A Triggering Thought
Looking at the world and observing the way it changes, not only in this current time period but also throughout history as well as the development of life on Earth, I recognised many similarities between those large-scale processes occurring and those applied in science, engineering research and design development.
For many years I have been working as a mechanical ingeneer in forefront research and development. Just one example: In the early seventies, I was member of a team, designing and building the world’s first mobile computer. A computer not confined to the space of a room or building. Its CPU was as big as a washing machine, that small!
The point is that I am conversant with strategies suitable for finding solutions. Thus, recognising of such pattern of processes comes easy when they occur in other fields such as economics, statistics and marketing, and especially when the similarity is so close to those appearing in evolution.
To me, strategies in technology and evolution look very alike, and I refer to the way progress occurs and the step-by-step method towards a goal. Further, if one looks at them from a certain, non-involved distance both appear gradual in their advancement. Charles Darwin (circa 1850) made the same observation and announced: “Natura non facit Salta.”
However, this is true only to some degree, because, from a more distant viewpoint, leaps are readily detectable. We could say for both, nature and technology: at a vast scale they bounce, but in between those bounces, there is a gradual progression. Connected with a more elaborate description, Mister Heisenberg called it the quantum leap.
Sometimes progress is gently incremental, almost smooth and sometimes strands of research are discarded, and promising ideas are included, tho latter one could consider abrupt.
Worth mentioning are those eureka moments of intuition, those bright ideas when one single person makes all the difference, but often, because there generally do not produce or include scientific evidence, they are not really accepted scientific methods. Furthermore, they are rather scarce and more often than realistic they are romantic notions of the general public’s image of the recluse, the mad scientist.
The Process of Research and Design
When one starts developing an entirely new project in an unexplored terrain there is hardly any pertinent data available, sometimes it appears at least as if there are none. During those early moments, it requires a type of people with courage and a sense of adventure, a sense of childlike naïvety and boisterous trust to start somewhere, anywhere.
Without this first significant step of the proverbial ten‑thousand‑mile journey would never begin. Subsequently, one would never arrive at its destination, any destination, may it be as foggy as a wet winter’s night morning. How does it happen?
Initially, one would look around and familiarisation with the task, or ask the famous question “Why?” This is (used to be) common knowledge amongst researchers. Any hunch or intuition is as good as the next, and they are all worth investigating and they must.
Therefore one sets up small investigational tests to find one’s bearing and establish the feasibility of an idea. Soon the number of possibilities will explode. And, ab initio, during the phase of analysis, the time of learning, this event is desired.
As a rule of thumb: Out of one hundred ideas, one could be fruitful. And it is statistically almost impossible for the first to be the best (as close as one can find the best). Mostly, one needs to explore hundreds to find several possible ideas worthwhile pursuing.
Without at least four or five feasible ideas one would not start a research project. More initial ideas also get you more investors, your bosses loose their nervous smile, and you get the occasional, collegial tab on the shoulder.
Early Sense of Success
We all like it when our work progresses well. What criteria must prevail for an idea to demonstrate its worth? It’s the one that behaves as expected, brings the study forward, opens information, provides positive learning, progresses the project towards solidification or provides results as expected. The latter, in particular, provides peace of mind to the researcher as well as to those financing the project.
But more importantly, unfortunately, the investors decide with their choice. They only provide money if the scientist promises a certain outcome, convincingly enough, somehow. Very often cunningness is more important than honesty and facts; at this point, the research manager comes in.
Investors don’t want to hear about your doubts and struggles. Most of them have no knowledge about the field, and your doubts would make them nervous, the reason for all sorts of consequences.
This is a difficult hurdle to overcome especially in the beginning of a project, the reason why so many really groundbreaking ideas, capable of progressing technology, do not even get off the ground. This is why our current technological advances stay within the known (safe) realms.
If a program provides results as expected, they will be supported and therefore continue. Some trials are discarded after a short time and end up in the bin, others under the laboratory bench and the sort of ok ones up on the shelf for further investigation just in case the favourite one or two prove not unviable after further investigation.
Generally, research follows the strategy of a structured hierarchy, a tree with branches. Occasional inspirations and spontaneous thoughts ‘confuse’ this regular pattern.
At some point in time, the investigation phase will be closed, and the phase of synthesis commences. Ideally, the researchers decide this point, when they have gathered enough information, enabling them to decide on the future path of the project. However, primarily and most, unfortunately, the end of this phase is determined by financial considerations, by bureaucrats and funding bodies. The end of finance decides on the quality of research and its outcome.
