By Jan Wellmann, HoneyColony
Just moments before his life ended April 10, 1955, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was having a lively discussion with his cousin on Park Avenue in New York. Most likely they were discussing his favorite subject, the “Omega Point,” his theory on the destiny of evolution. Pierre was a French philosopher, Jesuit priest, paleontologist, geologist, physics and chemistry teacher, botanist, and zoologist. Let’s just say he was well-versed.
Pierre had cast all of his disciplines into a philosophical, theological, mathematical cocktail, identified the common patterns, and fought against literal interpretations of The Book of Genesis to formulate a unified evolutionary theory of the cosmos—one that reconciled Judeo-Christian and scientific worldviews.
In his book The Phenomenon Man, he describes the evolution of matter from the Big Bang to humanity and projects an exponential curve to the universe’s end, the “Omega Point,” by using the mathematical equation of increasing complexity and consciousness, an algorithm that he considered to be the secret sauce of the universe and its denizens.
Pierre had no doubts about the fate of humanity as he collapsed on the ground and, a moment later, regained consciousness only to realize the unavoidable: He was dying of a cardiac arrest. He might not have been a doctor, but he was a Doctor Honoris Causa. He only had a few minutes to ponder the yonder:
“The age of nations has passed. The task before us now, if we would not perish, is to build the Earth.”
In 2006, an amber specimen was discovered in the Hukawng Valley of northern Burma. It contained the earliest-known bee to have lived: a 100 million year old specimen. The scientists looked at its DNA and concluded that honeybees haven’t evolved much.
Humanity, meanwhile, has done most of its evolving in the last quarter of the short 200,000 years our species has existed; we’ve gone from caveman gathering to global community. And 90 percent of that cultural complexity has evolved in the last 100 years. Why did we humans evolve faster than honeybees?
We haven’t, of course. We are simply 99.2 million years behind. We’re just now barely catching up with hive logic, while honeybees have been living it some 500 times as long as we’ve walked the planet.
Pierre had figured this out way before he discovered the Omega Point. He knew that, as they continued to grow more complex, societies would increasingly resemble the hive and would, thereby, also increasingly develop a hive consciousness. From geosphere (inanimate matter) to biosphere (biological life), to noosphere – which emerges through the interaction of human minds and will eventually reach a singularity point of unified consciousness.
The Jesuit priest saw it as a divine light. The scientist simply saw a mathematical certainty. Pierre couldn’t breathe that day, but that didn’t matter anymore. He knew that nothing could stop the genie once it was out of the bottle.
But, then, the Pentagon caught a whiff of the genie as well.
Welcome Autonomous Drone Armies
On April 11, 2014, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency – the Pentagon agency responsible for developing advanced military technology – is sponsoring a Proposer’s Day in Arlington, Va., for defense-industry contractors. The topic of the day will be the development of a technology called CODE, an acronym for “Collaborate Operations in Denied Environment.”
To get a better idea of what this “CODE” stuff is about, we need look no further than an extract from the event’s invite: “Collaborative autonomy has the potential to significantly increase the capabilities of legacy assets, as well as to reduce the cost of future systems, by composing heterogeneous teams of UA (Unmanned Aircraft) that can leverage the capabilities of each asset without having to duplicate or integrate capabilities into a single platform.”
In other words, the U.S. military wants to develop a drone army that can leverage swarm intelligence, a drone army one human can manage alone. The birds are already flying; they just need to start cooperating, like honeybees – to be more than just a drone, to be a swarm.
Read More at SingularityHub.
The genie is full of potential for Pentagon. An autonomous algorithm that directs individual machines to communicate, coordinate, and execute for the benefit of the droneswarm – and the national defense.
Enter the X47B, a $831 million Northrop Grumman drone that is able to navigate and change mission parameters without human intervention and is entering active service in 2019. X47B is designed to be retrofitted with a swarm brain at a later date. If you unite birds like X47B into a hive and maximize cooperative behavior and interaction between them with complex learning algorithms… Well, you are bound to decrease the dollar-per-kill ratio.
VIDEO: The X-47B, The latest drone wonder girl
Pierre knew the algorithm would be abused in the future. It was abused in the past. He had witnessed the genie before, during and after WWII. He had studied human cultures around the planet as a paleontologist and geologist. He discovered The Peking Man for Pete’s sake – the earliest specimen of a human cranium – which dates back more than 680,000 years.
Wars would be fought with the algorithm. They would be fought to control the algorithm, but in the end, the algorithm could not be locked away, owned, or privatized. It had an infinitely long tail. It seeped out like water, and it fed itself, becoming increasingly self-sufficient. It was always within the individual’s reach, even in 1984.
Pierre had told his friends he would die on an Easter Sunday. On April 10, 1955, the one man who had figured out the ultimate fate of humanity passed away. It was Easter Sunday.
VIDEO: The first robobee designs
Jan Wellmann was born in Helsinki, Finland, in a very cold atmosphere. Later he rebelled, believing that he belonged to an extinct Gecko species that could only thrive in tropical climates, and he escaped to California. He now lives in L.A., where he projects multiple fractured images of himself, some of them reminiscent of human behavior.
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