Thursday, October 27, 2016

Alien Citizens with Vision

Vision is not the same as intelligence. It is something that requires a good deal of intelligence, but it is certainly possible to be quite intelligent and have no vision at all. Yet for an alien civilization to pass through the various grand transitions and proceed to become more advanced, wealthy and organized, it must have individuals with vision who foresee these changes and work to bring them about.

Citizens with vision are the opposite of citizens who focus on history. A history-oriented citizen is well aware of the past and what was good about certain eras and what was bad about them. They know what preconditions there were for prosperity and progress and they know what preconditions there were for a lack of the same. Their viewpoint is of knowledge of how to do things, based on the past. They can extrapolate, but not innovate. Historians, professional or amateur, like history, and see some periods as desirable and expect that there would be a reversal of the trends toward the future, such as advances in technology and social organization.

Unfortunately, it is much easier to become a historian than to become someone with vision. An alien citizen with vision may be a leader or simply one who foresees, leaving others to implement his/her/its vision. Yet without alien citizens with vision, the civilization might stall at some point, or retrogress, never reaching the culmination where star travel, to Earth or otherwise, is possible. So it is an important question in the study of alien civilizations to understand if citizens with vision could cease to exist, at least in the numbers needed to continue progress forward, not retrogress backward. Another alternative scenario that could result in an alien civilization not being able to more forward would be if there were alien citizens with vision, meaning ones competent at projecting future possibilities and assessing their potential for achievement and the consequences of achievement, but they were simply ignored or drowned out by other citizens, enamoured of the past so much that progress was stopped.

Progress does not have to turn into retrogression in order for an alien civilization to stall its progress, it simply needs to stop moving forward and hold in place, at least temporarily. Factionalism might be sufficient to accomplish this. If there was a faction that had control of the levers of governance, or some other means of influencing choices about the future, and was able to also control much of the resource flows on the planet, they might wish to continue their own position, and therefore preferred stasis. Stasis does not have to be uniform in order to stop the progress of civilization, as there can be minor changes going on all the time. Instead, only those changes which would impinge on the relative social and economic position of the particular faction that had control would have to be stopped. This might represent some sort of false progress, where the alien civilization was dancing laterally but not moving forward.

Alien citizens with visions relating to how the whole society might transform itself, via one of the grand transformations that lead to asymptotic technology, would be the ones who became extinct or who were ignored. Alien citizens with visions relating to details of the civilization that avoided the grand transitions would take their place as those who were listened to.

Each of the grand transitions that an alien civilization has to pass through could have these lateral movers. Hunters who disparaged the planting of crops but instead led the movement of their clan to different hunting grounds or who sought to change the targeted creatures that were hunted might succeed in stopping the agricultural grand transition. Farmers who were leaders of their own agricultural society might simply move the civilization to different crop types instead of allowing the production of early machinery and its use in agriculture, or even elsewhere. City-dwellers could similarly try to stop the industrial grand transition partway through its progress by blocking some electronic advances on some grounds, or by halting automation for some reason, or by prohibiting research into artificial intelligence. They would possibly succeed in halting society’s otherwise mono-directional progress.

There could be citizens who seek to derail the genetic grand transition for reasons of their own, perhaps to solidify their own control over resource flows. They could attempt to block it in toto, or at some stage of its progress, perhaps the invention of new animals or plants, or the invention of intelligent animals, which we nicknamed intellos, or the modification of their own genome beyond some limits, or the development of new species to transcend their own evolved species. There are even more stopping points in the very diverse genetic grand transition.

Does an alien citizen develop vision because of some condition in society, or is it like being on the upper tip of the bell curve in distribution of some mental talents? If there is a decided negative view adopted of some technology, or of technology in general, by the alien civilization, perhaps the probability of the emergence of alien citizens with vision would be reduced. Likely there must be some minimum critical mass of aliens with vision in order for the society to advance. Since, at least under the theory of technological determinism, society progresses only in synchrony with the development of technology, meaning all science and engineering, people with vision need to be associated with technology. Devastating education or training in these areas might serve the faction wishing to halt the progress of civilization by serving as a subtle means of derailing progress.

