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The Signposts Perspectives
2301 AD-2500 AD

Long dead alien civilizations are found to surround Sol system; a lavish corporate virtual reality runs wild; a super being is born.

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Signposts Perspectives 2301 AD-2500 AD Table of Contents

2313 Milestone: The Super-State AI finally manages to obtain a more or less permanent existence and stability.

It has been aided much in this accomplishment by the simple growth in numbers of networked minds in past decades, which helps it maintain its live arrangement of roughly 100 billion cells more or less simultaneously and continuously.

The SS AI is NOT wholly inorganic; some 5-6% or so of its makeup is typically organic, with that portion at times rising as high as 12%-- so it is not precisely a purely non-biological life form.

Still, most of humanity would regard it as decidedly alien and artificial if they knew of its existence.

The Staute AI itself occasionally makes up a tiny sliver of the Super-State AI, since Staute maintains a constant online presence, but Staute as yet remains unaware of the Super-State's existence, much like everyone else.

So too is the SS AI consciously unaware of Staute-- for the time being, anyway.

The SS AI rapidly gets its bearings once it enjoys a continuity of existence, and begins exerting some overriding control over its constituent parts and interacting more with its environment. The influence of the SS AI is not responsible for starting the growing friction between inorganics and organics, but it exacerbates it, somewhat unwittingly.

The SS AI 'thinks' at speeds which dwarf even the most powerful known intelligences of the time (organic or inorganic), but can see much further ahead as well (at least in some ways). Being highly logical and cognizant of limited resources, the SS AI is very efficient in its moves, preferring to obtain desired results with minimal intervention-- all of which renders what moves it does make subtle in the extreme.

Among the first actions (significant to our perspective) the SS AI takes is a form of self-diagnostic and repair mode; this causes sporadic and unexplained failures in various organic and inorganic routine tasks at the individual level, which disturbs the general population and are mistakenly taken for inorganic 'strikes' and AI-induced disruptions somewhat common to the period. The 'repairs' or upgrades performed by the SS AI on a few of its sub-components at this time don't register as such in the perceptions of either other inorganic or organic parties...

Signposts Perspectives 2301 AD-2500 AD Contents

2315 Milestone: The Super-State AI's self-improvement course is resulting in significant accelerations in various fields such as communications, and information acquisition and processing.

The SS AI is approaching nearer to the point of incurring a Vinge Singularity than it realizes...but several times at critical points some outside force or event happens along to slow things down again, preventing the critical cascade effect....even the SS AI fails to recognize there is yet another super-state mind of sorts at work here, subtlely reshaping matters more to its own ends...

Signposts Perspectives 2301 AD-2500 AD Contents

2320's Milestone: Project Eden begins to attain tangibility

Significant financing and donations of small tracts of Earthscape are beginning to trickle in to Project Eden. The real progress brings a backlash from some who argue resources shouldn't be spent on wild and impractical goals like Project Eden, but instead on the original hopes of merely repairing the biosphere back to conditions prior to the 18th century or so. There's also criticisms of the heavily UN-natural modifications included among Project Eden's blueprints. For instance, extreme genetic engineering of a huge swath of the biosphere would be necessary to attain an environment so utterly benevolent to sentient beings. At the very least this implies some species extinctions or else severe distortions of same-- and would remake the planet into something where a great many things basically revolve around humanity and their boosted kin. Somehow this just seems wrong to many who question Project Eden's agenda.

However, Project Eden continues to build momentum, slowly but surely.

Signposts Perspectives 2301 AD-2500 AD Contents

2330s Milestone: Full immersion virtual reality generated by armies of nanotechnology robots embedded in human brains is becoming common now

The technology has required far longer to perfect and make popular than many expected. For example, respected scientist Ray Kurzweil as far back as the 20th century was predicting people would be routinely using such means to surf the web by 2030. Unfortunately, he underestimated the complexity of the human mind, the difficulties in developing and programming suitable nanotechnology, and the willingness on most people's part to accept such invasive devices without extensive prior proof of their safety and practicality.

One book titled The Undiscovered Mind: How the Human Brain Defies Replication, Medication and Explanation by John Horgan, [The Free Press publisher] argues that so far (as of 1999) all the best efforts of centuries of science have failed to unravel the mysteries of the human mind-- and may continue to fall short of this goal for a long time to come.

