Re: virus: Metasystem Transition

Dan Plante (
Wed, 29 Jan 1997 16:53:44 -0800

At 04:22 PM 1/28/97 -0800, Lior Golgher wrote:
>I excerpted:
>> > control of position = movement
>> > control of movement = irritability (simple reflex)
>> > control of irritability = (complex) reflex
>> > control of reflex = associating (conditional reflex)
>> > control of associating = human thinking
>> > control of human thinking = culture
>And Dave replied:
>> Everyone check this out. They're NEARLY right...
>As far as I understand, they posted it as a vague model intended to
>exemplify the concept of metasystems. 'THE right model of life' is a
>crown they've never claimed. But the third and the fourth step seem
>especially logical. What do you aim by 'nearly'? What's your view of it?

Maybe he meant it's not complete. Here, I'll fill it in:

control of (human) culture = THE METAMIND..IND..ind..ind..ind
(God-like baritone echo) -------------|

An interesting concept though, isn't it? I mean, sure, you could
probably challenge the metasystem transition history postulated
above on the basis of strict paleobiological consistency, but it
seems correct to me in essence. Basically, it attempts to highlight
the already established principles of progressively complex
heirarchial structures, and associated emergent properties (a la
cellular automata) implicit in the memetics approach to understanding
human culture within the context of the ubiquitous and inexorable
process of evolution.

Even more interesting is speculating on how the "next step" would
manifest itself. Why don't we inject some life into this group and
try one out:

The year is 2050. The pace of scientific and technological progression
has accelerated unabated. Almost everyone on the planet making more
than Cdn$30.00 per year has some sort of connectivity to the Net, the
hardware, software and bandwidth of which is highly sophisticated,
unobtrusive, and costs pennies a month. Most people in developed countries
actually carry the Net around with them, completely independant of any

Recent advances in genetic engineering, protein synthesis, DNA computers,
nanotechnology and AI software agents, coupled with the mature fields of
cognitive biochemistry and neural implants stemming from ground-breaking
advances in neural prostheses achieved in the late 1980's, have allowed
many middle and upper-income people to carry a bio-engineered (grown),
immunologically tailored Node inside their heads. A protein "fuel cell",
integrated into the circulatory system and using the body's own chemistry,
provides power in the form of electricity and chemical reactants for the
node, and for the super-wide-band, low-power, burst-mode spread-spectrum
tranciever. All this in a package the size of a thumbnail, which, after
being injected as a microscopic parasite and following its genetic/nano-
technical programming, grows in place between the hemispheres of the brain,
above the corpus collosum, integrating itself into the fibre bundle, much
as a human embryo inside the womb. Carefully sequenced "telomeres", DNA
computational error-detection and correction enzymes, and other genetic
controllers accurately choreograph the growth of the implant without
letting it get out of control. The highly abstracted and heirarchial
"cellular propagation" connectivity protocol implemented by the tranciever,
working in synergy with the AI agents, continuously samples Net activity;
filtering, cross-correlating and researching other Net data, it derives an
initial sub-abstraction construct, which it then merges with correlated
abstraction patterns it detects in the hippocampus and neo-cortex.
The same dynamic works in reverse when the host wishes to understand a
subject/concept. Information transmission/retrieval flows to/from head
to head through a population in a flash, in overlapping concentric wave-
fronts typical of cellular propagation.

All this makes it appear to the host as if he or she just "gains knowledge
or understanding" about something, but doesn't know how, exactly. It also
has the side affect of propagating updated "knowledge and idea" packets
back into the Net, through active retrieval, rather than passive sampling
and filtering of Net activity.

I suppose people at the turn of the millenium would have been horrified at
the thought of doing this to themselves, but, as is typical in human
cultural evolution, these things sort of creep into the culture slowly,
gradually, until no one even raises an eyebrow. It started with genetically
grown neural prosthetics for the blind, deaf and cripled, as well as
remedial gene therapy to permantly change the genetic makeup of individuals
suffering from hereditary diseases. Soon people started pointing to these
applications to legitimize genetic or nano-technological "cures" for
obesity and baldness. And so it progressed.

And when you couple this capability with the "knowledge is power" ethic
adopted by the culture since the late 1900's, together with the profoundly
social and gregarious nature of the human animal, there was really no
stopping it. Nobody with the means was going to let themselves (or their
children) be "left behind" or "left out".

Given all this, I suppose we should have seen it coming. The Change, I
mean. It seems so obvious in retrospect.