In some cases, curtailing is essential; otherwise, the end, finding a solution, can fall into oblivion. And as the product finds its way towards more concrete manifestations, towards a tangible product, the width of the range and number of parallel explorations narrows because inferior results are discarded.
This process continues, and at the end of research, almost all of the investigation paths are left behind. Mind you, they are not useless; one learns and develops a sense for what works and what not. Let me be a bit more accurate in describing the stages a bit more.
The Types of Testing
There are basically three reasons for testing. Initially, scientific testing would provide verification whether an idea is feasible or does it work in principle. Those tests are part of the feasibility study, the section of product design we know as research and analysis.
After the basic principle of an idea has been worked out, the process of detail design and optimisation would start. Engineers would ask, how well something works and they would start tests such as endurance testing, how long would it last under worst case conditions, accelerated ageing, fatigue and failure analysis… giving answers to when and where does it break and why. The aim is to optimise the design, to make the product as good as possible for a defined cost.
And finally, there are tests for quality assurance where, for test purposes, production conditions or material specifications are slightly altered. Then tests are performed to find out in what way and to what degree those changes would affect the performance of a product.
This allows defining tolerances for production and material specifications to assure the produced product will be within the defined and expected performance range. Only then a product contains quality.
Once a design principle has been proven and tested specifications of models have to be established. Let me explain this with the example of motor driven vehicles.
There are many variations around, which all feature the same basic design structure, which has not changed since the invention of the automobile, the ‘self‑mover’, around the early 1800’.
Here are some of the main components: A base or chassis, mounting for wheels and the wheels themselves, some of which are steerable, a motor, transmission, some space or cabin for the driver, a control system and some space for goods and or passengers.
The range of models comprises vehicles from large earth moving dump trucks, which are around 6 m high, 13 m long and 6 m wide, to regular trucks, buses, vans, cars, and even some wheelchairs. They all contain the same design features and follow the same design layout.
All basic design structures have something in common; they all developed from one idea, one application and then spread into different models of application, which then are variations of the same theme, designed to specifications determined by particular needs, circumstances and environmental conditions.
In the context of motorised vehicles we know, they all started with the passenger car, which was designed to the same specification as a horse-drawn coach. So, in a way our cars are only another version, a type of a horse carriage. And from there it went on to what we have now. And what was the purpose?
The need to be transported without having to walk, providing some protection and comfort, and last but not least, someone saw a possibility to provide his service and earn money! This was the essence of the existence of the vehicle: someone made money. Without this, we would still walk.
I will stop here because from here onwards the paper will go in a more philosophical direction and the one of marketing. I had touched this subject before, this demonstrates the intricate connection between progress and a non-obvious reason for this development to occur.
The Level of Progress
Looking from the outside, how could one recognise at what level of progress a research project is at? The closer a level of development is near the basis, the start of the project, the broader its range of variations in ideas, principles, species and test variations. The higher up a project has evolved, the more variations increase in similarity.
This is significant when one assesses the level of progress of a scientific research project. Particularly for an outsider who does not necessarily know the target.
With the understanding of this principle, broad variations on the lower levels and increasing similarity towards the top allow me to turn our attention to our planet.
Variety of species has always been part of our environment, and there is an increasing concern about humans’ influence on the environment reducing this range. And the type of beings have turned up sequentially, some have been extinct some are still around. If evolution is the process which takes place on our planet, is it then not to be expected, as evolution (development) progresses, the number of species reduces?
Initially, living beings started out as invertebrates, then evolution moved on with creating creatures with spines, then they had soft skin and suddenly some, the insects, had hard crusts. Amongst all, forms of insemination differ significantly and so do the ways of giving birth.
Finally, one species was given the potential to think. Those changes happened in considerably short timeframes, and there had been no pre-concepts or trial versions around, (as far as current science accepts), the way it would happen in a well-organised laboratory process.
Let us assume for a moment, our planet is a laboratory. Noticing the rich variety of species and referring to the description of above (having a large variety early on) it would tell us, whoever arranged this test must still be in an early stage of exploration.
We may have progressed in technology and are very advanced in destroying our planet and each other. Is this what those scientists expected? If not, we may be just one of those discarded test strands, shoved under the bench, and forgotten. If we had ended up in the bin, we would not exist any longer.