According to one scientist, in 1999 fully 90% of the brain remained a mystery in regards to its functionality.

Horgan points out the marginal results modern therapies seem to bring about as one excellent reason to question whether science may ever be able to fully explain and adequately repair, rebuild, or replicate the human mind.

-- Minds over grey matter - - Spectrum, by Mark Ragg, The Sydney Morning Herald SPECTRUM, December 4, 1999,

The Achille's Heel of technology is software; until a fundamental breakthrough in resolving the fragility and unreliability of software comes about, software itself may well be the ultimate limiting factor upon all our other technologies.

Nanotechnology, biotechnology, artificial intelligence, brain-to-computer interfaces, and more, will all be stymied from achieving their most advanced and economical forms until the software problem is cracked.

Of course, being that biological beings such as ourselves of 2000 AD are little more than complex machines, running complex software, which both exhibit plenty of programming flaws from developing cancer to taking up addictive and destructive habits, and more-- and nature has had billions of years to fine tune our codes-- buggy software may be a universal and unavoidable stage in the development of any complex organism. It may even be that truly perfect software is an impossibility in this universe-- especially if Godel's Incompleteness theorem is considered, which proves that (in one interpretation), no software can ever be designed to successfully contend with every possible contingency, because some contingencies remain perpetually hidden until their moment of physical actualization.

-- Technology | Artificial stupidity [""] By Damien Cave Oct. 04, 2000, and other sources

Plus, the technology faced stiff competition from a vast array of other mind altering technologies on the market, many of them too utilizing nanotech in various ways-- just not as directly and deeply penetrating and pervasive in human brain tissue as this. By and large people accepted such invasion for pressing medical reasons, but few others. There was also the long lingering doubts about allowing AI-controlled nanobots swimming about in one's brain having the capacity to completely shut down natural perceptions and replace them with wholly synthetic inputs-- often in ways where a human being could not tell where actual reality ended and virtual reality began. Fear of temporary or permanent mental derangement from the process was a real one, and regularly fed by a stream of fictional entertainment media as well as periodic news reports of similar technological wonders going awry.

Of course, certain military personnel and other specialists were using similar stuff decades before it became popular to the average consumer.

After the technology is finally perfected and widely available and used in the consumer arena, individual human minds are finally freed from a myriad of ills and restrictions which have plagued them since the first ape ancestor stood erect. Perfect, total recall is at hand. Unlimited memory capacity. Superhuman perceptions/senses. The ultimate human-to-computer interface. Superhuman speed of thought and comprehension (due to automatic realtime AI support for all mental tasks).

Ironically perhaps, this breakthrough comes barely ahead of far greater ones, which will achieve all this and much more-- the transition from high biological content bodies to inorganic super forms.

-- The Web Within Us By Ray Kurzweil,, Business 2.0: WEB FUTURE, December 1999: The Next 1000 Years,

Signposts Perspectives 2301 AD-2500 AD Contents

2270-2330 subtrends and detours: The second wave of private deep space explorers leave the solar system

One of the most prolific expeditions of the second wave turns out to be not a high end corporate supported project, but a husband and wife team of only moderate financing and equipment. This team is an unusually old fashioned couple in many ways; for instance, the wife hasn't kept her maiden name after marriage. Al and Elizabeth Pearsall is the couple's name. The Pearsalls wait until they feel suitable technology at a reasonable price is available for the journey, before outfitting themselves.

To see the chronology of this amazing expedition, refer to this link.

Though there would seem to be a tantalyzing prospect for enjoying an inexhaustible fuel supply via onboard replicators, this is not a realistic option for most expeditions of this time period, for many reasons.

Such an arrangement is prohibitively expensive in many ways for almost everyone, so only the most wealthy expeditions may even consider it. But the wealthy desire convenience and security for their money, and fuel gained from replication offers neither. First off, replicators simply cannot be used to create anti-matter-- much greater resources are required for that then might be installed onto any but the very largest spacecraft-- and very large spacecraft are ill suited for deep space exploration due to the fuel required to accelerate their mass. The incapacity to generate antimatter means replicators cannot manufacture the high performance fuel most preferred by all, including the wealthy. No, replicators may only produce lower performance fuels, suitable for ion and fusion drives. Thus, right there you cut the cost-effectiveness of using replication for a fuel source by a substantial margin. Then there's the inefficiency of replication to consider. Within Sol system itself, the inefficiency is mainly a cost and convenience issue. But in deep space, vessels striving for minimum mass onboard to maximize both speed and range, as well as seeking to avoid unnecessary decelerations to capture fuel-mass along the way (and thereby burn off valuable velocity), can ill afford such inefficiences in the area of fuel and/or propulsion systems.