The faction that seeks to halt society on a plateau, where their ascendance is prolonged, will likely find that there are no long plateaus in the progress of an alien civilization, only peaks and cliffs. Yet the knowledge of how society might progress is something that might escape being understood or accepted for a long period in the growth of their civilization, even well into the industrial grand transition’s later stages or the early stages of the genetic grand transition. If so, there would be an impetus to try and create such a plateau, even though it could only be a temporary success. The suppression of alien citizens with vision, by reducing emphasis on technology education or by any other means, could easily prove to be a fatal error for the alien civilization.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Leadership in Alien Civilizations

Leadership is not the same as intelligence. It is again a mental attribute, based both on genetics and memetics, and it is also hard to define. Another way of saying that is that leadership can take many forms, as intelligence can, and determining some simple quantitative measures of it doesn’t come easily. But the somewhat vague understanding of what it is can be easily described. In means that, in some situation where a problem faces a group of alien citizens, someone has to both unify their actions in resolving it, and take the mantle for making that decision. These tasks are not necessarily identical and may be very different facets of leadership, and therefore it may well be that in some group, one alien possesses the first, and another possess the second.

The first skill can be called facilitating a consensus. This is not the same as the intelligence-related task of seeing solutions where no one else can. It involves situations where many individuals have full or partial solutions to the problem, but they are at least superficially different and it is not clear to the individuals how to resolve these differences and come up with an agreed-up final solution. This skill is not persuasion, where an individual with a particular opinion continues to dominate the discussion, forcing others to concede that his/her/its solution will be the one chosen. Dominance is almost the exact opposite of facilitation.

Facilitation involves obtaining a deeper understanding of the potential solutions, which involves seeing both which features of each are relevant and which may be superficial or erroneous, and how terminology or phrasing might be obscuring the identity of two or more of the different solution concepts. It involves a second part of explaining to each member what the overall solution is in such a way that they are ready to accept the overall solution and actually be willing to take the actions necessary to bring the solution into effect. Thus, it involves both an ability to decompose solutions and problems into their various pieces, and an ability to communicate with other aliens in such a way as to be convincing.

The second type of leadership requires decisiveness and the ability to inspire. Decisiveness is the ability to accept a decision made by a group, and then present it to whoever is responsible for the problem, or to begin to manage the work needed for the solution to happen, or to take whatever other steps are necessary to being the consensual solution into fruition. It involves taking charge and taking responsibility for organizing whatever has to be done to solve the problem, and this in turn involves both impressing the group that they have the ability to perform the solution’s requirements or otherwise cause them to be performed, and then to organize their time and effort to do that. It involves organization, but considerably more than that. It requires a level of self-confidence, and this, along with the organizational abilities, is what inspires other citizens to allow this individual to represent the group and give direction to them as much as necessary.

This has two general interactions with the development of an alien civilization. One is that if there is no leadership at any of the early stages, in the grand transitions and even for smaller changes in the civilization, if there is no one to perform these two leadership tasks, the civilization will not be able to move forward. Leadership is needed in many aspects and professions in the civilization, including the ones which dominate the development process: the technological professions. All through the history of the alien civilization, as they follow the developmental process that is forced upon them by the natural history of technological development and the societal changes dictated by technological determinism, they must have leadership to make those societal changes happen. Leadership must be able to find the right solutions at these forks in the pathway, and then convince the population to follow them.

This means that a lack of leadership qualities throughout the population could cause them to plateau and stop their rise to higher levels of civilization. It is true that a lack of intelligence through the population could do the same, and at the state of knowledge available on Earth at the current time, we cannot say much about what might cause it to not blossom as much as is required. Neither do we understand much about leadership, another important mental skill set, and again there is little to say about what might cause a deficit in it. The possibility of a deficit in leadership abilities in the population is a distinct possibility, as we can see from our own past how rare such abilities have been through the few millennia of recorded history that we have here.

The ignorance of the causes, genetic and memetic and whatever else, of leadership developing in an alien civilization will come to an end with what might be called the neurological branch of the genetic grand transition. Neurology is not really a branch of genetics, simply one of many biological packages that have a relation to it, but the timing is such that the unveiling of neurological insights should happen about the same time as the unveiling of genetic insights. They both have the same technological predecessors, such as large computational rate processing systems. Understanding individual neurons and the neuronal population of the brain would be assisted to a degree by genetic understandings of neurons, but this cannot be too many genes out of the few tens of thousands that makes up the human genome, and likely the alien genome. The ontology might be the most difficult part of understanding neurology, and as more sensitive instruments are developed, that will gradually give way.