Clean the Table
Here is another observation leading us to compare Earth with a laboratory. After a test series has been completed, meaning the scientist has explored an avenue enough or the test has proven to provide an expected result, then, in a biological or chemical laboratory is cleaned to prevent contamination of the following tests. In technical, engineering laboratory it would mean to clear the table to avoid clutter.
Referring to laboratory Earth, this could be recognised as the well-observed process of mass extinction.
Generally, extinction is gradual and results in the loss of three species every one million years. Its cause is assumed to be evolution when newer, more highly evolved species, simply drive less well-adapted species to extinction. The new species, differing only slightly from the extinct organisms, rise to take their places, creating evolutionary lineages of related species.
Occasionally, mass extinctions occur, referring to episodes of multiple extinctions of unrelated species at nearly the same time, affecting large parts or the Earth’s entire surface. Dramatic environmental change produces conditions too severe for organisms to endure. This can be extreme climatic change such as the ice ages, meteorite impacts or widespread volcanic activity.
A scientist would know what is expected from a test, and they would have logical reasons for calling it completed, and the table is cleaned. If we knew what the purpose of life is then we would know what the reason behind mass extinction would be. Us not knowing does not constitute there is no reason.
Why was the dinosaurs test considered to be completed? They had been on Earth for a few hundred million years. Is this not long enough to prove their viability? And maybe this was exactly the reason. If Earth is a laboratory, it is set up for testing. Once a test is completed the project is handed over to the design department. Dinosaurs completed…next!
For a new test series, different environmental conditions may be needed. We had them on this planet many distinct environmental conditions. So far we thought that the change of condition caused the extinction. It may have been only a side effect due to turning a few knobs on the environmental condition dials. Admittedly, it does not really matter what the cause was, the result, extinction, was the same. One thing is for sure, we can exclude coincidence.
We had several mass extinctions, some leaving hardly anything living behind. Where did the new spark come from? 600 million years ago there had hardly anything on the planet and then, what is known as the “Cambrian Explosion of Life” began. Initiated by what? Whom? According to the Bible, God had not been around, then.
Model Specification of Beings on Earth
In the last chapter, we wondered about the question what the purpose of human life on this planet could be. What is the expected outcome of human life on earth? After we know this, then we can understand the history of our world, and if we would, we could predict the future. If we could work out the model specification for living beings on this planet, then, certainly this would give is some insight.
Since we know very little about ourselves, let us start investigating a well-known and understood model specification, namely that, for vehicles in general. It was mostly defined by their scenario of use. Once we know this, we were able to deduce the essence of vehicles.
Just an initiating thought: Vehicles can carry things around, with less or hardly any human effort. Basically, we were too lazy to walk or carry things. And, since “need, desire and discomfort are the mothers of invention” we put our head down and invented the wheel. And so on and so on.
And another clarifying thought: The vehicle did not need a vehicle. It was someone else who wanted one. Who would that be? Let’s not get sidetracked, yet.
In the table, I collected information some common design criteria for humans and vehicles. The table reveals the characteristics of humans, which originate the capabilities designed into the vehicles. The capabilities of vehicles show in reverse the characteristics of humans. Can we extrapolate them and find out some of the features of the Others?
|Moving and carrying||Can do it very well||Can do it during a limited age bracket but are inheritably lazy||Cannot move or with difficulties or they are just a lazy as we are|
|Moving by themselves||no||Yes, during a limited age bracket||Yes, for argument sake|
|Need of operator/control||yes||No, within that age bracket||no|
|Want of control||No||Yes||Does not care?|
|Need||Doesn’t need humans, doesn’t need the others||Wants and sometimes needs a vehicle||sometimes needs humans|
|desire||Has no desire||Desires a vehicle for comfort and status||no|
|Ability to sense/use sensors||Yes, replacing operator’s senses, high accuracy||Yes, often unconscious and unaware||Possibly, perhaps non-bodily, needs human’s sense|
|Self-propagation||Not yet, but possible soon, short gestation and no preparation||Yes, in pairs, long gestation and preparation time||Possibly, created self-propagating sub-form, for spare parts|
|Sustainability||Yes, easy maintenance, easy recycle||Inefficient, difficult maintenance, limited lifespan, throw-away, self-regulating population||Perhaps non-bodily, needs spare parts|
|Fuel||Needs supply, creates poisonous gas, all will change soon||Needs fuel, self-finding, transform in heat and pooh||Needs fuel, created humans as new resource|
|Efficiency||Moderate to high||low|
|Consistency||Wear out, fairly consistent||Grow and die, change often, desire for consistency||Needs reliable, steady supply|
|Objective||Move and carry beings and good, safely, efficiently and reliably||Churn over the top two metres of the planet’s surface and add fertiliser||Create. What for?|
- We can move and can move things around, with limitations, and it appears the Others have the same motivations. Sometimes there is a need or even dependence.