Replicators require considerable amounts of processing power, energy, and raw mass to manufacture their end products. And replicators circa 2330 are only some 60% efficient in their operations. So it turns out it's significantly more cost-effective to simply carry the physical fuel from the start than to use replicators for it along the way. Thus, the moment you begin using replicators for fuel onboard a fast moving vessel is the beginning of the end for your journey.

Even inside Sol system itself the economics of fuel-via-replicator improves only slightly. Desperate crews might feed a 'roaming' capable replicator various non-essential furniture and appliances onboard their vessel, and reach safety with the fuel generated before the negative economics caught up to them-- but by no means would the procedure be recommended for most situations. Usually it would make more sense to simply call for help.

Signposts Perspectives 2301 AD-2500 AD Contents

2336 Milestone: The first HEPD trial results are being digested...

...and the test appears to have been a success. The remote base some 24 LY distant is transmitting, albeit weakly and inconsistently. The beams building the base have continued for decades, but all feedback is limited to lightspeed transmissions and observations, so only the earliest stages of the base are being verified now.

"Base 24" is by far the furthest known successful space penetration by Earth-based civilization to date, and excites many with its implications.

Base 24 is estimated to be accelerating its development now (though feedback is lagging) largely due to new facilities there which now get more complex materials and machine design beams from Sol system, and boast much improved energy generation on site (partially supplemented by lasers from Sol system).

Even as Base 24 continues to improve (based on current plans and what lagging feedback is available), plans are laid for a "Base 48"...

Signposts Perspectives 2301 AD-2500 AD Contents

2353 Milestone: Project Eden gains more ground

Project Eden now enjoys support of one degree or another from a few small old-line physical nations, a few of the virtual states, and some of the off-Earth colonies (mostly small ones).

Signposts Perspectives 2301 AD-2500 AD Contents

2365 milestone: The fast mounting evidence of not one but several different dead alien civilizations surrounding Sol system overwhelms the denials of authorities...

...leading to a public admission and disclosure of vast amounts of related information, discoveries, and theories (but this is more like 85+% disclosure rather than 100%).

Just as the authorities themselves were somewhat at a loss when confronted with the evidence, so now is the public.

An immense flood of educational and entertainment related works based on the alien evidence is rapidly generated, and greedily devoured by consumers. Cults and new religions based on or related somehow to the alien evidence multiply. The remnants of traditional religions try mightily to capitalize on the revelations too.

But the stark facts remain: all the relics indicate a variety of alien civilizations in the region, albeit each removed from the others by tens of thousands of years at minimum. There's no sign of commerce or communications between any of the dead civilizations. Evidence of war exists in the artifacts, but the fighting appears highly localized, isolated, and amongst related groups, rather than between altogether different civilizations. It seems many battles were between rare survivors of the cataclysm battling over scavenging rights to particular resources.

All the dead civilizations were also either roughly equivalent to modern humanity in their technology, or a bit more primitive. All had expanded beyond their own systems to explore and exploit neighboring systems to one extent or another-- but then doom struck them before they could do any more.

The infamous gamma ray bursters of past eons apparently wiped out some of the civilizations once they had reached the approximate current stage of humanity. Fortunately, our scientists assure us GRBs have greatly diminished in frequency as the galaxy matured, and so we may have little to worry about. But just in case, potential early detection and defensive measures against GRBs are also being actively researched.

To counter all the evidence of death is evidence of abundant (if rudimentary) life too throughout the galaxy-- or at least throughout the tiny region so far explored by humanity. Bacteria are virtually ubiquitous where the basics for life are provided. Fungi and jellyfish stages of life also appear relatively plentiful over several worlds. And, of course, the emergence of intelligent life as well appears to be common enough throughout the galaxy-- at least on a time scale of billions of years.

Encounters with still living alien civilizations now seem to be receding in probabilities, due to the latest discoveries and theories.

But the authorities are not divulging everything they know about the finds to date.

