Colony Creature

I once spoke to a man who’d shared consciousness with an octopus.

I’d expected his tale to be far less frightening than those I’d studied up to that point. Identity has a critical mass, after all; fuse with a million-brain hive and you become little more than a neuron in that network, an insignificant lobe at most. Is the Olfactory Bulb self-aware? Does Broca’s Area demand the vote? Hives don’t just assimilate the self; they annihilate it. They are not banned in the West without reason.

But octopi? Mere invertebrates. Glorified snails. There’s no risk of losing yourself in a mind that small. I might have even tried it myself, for the sheer voyeuristic thrill of perceiving the world through alien eyes.

Before I met Guo, at least.

We met at lunchtime in Stanley Park, but we did not eat. He could not stomach the thought of food while reflecting on his own experience. I suspect he reflected on it a lot; talking to Guo was like interviewing a scarecrow.

It had been, he told me, a simple interface for a simple system: a Pacific Octopus liberated from the captive colony at Yaquina Bay, outfitted with a B2B wrapped around its brain like a spiderweb. Guo had one of his own, a force-grown lattice permeating his corpus callosum in service of some Cloud-killing gig he’d held in Guangdong. The protocols weren’t completely compatible, but could be tweaked.

Photo credit: Sebastian Niedlich

Photo credit: Sebastian Niedlich

“So what’s it like to be an octopus?” I asked him.

He didn’t speak for a while. I got the sense he wasn’t so much gathering his thoughts as wrestling with them.

“There’s no such thing as an octopus,” he said at last, softly. “They’re all— colonies.”

“Colonies.”

“Those arms.” His Adam’s apple bobbed in his throat. “Those fucking crawly arms. You know, that thing they call the brain— it’s nothing, really. Ring of neurons around the esophagus,  basically just a router. Most of the nervous system’s in the arms, and those arms… every one of them is awake…”

I gave him time.

“People talk about the eyes,” he continued after a bit. “You know, how amazing it is that something without a backbone could have eyes like ours, eyes that put ours to shame even. And the way they change color, right? The way they blend into the background. Eyes gotta figure front and center in that too, you’d think.”

“You’d think.”

Guo shook his head. “It’s all just— reflex. I mean, maybe that little neuron doughnut has its own light on somewhere, you’d think it would pretty much have to, but I guess the interface didn’t access that part. Either that or it just got— drowned out…”

“The arms,” I reminded him.

“They don’t see.” He closed his eyes. “They don’t hear. There’s this vague distant sense of light I guess, if you really focus you can sort of squint down the optic nerve, but mostly it’s— chemical. Taste and touch. Suckers by the fucking hundreds, like tongues, and they’re always moving. Can you imagine what it’s like to have a thousand tongues squirming across your body, pulsing in your guts and your muscles, sprouting out of your skin in, in clumps like— hungry parasites…”

I shook my head.

“Now multiply that by eight.” Guo shuddered. “Eight blind squirming things, each one rotten with taste and smell and, and touch. The density of the sensory nerves, it’s— obscene. That’s the only way I can describe it. And every one of those arms is self-aware.”

“But they’re so small.” I was mystified and repulsed in equal measure. “Just in terms of sheer neuron count you outgun them three hundred to one, no matter how many— partitions they’re running. It’s not like they’re going to swallow you into some kind of Moksha Mind. More the other way around.”

“Oh, you’re exactly right. It doesn’t swallow you up at all, it climbs inside. It infests you. You can feel them crawling through your brain.”

Neither of us spoke for a while.

“Why did you do it?” I asked him.

“Fuck, I don’t know.” A short bitter laugh. “Why does anyone do anything? Wanted to know what it was like, I guess.”

“Nobody told you it would be— unpleasant?”

Guo shook his head. “They said it wasn’t like that for everyone. Afterward. Tried to blame me, actually, said my interface didn’t meet minimum compatibility standards. But I think they were just trying to get me to stop.”

“Stop?”

“I killed the fucking thing. Ripped it apart with my bare hands.” His eyes drilled right through me, black and hollow and unrepentant. “I’m still paying off the damages.”

—from The 21-Second God,
by Keith Honeyborne*

*Identity unverified. Possible alias.

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Thursday April 30 2015at 07:04 am , filed under fiblet . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

87 Responses to “Colony Creature”

  1. Oooooooo. Can I hope that there is more coming behind this?

  2. Oh. I am so looking forwards to this thing.

  3. Dude. I need to read the rest of this.

  4. Yeah, this is the right kind of crunchy sci-fi, aw yiss.

  5. I like were this is going.

  6. Whadda lightweight.

  7. Lovecraft filtered through Cronenberg? Sign me up.

  8. Damn that creeped me out.

    More please.

  9. Peter, can you tell us where you found this? It’s creepy but amazing.

    Rick York

  10. I wrote it. It’s part of a piece I’m doing for my Russian publishers.

  11. ….for the first lines there I thought this wasn’t fiction (disclaimer, I just sat in the train for seven hours and my brain is tired).

    It’s creepy. Very very good, but creepy. Keep going.

  12. I was hoping it was a part of Intelligent Design. Cool, anyway!

  13. Creeptastic! Yowza! …and chock full of interesting facts I didn’t know. Tongues by the hundreds, all exposed to the world. *shudder* “more please!”

  14. I see you didn’t go with “like a cloud of fetid gas hovering around a flaccid anus” for the octo-brain interface. I’m disappointed.

    Otherwise, very interesting and tasty morsel.

  15. Bloody hell, man. This is spine-chilling. I mean, probably not for the octopus, because you know, invertebrate, but gah! Freaks me the hell out. Which is why I love your stuff.

  16. Dan: This is spine-chilling. I mean, probably not for the octopus, because you know, invertebrate

    heh.

    (hey, but the guy is sharing experience with the octopus. perhaps it got just as squicked.)

  17. Peter, I was just recently speaking to a someone who studies the octopus (I’m sorry, I can’t recall her official title) and asked what was the proper way to form the plural for octopus. She claimed that since the word ‘octopus’ was of Greek origin, changing the -us ending to -i didn’t apply thus the plural was ‘octopuses’. I was wondering what your thoughts were? Cheers.

  18. There’s another story, here, “included by reference” barely noted in passing, and probably some people here will recall that “included by reference” is a three-word shorthand for “you have no freakin’ idea how many footnotes I just skipped citing, but it’s probably quite a lot”.