- The desire to have control over something lower.
- They want to extend their senses. Keeping humans unconscious permits them easy access. Humans build machines to extend their senses.
- They need spare parts, perhaps to prolong their lives? And what do humans do?
- They need us for fuel supply. Humans farm animals.
- They installed in us the desire for constancy and survival because they want it for themselves.
Sounds almost identical. Pursuant to Occam’s Razor principle: …because it is so similar it has a high probability to be true.
I have to admit, there is one big flaw in this. Since I am human, this is all I can see in others, Others, with my limited perception.
May this be the case, still, allow me to leap: They are non-physical beings who have designed life as vehicles, for sensory experience. The animal is the vehicle and what we call our mind is them! They enter part of themselves shortly after birth, and when they leave, we go nuts or die. And since some of us are somehow aware of this we talk about a mental, emotional, physical body and call our spirit part, our higher self.
If you want to have more information, read about North American Indian and Indian mythology, philosophy and religion. They are the oldest evolved culture without any significant interruption in their evolution.
And here is a very plausible reason why our brain is larger than we need it, or use it: Gradually, they will enter more of themselves into us, they require more space, and then they will want to have more abilities than are available to them, through us, until now.
Before I complete this chapter, I must correct one major blunder. I moved too quickly from life to homo‑xyz. In our ignorance, we often dismiss other animals of not being able to think or having consciousness. They have a brain, too, sometimes smaller than ours, but let me remark, only the best of thinkers use about ten percent of it. Any animal possessing only ten percent of our grey matter should be quite capable of our mental activities.
Why don’t they talk to us? Perhaps those beings who have chosen to reside in their brain do not want to communicate with us. Or the scientists do not want their test animals to interfere too much. Too many parameters can obscure results. Allow me to relate a story from the genesis of the North American Indian in the appendix. It supports this notion of not talking to each other.
Another thought crosses my mind. We have been looking for the cause of life. What makes something alive? We can clone things but are they alive? Ancient thinkers often talked about the breath of life. After the gods had shaped a being from clay, they breathed life into it. Perhaps those beings enter at the time of conception. The moment of the first cell division and thus bring life into it? Not to worry, just a thought.
Testing the Species on Earth
How can we apply those testing principles to the various stages and models of the homo‑xyz? Somewhere, it is written that we were made in accordance with some creator’s image. It says image, we look like him or her, but we are not identical.
Let’s return to the beginning of this homo-xyz program. Initially, during the time we romantically call paradise, all was provided in the most favourable condition, for the test model to survive and perform as expected. Just like the scientists would keep it when they want to prove the working of a principle.
In the case of homo‑xyz, the proof of principle had already been established! The viability of homo‑xyz on planet Earth was proven. To whom? And what was the content of their idea? To whom did they want to demonstrate the feasibility of their idea? The homo‑superior exists! They are performing the testing right now; to their image, we have been shaped.
The question is now, why would someone continue testing after the solution has been found?
Testing arrived at the stage of what I called the ingeneering testing when one wants to know how long something last and if it fails, when and why.
Therefore, in our case, they (the planet scientists, the homo-superior) constructed a worst-case scenario being. We were virtually identical to them, but our useable brain capacity was reduced to five percent (or less) of its total. In paradise homo-xyz had no consciousness and was strictly controlled; thus, all went well.
However, the superiors did not want to be bogged down with the boring job of controlling xyz all the time. Therefore, they awoke our consciousness marginally and give us some self‑control.
Maybe the question to be answered was: which is the minimal brain capacity that allows survival and not requiring constant supervision. In paradise with no consciousness and under the strict control of our superiors all went well, but they did not want to control us all the time; therefore, they awoke our consciousness marginally and subsequently the possibility to make mistakes.
Another reason for testing arose from a bit of gene re-engineering to create a sub-homo for dominion work? It would much be easier to modify something existing rather than starting all anew trying to create a perhaps mechanical robot and much easier than producing them.
