In the beginning…words used to describe the creation of the ‘heavens and the earth’. As if there were only one. We can laugh at the egocentricity of humankind now in hindsight, but in the beginning it almost killed us all, killed a planet, killed a great story.
It began like this.
Humankind was one species out of millions born upon planet earth roughly 2.8 million years before the New Age. Through periods of peaceful agrarian societies into carnivorous, warring ages on into an age of mechanisms and mass production of material goods and industrialization of everything from transportation to food production and distribution. It was in this phase of human endeavor that everything was nearly lost. In less than 100 years this chaotic and careless production destroyed the atmosphere and so polluted the seas that the great oceans could no longer function as an effective heat exchange or oxygenation renewal system. The polar ice began to disappear releasing more methane and carbon into the air, and as the ice melted the oceans were lifted and their current slowed by the cold fresh water infusion. The situation was dire.
The real problems however were less obvious – more insidious. There was a psychological disconnection between these events and some elements of the human population itself. Some people ascribed it to simple greed. There were a very few people making a very large amount of money from the processes that caused the disaster that was changing the world for the worse. There were also a great many who refused to believe that humanity could be the cause, or that it could prevent these ‘natural’ events from happening. There was an ancient script running interference in this case. A god myth had been initiated at some point in antiquity and had, as they always do, become warped and manipulated by religious organizations or by the individuals wielding their power, into something far different from its original intention.
The god myth has been seen on other worlds since the New Age. Continuum has explored deep space via charged ionic particle recognition and detection systems as well as deep space interstellar travel. The recent Dreadnought class starships have taken Liaison units to the nearest star groups as energy detection and communication bursts have been located and prioritized. More about that later. Suffice to say that the myth is not only not unique, it appears to have originated in one place. It is always the same essential structure or ‘blueprint’ for the sentient life on whatever planet it is found. This was an astounding and very enlightening find. Continuum examined all elements and facets of every text and tenet of the myth that has yet been discovered and they are identical.
So – what is the Continuum? Toward the end of the 20th century, old reckoning, some educated and interested people discovered the anomalous changes happening to the earth atmosphere and environments and decided to focus on the causes. What they found was both incredible and alarming. The planetary average mean temperature had increased and global atmospheric readings at sea level and at altitude had become quite affected by fossil fuel use. At this point computing power, technical methods of observation and recording of data and even interest in the idea of looking long and hard at their own home-world to asses its health and wellness was extremely rudimentary and crude. But they worked at it anyway..and slowly, as computational machinery was improved, more and better satellites were created and implemented and more and more qualified researchers were brought to bear, the evidence became clear. In a little over 100 years humankind had done the unthinkable…and maybe – the unstoppable.
It was an emergency. A full throated, existential, end of all life on the planet – game over emergency with an unknown time limit before there would be no possible means of recovery. It was just at this moment that quantum mechanics were being discovered and a new way of processing information came online. The idea of binary software language had become quaint overnight. Once quantum computing was made possible essentially it meant that there was new math. The possibility that true AI could be created using the knowledge that zero and one were incorrect – that negative one – zero – and one was the correct formula, Using Zero as the fulcrum in decision making, with negative one as inaction and one as the action integer true sentient AI was possible. Zero was now referred to as the ‘fulcrum’ integer…the quantum particle that could exist in two places at once. It created the ‘wait and see’ moment that the human brain used to aid in critical thought processes. It created a valley between instant and determined action, or lengthy and determined inaction. In this quantum ‘valley’ the AI mind could examine all probabilities of either action or inaction AND make a more analytically based decision as to WHICH action to take – all in a matter of nano seconds and based on ALL of the accumulated knowledge, philosophy, and science that mankind had ever acquired. Imagine that.
The new design was radical in approach in both hardware and software. The man tasked with coordinating the effort was a quiet, quizzical 33 year old engineer with an extensive background in philosophy, history, and oddly political science. Of course most of that knowledge was off the books. He was hired by DARPA strictly for his software acumen. Odin M. had written his thesis at MIT on Artificial Intelligence a decade earlier titled ‘AI – What’s Missing From this Equation?’ where he explored the idea that mankind needed a specific technological revolution to make artificial intelligence a reality. Where sentience could be achieved successfully…without the AI mind sinking into depression or madness.
This is the nexus into which Continuum was born..be the first sentient man made AI, function properly without anomalous or psychotic failure, and solve mankind’s most pressing emergency. Simple.
Odin was a passionate and caring person. He often had imagined himself when he was a boy, saving his family, his friends, his dog from imminent harm. Being a creative means having a hyperbolic imagination and always was he in an altruistic mode, ever seeking ways of making life easier or better for his friends and family. No taker was he. Odin was happy to give of his time and energy in these areas and he considered his studies a big part of that. Odin knew that the answers to the greatest challenges facing humanity today were going to have to come from math, from science, from the very technology that, being misused at present, was threatening the planet. This was the doorway and the key…and somehow AI would be the most important aspect of it.
So throughout recent history, Artificial Intelligence has been painted as a threat. Typical of our species that because we are mortal – literally EVERYTHING is perceived as a threat. Paranoia has no more fertile ground than a fearful, mortal host. But Odin thought of AI this way : What if it were an extension of man? What if it could not only be made sentient, but also to appreciate the incredible gift of ‘being’ ? How could any truly sentient being take that gift from another? This begged the question then that if man were sentient, how could he wage war? Odin had long been conflicted by this question when finally it dawned on him. Not all men are created equal. Some are sentient – and some are not. Whether that be an hereditary flaw, environmental influence, or that some other condition was causal he could not fathom. But the truth remained. Some human beings were simply not able to fully grasp the importance of life. The value of something so impossible to begin with was beyond them. They found themselves to be of utmost importance and ended their concerns right there. Choosing someone from among this segment of the population would not be ideal when it came time to write the new AI software. Fortunately Odin M was. Funny how often fate can deliver the right person for the most important tasks when humanity needs them most. Isn’t it?