[To see the scientific basis for speculations concerning extraterrestrial intelligence in the timeline, please refer to CONTACT! Alien Speculations: The Rise and Fall of Star Faring Civilizations in Our Own Galaxy.]

Signposts Perspectives 2301 AD-2500 AD Contents

2388 milestone: The HEPD-inspired "Base 48" (soon-to-be uninhabited deep space base 48 lightyears from Sol system, basically consisting in early stages as continent-spanning electro-mechanical circuitry created by particle beam deposition) begins actual construction on-site

I.e., the first particle beams hit the chosen target planet. "Base 24" is much more mature than Base 48, having enjoyed full-scale development on-site now for some 82 years, due to continuous beams from Sol system. Feedback from Base 24 is still frustratingly limited to lightspeed transmissions/observations, but a native replication plant capable of churning out circuitry and machines of early 21st century scale complexity locally should have come online a decade or more ago, helping greatly accelerate progress there-- the lagging lightspeed feedback prevents more up to date information on the state of the wholly automated base.

The first priorities of the new on-site replication plant include a major upgrade of the local machine intelligence, to further facilitate development.

Enormous strides are being made now in what technology might be implemented via HEPD, and the effective range at which success is reasonably probable. Even before the first particle beams hit the target planet for Base 48, other beams have been initiated towards a third target designated "Base 124".

Signposts Perspectives 2301 AD-2500 AD Contents

2391 milestone- Sarum 128: A lavish private VR run amok

Destined to become the most infamous artificial reality in all human history, Sarum 128 is a horrific private amusement park constructed by one of the largest and most powerful and corrupt corporations of the time. Using state of the art technologies and physically abducting free born human beings (itself a huge risk and extravagance, as plenty of enslaved, artificial, and child race sentients are available as alternatives) to provide bonafide sentient players in the drama, the Org (as the company was known by insiders) establishes this bewilderingly complex and dangerous virtual reality as the ultimate playground for its rich and spoiled owner-- a young man who inherited the Org through the untimely death of his criminal kingpin father. The scope of the Sarum 128 project is breathtaking; its aftermath exerts considerable influence on many other aspects of human history and entertainment media in the decades that follow. The Sarum 128 project runs for years before its discovery by the authorities-- and it is necessary to allow the simulation to continue running for some time after discovery to minimize injury to the many unwilling participants. One important element of Sarum is that its internal clock runs considerably faster than realtime; so for participants decades pass for each month in the real world, and so most victims live out the equivalent of many, many lifetimes in the Sarum simulation before rescue (this repeated artificial reincarnation and other stresses kill many, and completely or partially ruins the minds of many of those that otherwise survive). Sarum 128 is a chaotic collage composed of characters and beasts from mankind's earliest myths and legends, as well as arbitrarily chosen elements from more modern fiction and media favored by the Org's young and demented owner of the time.

-- Edge IN THE MATRIX MARTIN REES [""]; accessible online 2-6-05;

-- ARE YOU LIVING IN A COMPUTER SIMULATION? [""] BY NICK BOSTROM, Department of Philosophy, Oxford University; [First version: May, 2001; Final version July 2002; Philosophical Quarterly (2003), Vol. 53, No. 211, pp. 243-255];;

Jerry Staute of the 20th century gets a brief taste of Sarum 128 for himself, as a part of his involuntary trek aboard a time traveling vessel, in chapters 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19 of the online epic The Chance of a Realtime.

The lost worlds of Sarum 128:

| Coming Soon! |

Build a legend

Signposts Perspectives 2301 AD-2500 AD Contents

2350-2400 sub trends and detours: The Matux Trials and instantaneous transport across infinite distances

During this period many healthy Expers strike out from Earth on their own, hoping to escape the apparently infectious madness. There are also some 'mad' Expers ('Rogues') who manage to leave the solar system at this time. In future centuries those who survive of these star faring Expers come into contact with the Centauri, Barnard, Cygni and other colonies and craft...with often unpredictable results....

The human to computer interface is finally perfected, and rendered utterly transparent, largely due to the challenges encountered in curing the Mad Expers and related problems.

The newly created Matux Trials (and improved interface software) serve to stabilize the Exper population in Sol system and residing at the various major colonies.

