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Are We As Humans Really That Different From Computers?

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 Psychologically and even physiologically we tend to think of our technology in anthropomorphic terms and these days sometimes our computers seem to almost be alive.

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There is ample science fiction written about machines becoming conscious and taking over, along with the famous Turing Test of whether a machine’s communication could ever be mistaken completely for human. So with my own background in software training, and looking ahead to this week’s Science and Nonduality Conference in San Jose where the nature of the “Self” is a huge topic, I want to explore this more deeply: where is the “identity” in the computer actually  located (if at all) and how does it coincide with our own similar inquiry.

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The genesis of this is once again my own work with Michael Jeffreys who often does a similar inquiry, and comes up with the realization that the “I” is the earliest sensation that was ever felt— and then the question arises – “if I am a feeling — Who or What felt it?”

Where Is The “I” In Your Computer?

The first place to begin with the computer would be the CPU or the chip; we often describe a PC as its Pentium (Intel) chip as in “I bought an i5 from Hewlett-Packard or Gateway.” For apple users -who I notice tend to have a bit more of a tendency to personalize and even “fall in love” with their devices -it would be referred to as their iMac or Macbook Air for example.

But the chip -while it is certainly the brain and processing center for the information that flows through the computer -is clearly not its identity because there are millions of identical chips, and even though the ONE in your PC might have a unique serial number (like your own social security number), once the electricity is turned off, it’s dead.  When you go to sleep, at least you wake up. The chip alone does nothing.

If you’ve ever listened to the beep-beep when the computer “boots up” you may know that there is a “BIOS” or basic input/output system that comes with the chip as primary software before the hard drive is accessed.  This is what allows the disk to communicate with the peripherals like the hard drive and monitor so that anything can begin to happen.

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But this robotic set of commands isn’t a self—first of all every Gateway or Mac uses the same set of BIOS, and similarly we can dismiss the operating system, even though it may have another unique serial number, even if it can be “personalized” with a desktop or set of custom features. It is only when we begin to personalize further, with a set of programs and files that are created within the machine itself that a seemingly unique identity seems to take shape.

In fact the software, which can make calculations and even decisions like when to “wake up” (using commands that “you” have programmed) seems to be the “thinking” in the machine that makes it most human. But here we can begin to see that even such “thought” clearly does not constitute a self because it proceeds according to a program originally designed by others, and even if customized and personalized, with files saved in a personal repository or “memory,” there is always another program, file or thought that supersedes what has been “saved.”

Of course, who is making these decisions and “inputs” with a mouse or keyboard – “you” the “end user” – but that’s another “story,” isn’t it?

The Computer As We Know It

Let’s take this unit as an entity as we now know it—the computer no longer exists in isolation even with its operating system and programs and files and personal settings. After all, we can “back up” our data (or self perhaps) and reinstall it into another machine (different serial number) and it will behave almost identically as the original. Not only that, we now have merged our own information and settings with the Internet – a massive network or “cloud” from which our own data and that of others is sometimes indistinguishable.

What is so interesting about this is that in neuroscience, where we often look for a “self” organically and assume that one exists, we now know that nothing permanent really “exists” other than electrical signals between synapses (gaps between neurons) that also comprise “neural networks” of thought and presumably emotion and sensation. These of course are instructed by our own software (DNA) as well as what we now call “Epigenetics” or the “inputs” or influences of the environment –both in terms of impressions and the apparent behavior of other human “selves” and nature –weather, disease, food intake, and so on.

So indeed, the most advanced machine that we have created “in our own image” can begin to make us fathom the depth of our own inability to isolate an individual, permanent or even transitory but consistent Self. And if we look deeply we notice that indeed, our neural networks are one “self” with our family, another “self” with our colleagues and hundreds of other selves in different circumstances—some of which we seem to be able to influence, and others that seem to go on automatic pilot and “impulse.”

If we turn our attention finally to the energetic component of computers, we must eventually recognize that we are “software” –but not just any software but an application or executable –or a program that seems to do things for a limited period of time and then ends. As Buckminster Fuller once said,

“I seem to be a verb.”

