Saturday, 17 February 2007

Programmable Matter

So, scientists are always complaining that their funding keeps getting cut, but when they do get money what do they spend it on?

Well apparently, new ways of manipulating elementary particles to create previously 'impossible' forms of matter...and then, they find ways to change the kind (and therefore properties) of matter, at the flick of a switch.

Okay, so it only works so far in two dimensions but i still think the ability to create 'artificial atoms' and change their structure at will is pretty impressive.

The practice (this isn't a theory. this is actually happening) draws on quantum theory, and also has significant applications for quantum computing as if we can control the structure and flow of electrons between these 'artificial atoms' then the size of silicon chips no longer limits processing power.

Computer scientists have placed the date 2020 as both the point when we will be unable to further enhance computer power by reducing the size of the components....and the point at which computers will begin, if their trajectory continues, to outstrip humans in both intelligence and humanness.

I should make clear at this point that the possibility of computers actually taking over from humans; ie, becoming self-aware and beginning to manipulate their own nature and therefore destiny, while being science fiction to most of us, is treated as a virtual certainty (no pun intended) by professional computer scientists at institutions actually conducting the research and defining the future of computers.

My own thoughts? Let's take a look around. Humanity faces some very serious decisions over the next decade. But it seems to me like we've already given up on progressing beyond our naive, childish phase, our bullying, judgmentalism and irreperably selfish ways will be the end of us. What makes me most sad, is that some people have been trying to show us our potential for centuries.

"A great miracle, O Asklepios, is man" said Hermes Trismegistus two centuries ago. Along with every other mystic, he (or whoever wrote the Gnostic treatise Asklepios) understood that divinity is not outside of is within. It is our own adulthood, waiting for us to mature sufficiently and take on the responsibility that this demands.

This is not an abstract, it is a fundamental to do with our own nature, and it relates to every individual on earth. We all have the responsibility of this decision - to grow up and become who we really are, or stay asleep, daydreaming and lost in transitory distractions...and let the mantle of evolution pass onto another, more willing entity.

You can read the article on programmable matter from Wired here.

You can read the Gnostic gospels found at Nag Hammadi here.

You can keep up to date with new developments in physics here (and you really should).

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