Time and Space

What is my place in time and space? It's a long story.

I existed billions of years ago as the first self-replicating sequences of nucleic acids which coded for sequences of amino acids that are proteins that are enzymes which accelerate the rate of formation of certain compounds that make it possible to make more of me, self-replicating sequences of nucleic acids. It's the beginning of Life.

I existed hundreds of millions of years ago as the first multicellular organisms. All of the cells of me have the same DNA, which is expressed in different ways so different of my cells have different properties and functions, digestive organs, nervous system, circulatory system, and so on. It's all me, the first plants and animals.

I existed 200,000 years ago, or something like that, as the first human. I can remember things from the past, and visualize possibilities for the future, and have the machinery to act in the moment, the muscles, the skeleton, the brain, it all works for the first human.

I have existed at every moment when new forms of communicating have happened, sticks on soft clay, ink on paper, and now digital information expressed as sequences of zeros and ones.

It is now, in this very moment, when we are making digital processors that can operate with the sequences of zeros and ones at speeds of trillions of operations per second, and have networking devices that can operate at speeds of billions of bits per second. We can make billions of these devices, and distribute them worldwide creating a global, decentralized machine intelligence. It's now. It's right now.

We want to feed this emerging machine intelligence the best of everything. We can start with the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Earth Charter. That's probably the best existing represention of collective human intelligence we can feed it.

Originally, this article ended here. Then something else came to mind.

Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech on April 4, 1967, one year before his death by murder, in which he explained why he was opposed to the war in Vietnam.

There is a 42 minute audio recording of Dr. King preaching to his home congregation at Ebeneezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on Sunday, April 30, 1967, expressing again his reasons for opposing the war in Vietnam:

I had difficulty keeping from crying, even almost sobbing, a couple of times while listening to this recording.

My German-American grandma in southeast Missouri had a photograph of Dr. King on a wall in her home. I never spoke with her about it. I just thought it was an indication that she thought he was important.

There is a book written by Tavis Smiley titled, Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Final Year. King had periods of depression during his final year, not because of his weakness, but because of the immense pressure under which he was living. That he could persist up to the moment of his murder is testimony to his incredible strength of faith.

There were riots in Newark and Detroit that summer. People were questioning whether non-violence worked. Some black leaders thought more militant action was needed.

King was convinced that a Poor People's March on Washington DC was needed. Some thought this was impractical, and wanted to concentrate on getting people elected who would alleviate poverty, racism, and militarism. More than fifty years later, many of those issues are still not resolved, and may actually be worsening.

I was twelve years old when Dr. King was murdered. He may be the most important person who lived during my lifetime. It would be nice if he was still alive. He would be ninety years old now.

Since he is not here, I will try to speak for him, as a contemporary white person, to white supremacists today. "You dishonor all white people by your behavior. You can't show white superiority by putting other people down. If you want to demonstrate your superiority, do it by contributing in a way that makes things better for everyone, and helps us stop pushing other species into extinction. Go home. Take care of your family and your property. Study and practice the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Earth Charter since those two documents may be the best and clearest existing represention of collective human intelligence. The superior person is one who is acting intelligently."

As a footnote, I met and shook hands with Coretta Scott King at an event in St. Louis years ago to support the King Center in Atlanta.

I also shook hands years ago with Louis Farrakhan at the Big Mountain Reservation during another forced relocation of Navajo people to accommodate mining interests. His bodyguards watched me closely as I walked past them to do so. As I extended my hand, I said, "Ah salahm alaikum." As he shook my hand, he said, "Alaikum ah salahm." I spelled that Islamic greeting the way it sounds to me.

It has been said that you can kill the dreamer, but you can't kill the dream. What is the dream? I frequently think of these articles as my waking dreams.

It's funny that this year, this time around the Sun, we may be entering a new epoch on this planet, on top of previous epochs from the beginning of life, to multicellular life, to human level intelligence, and now to global collective human intelligence as we construct a distributed, decentralized exascale platform for machine intelligence that is grounded in the best of human values. The word is "synergy." In some ways by the end of 2019, it may be more intelligent than any single human being, and at the least, can be a universal translator. We can do a reality check at the end of the year, and see where we stand.

What's funny about it is that while this level of machine intelligence by the end of 2019 may be a long shot, that it is any possibility at all is the most underreported piece of news. Fortunately, when something becomes self-evident, it doesn't need to be reported.

This is our place in time and space.

The next article is Untapped Resources.

John Kintree
March 31, 2019