Computers, however, can store information in a distributed way, like a cloud, on a multitude of server disks in a network. Moreover, the network can be augmented indefinitely.
A human does not even know the full scheme of his brain. A computer, on the other hand, is an open system, everything is known about it. Nothing can stop a computer from growing in power, and effectiveness, and nothing can stop a robot from expanding its sensory and effectory abilities, using more and more perfect patterns, and materials.
Machines are more perfect than we are. But why are they going to replace us?
Here I use the notion from the classic marxism, the alienation of labor, and the objectification of living labor in a machine, a means of production, and capital. The theory of scientific communism was based on the ultimate transition when 100 per cent of living labor is alienated into a machine. The technology then becomes something like Korney Chukovsky’s «Wonder-Tree», the Garden of Eden where you can pick up a pair of boots from a tree, free of charge. According to your needs. Because there is no money for no one pays any wages, for there is no living labor. This means that products, works, and services produced by this second nature free of charge will be distributed gratis.
So, the post-biological civilization is inevitable?
I see here only one way out. If you can’t win, join it. Join it before it is too late. We’ve got to join the ranks of those who come to replace us, those sentient creatures who are smarter and more perfect than we are. We’ve got to «resettle» our personalities, and consciousnesses into them, and with them, within them we’ve got to start exploring and colonizing the endless expanses of the outer space.
You say, «Before it is too late». Do you sense any threat from the Technology becoming more sentient, and the oncoming machine civilization?
Yes, but not only from those. There are four types of threats. They are space and terrestrial, natural and artificial ones. The space natural threat is, say, that asteroid Apophis, or Sun flares. The terrestrial natural threat is, say, an explosion of a super volcano, or shifting of magnetic poles. The terrestrial artificial threat is a number of things, including global warming, destruction of the biosphere, a global financial crisis, a nuclear war, and the Terminator nightmare, too. The space artificial threat can also be a number of things, including those «flying saucers», «human star wars», the loss of satellite communication, the Terminator moving into space, Moon as the base for the new civilization of machines. The only thing common is that we have only one planet here, and we are the only humanity on its surface. Nevertheless, no one puts all eggs into one basket. The planet might not be able to carry all this weight.
Why does the scientific milieu that ought to be an interested mother of innovation, or so it seems, turn out to be the main stronghold of conservatism, regressive stalling, and the old world in general?
Who pays the science for its new developments? The state and the business. The business is momentary, it works by the «greedy algorithm» when it should have its profit here and now, and as much as possible. This is why they finance only applied inventions that are tiny but they yield huge profits if mass-produced.
The state has its own agenda. Its main purpose is self-preservation, and power. This is why the priority here is the military innovation. Remember the pride of the 20th century, the nuclear power, computers, space explorations, etc. All of them were born out of the world war. À la guerre comme à la guerre, you know, there is that caste conservatism in the army that can be compared only to the conservatism of church, prison, and school.
The academic bureaucracy is no better than any other. An ancient but much-decorated sclerotic academician is a priori smarter than a young unknown. Everyone knows about the putrescence, and decaying of any rigid linear hierarchic system of management. The roots of it are also in our simian past.
They performed that experiment on baboons, you know. The leader of the tribe there is the one with a great grey mane of hair. It’s the evolution speaking there: if a male could survive to this age in those not very friendly conditions of natural selection, it means he’s wise, experienced, and the tribe will also survive under his guidance. So, the experimenters pasted a grey wig on a young and stupid ape. It was immediately voted their leader. The former leader was immediately discarded.
Therefore, the inertia here is so great that our simian nature dictates us this behavioral model. Yet the human civilization is in a long and dire need of other criteria for evaluating the mind, and decision correctness than a grey mane of the leader of the pack, or his shoulder straps, or his golden badge. By the way, apes do not live to the age of sclerosis.
So, to cap it up. The business is near-sighted, and as for the state, although it can possibly finance strategic programs, there all decisions are made by old people who think along outdated paradigms, is that right?
But the main thing, the planet doesn’t have its master. The global government is a myth. The U. N. is a hired help. «Mine» ends with one state. The European Union, the USSR, or any other multinational empire will always be a clumsy monster. Saving the planet, saving the humanity as a whole is necessary for everyone, and this means no one individually needs it.
Does this mean that the sine qua non condition for our cyborgization, and the subsequent departure for our «Space Odyssey» is the global unification into a single international body of the human civilization?
It does mean that. But not a single body, no, like the one having a single asshole. The unified brain. In my articles, I write about the PSB, Planetary Super Brain. In order to install it, first we have to measure its basic unit, a human. It means, first we have to establish the settlerethic interface, and include all humans in «the Matrix». Right now, in our simian status, no planetary unity is possible. Our apeness will just destroy it.
You suggest installing «spy transducers» into the brain, one per each neuron, so that they could synchronize with our consciousness first «in the flesh», and then replace that «flesh». In this picture, the figure of the operator is disturbing. The very first settlerethic nano robots will hardly be sold by street vendors, to be installed at home after dinner. Inevitably, there appears an authorized dealer, and this means a number of threats, starting with the governmental interference into the consciousness’s techno double, and replacing parts of your own structure with the structures from an alien, a «desired» person, and ending with personality abductions or fragmentations.
Either those spy transducers replace neurons, forming an artificial brain double that could be extracted later, after the host is biologically dead, and resettled from his dead scull to the body robot. Or, they serve only as intermediaries between it and the virtual copy of the brain stored in an external supercomputer, like «mobile phones in neuron’s pocket».
The problem of the transitory period exists, no doubt about it. I don’t have any pipe dreams about «humane and noble mankind». The only hope we have, as usual, is the nature’s laws, including socio-economic ones.
Just remember. Within mere fifty years, the totalitarian cosmos developed to the stage when we have private spaceships. Not only the two global superpowers have nuclear power stations now, and I won’t be at all surprised to see private nuclear power station on the scale of one per mansion. I won’t even mention computers, scanners, copy machines, and mobile phones. Fifty years ago something was a secret espionage technology, and not is might be available to a child.
Market laws are certain and dire. If something is in effective demand, and thus is capable of generating income, it will inevitably leak from those super secret military labs into the mass consumer market, and fill in its segment there. We live in the century, and the world when and where there’s no hiding, any murder will out.
It’s enough to be certain that there is a machine to become immortal. It is operable, and safe, and you could even talk to people who underwent the operation. The market explosion is coming!
(1) – «settler» (eng.) = «[pereselenets]» (rus).
(2) – In author's terminology «gauge-spy» designates a nanonejro-boat which is introduced into a brain fabric, in the quantity conforming to 50 billion of neurones, and possesses «synergetic's property», i. e. such gauges, - ng
Itself collects in working system, and, as a result, replicate the duplicate neuronets the person then, - the consciousness can be «resettled» from a biological captivity.
(3) – Yan I. Korchmaryuk. Settleretics, or the digitized brain. (December 2010), – the link on the Internet http://settleretics.my1.ru/
 Корчмарюк Я. И. Сознание–киборг. Постчеловек эпохи звездных колоний. //Интервью Интернет-порталу «Луч». Беседовал Анатолий Ульянов. Перевод на английский Максима Немцова. 22 октября 2010 г.
 In the author’s terminology, «a spy transducer» is a nano neuro bot introduced into the brain tissue in the quantity equal to 50 billion neurons, which has «a synergetic ability». This means that these transducers can gather into a working system, and reproduce the human neuro system’s double. After this, the consciousness can be “resettled” from its biological captivity. The closest contemporary equivalent, the author believes, is the Harvard field nano transistor, nanoFIT.