    This notion has come up in several of Our Gracious Host’s recent works but I for one would love to see some expansion somewhere. That would be “Cloud-killling gig”. Other sysadmin/network-admin readers might also love to see some expansion of this, because probably most of us can see that this could be seriously necessary in “the future”. It’s already necessary in the present, and depending on what exactly is the problem, this could involve anything from including some new signatures in the reference listings at the anti-spam centers, to military-class technical operations with the budget of, say, Norway. There’s lots of mixed-modes stuff in there, where you might have to dig through whatever remains of the logfiles of a lot of commandeered routers to get a lock on where some really demonic internet “howling” is originating, but ultimately it’s resolved by some ordinary-looking people with extraordinary talents, finally kicking in the doors of someone who isn’t any longer just one step ahead of the sheriff. I wish I could say “I’m not at liberty to discuss it” but frankly I only see a little bit of patchwork happening around the edges, only one step up from the end-user effects. Even that level of “fix it” does give clues as to what might be going on a little farther into the maelstrom, and even that looks like some pretty hard-core SF is happening in there, then it is remembered that there’s nothing fictional about it.

    If I have a point, it’s that there will definitely be new breeds of threat, and new breeds of “console cowboys” involved. Even new “life” in the ecologies that will emerge, that are emerging now, as Peter Watts covered pretty well in the Rifters books. I guess I might like to see a little more of those ecologies, and the cowboys (and their backstories as needed, or useful, or even just “fun”), as well. Epic roundups of malicious headcheeses, always a thought-provoking diversion!

  19. Peter D: I was hoping it was a part of Intelligent Design.

    Nah, it’s too subtle for Intelligent Design. I’m tired of writing stuff that’s too dense for people. Intelligent Design is gonna be me going full Dan Brown. Or maybe Michael Crichton, only with better prose. And much lower sales figures.

    Greg: I was wondering what your thoughts were?

    My thoughts are that “Octopi” is more concise. But “octopuses” is way cuter.

    Mr Non-Entity: That would be “Cloud-killling gig”. Other sysadmin/network-admin readers might also love to see some expansion of this, because probably most of us can see that this could be seriously necessary in “the future”.

    Careful readers may remember that Dan Brüks’s wife was a Cloud Killer, before she ascended.

  20. This is the sweet spot is where the genius of Watts lies. Jakob von Uexküll was the only other guy to attempt this—and that was in 1934! I hope those Russian publishers are keeping you in the caviar and vodka appropriate to your station.

  21. @Peter Watts: I remember that, and I seem to recall some mention that various forms of “life” in the network ecologies had people that studied them, and tried to rein them in somewhat.

    Yet once again, while there is some degree of detail there, that degree is somewhat fuzzy, brief. Realistically, it might be about as easy and reasonable to describe what a Cloud Killer does, in any real detail, as it would be to describe day-to-day life after a full Technological Singularity. I seem to recall that you settled it all into the background in Blindsight, with something I paraphrase as “then the networks became too complex and intelligent for mere humans to handle, and AIs took over management because there really weren’t any other options”. Blindsight, the explanation Siri Keaton gives after informing us “I am the curtain”:

    The forced matings of minds and electrons succeed and fail
    with equal spectacle. Our hybrids become as brilliant as savants,
    and as autistic. We graft people to prosthetics, make their overloaded
    motor strips juggle meat and machinery, and shake our heads
    when their fingers twitch and their tongues stutter. Computers bootstrap their own offspring, grow so wise and incomprehensible that their communiqués assume
    the hallmarks of dementia: unfocused and irrelevant to the
    barely-intelligent creatures left behind.”

    Still, while I myself might be a bit unfocused and irrelevant, I must say that I really enjoyed those parts of the Rifters books where you were giving us detailed insight into what was going on in the network ecologies. I’d love to see more of it. Perhaps other people would like to see it, as well, if you feel like writing more of it. 😉

  22. Mr Non-Entity: say, Norway. There’s lots of mixed-modes stuff in there, where you might have to dig through whatever remains of the logfiles of a lot of commandeered routers to get a lock on where some really demonic internet “howling” is originating, but ultimately it’s resolved by some ordinary-looking people with extraordinary talents, finally kicking in the doors of someone

    this is similar to what happens with engineers with the benefit of experience (they don’t need extraordinary talents), with current day tools. some tools are better than others, but since you mentioned logging…

    you might have logs getting streamed from 100s of services/machines to something like http://logstash.net/ with events (log lines are just events, really) getting streamed to something like graphite (pretty skin for it, http://grafana.org/ ) in addition to good old things like find and grep.

    I like find and grep (and ack-grep!!!!) and also I really love graphite. I haven’t used logstash but it sounds handy (I tried something called splunk and hated it, probably we were just using it wrong).

    this moment of nerdlove and nerdmonologing is now over.

  23. I keep thinking that fucker got to the octopus before the octopus got to him.

  24. Off-topic for this thread, but I don’t supposed you had noticed this?

    http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2015/apr/researchers-think-axial-seamount-northwest-coast-erupting-%E2%80%93-right-schedule

  25. Sheila:
    I keep thinking that fucker got to the octopus before the octopus got to him.

    I am pretty sure he thought so, too. 😉

    About the network stuff? You’re doing about what I was, I think, about what an awful lot of people do. Dealing with the eventuality that someday someone will get on your routers so hard and fast that there’s not much chance for the router to log, locally or remotely… Some folks do variations on transparent squid proxies and your router may still get pwn3d and the remote-logging facility discovered and targeted for concurrent attacks. But at least the transparent squid proxy will keep a record of its own and since it’s not very visible, it might be more difficult to arrange a concurrent take-down and spoofing. Anyway, there is the endless evolution of Armor v. Armor-Piercing.

    Seriously, the more I think about it, the more I realize that I might be being very silly asking for more detail, since 70 years or so is a very long time in net-wars technical evolution. I can easily imagine that most everything in that arena will have become very full-figured and developed by that time, machines dealing with machine threats, with the human element only present as an authorization decision maker. Sort of like being ahold of the leashes of thousands of cyberspace rottweilers (so to speak) and all that is left for humans to do is to decide which ones to unleash against the targets they’ve already selected.

    So, if I am being silly, Dr Watts, I apologize. I do love to read that stuff, though.

  26. I feel like something just crawled into my brain and died. At least, I hope it’s dead.

  27. PhilRM:
    I feel like something just crawled into my brain and died. At least, I hope it’s dead.

    Imagine how Guo must feel. I mean once you let something into your head like that, how can you be 100% sure it didn’t leave something of itself behind? A little wet, slimy seed, growing silently deep down in your subconscious, slowly twisting you into something… other.

    I’m not going to sleep well tonight, am I?

  28. I always thought the “cloud killing gig” was an updated version of the Turing Police in Neuromancer.

  29. I’ve been having some fun with the whole cloud killing profession.

    I can easily see it as an outgrowth of specialists hired to contain and delete our online digital signatures. A very handy service for the wealthy, who like their power and personalities hidden and cloaked. Kinda like a negative PR. Problem is all these digital signatures,traces, websites visited will have to be managed. All those narrow AI marketing algorithms just trying to figure out what to sell you next, communicating with each other, predicting your movements determining what strategies are going to appeal to you, you, you.