This software or energetic component is the closest thing in a computer to what we call Life, but having done this inquiry we can now see clearly that in terms of identity, as Eckhart Tolle says,

“we don’t have a life [or permanent identity], we ARE Life.”

And like software or the temporary self of a computer, we are “no thing” but rather something fleeting, ephemeral, indefinable and mysterious—from which all further scientific investigation must proceed.

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Consciousness

The Study of Fundamental Consciousness Entering the Mainstream

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Consciousness is appearing to be a fundamental property, just like liquids, solids and gas, consciousness and its connection to the physical material world is now gaining big time credibility.

  • Reflect On:

    How much do we have yet to discover? Are we ready to abandon what we thought we knew in light of new discoveries and evidence?

The world-renowned neuroscientist Christof Koch, spent nearly two decades working alongside the co-discoverer of the DNA molecule, Francis Crick. Their mission was to find the neurobiological basis of consciousness. They discovered many insights into cognition and the functioning of perception, yet the central enigma, the nature of consciousness itself, remained mysteriously elusive.

In 2009, Koch shocked the scientific community by publishing his conviction that consciousness probably isn’t just in brains, but is a fundamental feature of reality. This is a view known to philosophers as ‘panpsychism.’ The theory Koch is now dedicating his research to is called ‘Integrated Information Theory’ or ‘IIT.’ It is the brainchild of neuroscientist Giulio Tononi of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In explaining his theory, Tononi asks us to consider a simple light sensitive photo diode like those found in a digital camera. A simple diode might respond to just two states: light or dark. We could present our diode with any number of images, yet regardless of the picture, the diode conforms to one of only two possible states. Is it light, or is it dark?

Now consider yourself looking at the same picture, lets say, of the Eiffel Tower on a beautiful spring day in Paris. For us, looking at this image results in a reduction from a near infinity of possible states. Not an image of the Andromeda galaxy, not a childhood picture of your mother, not cells dividing in a Petri dish and so on.  Because of the vast number of images we are capable of recognizing, each one is highly informative. For Tononi, the vast amount of information capable of being integrated in the brain means that we have a comparatively huge capacity for consciousness.

Tononi’s theory, that consciousness is born out of networks with high integrated information, has novel ways of being tested in the laboratory.

In studies with sleeping participants, Tononi and his colleagues used transcranial magnetic stimulation to send a ripple of activity through the cortex of sleeping participants. The researchers found that when dreaming, this ripple reverberated through the cortex longer than when participants were in stages of dreamless sleep. This demonstrated that during dreaming, when the brain is conscious, the cortex has a higher degree of integration.

In another experiment, the researchers built tiny robots known as ‘animats’ that were placed into mazes. The animats used simple integrated networks capable of evolving over sequential generations. To their surprise, the greater the degree of integration that the animats evolved, the quicker they were able to escape the mazes. For Tononi this finding suggested that consciousness may play a more central role in evolution than had previously been thought.

The mathematical value of integrated information in a network is known as phi. But Tononi’s theory, now the topic of serious mainstream discussion, has an extraordinary implication. Phi didn’t just occur in brains, -it is a property of any network with a total informational content greater than its individual parts. Every living cell, every electronic circuit, even a proton consisting of just three elementary particles have a value of phi greater than zero. According to Integrated Information Theory, all of these things possess something, albeit but a glimmer of ‘what it is like’ to be them. Tononi states:

“Consciousness is a fundamental property, like mass or charge. Wherever there is an entity with multiple states, there is some consciousness. You need a special structure to get a lot of it but consciousness is everywhere, it is a fundamental property.”

Integrated information theory is in its infancy and there are still many questions it must face. Did the information of brains operate at the level of the neuron, or the protein, or something deeper still? The electromagnetic field of the brain, as observed by psi researcher Dean Radin, is always re-establishing its quantum connection to the entire universe. Could a much richer informational interaction exist than has yet been imagined?

Physicists such as John Wheeler have laid the groundwork for a radical new understanding of reality, in which matter, the laws and constants of nature, and indeed the entire universe is best described, not in terms of physical objects, but through the play and display of a fundamental dynamic information.

