Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Shock of Intellos

Intellos is a name used in this blog to denote intelligent creatures designed and gestated by an alien civilization after it had mastered all of genetic engineering. The word is intended to mean more intelligent than the most intelligent non-human primates. Perhaps sea mammals are in some scale of intelligence, more intelligent than chimpanzees, and that is an interesting question that others may debate elsewhere. The use of the word here is to denote those creatures who have been designed to have the capability of speech, perhaps rudimentary, perhaps more.

Aliens are also assumed, in those civilizations which pass the roadblocks and minefields on the way to asymptotic technology, to have improved their own intelligence at least to the limits set down by naturally evolved genes, and at most to have invented new genes for more intelligence or even modified their own neurological structure for more intelligence, or even modified their own genetic structure, which involves speciation. So intellos are intellectually subordinate to any alien citizen existing at the time. Their interactions might be very intense, with intellos acting as personal servants, laborers, clerks, or any other roles that their civilization had. Intellos might have the ability to interact with the infrastructure of the city, providing it information and using it for information seeking, or on a more functional basis, such as repair or maintenance. Intellos could be everywhere, and might be used any place that robotics was more expensive or that the aliens preferred to have done by something organic.

There would be no reason to think than an alien civilization would restrict the introduction of intelligence only to organisms that looked like primates. They could have developed four-legged creatures, like a dog of today or a cat. They could be designed as ideal pets, if aliens had the inclination to have any.

The difficulty lies in identification and bonding, which is done on an individual basis. To have a servant or a pet for a long time can induce bonding, at least in the type of associative brains that we have. Sympathetic feeling for the servant or pet intello might lead to some strong desire to improve their station, extend their life and prevent demise, grant them benefits or even some rights. This is the shock of intellos. What kind of rules would an alien civilization set up to govern the treatment of intelligent creatures? Would it depend on their interaction with some individual aliens, so that the intellos who worked away from aliens would not have the same rules governing them as ones which interacted with one or more aliens on a daily basis?

The question of rules and regulations governing intellos would most likely be answered the way the alien civilization answers other questions, which is determining the consequences of the decision and the costs, and then returning to the question. Putting restrictions on the use of intellos, at least those which are not used in such a way as to induce a bonding relationship with an alien, would interfere with the benefit to be achieved and might raise the costs. Thus, rules and regulations, if done according to a cost-benefit approach, would seek to prevent damage and loss by the use of them, not to grant them privileges. For those involved in bonding, the decision might be left to the individual alien responsible for them.

That being said, it is an implication of that choice of regulations that intellos could be used for one-way space travel. One could be designed for that specific function, and possibly free from any travel restrictions that an alien might face. Thus, if aliens cannot survive hibernation for more than some period, maybe a month, designing an intello which could might be done. This means that any probe entering our solar system might have a creature in it which was not at all representative of the alien civilization which dispatched it. It might not have any will to live, but solely a will to accomplish the task that it was built for. It might be able to communicate with us, if that was the desire of the originating civilization, and if some unforeseen situation happened, and the probe fell into the custody of us or another planet’s citizens they chose to closely monitor, little of the civilization would be revealed. The probe could be self-destructed after any such communication, if that was the alien originators’ plan. If there was any reason to do so, the alien civilization could give a completely deceptive view of their nature to the destination planet’s citizens. These citizens might see something like an octopus, traveling inside liquid to abate radiation, vibration, g-loading and other star traveling nuisances, being in control of the probe, while aliens on the home planet looked completely differently and lived in an atmosphere, not an ocean.

Another implication of the existence of intellos might relate to the social infrastructure of the alien planet. It is already clear from other posts that an alien city could be very enjoyable, with a diverse and interesting life available to its citizens. Intellos could be one more means of making alien life enjoyable. They could be the means which pushes the Happy Life syndrome to one of its possible conclusions, that star travel is too bothersome, and the civilization becomes a category 3, meaning no star travel under any circumstances.

An extrapolation of that syndrome is when the civilization becomes category 4, and simply stops producing citizens. The planet might gradually be left in the hands of the intellos. Thus, the inevitable invention of intellos is a two-edged sword, and once again it becomes clear that social organization and the memes of the alien civilization become a fertile source of Great Filters. It is interesting, scientifically and observationally, to look for life on other planets, but if it proves to be true that all alien civilizations simply die out for one reason or another, leaving their planets with nothing but ruins and monuments, what benefit is that to us?

One way to cast this picture is to ask why so much expense is being spent on the hunt for other life-bearing planets or other colonizable planets compared to so little being spent on the other sciences, the ones which will help guide us through the next few centuries without butting our heads against the Great Filter which might have eliminated all the predecessor civilizations in the galaxy.

No comments:

Post a Comment