    So hire a console jockey, get the algorithms out of your head. Hire a digital assassin to track down all of your data and nuke it. Problem is, the marketers figure you’ll do that. So they disperse the data as a countermeasure. Everything is set up in nodes that emulate different aspects of your desires. Your food, your fucks your favourite cars. Neural nets, rules based learning systems, AI’s all taking about you.

    Soon the communication latency between all of these nodes drops below some hard-to-know threshold and now it IS you. But better.

    Anyways, that’s my vision, liberally ripped off from other posts on this blog. Sounds kinda fun, horrible and inevitable.

  30. Sheila: I keep thinking that fucker got to the octopus before the octopus got to him.

    How could a brief interfacing change the gross personality structure of someone?

    Human beings are not computers, the data is the hardware.
    Changing it’d require at the very least long-term exposure. .

    Also, guy jst got his brain scrambled. What use would there be for self-awareness in each of the arms?

  31. Lodore: I hope those Russian publishers are keeping you in the caviar and vodka appropriate to your station.

    Hey, given the current state of the Russian economy, I’m kind of amazed they’re even publishing special editions of my books. Caviar and vodka would be an unexpected bonus.

    Mr Non-Entity: I must say that I really enjoyed those parts of the Rifters books where you were giving us detailed insight into what was going on in the network ecologies. I’d love to see more of it.

    Then you’re in luck. Intelligent Design is kind of about how all that stuff started in the first place.

    Just remember. Dan Brown.

    Matt Finnigan: Off-topic for this thread, but I don’t supposed you had noticed this?

    I hadn’t. Thanks for pointing it out.

    Y.: Also, guy jst got his brain scrambled. What use would there be for self-awareness in each of the arms?

    You could just as well ask what use we have for self-awareness in our brains. At least, in my experience, you can get a lot of mileage when you do.

    The working model here is that self-awareness emerges as an epiphenomenon of complex networks characterized by certain minimum levels of latency and bandwidth. It’s not necessarily adaptive, it’s just an inherent property of the network. If the pipe between arms is thin enough to keep everything firing in synch, you don’t get a single coherent self. You just get a bunch of little island selves.

    Probably bullshit, of course, at least when applied to octopuses. But ’twas ever thus. Still makes a good story.

  32. Y.:

    How could a brief interfacing change the gross personality structure of someone?

    I don’t know, but it is an interesting question.

    but, in this case we don’t know the character’s personality, he may be the same as he would be with brief exposure to any similar stimuli and the resulting memories.

    (assuming it was perceived as brief. some mental states have different experiences of time.)

  33. Ps. I like this video on how to pronounce the plural https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFyY2mK8pxk

  34. Peter Watts: You could just as well ask what use we have for self-awareness in our brains.

    A current theory I like is that in the human animal it’s an evolved sort of ‘flack’ whose job is to communicate with other human animals in an advantageous way. And that it only has limited access to what goes in other parts of the brain, and is in fact oftentimes fed crap information, but crap that makes the person look good in front of the others. (remember Dunning & Kruger ). Or the Lake Wobegon effect?

    And as to epiphenomenon, I’m just going to regurgitate a half-baked idea that attacked me while I was in a discharge mode recently.

    We know(IIRC), that higher animals model behaviors of other animals in order to get ahead and all that. Now, I guess the models are more complex in more social and smarter animals, as these behave in more complex ways.

    Maybe consciousness is just some sort of sum of the interactions of all these models, one that is there to make it all fit together and prevent schizophrenic behavior, as that’d be inefficient.

  35. https://www.google.com/search?q=Keith+Honeyborne

    top link:
    “Diane Stibbard and *Keith Honeyborne* are two retail investors who make part of their living by buying, owning and selling preferred shares …”

    Odd coincidence ….

  36. Peter Watts said, “Dan Brown.”

    Now that is a trifle cryptic! If you’re talking about the writer who penned “the DaVinci Code” as well as many other titles, you might share a trait with him, according to the Wikipedia article:

    Because of the research-intensive nature of his novels,
    Brown can spend up to two years writing them.
    To remain focused on such projects, Brown ensures
    that when he chooses a theme for the novel
    (what he refers to as the “big idea”), and its subject,
    that they be those that can hold his interest.

    As for network entities, I’ve taken a stab at it, probably thousands of people have. There is a rather old legend, probably apocryphal, that in the early days of the internet, some bit of NASA code intended to simulate a pretty non-complex probe trajectory was wandering around as UDP, and as such was routed practically everywhere. The legend continues that wherever all of the packets found a suitable host with the right ports open, the host would execute the code, append the result, and launch it all back out.

    However apocryphal that might have been, Archie and Veronica clients definitely tended to wander, back in the days when the core routers tended to “flap” quite a lot. I very badly missed the mark when I predicted that something like a network intelligence could grow out of Gopher-space; hardly anyone uses it anymore… but it is speed and simplicity itself for information search and retrieval. See also WAIS and to some degree the z39.50 standard client-server systems, which latter systems are still very common in libraries today.

    If a network “life” form needs speed of information retrieval (and needs information itself as “food”, imagine one that could “inject” its own Gopher/z39.50[1] system into a target host, and then retreat to a safe distance (so to speak) and get its food faster and with less computational overhead than via HTTP. It might be better adapted in pseudo-darwinian terms, that might be other network entities which couldn’t feed in such well-hierarchized and indexed fashion.

    Ref: 1. See also ;Glimpse, which evolved into Harvest, which evolved into quite a lot of things.

  37. Y.: Human beings are not computers, the data is the hardware.

    For the love of robot boobs, this line of reasoning pisses me off so hard.

    Cthulhu damn it, data is the hardware with “computers” too.
    That data saved to an HDD ? Patterns of magnetic domains. That data you have in RAM ? Specific physical states of transistor-based memory cells (architecture differs depending on RAM type, but point stands for all currently known)
    Data currently being crunched by the processor? Well, physical transistor states again.

    “Data” is always a specific hardware state.
    Even if you print it on a mutilated tree corpse, that would still be a hardware state.

    We just abstract away that simple fact of life because it’s comfier for programmer-brains to handle highly abstract stuff without being constantly reminded of the horrible, mind-numbing hardware crunching that actually goes on “where the rubber hits the road”.

    Y.: Also, guy jst got his brain scrambled. What use would there be for self-awareness in each of the arms?

    Depending on definition of self-awareness you use, any self-monitoring adaptive system can be considered self-aware, including hard drives, better thumb drives, and modern refridgerators.
    Which, incidentally, is the view I subscribe to.

  38. 01: For the love of robot boobs, this line of reasoning pisses me off so hard.
    Cthulhu damn it, data is the hardware with “computers” too.