The much simpler answer is the biological robot designed along their own image. In addition, this solution is much more pleasing to the eye. Listen: Our first command was to multiply and to obey his/her commands. It does make sense. The continuing improvement program was started with the second command about the survival of the fittest, which needed rivalry, fighting and killing.
And if the reason for minimising brain capacity were to increase efficacy in performing dominion duties, the question to be answered now would be: “How much consciousness could be permitted before through free will they would become dysfunctional or self-destruct?”
Have you ever wondered why genius is so close to madness? If you got the gist, you know the answer.
After they had tuned our brain capacity, environmental conditions were changed to discover strong strands of genes, which could be used for genetic self-improvement. There were and are extended periods of heat and cold, whereby the cold periods are so much longer and severe so that our scientists call the warm periods interglacial. Only the strongest and fittest survived.
Where does Evil come from?
An obedient creature needs constant control, instruction and guidance. Since there were now so many xyz, it took all the attention and time of the superiors to keep us going. They wanted to free themselves from this burden.
Thus, the planet scientists decided to give the xyz more mental autonomy in order to lead their lives themselves and be motivated to serve without being told and do all the time what needed to be done.
In order to accelerate the moving away from the obedient creature to a self-willed, which does not just dilly dally around and wait for orders they instilled into the sub‑homo insubordinate ideas opposing their commands, some call it the beginning of evil.
Unfortunately, that went a bit out of control and overshot the mark. In order to correct the rebellious trend they presented us with good role models, however, evil had already had too much time, had manifested its strongholds, and they were ignored and in worst case, killed.
Interestingly: the same happened when Nicola Tesla suggested the building of automatons, the European name for robots. He wanted us (humans) to have more free time, not to work hard but allow us to deal and be occupied with the finer things in life. Freeing time for ourselves, permitting us to elevate to the next level of homo… It did not work. The robots created more rubbish, which begins to suffocate us and we have less free time than ever.
Second Last Change of Parameter
The second last attempt to instigate change was the time of the late Baroque. Then the cosiness of magic and miracles disappeared when fairies and goblins and dragons were killed, and cold logic and science replaced them.
It was a time of great emotional unsettlement. Believing no longer was the backbone of the human psyche. We had to find new gods to replace the old, and we did.
Initially, this movement expressed itself in an advance in thinking; Rationalism and philosophy were sports of the intellectual, a new species, and creativity in all forms climbed to heights never known before. Soon, Renaissance, being born again, celebrated a new time of happiness.
Last Change of Parameter
The last input occurred when they let us discover the usefulness of the black slimy stuff which pollutes water wells and how to convert it in petroleum. They knew what they were doing. They wanted to find out, if we, with our small fragment of a brain we would recognise the threat and use petroleum’s power cautiously. As we know now, greed was already too strong and overrode the better knowing of some few, and the risk of destruction was taken.
Next Change of Parameter
Are they watching? Do they know I am writing this? Do they know that you read this? Most probably not. Scientists do not sit and watch their test tubes continuously but only return at certain intervals.
If Baroque started in the early 1600′ and they made us discover the usefulness of petroleum in the mid-1800′ that would mean they return, observe, evaluate and adjust every 250 years. Next time they return around 2100. Will there be much left of us then?
Do they care about you and me having thought like this? Most probably not, otherwise, they may have stopped me. Even if they would notice us, they know that we are an insignificant, non-effective minority.
Statistics on Testing
When test results are displayed in a curve they never line up in a smooth line they rather form a stretched out sausage shaped cloud. In statistics, mathematical formulas calculate the probability and course of a smooth curve representing the characteristics of all results. Not all results are considered. The standard deviation, the bell-curve, determines which ones are.
Spurs or outcrops turn up in all tests results and measurements; they are common and usual. They sprinkle around and outside the standard deviation. If the probability of all outcomes considered is 98% for example, which is quite high, then 2% are those radical misfits. They can be easily ignored, and they are.
Otherwise, some corrective measures will need to be applied. One would not want to have test results with a wide distribution. This could invalidate the whole test; maybe even endanger the project’s continuation.
Us few, do we even make up two percent? In 2017, the global population is predicted to be 7.5 billion… 7,500,000,000 and two percent of that is 150 million. Is this a considerable number? The population of Japan is about 125 million.
Guess who is watching?
Is anyone watching them?
Who are they?
28 May 2010