The other side of the leadership dilemma is what happens on the other side of the neurological revolution. Why would leadership skills be denied to any aliens in generations following the realization of how to provide them, as well as high intelligence, to all newborns? One problem with the post-asymptotic technology period is figuring out what the society would be like with so many very intelligent members. How would they interact? A similar problem exists with leadership. How does a society go forward where everyone has the ability to be a leader, and perhaps the desire as well?

Friday, October 14, 2016

Training Protocols in Alien Civilizations

Training protocols are the procedures used for training young aliens, excluding those which might be termed educational protocols, which are used for training somewhat older aliens, those capable of reasoning or at least absorbing organized learning. They would necessarily be differently conducted in different phases of the civilization. In the era between the hunting and agricultural grand transitions, it would be largely non-existent, or completely informal. After the agricultural grand transition, training by example supplemented by explanation would be all that could be effected. But after the industrial grand transition, when automation, artificial intelligence and robotics were embedded in the civilization, training could be organized, even for the youngest ages.

Training lays down in the young alien brain the associations that determine many of their unconscious preferences, interests, behaviors, and other aspects of alien life which are not fixed by the nature and infrastructure of the civilization. That is why it is so important to see what can be deduced about training. It is not only their preference for interstellar travel that is laid down, it is preferences for almost everything in the society. There must be a good match between how society is conducted and what the youth are trained to like. Otherwise the successive generations of the civilization will change and modify either one or the other or both.

Again there is a overabundance of options and choices. There is nothing yet found that forces the society to pick one aspect and favor it, but they could if they chose to. Consider music, assuming the aliens have auditory sensors capable of processing it. They could train their youth in it, ensuring that many of them would want to hear it, support musicians of whatever sort they used, and continue cataloging it or forming libraries of it, or whatever other actions the society might take in support of a continuing interest in music. They could do the opposite, and completely ignore it in their training of their youth, meaning that few if any would be interested in it when they became adults. What would they do? There is nothing to provide any guide in this area except to state they would likely maintain their heritage in this and other matters, as there is nothing to propel them away from it. We can call this the collection of memes in the alien civilization, if the training could be broken up into discrete chunks of subjects.

There are also some basic principles in addition to their heritage that would influence their selection of training protocols. Perhaps the most mandatory of these is the need for economical use of resources, including energy, and the recycling of many different materials to a high percentage. Without these two guidelines, their society would end soon, and perhaps if the planet were not as abundant as some others, their society would run out of the scarcest resources even during the genetic grand transition. These principles do not affect many of the subject areas where the alien civilization could make options, but it could affect some. Activities which were prolific users of resource would be banned, unless there was some overriding societal goal that demanded it. Star travel is perhaps the most obvious of these.

Otherwise, the principles would affect the manner in which activities were performed, so that there was efficiency in use and conservation of everything. Individual activities which consumed great amount of the civilization’s remaining resources would likely be scorned, and training protocols would match this. No individual aliens would likely be free from this type of training, so there would be virtually no one who would contemplate such an activity. Resource preservation would be one of the strongest memes and dominant in training protocols, to the level needed to ensure it was absorbed and incorporated into the thinking of all the successive generations of aliens.

The neurological science needed to perfect these training protocols would not likely exist, in entirety, before the genetic grand transition was well underway. The goals of the training might be established during the industrial grand transition and following it, but the methods for making it efficient and most effective would not be available then, and there would still be some variation across the civilization. However, once neurology was completely understood, devising a suite of training protocols to embody all the training that the alien civilization had decided their young members should receive would be a simple follow-on. There would be a core of training that was mandatory, and then variations that could be utilized to make sure the society was quite interesting and amusing to its citizens.