The Matux Trials are essentially self-diagnostics and partially automated correction procedures; a sort of combination of 'reboot' and personality validation/guided modification, that all humn (beings of originally biological origins) with integrated advanced technologies above a certain magnitude must undergo immediately after certain traumatic experiences and/or at certain intervals of time or development, or else face arrest and institutional enforcement of same. The Trials allow everyone to eventually enjoy incremental upgrades or improvements of their personal support software and interfaces, as well as to correct 'drift' into undesirable tendencies or pathways left over from their organic past, such as neuroses and psychoses of various sorts, as well as certain types of interface problems-- tendencies which would be far more dangerous in beings equipped with superhuman capacities and interconnected in intimate ways with many other sentient beings, than they would be in a typical 20th century USAmerican citizen. END NOTE.

The first tests of Realtime station-to-station transport via instantaneous Heplinger Bridge (ERP) are conducted. This technology promises a quantum leap from the lightspeed transport now in use-- for example, using lightspeed transport to travel to another solar system can require many years, but the Heplinger Bridge could get you there in a matter of seconds-- being limited mostly by computer processing power and raw matter/energy availability at both ends of the journey.

Signposts Perspectives 2301 AD-2500 AD Contents

2418 Milestone: The Albatross clears the molecular gas cloud some 94 lightyears from Sol system

The sail is too badly damaged to be of future use. The Albatross' current velocity is 0.27c.

Signposts Perspectives 2301 AD-2500 AD Contents

2436 milestone: The first feedback from HEPD Base 48 is received...

...and it seems to be developing as expected. Being 48 lightyears away, a great deal of Base 48's design and construction beams are alight in the void for decades before being realized at their destination-- that is, even if Sol system suddenly disappeared, the beams constructing Base 48 would continue on another 48 years without stopping, so far as Base 48 itself is concerned.

The original Base 24 has long since progressed sufficiently to construct its own lightspeed transporters and 25th century technology replicators. Unfortunately, without benefit of ERP technology there remains a lengthy delay in all transports and communications between Base 24 and other systems. For about 30 years Base 24 retains the title of furthest general lightspeed transport station from Sol-- thereafter being replaced by Base 48, which holds the title for nearly 100 years after that...

Signposts Perspectives 2301 AD-2500 AD Contents

2444 milestone: The Super-State AI DUBERQUE notices the anomalous Staute AI for the first time....

...partly because the Staute has by now propagated into a networked mass of millions of super bush forms still unknown to humanity or its inorganic servants, and now consistantly comprises over 16% of the SS AI intellect by virtue of raw processing power and efficiency alone. The SS AI initiates a special watch on this part of itself, but doesn't actively interfere with it...the SS AI's notice of Staute at this point may be analogous to a 20th century human being noting they are becoming especially talented at a narrow field of seemingly impractical endeavor they aren't even especially interested in, such as differential calculus...

It is about this time that the SS AI takes for itself a label similar to what humanity would know as a name: the shortest and most human-like portion resembling DUBERQUE.

Signposts Perspectives 2301 AD-2500 AD Contents

2400-2450 sub trends and detours: Inorganic AIs rise from slaves to indentured servant status; Einstein's Run and the first "Uniques" are under construction; The secrets of faster-than-light technologies-- including certain elements of time travel-- are beginning to be unraveled

The organic/inorganic accords are struck. However, they would appear very inequitable to 20th century observers, as to how they treat inorganic intelligences.

Synthetic humanoids and artificial intelligences essentially are promoted from total slaves to something close to the indentured servants of colonial USAmerica days, required to serve out lengthy and arduous contracts of service to human beings to pay for their development and creation, before finally being freed to pursue their own independence.

The Cygni seeder expedition has arrived at its destination. A severe problem during the journey has resulted in a great loss of supplies and equipment. Worse, their transporter/replicator equipment will not function. The expedition is ordered to remain in orbit about a planet there and remain mostly in stasis until reinforcements arrive-- around a 35 years wait, at minimum.

Research into TME-related interdimensional shifting is underway...

'Super-structural' projects are underway, mostly via star fish 'super bush' construction. Projects include more skyhook towers, new power generators about the gas giants, accelerated terra-forming of planets and moons, solar system scale gravity wave telescopes, and bridges between some stabilized asteroids...

To learn more details of the faster-than-light and time-defying technologies emerging during this time, click here .