It started slowly at first. Marketing companies would pour millions into
headlining a new product, which would have the initial success predicted
by the bean-counters and behaviourial phychologists, then suddenly drop
precipitiously and fail miserably in spite of the millions spent on
seductive and flashy advertising. Market research kept getting the same

"I'm not going to buy that, it's a piece of shit!"

"How do you know that?"
"I just do. The manufacturing is OK but the materials are sub-standard."

"But how do you know for sure?"
"It's common knowledge. The company knew too, and tried to sell it anyway.
Everybody knows that. That CEO of yours is an amoral scumbag. I'm not going
to buy anything from your company (or your other holdings - I know them all),
until you get rid of him."

"I'm sorry, have you met him?"

Large corporations started going under at an alarming rate. Small startup
companies would blossom into giants overnight, due to massive sales of a
previously obscure product or service.

The economic situation was stable but chaotic. No mass layoffs, and people
changed companies and jobs at an alarming rate, but seemed to handle it
rather well. Not only was there no panic, there didn't seem to be much
interest in the possibility of widespread panic either.

Then traffic jams started untangling themselves of their own accord. Then
they stopped happening altogether.

Then the pace of scientific discovery skyrocketed, as ideas in narrow
fields of study were matched with other, typically isolated and unrelated
fileds, creating a renaissance of sorts.

And so on it went. Chaos and upheaval, by definition, but the
industrialized world seemed to be able to keep its collective cool about
it, and nothing like the revolution you might have expected from a
historical perspective ever happened. It was all very surreal.

Now that we know what happened, it seems almost silly that those who were
connected to the Bio-Net (or "B-Net") didn't relate what was happening in
their own heads to what was happening to the culture right from the start.
The integration of peoples's minds and the Net had been going on for
decades in one form or another. First text, then graphical, then sensory
immersion, then AI agents, then information-access-only implants.....
it was so gradual and incremental, over such a long time, that nobody
noticed when all the components necessary for The Change had come together,
or when the number and density of "B-Netters" had reached the critical

Once the kernel of an idea of a thought had come up in the mind of one
B-Netter, of course, the idea had been exposed to the B-Net, added to
and enhanced by someone else's thoughts on the subject, automatically
and transparently corrected for technical and scientific accuracy by the
AI's, rehashed again a million times, and finally, all B-Netters who were
even idly thinking along those lines at the time knew the answer. The whole
process, from idle toying with an idea, to profound understanding of a
formal hypothesis, took about three minutes. That's when everyone
unanimously agrees (that happens a lot these days) that humanity became
aware of the MetaMind. But is it aware of us? Or "aware" in any sense of
the word? No consensus there yet.

Part of the reason it seemed to take so long to realize what was going on,
was that nobody felt any different. Nobody seemed to be changed by it or
the experience. That's because it wasn't the typical "takeover" scenario
postulated in some Science Fiction books. Nobody became a robot, nobody
lost their individuality or independance of thought or action. That's
because, unlike the other scenarios, the individual minds went about their
own business, but also "overlapped" each other, creating an arbitrarily
large "idea processing pool" and "shared concept space".

The researchers say the critical dynamics of the system are due to the
abstraction protocols, the enormous bandwidth, and the "temporally tight
coupling" provided by the mind/AI/Xcvr/AI/mind linkage. All these taken
individually do nothing unexpected, but put together, an emergent
property unfolds. It's still kind of weird not knowing any of this stuff
until I start thinking about it, but my kids don't even bat an eyelash.
It seems perfectly normal to them. That's because they've had it since
birth. The idea was developed in the MetaMind where we could use gene
therapy to change every cell in a body to naturally grow the structures
needed for the implants...including the gonadal cells. So, nobody has to
go through the procedure (kind of disorienting for the first few weeks
while it grows), or even think about it, for that matter. It also means
that it's part of the human (homo-connectus?) genome now, so eventually,
every kid born will have it, and so will their kids.......

There are only 57 countries in the world now, most having merged. Of
those, only 22 still have any kind of centralized government to speak
of, and most of those are developing countries, riding the last crest of
the so-called "information age", the shortest "age" in history. All the
others just sort of naturally slipped into a consensus-driven anarchy
model. Hard to believe it was only 3 years ago.

>PS: Oh Erik, is this message yet another try to become the list's

Smartasses welcome. Dumbasses must leave the list. Make it so...

The Metasystem Transition History of the "Dan Plante" System

initial conditions = data (conception)
control of data = information (conception to puberty)
control of information = knowledge (puberty to marriage)
control of knowledge = wisdom (marriage to divorce)