Quantum mechanics suggests that at the deepest level of nature, the entire physical universe is interconnected. Might the total information of the universe be integrated in some deep sense? Is it in a mysterious way conscious of itself?

As spiritual traditions throughout the ages have long asserted, instead of isolated and separate experiencing beings, we may experience on behalf of the greater evolving system in which we find ourselves.

In Koch’s highly anticipated 2012 book, ‘Consciousness – Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist’, he states:

“I do believe that the laws of physics overwhelmingly favored the emergence of consciousness. The universe is a work in progress. Such a belief evokes jeremiads from many biologists and philosophers but the evidence from cosmology, biology and history is compelling.”

Regardless of the validity of Tononi’s theory, today increasing numbers of scientists and academics are convinced that the existence of consciousness simply cannot be sensibly denied. The study of fundamental consciousness is now entering the mainstream. This movement consists of thinkers in and outside of the mind sciences. Yet despite their different academic backgrounds, they are united by two common convictions: that consciousness is an intrinsic rather than incidental emergence in the universe, and that any complete account of reality must include an explanation of it.

 Sources:

 Koch, C. (2009, August 18). A complex theory of consciousness: Is complexity the secret to sentience, to a panpsychic view of consciousness? Scientific American.

 Tononi, G. (2008). Consciousness as integrated information: A provisional manifesto. Biological Bulletin, 215(3), 216-242.

 Edlund, J. A., Chaumont, N., Hintze, A., Koch C., Tononi G., & Adami, C. (2011). Integrated information increases with fitness in the evolution of animats. PLoS Computational Biology, 7(10).

 Radin, D. I. (2006). Entangled Minds: Extrasensory experiences in quantum reality. New York: Simon & Schuster.

 Koch, C. (2012). Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist. MIT Press Books.

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Alternative News

US Gov Grants Patents For An Anti-Gravity Craft That Alters The Space-Time Around It

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The US Government has granted patents to multiple inventors, including the US Navy for technology that breaks the laws of physics.

  • Reflect On:

    How many technological developments are in existence that we don't know about?

It wasn’t long ago when government agencies and scientists would simply reject even talking about inventions that defy our known laws of physics, but things are changing because science is progressing, and if there’s one thing that’s constant, it’s change. Change is even constant in physics–a great example I like to use is of the prominent physicist Lord Kelvin, who stated in the year 1900, “There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is a more and more precise measurement.” It wasn’t long after this statement when Einstein published his paper on special relativity. Einstein’s theories challenged the accepted framework of knowledge at the time and forced the scientific community to open up to an alternate view of reality.

A paper titled “Outside The Box” Space & Terrestrial Transportation & Energy Technologies For The 21st Century written by Professor Theodore Loder of the University of New Hampshire reviews the development of anti-gravity research in the United States and emphasizes how “research activity seemed to disappear by the mid-1950s.” It then looks into recently reported scientific findings and witness testimonies “that show us that this research and technology is alive and well and very advanced. The revelations of findings in this area will alter dramatically our 20th-century view of physics and technology and must be considered in planning for both energy and transportation needs in the 21st century.”

As far back as 2005, patent 6,960,975 was granted on 1 November to Boris Volfson of Huntington, Indiana. It describes a space vehicle propelled by a superconducting shield, which alters the curvature of space-time outside the craft in a way that counteracts gravity. The device builds on a claim by the Russian physicist Eugene Podkletnov that superconductors can shield the effects of gravity.

A patent filed by the United States Navy in 2016 describes a design for a craft as follows:

A craft using an inertial mass reduction device comprises of an inner resonant cavity wall, an outer resonant cavity, and microwave emitters. The electrically charged outer resonant cavity wall and the electrically insulated inner resonant cavity wall form a resonant cavity. The microwave emitters create high frequency electromagnetic waves throughout the resonant cavity causing the resonant cavity to vibrate in an accelerated mode and create a local polarized vacuum outside the outer resonant cavity wall.