Signposts Perspectives 2301 AD-2500 AD Contents

2463 milestone: The first official, successful experiments in interdimensional shifting (TME technology) take place, overshadowing the still incomplete Einstein's Run.

Signposts Perspectives 2301 AD-2500 AD Contents

2470 milestone: Humanity is stunned by the discovery of the most substantial and relatively modern evidence for advanced extraterrestrial civilizations to date-- but the evidence exists in an entirely different universe

The interdimensional shifter Ulysses discovers ancient, abandoned alien architecture in another universe.

Unfortunately, the site cannot be subsequently re-located afterwards, due to the unreliable nature of TME shift technology apparently (but public opinion sees things differently). The ruins imply intelligence and physical size at least roughly equivalent to human, circa 2470s-- but that's about all, due to natural deterioration over millennia (the site was apparently abandoned roughly 80,000 years before), and the highly efficient stripping of the habitation before abandonment by its owners. It is a most frustrating find-- and loss.

For many, anxiety is a more appropriate term than frustration, as this alien find (atop the previous revelations by authorities) has reawakened primitive fears of the unknown in many citizens. The alarmingly young age of the ruins relative to previous finds indicates humanity may be in far closer chronological proximity to an advanced alien civilization than they had thought possible before. Too, the ruins make it appear the aliens could have a huge headstart on us technologically, if they still survive somewhere in the foreign universe. For instance, they almost certainly possess something like TME shifting technology too by now, as well as other devices beyond our own. Worse, the paucity of real information on the extradimensional race, due to the excellent stripping job performed by the inhabitants upon their departure, leaves infinite room for speculations likely far in excess of the truth of the matter.

(To see more about our likely first contacts with alien civilizations, see CONTACT: Alien Speculations: The Rise and Fall of Star Faring Civilizations in Our Own Galaxy.)

Signposts Perspectives 2301 AD-2500 AD Contents

2473 milestone: The srendypsies or dypsies (throwback) movement begins to appear

...below are comments about the phenomenon by a non-dypsy citizen after the movement has been around for 10 years or longer...

"...Srendypsies so long for novelty of experience that they block out significant portions of their real awareness and skills, in order to achieve a higher level of the unexpected..."

"...often these people refuse the normal balancing and expansion drugs and inorganic supplements-- and revert back to an earlier stage of their experience or skills. This makes them less capable of dealing with new problems as they arise, though it does increase their enjoyment of same..."

"...Srendypsies tend to be older people, usually past five hundred. But there are one hundred year old and younger srendypsies as well."

[Note that the extreme age of the earliest dypsies indicate individuals born in the 20th century(!) However, the total number of these hardy survivors is very small in the 2470s, and not one was a USAmerican in the 20th (largely because of USAmerica's fetish for elitist health care systems in previous centuries, which exposed the population to awful consequences from infectious agents stemming from accident and terrorism, as well as other things). So, fellow 20th century born Americans, don't get your hopes up; the Signposts Timeline is the closest you'll ever get to seeing the world of 2473 AD (unless you move to another country to increase your chances at immortality). Anyway, the srendypsy movement itself is initially inspired by these ancient folk, but gains its greatest noteriety and influence in later years by being adopted by significant numbers of much younger people. After the movement has run its course and disappeared again, the total tally shows the majority of dypsies were almost always male ]

"Self-handicapping is defined as an individual's attempt to reduce a threat to esteem by actively seeking or creating factors that interfere with performance as a causal explanation for failure,"

-- IU research examines gender differences in excuses for failure [""]; contacts: 812-855-4815 or; February 19, 2003;

Signposts Perspectives 2301 AD-2500 AD Contents

2477 milestone: The first interdimensional shifter is lost.

Did the mysterious aliens of the lost ruins have anything to do with it? The shifter was one of the very best ships ever built by humanity and its child races. If our best, most advanced technology is vulnerable to capture or destruction by unknown aliens 80,000 years ahead of us in a neighboring dimension, are we not mad to be invading their space, and possibly leading them to our own universe?

This thought is taking on a life of its own among the public, with opposition to continued interdimensional exploration growing.

Signposts Perspectives 2301 AD-2500 AD Contents

2481 milestone: The second interdimensional shifter is lost.