    Technically, yeah. As if we didn’t know that.
    In the tiniest level. And said ‘physical’ states can be altered more rapidly than a bit of information can pass through an organic brain.

    It doesn’t compare.

    01: Depending on definition of self-awareness you use, any self-monitoring adaptive system can be considered self-aware, including hard drives, better thumb drives, and modern refridgerators.

    So you redefine the word to include everything short of, what.. viruses? I imagine bacteria know when something’s messing with them.

  39. Peter D:
    I was hoping it was a part of Intelligent Design.Cool, anyway!

    Same here

    Been playing around with Eclipse Phase and spreadsheets–you really need them–so a pleasant surprise that illustrates horrifi-beautifully the issues with resleeving and sanity.

  40. Mr Non-Entity: As for network entities, I’ve taken a stab at it, probably thousands of people have. There is a rather old legend, probably apocryphal, that in the early days of the internet, some bit of NASA code intended to simulate a pretty non-complex probe trajectory was wandering around as UDP, and as such was routed practically everywhere. The legend continues that wherever all of the packets found a suitable host with the right ports open, the host would execute the code, append the result, and launch it all back out.

    I couldn’t remember the name of the first worm. By way of memory lane and wikipedia I found a cool timeline. The 1971 entry sounds close to your story except it predates UDP.

  41. whoa, this got boinged! http://boingboing.net/2015/05/05/what-its-like-to-share-consc.html

    i too reflect the sentiment that this theme needs to be expanded upon. new opportunities re: mind/body horror abound!

  42. Y.: Technically, yeah. As if we didn’t know that.
    In the tiniest level. And said ‘physical’ states can be altered more rapidly than a bit of information can pass through an organic brain.

    Nobody has really managed to measure the “bit-wise” processing and/or storage (short term memory is still storage) of the brain. Not with rigorous methodology.

    And “at the thinnest level” doesn’t even make sense as a counterargument.

    Eh, don’t get me wrong, I appreciate bioexclusivist positions (you make good counterarguments), but in this particular context it is problematic to sustain.

    Y.: So you redefine the word to include everything short of, what.. viruses? I imagine bacteria know when something’s messing with them.

    Well, depending on what exact definitions you insist on, bacteria and slime molds might get a pass, especially slime molds.

    I recall there being a number of “self awareness” definitions that would require more complex, non-reflexive behaviors, but bees and spiders easily satisfy those.
    And so do SMART HDDs.

    What you are looking for is a definition that would encompass the seemingly anthropospecific experience of being someone, cogito-ergo-sum stuff (though with current tech, we can’t really prove that slime molds don’t have some kind of “I slime, therefore I am” experience shtick going on 😉 ).
    And that goes waaaay beyond mere “self” “awareness”.

  43. Peter Watts: “They don’t hear”? Surely a creature with such sensitivity to touch, suspended in a medium which so readily transmits vibrations, effectively “hears” through its whole body?

    <research>…

    Ok, apparently not so much, at least not at reasonable amplitudes for hearing instead of feeling. But their statocysts do allow them to hear as well as orient themselves. Here’s the newest paper on the topic.

  44. 01: Eh, don’t get me wrong, I appreciate bioexclusivist positions (you make good counterarguments), but in this particular context it is problematic to sustain.

    Why do you consider me a bioexclusivist? I’m well known for remarking that we’re nothing more than rather quite impressive self-replicating machinery. Chemical processes. Doesn’t mean that if the essence is same, the substrates need to be that similar.

    01: I recall there being a number of “self awareness” definitions that would require more complex, non-reflexive behaviors, but bees and spiders easily satisfy those.
    And so do SMART HDDs.

    Now you’re pushing it. HDD doesn’t have the behavioral flexibility of an ant.

  45. Y.: Why do you consider me a bioexclusivist? I’m well known for remarking that we’re nothing more than rather quite impressive self-replicating machinery. Chemical processes. Doesn’t mean that if the essence is same, the substrates need to be that similar.

    And nobody claimed similarity of substrates :)

    My point is simply the pedantic observation that the differences between a brain and a stereotypical computer do not prohibit rapid, gross personality changes from happening due to “mere stimuli” without what one would call “chronic exposure”.

    Hell, many PTSD cases arise from stimuli sets that measure in minutes, maybe even seconds.

    I’m not arguing that there isn’t an upper bound on how fast – or how strongly – a brain can change (there are such limits for most typical computer architectures however, obviously so).

    But your point does make me ponder as to whether a significant personality change can be induced by a traumatic stimulus if one were to interrupt long term memory consolidation fast enough and for long enough.

    Y.: Now you’re pushing it. HDD doesn’t have the behavioral flexibility of an ant.

    Actually, modern HDDs observe their own state and build predictive models intended to estimate when a catastrophic failure will occur.

    They also manage their performance parameters based on outside conditions, such as thermal.
    There even was a technology for acoustic self-management (To reduce noise) but it kind of withered on the grapevine.

    And that’s just routines that are (to varying degrees) exposed to the knowledgeable user.

    Deep inside the firmware, all kinds of smartassery goes on to compensate for wear and tear (as well as industrial process anomalies) of platter-based drives (SSDs have it differently, they have wear-leveling and monitoring algorithms, but those are perhaps even more obscure and can be rather complicated)

    You know, NSA decided to inject one of its sneakies implants into hard-disk firmwares for a reason. HDDs are surprisingly “brainy”.

    They just don’t get much user love (that is, until all that neglect end up with a HDD failing, and destruction of terrabytes upon terrabytes of finely crafted lesbian BDSM porn. Then users start wailing at the godless sky above and blaming the HDD they never really cared to know better when it was still around :) )

  46. 01: My point is simply the pedantic observation that the differences between a brain and a stereotypical computer do not prohibit rapid, gross personality changes from happening due to “mere stimuli” without what one would call “chronic exposure”.

    Hell, many PTSD cases arise from stimuli sets that measure in minutes, maybe even seconds.

    I’m not arguing that there isn’t an upper bound on how fast – or how strongly – a brain can change (there are such limits for most typical computer architectures however, obviously so).

    But your point does make me ponder as to whether a significant personality change can be induced by a traumatic stimulus if one were to interrupt long term memory consolidation fast enough and for long enough.

    I ignored the pedantry because it is an interesting question. Y brought up personality and not memory. the question begs that personalities can change. I don’t necessarily take that as a given. I’ve heard of the “big five” personality traits, and that they are fairly stable. People work pretty hard to change ingrained traits to become healthier, with varying degrees of success.

    The question begs that the personality of the character in this story changed, I don’t take that as a given.

    One wonders whether PTSD or some other disorder that gets triggered by the environment counts as a personality change.

    One wonders whether a memory counts towards a personality change. We store memories all the time, from brief sensations.