The choice of memes is analogous to the choice of genes that is possible after the genetic grand transition. There are certain genetic choices that would seem inevitable in any alien civilization at this era in their history. The ones obvious to us are those related to health, athletics, intelligence, appearance, longevity, altruism, and sensory capabilities. Each of these could be subdivided into components, and further subdivided until a genetic oe memetic scheme could be arrived at which would provide them. Then variations in other aspects could be introduced to keep the population from looking and acting like clones of one individual. There is again no hard and fast principles that we have been able to envision which would explain to us what further restrictions they would place on their choices, so, perhaps the basic principles of the society and their heritage would again be two of the stronger influences on their choices.

One aspect of neurology that we do not understand at this point in Earth’s scientific history is the forced trade-offs between different training areas. There might also be similar trade-offs in genetic endowment. Intelligence is a straightforward example. Of the different skills that are bundled together in the package referred to as intelligence, there are some quite different ones, such as pattern recognition and logical ability. Could it be that achieving the ultimate in training an alien to be excellent at pattern recognition would inhibit his ability to achieve the ultimate in logical abilities? Perhaps they both require a substantial commitment of neurons in some lobe of the brain, and using up those neurons for one diminishes those left for the other. So, it would be possible to think up some trade-off choice, say involving a middle point, with a score of 50 for pattern recognition and 50 for logical ability, but if a score of 70 was desired for pattern recognition, only 40 could be achieved in logical ability. If there are such trade-offs, in training or in genetics, then the alien society would have to make choices as to what distributions of extreme talents they want in their population. This might or might not have an effect on their propensity for space travel, if there is some connections with certain capabilities and the resultant interest in exploring or conquering new worlds or simply adventure and thrill. Figuring this out without much knowledge of neurology or genetics is going to be quite difficult.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Spiral Waves in Proto-planetary Disks

Very recent observations indicate that in some proto-planetary disks, there are spiral waves. This has some interesting implications.

One thing to remember is that these waves are caused by a gravitational instability in shearing, thin, self-gravitating disks. The only other known example is spiral galaxies. If they are the same in proto-planetary disks as in galaxies, these are waves of density, not material, and it is not some selected subset of the matter in the disk which has formed into a rotating spiral, but instead it is like waves on the surface of the ocean. The seawater does not travel along the surface, just in loops near the surface. The wave is an instability formed by the shearing of the air over the ocean surface. The energy in the wind is tapped to form waves, and interestingly enough, waves are non-linear, in that having some waves creates more wind friction, coupling more energy into the water, until some saturation point is reached. The saturation point can involve huge expanses of oceans, as deep-water waves do not dissipate rapidly. If gravitational density waves are analogous, the energy in the shearing of the rotating disk couples into the wave instability, and probably having some unevenness in the density of the disk makes the shearing couple better, up to a point where it saturates.

If this phenomena has some implications for planetary formation, the timing is important. In galaxy spiral density waves, the formation time of stars is short enough so that they can get started in the time it takes the spiral wave to pass by. For solar system spiral density waves, a planet must get started in the time it takes the spiral wave to pass by, or else there is no effect. We do not know the propagation speed of solar system spiral density waves, but galaxy spiral density waves move quite slowly around the galaxy. If solar system waves are also slow, planets might get started as they pass. It may just be that the rotation rate of the spiral density wave is the same as the rotational rate at some radius, perhaps a radius located about half-way out the spiral structure. If this is the case, then the motion of matter through the wave is zero at the key radius, and slow on either side of that.

This has two possible implications. One is that, assuming they are more likely dual spiral waves with two arms rather than three or four, two giant planets might form about simultaneously. This requires that the initial condensation of the planets happen very quickly. Times in condensation are typically quick if there is no angular momentum to keep things spread out. Freefall times for a planet are measured in minutes and for a star, in tens of days, or from far out in the solar system, hundreds of days. The spiral wave does not eliminate the angular momentum that slows down the collapse, but it mitigates it. Thus, if a planetary orbit is 10 years, collapse could be a fraction of that. In other words, the proto-planet could form during the passage of the spiral density wave.

In a two-pronged spiral wave, two planets could form. If the wave was in the densest part of the proto-planetary disk, and there was enough total mass in it, two gas giants could form, and begin to accumulated surrounding matter. Planet formation is quick, once the disk becomes non-uniform. A solar system with two gas giants, which lock into perturbations around some commensurate orbital times, seems to provide a very stable home for other, smaller planets.

