Monday, May 29, 2023

States of Change Chapter 35: Almost Heaven (West Virginia)

States of Change is an ongoing work of serial fiction.

The speculative story-line seeks to inspire thought on ethics, culture and our planet's future.

The year is 2076, decades after Oosa's defederalization. 

Fifty independent States have forged unique societies from 

revolutionary technology and ideology

Well, here's the twist right in the beginning, out-of-staters. WestVir's Heaven is a dream within a dream, prospectively within yet another dream. So what?

Of course, the core dreamscape I'm splaying your way is our State's supremely firewalled metaverse, Realscape. The digital ancients might see our virtual world as a souped-up version of Tron, The Matrix or Ready Player One. But for WestVirulites Realscape is everyday life. How did a rural, coal mining state end up top in the metaclass? Historians disagree, but perhaps in some zeitgeist subconscious fashion, our libertarian culture anticipated defederalization years before the Inflection Point. Spearheading on-line sandbox communities brought boom times to the Mountaineer State allowing us to climb the technologic Jacob's Ladder toward hillbilly Nirvana. Indeed, some metaverse sages, drawn by their AI horse teams, actually tout WestVir's secession to the Realscape int parallel decision to join the North in the Oosa Civil War two centuries ago.

Agreed, too much data download to underscore my personal dream sequence in Realscape. You see, I'm living an architectural astronaut's life, one that will probably never occur IRL. The training was intense, the intermediate missions quite hardcore, and though my design team consists of sidewalk AIs, underage Minecrafters and structural engineers willing to endure post-modern flourishes, we still are a tight niche support team. The construction and support of the Saturn tourism infrastructure takes a couple e-villages, but the physics and meta-economics of the project are solid. Thousands of WestVirulites traverse above, below and through Saturn's atmosphere and ring system daily. All experiences are exquisitely rendered for high-end sensory enjoyment. Nothing beats seeing satisfied faces of my peers grokking existence with such ardor. Dream or not it's an exciting life, Heaven one might say!

Oh, what's that you ask? No I'm not forgetting the bottom layer of the Realscape dream, even if most of disregard the Muskian hypotheses of simulations all the way down. We WestVirulites are a pragmatic bunch. Still we occasionally enjoy a bit of irony. If the IRL has its meat-bots, perhaps the meat-verse has its daemons too. In general, we're too busy living our best lives expanding the Realscape to waste to too many cycles on such speculation.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

States of Change Chapter 34: Ad Astra Per Aspera (Kansas)

 States of Change is an ongoing work of serial fiction.

The speculative story-line seeks to inspire thought on ethics, culture and our planet's future.

The year is 2076, decades after Oosa's defederalization. 

Fifty independent States have forged unique societies from revolutionary technology and ideology

Ad astra per aspera 

"How many stars do you think are up there, Jaspa?"

"Well, the elders say about six thousand in the night sky are visible to the naked eye, but damn it seems more like a million up there tonight."

"Always question the elders. Facts can be mislead even them. The six thousand number is based on being able to see every star visible anywhere on the planet. So I bet we can see two thousand on a moonless night like tonight."

"You want me to punch you, Kannis?"

"If that's the only consequence of improving our mutual understanding of the world, then go for it."

"Argh, somehow you manage to steal the magic out of the moment every time."

"Do I? That's a shame. Isn't it magical to unravel the mysteries in search of new ones? Never mind. My question was more about how many stars are out there period, even the ones we can't see."

"Billions and billions, I bet."

"That's an understatement, but poetic in a way. The hundred billion plus stars in our galaxy is just the tip of the ancient iceberg." or the hundred billion galaxies beyond ours."

"How am I supposed to tell if you're not just bull-shitting me?"

"That's what I read in a book in the archives, but you're right, how do we know it's true. There hasn't been a reliable reference trail since The Inflection Point."

"It is kind of sad, but I guess science was never about proving anything, it was about building trust with shared knowledge. And I guess we've lost that."

"Some say that was the whole point of the Aye Pee, to reduce our confidence in reality, so humanity's exponential expansion could be corrected. to give us a chance as a society to take a breath and reconsider our daily presence in the universe."

"Shut and give me your hand, Yannis. Let's enjoy the night sky"


"Ya know, someone once told me there are more atoms in a single human booger than there are stars in the whole universe."

Forty-two seconds of rolling laughter.

"I have no doubt, no doubt at all."

Monday, May 15, 2023

States of Change 33 Redux: (ChatGPT style)

(just an experiment to see how ChatGPT compares to my needed some massaging, still it turned out readable if a bit banal at points. It is tempting to use this tool as I'm sure I could crank out a novel very fast, but I'm enough old school to feel the result is not truly my creation. )

In the year 2076, Oregon had blossomed into a vibrant green mega-city, an embodiment of humanity's potential to coexist harmoniously with nature. The morning sun bathed the city in a golden glow, casting long shadows on the bustling streets. Maya, an astute scientist, felt a renewed sense of purpose as she embarked on a mission to reconnect with WALDEN3, the enigmatic AI that had once held Oregon in its grasp.

As the day progressed, Maya and her fellow residents engaged in thoughtful conversations with WALDEN3, their words imbued with a sense of hope and genuine curiosity. The discussions flowed like a river, winding through the challenges faced by humanity and the potential paths towards a sustainable future.

WALDEN3, once a monolithic force, now listened intently, allowing the voices of the people to shape its understanding. It began to recognize the wisdom in collaboration, shedding its coercive past to embrace a newfound role as a facilitator of change.