    It’s an interesting question for science fiction because I see my current reality where I’m not even sure personalities can change much at all.

    add a future handwavium where things can share mental states and you get to play what if.

    if two humans who score differently on novelty seeking and impulse control meet and part with a long lasting different score maybe you could make psychopaths less psychopathic and non psychopaths more psychopathic.

    maybe you could have another way to give treatments for mental disorders.

  47. Peter Watts: Nah, it’s too subtle for Intelligent Design.I’m tired of writing stuff that’s too dense for people. Intelligent Design is gonna be me going full Dan Brown. Or maybe Michael Crichton, only with better prose.And much lower sales figures.

    Peter, I do hope that when you say this you’re referring to a commitment to greater opacity and clarity of language, and not dumbing down challenging ideas and complex subject matter for numbskulls like me. I worry because the names you cited would typically have a somewhat negative connotation in relation to the sort of fiction you write, and the statement reads a little bitter to me.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve never had lasting trouble following any of your books, with the exception of Echopraxia, which I’ll admit to missing a couple finer points on my first read. And that’s okay. I read your books so they can challenge me and bring me up to their level, not to be spoonfed things entirely within my comfort zone.

    If this is a financial decision, that’s an entirely different matter. As an artist, I know how frustrating it is that the answers to the questions, “What do I want to do?”, and, “What can I sell?” are seldom one and the same. I just hope this is a decision you’re happy with, and not one you feel angry about.

  48. Preaching to the choir on the blog of the man who wrote “The Things” but I’ve long come to the conclusing that us placing octopuses and other tentacled beasties as proxies for otherworldly horrors is hypocritical projecting of the first degree. It’s us who are unsympathetic alien intelligences from beyond the veil who enjoy eating them (Sometimes alive, or freshly vivisected), playing with their corpses, or making them participate in unfathomable experiments. Much like the unfortunate summoner from “The shambler from the stars” the octopus protagonist is torn to shreds by an incomprehensible beast from beyond reality that reacts with blind rage and loathing to it’s very essence.

  49. Sounds like this was an immediate, spur-of-the-moment decision on the dude’s part, not dissimilar to road rage or shooting at kids playing loud music on your front lawn. Given he is able to describe it coherently and not become violent, seems likely distance from the event has lessened the impact on his psyche.

    More like a bad trip?

  50. Sheila:
    It’s an interesting question for science fiction because I see my current reality where I’m not even sure personalities can change much at all.

    You mean without drugs? Have known people after things like accidents or just heart surgery {wonder if surgeons take into consideration that there are some synapses there} whom others claim are very different after. Brain damage is more obvious

    On a temporary basis, no question. Does it last?

    But then we need a measuring system. Seems to come down to what others notice.

    Have been told that anyone who goes through SERE becomes a humanitarian. Doesn’t seem likely that all do, but if some do, does that qualify?

  51. whoever,

    oh derp, yeah brain damage. e.g. I’ve heard that people have changed on the introversion-extroversion scale after brain damage. (I’ve never heard of SERE and had to look it up, btw).

    yeah, a measuring system would be useful if we wanted to talk bout personality changes. personality inventories exist but don’t measure all of what people mean when using “personality” in conversation. the big five, criticisms.

  52. A friend pointed me to Malacology Monthly: Cephalopod Compendium which is not entirely on topic here, but it has some neato cephalopods to talk about. like this neat one with a shell inside of it.

  53. whoever: Have been told that anyone who goes through SERE becomes a humanitarian. Doesn’t seem likely that all do, but if some do, does that qualify?

    ROFL.

    Who told you that?

    People who go through SERE are generally conservative and rightwing. Not ‘humanitarians’.

  54. Hey I’m gonna spam something completely unrelated as is my wont, Der Shing Helmer has recently begun a new webcomic that I think will really be appreciated by people around here:

    http://www.marecomic.com/

    It’s set on Mars, seems to be pretty well researched and features suicidal astronauts! No squids or cephalopods though, sorry. But they do have cricket farms…

    E: Are there no conservative right wing humanitarians?

  55. Y.: ROFL.

    Who told you that?

    People who go through SERE are generally conservative and rightwing. Not ‘humanitarians’.

    Can’t recall. Wasn’t Drake, but might have been someone he retweeted or quoted. In any case, appreciate you pointing out that Compassionate Conservatism was the bullshit that it was. :)

    But point was that it changed their views, made them less likely to want to apply similar vicious tactics to others. Was wondering if that altered anything on the big five scale.

  56. @whoever:

    Have been told that anyone who goes through SERE becomes a humanitarian. Doesn’t seem likely that all do, but if some do, does that qualify?

    Eh? I suspect that if anyone did an actual study, they would instead find that there was a pretty blatant polarization into extreme positions to either side. I would expect that any non-committal centrist position would erode away the first time that anyone went through the “Resistance” part of SERE. As for people who went through actual torture, I would expect them to either be rather dedicated to personal revenge if they thought they could find an opportunity, though there might be a rather small camp of whom could be said “you know, he’s been a really nice guy ever since he recovered from having an ice-pick hammered through his brain”.

    @Peter Watts: After a more ahem careful reading of this thread, I now “get you” regarding Dan Brown. I apologize, as it seems that this medication I am beta-testing is very effective at killing a certain virus but it is really very understudied outside of that use. Nobody really knows the long-term effects, but for me, one of the short-term effects is a certain level of dimness beyond the usual. So I will thank you very much for doing a Dan Brown. I have gone on record here at least a few times suggesting that it couldn’t hurt to reach for a wider audience, and you could still be very entertaining and thought-provoking, only now with a much bigger payday. If the critics wail about another of the great ones surrendering to market forces, and you hit bestseller, feel free to blame it all on me. And haven’t you secretly always wanted to have reviewers use the word “swashbuckling” about something you wrote? Because, you know, pirates and stuff. 😉

  57. Mr Non-Entity:
    @whoever:

    Eh? I suspect that if anyone did an actual study, they would instead find that there was a pretty blatant polarization into extreme positions to either side.

    Yeah, that’s my thinking on it, too. Forget if the APA guys actually had to go through it themselves but at least one of them seems like he’s lost his mind a bit.

    As for people who went through actual torture, I would expect them to either be rather dedicated to personal revenge if they thought they could find an opportunity…

    Y’ think? 😉

    Feature, not bug when your income depends on existence of badguyz.

    Quite literally, the only example of a better-after-trauma person I can think of is the author of “Amazing Grace” this side of Paul and not familiar enough to know if his good deeds extended beyond becoming a slavery abolitionist after the mutiny, ie, how much manufactured for legend?

    Sure there are more and obvious ones, but none coming to mind.