It would be expected that the spiral density wave was symmetric, in that both sides had about the same condensation and the same mean density. Even so, since two planets by themselves, meaning with no other larger planets to stabilize them, are unstable if in the same orbit or close to it, they would swap angular momentum and move apart. With some luck related to accidental close approaches, they would reach a stable equilibrium. One interesting question is how likely is this dispersion? Do most planet pairs formed by a spiral wave or anything else at very similar radii tend to chuck one out of the solar system or do they tend to drift into a stable pair of orbits. Some intensive but simple simulation of planetary orbits might help answer this question. The effect of the residual proto-planetary disk at inner radii or outer radii, relative to the planet pair, might be beneficial, but that will have to be thought out in more detail.

Let’s turn the situation on its head. If there are two large gas giants in stable orbits, just recently formed, and the inner residual of the proto-planetary disk has not yet collapsed into its own planets, would these outer planets induce a spiral wave in the inner residual disk? If the spiral density wave is a near stable phenomena, then it should be preferentially induced by any regular perturbation. To say this a different way, if disks tend to respond to some forcing by creating spiral density waves, then a dual planet system might provide such forcing. Ocean waves do not form because they are manipulated by the wind, as the wind has only a very simple forcing effect on the ocean. Waves are a natural oscillation of the system, but they die out without some forcing. The wind shearing over the surface of the ocean provides that forcing. Similarly, if gravitational spiral waves are a natural oscillation of a proto-planetary disk, lots of things might provide a forcing, including planets orbiting beyond it.

This leads to the second implication. If a residual inner proto-planetary disk is put into spiral wave motion, then there again might be a dual pair of condensation centers formed, one in each spiral arm. Then these dual planets, being formed in a much less dense part of the proto-planetary disk, might form smaller planets. If there is a composition gradient, they could be more metallic that the outer ones. But the interesting part is that they are in opposition, one being at one of the Lagrangian points of the other. If proto-Earth and Theia, the hypothetical planetesimal that impacted the proto-Earth to form the moon, and perhaps assist in the origination of life, did have their collision, these spiral waves provide one speculative cause of the pair. Again, some simple but extensive simulations of planetary orbits would be needed to determine if this is anything more that a wild idea, but wild ideas sometimes become less wild, and since this fits in with what we know so far, it might be worth thinking about.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Another Aspect of Technological Determinism

Technological determinism says that the structure of society follows the existing technology. This is demonstrated to us here on Earth with many examples, including the one of how interconnectedness via the internet is changing our personal relationships from face-to-face ones to remote, almost virtual ones, and indeed ones which are more ephemeral than the older style. Technological determinism has some step changes in it, when one of the grand transitions happens, as from a gathering culture to one based on hunting large animals or from a hunting culture to an agricultural one.

Mixed together with the other guiding principle, that of asymptotic technology, which says that technology doesn’t depend on the civilization, but instead depends on the nature of the universe, the laws of physics and chemistry and microbiology and all the others, and all of them will be eventually figured out by every alien civilization which lasts long enough. They will all have the same technology, as they will have knowledge of all of it, and can make the same decisions on one planet as on another.

The other side of asymptotic technology is that an alien civilization gets to the asymptote, where just about everything is known, and there is no more use doing any research as there is nothing left unknown. This is not the same as omniscience, which is knowing where all the grains of sand are on all the beaches, but practical omniscience, where anything worth knowing is known, and all the rest are largely inconsequential data, like beach sand or a trillion, trillion other data sets.

Once an alien civilization is at the asymptote, technology or science if you wish as well as engineering, is all known, and every function in society has already been figured out and optimized. So, if technology becomes constant, what does technological determinism add to that? It adds that the society becomes unchanging, from century to century and millennia to millennia. It isn’t that just scientists become readers of the past discoveries, but that science pervades every aspect of society and makes it just as well known and well-optimized as science itself. Music will be totally understood, both in how in can be made and how it can interact with individual aliens. No new instruments will be invented, as they all have been done already. No new musical forms will be possible, as all conceivable ones are already known and recorded for posterity. Nothing new under the sun.

