JOIN: Ralph's Intro

From: Ralph Cerchione (
Date: Sat Oct 23 2004 - 20:35:58 MDT

Hello, all. I suppose I may be the oldest SL4 on the list. As a nine-year
old kid, I used to dream about how I would create machines so small they
were built out of atoms, and use those machines to achieve feats that would
demonstrate my effective omnipotence. This idea emerged, incidentally,
because I wanted to be able to use "real" magic. And with no "real magic"
being discussed in my science books, I turned to the subtlest super-machines
I could imagine. Reasoning that if the means by which something were done
were sufficiently invisible and effortless, it would somehow count as magic

What's more, I used to dream of a great ship full of "men" who had
transformed themselves into perfect, ultra-powerful robots. They "fought"
with a ruthless force of evil cyborgs who were, despite their cunning and
ruthlessness, nothing more than an angry butterfly to their "human AI"
protectors. No matter how outrageous or stupid a tactic they might try,
lightspeed reactions and nigh-infinite intelligence could always gently
thwart it at the last possible moment. The "good guys always won." =)

By the time I was twelve, these superwarriors had evolved into a band of
seemingly omnipotent AIs that were effectively sentient black holes, and
looked suspiciously like giant, shape-shifting Muppets. At this point, I was
convinced that in order to build them, I'd have to start with the
near-infinite computing power made possible by constructing computers on the
atomic scale, and evolve them from there. With possible stages including
atomic scale optical computers, integrated bio-chips, etc. In the final form
in which they served me -- they doubled as actors for the characters in
elaborately constructed books, movies, TV shows, comics and so forth in my
head, as I was an unusually creative kid -- they were simultaneously
independent minds as well as a collective, and they had an unimaginably
powerful supercomputer backing them up (the ominously named, "Omnus") who
spent time as a Dyson Sphere before evolving into a higher, far denser form
back in their transdimensional Vault (hey, they were living black holes with
perfect control over their own gravity fields. They used wormholes to go
_everywhere._ Wouldn't you? =) ). So my vision of myself was as a seemingly
unmodified human (or _extremely_ subtle cyborg) who had the knowledge and
powers of an entire species of AIs constantly on tap, as well as the service
of an absolutely loyal "god-computer."

This all took place prior to the Engines of Creation, of course (basically
between 1979 and 1982 or so). Aside from the Technarch species in the comic
book The New Mutants (early 80s) I can't really think of any proper nanotech
(assemblers and all) floating around in the popular culture before Drexler's
book. I suspect my own ideas were fed, at least in part, by Feynman and some
version of his lecture in one of the books I used to read about atoms and

But the point of all that is to say that the Singularity is kind of an old
idea for me -- it went without saying that my imaginary AIs were improving
all the time, with incomprehesible swiftness. Such was the pace of their

Moving up towards the present, I've had a great interest in a wide variety
of human enhancement methods for over ten years now, have been working to
launch a business in cooperation with some other entrepreneurs, and tend to
focus on getting rich and doing a great deal of good through for-profit
works as well as outright charitable gestures. I believe that having (and
using) substantial financial resources is the best way to position myself to
impact human evolutionary questions.

I am quite interested in human advancement and evolution, suspect that true
AI may prove extremely challenging but still feel it should be explored
intensively, and consider the likelihood of some kind of "slow Singularity"
happening in the 10 to 25 years to be fairly high, if certain actors move as
I expect they will over the next several years and nothing untoward (like a
global thermonuclear war) interferes.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:49 MDT