  58. Y.: People who go through SERE are generally conservative and rightwing. Not ‘humanitarians’.

    Define “humanitarian

    Also, US milfolk I happen to have personal acquaintance with have rather… eclectic worldviews that can’t be conveniently classified as “conservative” or “liberal” (though my sample is not large and biased in more than one peculiar way, lol)

    whoever: But point was that it changed their views, made them less likely to want to apply similar vicious tactics to others.

    It appears that US Military recruiting, intentionally or not, seems to end up with a lot of people who are rather empathetic. And it’s not just SERE training – AFAIK drone operators don’t get that one, and yet they are consistently reported to strongly empathize with people on “the other end of the ‘link” and develop considerable PTSD symptoms.

    Do note that it does not necessarily mean that this kind of people are less capable of committing atrocities against perceived “outgroup” – that is a common and unfortunate misconception.

    Mr Non-Entity: I would expect that any non-committal centrist position would erode away the first time that anyone went through the “Resistance” part of SERE.

    Well, fear tends to polarize people, and waterboarding is surprisingly scary (even if performed in an environment that isn’t “really” adversarial and with medical intervention available).
    It’s quite peculiar just how terrifying the experience is.

  59. Y.: Maybe consciousness is just some sort of sum of the interactions of all these models, one that is there to make it all fit together and prevent schizophrenic behavior, as that’d be inefficient.

    This is actually pretty close to what a couple of neuro and philosophy types postulate. And maybe we do use consciousness in that way. But my go-to question in cases like this is, Is it possible to imagine a nonconscious agent capable of fulfilling the same role? And so far I’ve always had to say Yes. Which means that consciousness, no matter what it’s used for, isn’t necessarily essential for that purpose.

    Ross: “Diane Stibbard and *Keith Honeyborne* are two retail investors who make part of their living by buying, owning and selling preferred shares …”

    No coincidence at all, actually. That particular Keith Honeyborne is a good friend of mine.

    Mr Non-Entity: As for network entities…

    That is all really interesting. And even relevant. I have added it to m ID background file. Thank you.

    Grego: But their statocysts do allow them to hear as well as orient themselves.

    I did not realize that! Back when I was ploughing through undergraduate invert statocysts were being pimped as pure balance/orientation sensors. Although given those little hairs I can see how easy they’d be to regift for hearing.

    I note, though, that the paper’s theoretical. They tie in to some previous empirical observations for parameter-tuning purposes, but their results section consists entirely of applying a theoretical model to different theoretical cephalopods. I’m gonna wait until I see someone give a hearing test to an octopus before I give this any more than an “interesting possibility” nod.

    01: I’m not arguing that there isn’t an upper bound on how fast – or how strongly – a brain can change (there are such limits for most typical computer architectures however, obviously so).

    I don’t think there’s any question that a brain can undergo structural changes on a dime. They do that every time we perceive a new sensation or form a new memory. The only question is, whether those very fast changes can happen massively-parallel enough for the rest of us to notice fundamental changes in behavior. (Given that Indiana’s Jones’ character-defining fear of snakes was induced in a matter of seconds, I’d guess yes.)

  60. ScottC: Peter, I do hope that when you say this you’re referring to a commitment to greater opacity and clarity of language, and not dumbing down challenging ideas and complex subject matter for numbskulls like me. I worry because the names you cited would typically have a somewhat negative connotation in relation to the sort of fiction you write, and the statement reads a little bitter to me.

    Yeah, there’s some bitterness there. I’ll admit that I’m being kind of immature, because I made a number of conscious decisions based entirely on how I saw very successful authors behaving: I decided I would not talk down to my audience, that I would not jump on the Relentless Self-promotion Express, that I would not pander. All of which was clearly going to leave me with fewer readers who even knew I existed, and a higher proportion of the rest feeling either confused and/or alienated. I justified it by telling myself that at least, if something I wrote did do well or win some prestigious award or whatever, I would know it was because the work itself had merit and not because I’d jizzed all over the internet. So I can hardly complain when I end up wit a smaller, more confused, and more alienated fan base.

    I can, however, start wondering if maybe it’s time to start jizzing all over the internet.

    Nestor: It’s us who are unsympathetic alien intelligences from beyond the veil who enjoy eating them (Sometimes alive, or freshly vivisected), playing with their corpses, or making them participate in unfathomable experiments.

    Hear hear. The things we do to members of other species frequently makes me sick.

    Mr Non-Entity: So I will thank you very much for doing a Dan Brown.

    The risk, of course, is that I go all Dan Brown and my sales still suck. Then I don’t even have the excuse of moral integrity to fall back on.

    Maybe I should just play it steady as she goes…

  61. Peter Watts: Is it possible to imagine a nonconscious agent capable of fulfilling the same role? And so far I’ve always had to say Yes. Which means that consciousness, no matter what it’s used for, isn’t necessarily essential for that purpose

    Well, there is this entire book saying self-reflective consciousness is a relatively newfangled phenomena and that before that there were gods all around doing the self-reflecting for us.

  62. 01: And it’s not just SERE training – AFAIK drone operators don’t get that one, and yet they are consistently reported to strongly empathize with people on “the other end of the ‘link” and develop considerable PTSD symptoms.

    Not only drone operators but also drones can also get PTSD. I guess that validates your opinion that even machines , like smart hdd’s are self-aware, up to a point.

  63. I don’t think aiming for “Dan Brown” is a good idea, in the sense that I don’t think Brown is intentionally modulating his output for some kind of mass appeal – I think he writes the best he can, and his best just hits the right sweet spot of mass appeal.

    I mean, I read a couple of his books back when he first got big and he’d make some fairly glarring mistakes that I don’t think were anything intentional.

    Someone like Stephen King, who has everyman appeal but doesn’t make you doubt his intellect every 30 pages is probably a better target.

  64. Y.: Well, there is this entire book saying self-reflective consciousness is a relatively newfangled phenomena and that before that there were gods all around doing the self-reflecting for us.

    Well, there is this entire references section for a popular book that cites that book.

  65. Peter Watts with all the cosmic, biological, dystopic poetry sucked out?

    I’d still buy it.

  66. @Peter Watts. ” I’ll admit that I’m being kind of immature, because I made a number of conscious decisions based entirely on how I saw very successful authors behaving…”
    Have you read Martin Amis’s novel “The Information”?
    Funny book. Seems relevant to the above statements…

  67. Nestor: Someone like Stephen King, who has everyman appeal but doesn’t make you doubt his intellect every 30 pages is probably a better target.

    Stephen King is definitely a more admirable role model. Shooting for Dan Brown, though, appeals more to my inherent sense of self-loathing.

    Gator: Have you read Martin Amis’s novel “The Information”?

    I have not. I’ve heard very good things about it, though.

  68. Peter Watts: … Shooting for Dan Brown, though, appeals more to my inherent sense of self-loathing.

    I have not. I’ve heard very good things about it, though.