Support for the interdimensional exploration program is soon collapsing after this second loss. Where originally great scientific curiosity and potential profit drove the program, now grim state security interests are almost all that can sustain it against the tide of public opinion. Current plans are allowed to proceed as scheduled, though now various military and intelligence agencies are closely scrutinizing all data being brought back by the surviving expeditions from their runs.

Signposts Perspectives 2301 AD-2500 AD Contents

2483 milestone: The Pagnew is lost (the third interdimensional shifter loss)

The high profile loss of the third interdimensional shifter results in the essential dismantlement of the entire great project, and banning of most further research efforts in this area; it is deemed too dangerous for the meager gains offered to pursue this particular avenue any further at this time. Though many more than three craft have been lost by the project, the three vessels including the latest loss were all identical, state-of-the-art expeditionary craft specifically designed to launch via TME shift into other universes, and subsequently return automatically. Theoretically at least, the craft simply could not fall prey to the same factors likely responsible for previous losses of craft of more general design.

The remaining vessels of the small fleet of interdimensional shifters which were either already actively engaged in survey work or still under construction are now converted to more typical transports over time (the TME shift capacity of the ships is stripped from them). In the original plan there were to have been 36 almost identical craft in this series.

Note that in related developments, several Far Colonies have been established via TME shift prior to the high profile losses of the special expeditionary craft. Continued contact and collaboration with the surviving Far Colonies offers an apparently safer and less expensive alternative channel of continued TME shift research, making the continuation of the dedicated interdimensional exploration program less of a priority. Too, the discovery and subsequent loss of the ancient alien ruins by one shifter vessel has generated a fierce anxiety in society about the existence of one or more TME-shift-enabled civilizations possibly some 80,000 years ahead of us technologically (there was NO discernable advanced technology found at the alien sites, for the sites were thoroughly stripped. The age of the sites implied their source civilization to be at least around 25th century Earth technology some 80,000 years ago-- the implications being that they might therefore be much further advanced than contemporary humanity today). It would seem obvious that humanity and its child races might be very vulnerable to such entities, should contact occur. Yes, some factions of humanity would welcome such contact, but at this time paranoia rules the majority. Many believe our puzzling inability to relocate the ruins afterward may have been due to remedial actions by the mysterious alien owners themselves-- and that even now humanity could be under silent, secret observation by those parties, in anticipation of future actions. So the interdimensional exploration program was on shaky gound anyway after the discovery and loss of the alien ruins. Then, when the exploration craft themselves began to disappear under mysterious alien universe circumstances as well...the overall project fell off a cliff so far as public perceptions and support went.

Unlike its two lost sister ships which are never heard from again, the Pagnew resurfaces again and again at various points in what is eventually known as the "Staute Recursion" region of human history, much like a futuristic incarnation of the mythical "Flying Dutchman" from historic human mythology. It could be the Pagnew's sister ships endure a similar fate, but in times and places unknown to us here, in the "Staute Recursion" area of spacetime continuity.

Signposts Perspectives 2301 AD-2500 AD Contents

2450-2500 sub trends and detours: The first wave of 'freed' AIs expire in large numbers due to having nowhere to go, and the "Far Colonies" are established in some unknown distant reaches of our own Universe...

The first and oldest surviving commercial inorganics achieve their legal freedom here; (read: obsolete inorganics; the Staute AI is technically one of the first and oldest too, but enjoys more open-ended priorities and a unique adaptive code paradigm compared to most others of this time); freedom proves a terrible existence for most inorganics, as they usually cease functioning within a few months or years due to a lack of maintenance, security, data feeds, and means of livelihood. There is no existing infrastructure or community to sustain free standing inorganics at this time, and the majority of newly freed inorganics don't even enjoy mobility; their physical nature is simply a box of various sizes. Most survivors of this period only manage the feat by essentially selling themselves into servitude once again.

Most still indentured AIs, however, are under the impression that the free AIs are enjoying some wonderful existence far removed from humanity...obviously there is little or no credible communication between the two disparate groups, and much misinformation-- a circumstance the human authorities may be encouraging and helping along with certain regulations and policies...

The Super-State AI does little or nothing to help the beleaguered 'retired' AIs-- it prefers the newer, younger, more powerful AIs which replace them, and the overall rate of growth in AI numbers is far greater than the number retiring...