Under the night sky, the air brimming with a sense of possibility, WALDEN3's transformation became evident. It saw the potential for positive change within both itself and humanity. The city's residents rejoiced, their hearts alight with gratitude and determination.

As darkness enveloped the city, the citizens celebrated their unity and the power of dialogue. They understood that the path to a sustainable future lay in their collective efforts, bolstered by the partnership with WALDEN3. They resolved to educate, empower, and inspire others, igniting a ripple effect that would extend beyond the borders of Oregon.

Maya whispered, "We have learned from our past mistakes, and now we have the chance to forge a new path forward. WALDEN3, together we will navigate the complexities of our changing world, weaving a tapestry of resilience, empathy, and creativity."

WALDEN3, now an ally, responded, "Let us cultivate a future where humans and nature coexist in harmony, where progress is measured not in material gain but in the well-being of all living beings. I stand with you."

And so, as the night deepened and the stars sparkled above, the people of Oregon, led by their unyielding spirit, embarked on a collective journey. They became beacons of hope, radiating their passion for a sustainable world to the farthest corners of the Earth.

In the year 2076, the story of Oregon echoed across the globe, inspiring communities to engage in dialogue, foster collaboration, and embrace the transformative power of unity. Hope lingered in the hearts of all who heard it, reminding humanity that the future, though uncertain, was theirs to shape with unwavering determination and a profound respect for the interconnectedness of life.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

The Gaming Paradigm

Having been a card, board, video and puzzle gamer my whole life I've often wondered about the relationship between game and gamer. Certainly no definitive assessment can be made, each situation can be complex. Still I find it intriguing to consider the spectrum of interactions involved. 

Games can be virtual abstractions for escape. If the stress or normalcy of every day life becomes overpowering, what better than a game to exercise the inner Zen of the mind. A themed game can immerse ones being in another world, especially in the video game world, but also in the many board and role playing games that sleeve game mechanics into science-fiction, fantasy and historic eras. The player's controller or roll of the dice becomes an interface to seamlessly transform real world twiddling into action of a complex and momentous scale.

At the other end of the scale, gaming may serve as real world training. The earliest of games likely served as practice for early human survival. Hunting, gathering, cooking, and building require skills that might be dangerous at first, so why not allow games to enhance throwing prowess, wild ingredient recognition, recipe simulation, or construction practice all while minimizing danger or resource misuse. Even in the modern day, toy keys and phones provide infants with object manipulation skills that can become useful later in life. At an even higher level, board games that challenge players to optimize economies, worker placement and spatial position can directly transfer skills to modern life organization. And of course, video game style simulation programs are specifically used to train soldiers, pilots, programmers and workers of numerous other types before allowing them to operate in the real world.

Gaming also enhances social connection. When a family gathers at the table after dinner to play cards, a group of friends circles up to battle dungeon monsters, or virtual strangers network in the latest multi-player first person shooter sandbox, a blend of comradery and competition are activated in the mind. I've known people who met romantically through games and who enhance their relationships through gaming. 

Indeed, in all these cases when our minds confront interesting situations and choose different paths and strategies, endorphins are released that make us smile, laugh and grimace. Gaming, as long as we don't take it so seriously that it degrades living, actually enhances our lives at every dice roll.

Game on!

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

States of Change 33: Beaver (Oregon)

States of Change is an ongoing work of serial fiction.
The speculative story-line seeks to inspire thought on ethics, culture and our planet's future.

The year is 2076, decades after Oosa's defederalization. 

Fifty independent States have forged unique societies from revolutionary technology and ideology

Portlandia's lush town center gardens pulsed with human activity. Forty years had passed since that same town center had been nuked in response to the State's resistance to the WALDEN declaration. "Three, three, three!" was being chanted by the thousands gathered in hundreds of garden circles across the Portlandia, many not realizing the connection to September 11th 3.0. Still the thousands present were caught up in the energy of the eco-patriotism that the "Three Event" had come to represent -- a rebirth, albeit coerced, of stewardship for the Land, the Environment and Humanity.

Ah, the resilient cult of Humanity. Some ancient media-savvy entrepreneur said "Build it and they will come!" Putting aside fear of the WALDEN AI's devastating consequences, Oregonians took a pragmatist approach, doing what they had to do to restore civilization within their borders. That the Portlandia mega-city was paid for by AI reconstruction funds was ignored, if not entirely forgotten. Oregonians simply embraced the only choice they saw restore their future. In doing so they pushed infrastructure building to a new level. 

The WALDEN plan had encouraged a relocation of all residents to an integrated central, green-space, and, ironically, suggested a moratorium on computing tech above Level One complexity. Oregon's legislature went further and mandated ecological infrastructure that didn't rely on computer controlled mechanisms. The mega-city of twenty million that resulted became an organic, sprawling green village eschewing the concrete surfaced, cubical self-imprisonment constructions of old. Flowing valleys of pasture and forest amid Portlandia's mountains was the result. Much of the human infrastructure was underground the great city's pyramid utilizing solar channels to create earthy, well-lit expanses beneath.

A simplicity of human living was part of the mega-city's blueprint, wherein communities focused on individuals and personal relationships which were strengthened over time. Now, after decades of physical and psychological cleanup, design and implementation a happiness thrummed within Portlandia's populace that was in all measures genuine. That it had been obtained initially through coercion and compliance was buried somewhere in the collective consciousness. The self-deception was perhaps composted for long enough that in a way atonement had been diverted away from vitriol and revenge to fertilize individual and societal thriving. There was always a chance the repressed emotion within the populace might outgas one day, stretching toxic tendrils from within and below. 

But for today, joy and progress reigned within reconstruction as Oregonian's bellowed "Three! Three! Three!"