Art, food, health, communication, puzzles, sports, in short, everything, will be examined and understood by the time asymptotic technology gets finished. Genetics will be an open book, and anything can be done with it that can be done. What can be known about the genetics of long extinct species, is known. Things that cannot be discovered are not discovered, but what can be discovered has been and the exact limits of what can be found out have been found out.

What is life like in a society where there are no new cars, no new phones, no new computers, no new foods, no new scientific results, no new art types, no new music types, no new appliance types, no new energy sources, no new revelations of psychology, and on and on? Our culture is addicted to novelty, and at this point in our history, the rate of novelty is very high. Perhaps it is so high, that it is hard to imagine, hard to conceive, hard to understand and hard to interpret what life in such an alien civilization would be like. Yet the rise of technology only occupies a few millennia; after that constancy. We can assume that things that bother us have become extinct, like war and conquest. There are no deranged individuals as health, psychological as well as physical, is completely understood and incorporated in society. The sources and causes of ill-health are understood and mitigated. Because aliens are like us, and like any species that rises up to high intelligence, are problem-solvers, once asymptotic technology gives us the means to solve problems, they are solved. They are all solved. If a tool wears out in such a society, it is because there is no other way to make the tool such that it wears out slower, given all the conditions that surround it.

Yet, if we want to try and deduce why aliens might or might not want to travel in space, to uninhabited or inhabited planets, and how they might do it, we need to understand as much as possible their society and how they live. The decisions they make, especially about something as monumental as dispersing their society to another solar system, are a product of the society they live in. What exactly is that society like?

Maybe we can come to a better understanding of what life in an alien civilization would be like if we try to imagine what life was like in previous eras, perhaps the middle ages, where change was remarkably slow compared to the industrial grand transformation. An ordinary typical person might be born in a location, have their life set up for them, perhaps by following in the footsteps of the parents, and then live out their whole life in an unchanged environment. The cottage they lived in might get a new thatch roof, maybe every twenty years, but it has been happening for generations. The individuals who come to the market every week or month might be different as the years pass, but they are all about the same. The same things are grown, and some years are better than others. As generations pass, the cemeteries get a little fuller, but only slowly. The officials from the manor house might have a bit different personalities, but they still make the same demands. There is never any news from far away. Some people have accidents, others never do. Some times there are environmental problems, such as a bad year for a kind of insect invasion, and other times are fairly quiet. In general, there is nothing besides personal interactions and environmental fluctuations that change the society, except over a long time compared to a generation. So, this type of person in those periods of time might have experienced the same dearth of innovation and news that a citizen of an alien civilization might experience.

As far as we know, medieval peasants did not go raving mad or all become too depressed to function. They simply lived. Imagine being born in the same village that you died in, and maybe even the same house. There were changes in life that correspond to the different ages of a person, infancy, youth, middle age, elderliness, but nothing from the outside that interacts with such a person.

Once we have this picture in our minds, we have to translate it to one of abundance, rather than penury. Perhaps we should think of a low-level member of the elite classes, and ask if they experience the absence of novelty, and then use them as an archetype for an alien citizen. It does not work as well, as a elite person would get news from travelers and be aware of events that a peasant would not. Clearly more thinking about what life is like in an alien society is needed; some different examples perhaps.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Attachment to Robots and Intellos in Alien Civilizations

In trying to figure out what life would be like in alien civilizations that possessed the technology and capability to travel to other stars, and potentially visit us, one aspect that came up was training. Recall that training is the predecessor to education, and is used here in a global sense as well as in a formal one. We humans start training ourselves as soon as we are born and conscious, as babies are not born with much ability to move, recognize faces or foods or other important items, or actually anything at all except suckling. That is enough to continue life and allow the magnificent neural nets we are born with to start processing information and correlating it. Humans are about at the limit of what a newborn creature can have automatically and still survive, meaning that all we know is from training, first by ourselves and then by others, and then from education. For maximal intelligence, this is probably a mandatory step, and so we would expect aliens on a species that attains high intelligence to be similar. Almost nothing programmed in, but a tremendous potential for our neural nets to correlate, see relationships, categorize and then recognize.

Call it interstellar convergence in brains if you wish, or simply a necessary condition for high, flexible intelligence of the kind needed to create civilizations and technological advances, aliens would be similar. They would not be like insects with instincts programmed in, as the genetic coding of behavior and other abilities is extremely inefficient at generating intellectual capability. This means there would be a long-period of self-training, probably guided, followed by more and more guidance in training.