Shortly after the patent for the hybrid craft was approved in 2018, the inventor, Salvatore Cezar Pais presented another related paper, “Room Temperature Superconducting System for Use on a Hybrid Aerospace Undersea Craft” at the 2019 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics SciTech Forum in San Diego this past January. In the paper, Pais writes that “the achievement of room temperature superconductivity (RTSC) represents a highly disruptive technology, capable of a total paradigm change in Science and Technology,” and adds that its “military and commercial value is considerable.”

The capabilities described in the paper should certainly sound familiar to anyone who’s been following the Navy UFO stories over the last several years:

It is possible to envision hybrid aerospace-undersea craft (HAUC), which can function as a submersible craft capable of extreme underwater speeds (lack of water-skin friction) and enhanced aerial/underwater stealth capabilities (non-linear scattering of RF and sonar signals). This hybrid craft would move with great ease through the air/space/water mediums, by being enclosed in a Vacuum/plasma bubble/sheath, due to the coupled effects of EM field-induced air/water particles repulsion and Vacuum energy polarization. (source)

These types of technologies, or potential technologies, seem to be bringing up what’s known as warp drive, or the Alcubierre Drive. The concept involves basically placing a craft within a space that is moving faster than the speed of light. Therefore, the craft itself does not have to travel at the speed of light from its own type of propulsion system. It’s easier to understand if you think in terms of a flat escalator in an airport. The escalator moves faster than you are walking. In this case, the space around the ship would be moving faster than the ship could fly, keeping all the matter of the ship intact. Therefore, we can move faster than light in a massless cloud of space-time.

So, rather than exceed the speed of light alone in a craft, a spacecraft would leap long distances by contracting space in front of it and expanding space behind it. This would result in travel faster than light. (source) Physicist Miguel Alcubierre was the first (that we know of) to identify this possibility. He described it as remaining still on a flat piece of space-time inside a warp bubble that was made to move at “superluminal” (faster than light) velocity. We must not forget that space-time can be warped and distorted, it can be moved. But what about moving sections of space-time that are created by expanding space-time behind the ship, and by contracting space-time in front of the ship?

Here’s another great paper on faster than light technology regarding altering the quantum vacuum by legendary physicist Dr. Eric Davis.

The key is developing technology that can alter-space time, but also detecting that space time, or as some like to call it “aether” or “dark matter” in some cases, so it can be engineered.

A similar concept was also recently illustrated by Mathematician James Hill and Barry Cox at the University of Adelaide. They published a paper in the journal proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical and Physical Sciences (source).

“By creating a ‘warp bubble’ that expands space on one side of a spaceship and contracts it on the other, the spaceship will be pushed away from the Earth and pulled towards a distant star by space-time itself.” – Dr. Alcubierre (source)

But do these technologies actually exist?

The defense patent applications are quite intriguing, and it means that the Navy is actually taking the concept quite seriously, but is there any evidence at all of their existence?

That depends on what you consider to be evidence.

We have statements from previously retired Directors of Lockheed Martin Aerospace programs (including the most recently retired), like Steve Justice.  So, what did Mr. Justice have to say? Well, a lot of things. One of the first statements he made using the To The Stars platform is that, when it comes to the technologies he’s been around, worked with, and seen, it would be an understatement to call them revolutionary. He’s stated that the technologies that him and his team at To The Stars are working on now are the same technologies that are employed by Unidentified Flying Objects.

“In some cases, according to incident reports and interviews with military personnel, these vehicles descended from altitudes higher than 60,000 feet at supersonic speeds, only to suddenly stop and hover as low as 50 feet above the ocean.” – Christopher Mellon, Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary for Intelligence from 1997 to 2002 (source)

Justice has said that he has had “glimpses” of how this type of technology works, and that his current team needs to “harvest” these technologies from the Science Division to realize their capabilities.

Justice and his team have admitted to having access to materials from these UFOs, wherever they are from and whoever is making them.

Over the last three months, To The Stars Academy has collected seven pieces of material, from multiple sources, to study for The ADAM Research Project.  Each sample represents different elements of potential Unidentified Aerial Phenomena and how they operate.

According to the accompanying provenance documentation, there are two classes of samples:  material that was released as the UAP was hovering and material that makes up parts of the structure or systems.