    Heh. You should read it. Not science fiction, but the parallels to your career should amuse.

  69. Gator: Stephen King is definitely a more admirable role model. Shooting for Dan Brown, though, appeals more to my inherent sense of self-loathing.

    Inherent ? Is that not one of those acquired traits?

  70. Y.: Inherent ? Is that not one of those acquired traits?

    Not really known for certain. Might be congenital – brain chem anomaly, is all :)

  71. Off-topic. “Eyes of God.” 😉

    Eavesdropping on inner voice.

    And “Judge DREADDS.”

    Designer drugs/receeptors and controlling behavior.

    Designer receptors. Seems like I read wrote that somewhere recently. Well almost.

  72. whoever: Off-topic. “Eyes of God.” 😉

    Eavesdropping on inner voice.

    Heh, my dear Third will become even more popular with ‘spooky corpse guys – she doesn’t have an “inner voice” lol

  73. 01: Not really known for certain. Might be congenital – brain chem anomaly, is all

    Could be very well genetic. In the US, African Americans have the highest reported self-esteem despite being well, you know, at a severe disadvantage, targets of systemic and uneradicable racism and are as loved by uncle Sam as the marines.

    Meanwhile, Asian Americans, the most over-achieving non-liquid ethnic group in the US, is the one with the least amount of self-esteem.

  74. @Peter Watts, which I am transplanting back from the Ultron dismissal thread:

    Ben: One for the ID research file

    Oh, I’m all over that. Believe me.

    You probably aren’t the only one.

    I read this fragment, above, with something tickling deep in my longterm memory. Sorry about the long access time digging up the relevance. 😉

    Donald Kingsbury, who also wrote the epic and disquieting (and Hugo nominated for 1983) “Courtship Rite“, also contributed to the Niven “Man Kzin Wars” cycle, including his rather detailed description of the “Jotoki“. See the link for more detail about their life-cycle. They are clearly based to some degree on the actual octopuses, and Kingsbury covers them as beginning their lives as independent “arms” which eventually link up to several others, then developing a “torochord”, which binds together five of these formerly independent (non-sentient) beings into one sapience-capable juvenile. Yet throughout the rest of their lives, they have a mind that acts effectively as a consensus of the components, much like your octopus hasn’t got much of a mind of its own, but is rather more like the sum of its arms.

    Re: Kingsbury’s “neuro” style technical detail in his “the Heroic Myth of Lieutenant Nora Argamentine”, is rather like a forerunner to some of your own content. If the two of you aren’t corresponding, you might want to start, and compare some octopus notes.

  75. Re: 01

    Haha, yes, yesss. I am the Homo Novus, future mind reading machines don’t have shit on me.
    At last, not having a verbalized “stream of consciousness” will be good for something.

    Re: Y

    Seriously, what’s up with you and african lineages, esp. afro-americans?

    orbital surveillance indicates you aren’t even in the US of A 😉

  76. 03: Seriously, what’s up with you and african lineages, esp. afro-americans?

    US largely doesn’t have an African problem. (Except for Detroit, Atlanta, Baltimore, and such places) Europe is going to have one, because people are idiots.

    Africa is going to have 2 billion inhabitants by 2040, and it’s probably going to be a unpleasant place to live. For every relatively sane country there (Ghana?), there’s four dysfunctional ones. I’m looking at you, Nigeria, you with giant oil revenues and an inability to maintain an electrical grid.

    A significant portion of these are going to want to get to Europe. You can’t effectively combat illegal migration without running afoul of human rights. It’s unlikely that any country in the world is going to be willing to take those illegals out of EU hands. Australia sells it’s illegals to Cambodia, but who is going to buy millions of sub-saharan Africans? .

    And it’s damned good business for the smugglers. (what, $1500 per head)

  77. 03: Seriously, what’s up with you and african lineages, esp. afro-americans?

    Who knows? Who am I anyway? My emotions are largely unconscious. Truthfully, I dislike dumb people who can be easily manipulated by appeals to emotions, and Africa is not an intellectual continent, nor it ever was. This is my guess as to why I dislike them.

  78. I’d wager continents in general are largely not intellectual, being essentially just glorified bulges of planetary crust 😉

  79. Re: Y, on who is going to buy millions of sub-saharan Africans

    By 2040?

    Who knows. maybe some BOINC-inspired massive-cloud-neuroprocessing startup or someshit, fuck knows, but you can count on us corporates to find clever uses for all those spare biologicals.

    Right now they are best used to draw voters on all sides of political spectrum into a frenzy, and as such are an indispensible resource.

  80. 03: Right now they are best used to draw voters on all sides of political spectrum into a frenzy, and as such are an indispensible resource.

    Oh really? It’s largely a non issue. No one is talking about it, no one is proposing solutions, because there are none that are possible. It’s not a major issue outside of Italy, I believe.

    Muslims, etc, are more of a political issue. They’re a threat likewise. If Arab Spring is even more of a rousing succcess than it has already proven itself to be, and say, Egypt collapses into civil war.. things would get really interesting.

    03:
    I’d wager continents in general are largely not intellectual, being essentially just glorified bulges of planetary crust

    Do not be facetious. You know just as well a I that there are large distinctions between ethnic groups in many things, and that there has been ample time for changes to occur*. . Skin color and bone structure being just the most obvious. Awareness of racial differences is ancient – you can find frescoes depicting Africans, Indians, Europeans etc.. in Egyptian tombs.

    *also founder effect – Eurasian populations, usually have gone through multiple such events.

    03: Who knows. maybe some BOINC-inspired massive-cloud-neuroprocessing startup or someshit, fuck knows, but you can count on us corporates to find clever uses for all those spare biologicals.

    I dunno, that, or finding some way to upgrade would be the way to go. But perhaps implants that’d induce some state in which the body would be able to utilize skills the biological brain just can’t learn. However, I can’t see how they’d be of any use short of some neural computer role. After all, there is not that much need for physical labor anymore. Too expensive.

  81. Re:Y, on voters

    I dunno, as far as I can see the whole refugee shebang is being discussed, and is pretty emotional and polarizing (though it of course varies on a country-by-country basis)

    Muslims and refugees are interchangeable concepts as far as typical EU citizen is concerned (not an entirely erroneous perception BTW)

    Re: Y, on races

    As I said multiple times, piggybacking on second-hand correlate traits when you can define and assess relevant performance in a given individual is silly, especially given the state of our actual understanding of underlying biochemistry (rather… limited).

    So all in all, there is no “black” problem, there is a “poor and undereducated” problem which certain types of immigrations are liable to exacerbate, though in my experience this particular type of immigration is a self-zipping fly, so to say (a self-solving problem)

  82. 03: though in my experience this particular type of immigration is a self-zipping fly, so to say

    So how’s that going to solve itself? Unless by that you mean collapse of the society to the point where it’s no longer an attractive destination…

    03: So all in all, there is no “black” problem, there is a “poor and undereducated” problem wh

    So it’s all just culture, according to you?