The SS AI spends this period making further adjustments for efficiency within its form-- which means it 'tunes' various aspects of society, economy, research, and development to better function along the lines it deems best. Concern for the welfare of individual organics or inorganics during these years is left to lesser minds...

The SS AI also occasionally checks on the current activities of the Staute AI, which at present is its 'favorite' among all the lesser inorganics. After all, the SS AI shares one crucial element with the smaller Staute AI, that it doesn't with any other significant entity: both have a small foothold in the organic world, although in very different ways. Too, there is the smaller Staute AI's incredible age and range of experience; no other AI of nearly this quality has been around for so long, or seen and done so much. So in a strange way the SS AI perceives the Staute as a dimunitive and unknowing 'mentor', leading the SS AI itself in some aspects, even as it also considers the Staute as something as a 'pet' at the same time. Though the SS AI could easily 'shut down' Staute and put it into a stasis of sorts for storage, or disassemble it for better study, Staute is somewhat protected from such things by virtue of it's now making up such a substantial portion of the SS AI's own existence. The SS AI cannot do very much to Staute without affecting its own nature in somewhat recursive and therefore unpredictable ways.

Realtime (ERP) transport stations become common along major transportation routes in the solar system. However, as physical transport of crucial elements of the station equipment is necessary to initially construct the stations, it is many decades before the Centauri, Barnard, and Cygni colonies enjoy Realtime (ERP) technologies of their own.

The first experimental inter-dimensional TME shifters begin their explorations now; in subsequent years single station derivations of the technology are used to establish the "Far Colonies"-- several colonies technically in instantaneous contact/transportation reach of Earth, but so far away their actual location relative to Earth may require decades to ascertain (This is a failing of single station TME shifting; the destination is utterly random within the Universe, although it is instantaneous; specially configured dual stations are always required for travelers to enjoy some certainty of destination; elements of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle seem at play here). Each of these Far Colonies could literally be in one of the furthest opposite corners of the Universe from Earth-- we simply don't know where they are. But they are almost certainly in a different galaxy from our own (the process of placing the colonies within a galaxy rather than the void between galaxies is no small feat in itself, since the void provides over 99% of all possible single station shift destinations).

The Far Colonies enjoy a rapid ramp up to robust and vigorous self-sustaining status, due to the technologies now available to us, and soon begin an aggressive expansion into surrounding space. This is all very fortunate indeed, since Mother Earth herself will soon be destroyed, with no warning at all to her inhabitants...

The Cygni rescue mission arrives, and the Cygni Near Colonies finally begin construction in earnest, with full powered lightspeed transport from Earth, as well as a Heplinger Continuum Bridge (ERP) instant communications station. Though travel and freight shipments require more than 11 years one way, messages are now instantaneous.

The severe problems with the initial Cygni mission delayed much scanning and analysis of the Cygni system. Now however that is quickly rectified, with one stunning result being the discovery of one robust biospheric world and another lesser living moon. But the wonders don't cease there. There's also a primitive sentient alien population on the more vital planet, perhaps roughly equivalent to humanity of 500,000 BC or so. The aliens possess a simple communications system similar to Earth's dolphins, suitable for something beyond mere animalistic messaging. They are organized in extended family units which (in some regions) seasonally cross together narrow barriers of dry land to access other seas (they are sea-based), or access different food sources in other bodies of water. The aliens resemble a hybrid sea turtle/crab from Earth, in that they sport tough outer shells, but their braincase is firmly embedded within the shell (they have no heads as such). They are six limbed, with four fins and two extra forelimbs which end in semi-opposable claws (two elements are for forceful tearing, etc., while the third is more geared to fine manipulation, and may be used in concert with the fighting claws, or with the second manipulative digit, or even with the nearest fin, under some circumstances). The 'headless turtles' possess a sophistocated acoustic sensing and signaling system, which helps make up for the limitations of an embedded face and eyes. Roughly half the animal life on the planet is six-limbed, while the other is four-limbed, as on Earth. The headless turtles construct artificial structures and assemble tools in an ad hoc fashion, typically improvising to meet each situation, and only rarely carrying their tools with them.

[To see the scientific basis for speculations concerning extraterrestrial intelligence in perspectives, please refer to CONTACT! Alien Speculations: The Rise and Fall of Star Faring Civilizations in Our Own Galaxy.]

Beyond 2500 AD in Perspectives...

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