According to Justice,

The structure and composition of these materials are not from any known existing military or commercial application. They’ve been collected from sources with varying levels of chain-of-custody documentation, so we are focusing on verifiable facts and working to develop independent scientific proof of the materials’ properties and attributes. In some cases, the manufacturing technology required to fabricate the material is only now becoming available, but the material has been in documented possession since the mid-1990’s. We currently have multiple material samples being analyzed by contracted laboratories and have plans to extend the scope of this study. If the claims associated with these assets can be validated and substantiated, then we can initiate work to transition them from being a technology to commercial and military capabilities.”  (source)

On multiple occasions Justice has spoken of technologies that can alter the space-time metric. The mainstream has picked up on this multiple times, and here’s an example from The New York Times.

Again, it’s unclear because there just isn’t any solid proof, although I have no doubt that these technologies exist within the black budget world. After all, the “Invention Secrecy Act” written up in 1951 states that patent applications on new inventions can be subject to secrecy orders. These orders can restrict their publication if government agencies believe that their disclosure would be harmful to national security. (source)(source)

These days, national security seems to be used to protect elitist and corporate interests.

That being said, it seems that they do exist if we consider the technological capabilities that have been observed in thousands of cases of UFO sightings and incidents.

Related CE Article: 

Earth, Water, Air & Fire: Why Is The Fifth Element (Aether) Completely Ignored?

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Alternative News

If You Could Power Your Entire Home With 60 Minutes Of Cycling, Would You Do It?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Mechanical energy, converted into kinetic energy can provide the energy that we use on a regular basis to power our homes and electronic devices.

  • Reflect On:

    Rather than focusing on the current problems in our world it is great to change gears and have a look at all of the solutions that are popping up all over the world.

Imagine if your morning workout could power your home for the entire day, all the way until your next morning workout. Well, you may not have to imagine, as this technology exists now. Manoj Bhargava has invented a new exercise bike that can power some homes for 24 hours after use for only sixty minutes per day.

This invention was a part of a new initiative to bring electricity to places that undergo frequent power outages or may only have access to power for a few hours during the day. In our modern age, going without electricity can really separate a person from the rest of the world. Bhargava’s mission is to bridge the gap for those who suffer from poverty and make it easier for them to access the same information as the rest of the world, potentially giving them more opportunities in life.

The Free Electric

The above heading is also the name of this awesome and innovative bike serving as a solution to a pretty significant issue in the underdeveloped nations of the world.

According to Bhargava, the Free Electric is meant to lead to “better health, more leisure time, better access to education and opportunities for entrepreneurship.” He also feels that it could, “literally change the world.”

Power to change the world? Bold statement, but if this is able to be implemented worldwide, I would absolutely have to agree with him. This technology not only has the capacity to assist those in poverty, but can also be used by the rest of the world as well as more and more people around the world who are aiming to reduce their usee of fossil fuels. I have a feeling that Millennials (such as myself) and younger generations would be all over this if its made available! Not only is it a great way to get your cardio in, but it provides FREE electricity that produces no other pollution.

As mentioned in the video, it is also a great solution in the face of natural, or even man made disasters because this type of electricity would not rely on that generated and sold by power companies. Perhaps even one day a way to stock up and store this energy will be possible — then, the opportunities here will be much more plentiful and could be a huge factor in reducing the amount of pollution our current methods of energy production are creating.

The Future Is Friendly

As much as there is sometimes destruction all around us, there is also innovation and ingenuity. Human beings have tremendous potential. Even though there are many problems that we as a society are facing, solutions are popping up and fast, and in most cases they already exist. Finding solutions doesn’t seem to be the problem, so ask yourself, what is?  It’s so great to see ideas such as these being conceptualized and then created and put into use so efficiently, it shows how our species is capable of stopping and potentially reversing some of the destruction that we have caused over the years.

This is absolutely a double win! We are constantly bombarded with news stories and articles that are telling us to be more active, stop sitting so much, and now with the Free Electric, we will have to be active before we can relax and enjoy the use of our precious technology.

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