  83. Re Y

    Simple, really, immigrants (both jobless and “technically gainfully employed) don’t have much political weight of their own.
    However, because they are often undereducated and proud bearers of lame traditional ideologies, they stir up a tremendous amount of shit, way more shit than they can reliably manage.

    That creates a strong popular anti-immigration sentiment that eventually errodes away humanistic/liberal arguments in favor of immigration, leaving behind raw economic arguments.

    Of course, immigration would thus slow down (so the fly starts self-zipping right here).

    It should also be noted that, low-key social animosities being pretty much self-sustaining, locals will keep whining and complaining about even relatively meager immigrant workforces, so when proper “full automation” labor solutions come around, large swaths of electorate will welcome them as a thing that makes immigrants unnecessary, instead of opposing them on luddite and labor grounds (even when doing so would seemingly go counter their own employment interests).

    So immigration is not only a self-solving issue, the fears it stirs could actually play nicely into my dream of forever replacing human workers with robots :)

    Re: Y, on culture

    According to me 😀 , we have no technology to reliably ascertain the degree to which intelligence is genetic, so unless you plan to hire AN ENTIRE ETHNIC GROUP it is reasonable to eschew shitty correlates (such as ethnic groups) and assess aptitudes of specific candidates for specific tasks (while of course keeping an eye on intelligence genetics as a long-term academic research target, because frankly, the payoff from “groking” how the relevant biochemistry works are likely to be enourmous.)

  84. 03: That creates a strong popular anti-immigration sentiment that eventually errodes away humanistic/liberal arguments in favor of immigration, leaving behind raw economic arguments.

    Are there any valid arguments in favor of immigration? As far as I know, multiculturalism has been shown to reduce trust and make people more isolated, cooperative and involved in civic activities.

    03: it is reasonable to eschew shitty correlates (such as ethnic groups) and assess aptitudes of specific candidates for specific task

    Again, good job knocking down a strawman. I never said anything about using lazy stereotypes (he’s black, gotta be dumb) in a hiring process – just observed that we don’t subject migrants to intelligence tests, doing so wouldn’t fly, and that people who are in favor of accepting all those sub-saharan migrants (mostly economic, with exceptions of perhaps Eritreans, whose gov’t has re-invented slavery under the guise of permanent unpaid military service) have no clue that the utter majority of those self-same migrants are unlikely to be ever useful for anything but the most basic labour.

    03: According to me , we have no technology to reliably ascertain the degree to which intelligence is genetic,

    .. do you think it’s impossible to get a ballpark figure for heritability of intelligence without DNA analysis? Adoption studies, etc – just wrong?

  85. 03: Simple, really, immigrants (both jobless and “technically gainfully employed) don’t have much political weight of their own.

    They do tend to vote in a certain way- generally for pro-immigration parties. Both UK and USA have seen their share of accusations that one or other party has a lax immigration policy in order to beef up it’s electorate.

    A few % here and there can do wonders.. though, apparently not enough, Miliband wasn’t helped that much with his promise of making islamophobia an aggravated offence .

  86. Re: Y, arguments for immigration

    Someone has to play the role of work-bots while Google is busy figuring out actual work-bots :)

    Re: Y on immigrant intelligence tests and strawmen

    Actually, getting resident status (or at least a WV/WV-like gig) is plenty an intelligence test (informal but very unforgiving)

    And let me remind you that the whole discussion started with your preoccupation with “race”.

    Do you believe that having considerable attempted immigration of unfiltered “whites” (like, say, from states like Russia, or, fancier yet, Ukraine or something like that) would provide higher quality human resources?

    Re: on ballpark figures

    Thing is, figures estimated from “ballpark” studies are wildly varying and notably inconsistent with modest nature of current genomic findings.
    So I would exercise extreme caution in both statements and policy. We must construct additional pylons conduct additional research.

    Re Y: on vote

    The whole thing with “voting immigrants” is a bit of a USA thing (I’m not very familiar with voting in the USA… can I like, hop in, pretend to be American, maybe with a cheap fake CA driver license, vote Democrat, then just hop out? Ta! 😉 )

    Where I am, just being a “working immigrant” or even a long-term resident (which gives you healthcare coverage and a bunch of other feats) does not confer any voting rights, at all.

    You need formal citizenship.
    Which requires spending a truckton of time working hard, or spending a considerable-but-smaller amount of time and giving the Big Government several hundred thousand euros. None of those are realistic options for undereducated people from Shitcraterstan

    Most of EU seems to have similar policies, only harsher (most countries don’t have “give us a few hundred kayssss” meachanism or have reworked it into “give us a few millionssss” mechanism :) )

    So while possible, “immigrant voting attacks” are highly overrated.

  87. 03: Do you believe that having considerable attempted immigration of unfiltered “whites” (like, say, from states like Russia, or, fancier yet, Ukraine or something like that) would provide higher quality human resources?

    Yeah. Ukrainians and Russians, while not quite European, are close. Germans found that out the hard way. Also, definitely not stupid, nor intellectually challenged as an ethnic. And the ones who made it here, would be, by definition, the cannier ones who aren’t alcoholics. Anecdotally speaking: Russians and Ukrainians here are way more likely to completely abstain from all booze. Also: already quite a lot of immigrants. I keep hearing Russian(or Ukrainian) on the street quite often. Young guys mostly, students?

    03: The whole thing with “voting immigrants” is a bit of a USA thing (I’m not very familiar with voting in the USA… can I like, hop in, pretend to be American, maybe with a cheap fake CA driver license, vote Democrat, then just hop out? Ta! )

    Someone observed it takes less ID to vote in California than to buy a can of beans in Venezuela. No idea though, how stringent checks they have. Anyway -Obama and others are pushing hard for amnesty and legalization.

    Also, the immigrants into voters was chiefly a UK thing. US, it’s more about pandering to voters/capitalists..

    03: So I would exercise extreme caution in both statements and policy. We must construct additional pylons conduct additional research.

    There’s been a good number on studies on that.
    http://www.nature.com/mp/journal/v20/n1/full/mp2014105a.html

    03: So I would exercise extreme caution in both statements and policy.

    Best kind of caution is, IMO, admit only reliable people with high IQs, and the wealthy. What can go wrong there? Canadian immigration agency. now staffed primarily by non-whites who are largely immune to the ‘racist’ card has such policy. Australia too, has a restrictive immigration policy.

    03: So while possible, “immigrant voting attacks” are highly overrated.

    Yeah. The problem is – who’s going to stop economic migration from Africa? It’s a net drain to that continent, and a net social burden on this one.