It also means that any object in the field of view, auditory envelope, or tactile touch-space of a young alien is going to be incorporated into their neural nets. If robots or intellos, which as a reminder, are the less-expensive genetic equivalent of robots, are involved with interacting with young aliens, they are going to be in their attachment list, which are objects that generate positive emotions. If a young alien is fed by a robot, that robot is going to be associated, at a deep neural level, with positive feeling. Feelings are simply brain responses to situations that have enough familiarity to trigger recognition in a neural layer that is associated with positive rewards, such as food. The young alien is going to have feelings for that robot, and perhaps other robots that are similar to it.

If the alien civilization is not using robots for this, but grows intellos, intelligent creatures that perform functions in the society, to do it, then the attachment will be to intellos, notably the ones that are involved with feeding, cleaning, and otherwise caring for the young alien. With a starting neural net having few instincts, care for youngsters is going to be extensive, with overwhelming opportunities for attachment to grow very strong.

The alternative for the alien civilization is to use adult aliens exclusively in the early care of the young aliens, avoiding this attachment problem. This is possible, but will involve a large block of time from alien adults. Would the adults be willing, or could they be made to be willing, to do this, despite the pervasive presence of robots and intellos in their civilization?

There are many aspects of this question. First, after the genetic grand transition, and its subordinate transitions such as the neurology one, aliens would have all the genes needed for high intelligence. But high intelligence would be wasted if the training they received were not sufficient to boost their thinking abilities to the maximum. It has been assumed that alien genetics would be improved, in intelligence as in everything else, to the best possible. Other areas of improvement would be health, athletic ability, stamina, immunity, ability to recover, sensory areas, communication ability, and more. The adults that might be enrolled as trainers would be equally gifted, but would that be sufficient, or would some robotic artificial intelligence be needed at some stage of the early or late training?

Second, lifetimes would be extended, meaning that the fraction of an adult alien’s life that might have to be spent on training young aliens might be smaller because of it. On the other hand, with larger intelligence, perhaps larger brains, the period of training of young aliens might also be longer, increasing this fraction again. There would likely have to be one-on-one attention to allow the attachment scheme in a neural net to function, so that an adult alien would have a large fraction of their daily lives involved in this task, as opposed to a small amount of drop-in attention. Eliminating robots and intellos from training would appear to be a large demand on adult alien time.

The society that adult aliens live in would be extremely interesting, so the alternatives to young alien care and training would likely be more attractive and much less demanding of the dedication of large block of an adult alien’s life. Would it be possible to make this task desirable for adult aliens? If it was undesirable, and aliens were forced into some sort of involuntary servitude, then the training would reflect this, and certainly there would be some spill-over effects. If adult aliens disliked being the training guides and care-givers for young aliens, this would be detectable early on in the lives of the young aliens, and would have an effect. Successive generations might have stronger and stronger negative reactions to this burden and demand relief by the use of robots and intellos.

Third, what would be the effect on an alien civilization if the average adult alien felt a strong attachment to robots and intellos. Note this is not an intellectual or logical conclusion, and they all might well understand that robots and intellos were disposable parts of the infrastructure. Instead, it is much stronger than these conclusions, and represents the same feelings that one alien might develop for another alien, which is also based on the same neural net operations, leading to an attachment. Would this type of attachment move the civilization to treat robots and intellos as somehow the equivalent of alien citizens, or perhaps to have a lesser tier of rights or privileges, or perhaps to be not simply disposable items? What large-scale effect would this have on the alien civilization? Would they find themselves devoting more and more resources to robotic maintenance and intello health? Or is it solvable by other means?

Perhaps one means of dissolving such attachments to robots and intellos, short of dragooning much of the alien population into care and training of young aliens, would be to make sure there were uncountable numbers of clones of both the robots and the intellos, so the young would develop a different type of attachment to the robots and intellos they were involved with. How does a neural net attachment change if there are thousands of identical copies of the robot an alien became attached to? Does this eliminate the attachment?

It appears this topic, while perhaps critical to understanding an alien civilization’s training and therefore preferences, is very complex. Some further breakdown is likely necessary.