Archive for energy and information

Programmable Matter

Posted in Alternative Energy, Classic Sci-Fi, Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2012 by javedbabar

Everything was possible with the 3D printer. AMP co.’s prototype had so far produced another printer, a worm, a baby girl, and a 4D crab, and a variety of holy objects including Moses’s Tablets of Law, Buddha’s begging bowl, Siva’s drum and Thor’s hammer, though they couldn’t be sure if these holy objects could be equated with the original items. At best they were period copies, and at worst, accurate reproductions.

They were thinking of how to fabricate the original mythic elements of Creation – often expressed as water and clay – and ultimately, the dot of pure potential from which the universe evolved.

Alfred said, “This printer is more versatile than I thought. We have to be careful how we use it. It’s taken fourteen billion years for us to reach this point of creation.” He stopped and thought for a moment in his habitual fashion, staring at the cogs and levers of the large photocopier sized machine. Then he said, “Recreation.”

They both remained silent. They glanced around the workshop in which so much had happened since they’d met by chance and begun working together. The Bible says that God created the world in a week. It had taken them three weeks to reach the point of recreating it.

Alfred said, “I don’t think we should go too far. We shouldn’t test the limits yet. Who knows what might happen.”

Sami nodded. “You said that you wanted to monetize your invention. Why don’t we focus on that? Let’s see how we can apply what we’ve learnt to commercial purposes.”

“That’s the hardest part! How to benefit from your own work?”

“I’ve had a thought,” said Sami. “The problem with stuff – all stuff – is obsolescence. Whatever the item, it still ends up in landfill, or is recycled eventually. The first is totally wasteful, but the second isn’t much better. The amount of energy required to collect, sort, process, redesign, remanufacture, and redistribute is huge. If we could…”

Alfred nodded along enthusiastically and then interrupted. “Use fluid particles to make flexible matter. We have found a way of making anything we want; we just need the right materials and data. But all things are made of the same material – atoms! The only difference is how they are put together. If we can retain the energy inherent in an object, stored in the form of materials, we just need to change the data. We can reprogram the object to become something else! I was wrong before when I said we can’t create gold. We can create anything. That’s what the ancient alchemists were saying.”

Sami was delighted by this chain of thoughts. He developed the idea further, saying that they only needed to fabricate the object once with the 3D printer, but could encode it with multiple possibilities. Then the owner could decide which item he needed, and activate accordingly.

After a month of experiments they had it – a bed that becomes a chair, then a desk, then a table, and then a bed again. It was perfect for students living in studios. Their next model was a backpack that became a sunlounger, then a sailboat, then a paraglider.

“We should probably build a stretcher option into that model,” said Alfred. “We can do many things, but we can’t program the weather or remove human error.”

Ten Views of Myself

Posted in Conceptual Art, Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2012 by javedbabar

Alex wondered how many topics they could cover, inspired by Ukiyo-e, before they should move on to something else. The Japanese artist Hokusai had created thirty-six, then ten more, and later a hundred more, views of Mt Fuji, showing that there was plenty of mileage for any subject.

Alex decided to keep going in his PIA: Philosophy In Art class. He would push out the metaphoric boat, not just the one on Lake Kawaguchi.

A girl asked, “What subject are we covering today?”

He said, “By covering, do you mean touching upon, or exhausting?”

“We’re doing a good job of exploring them. I guess we’re exhausting them.”

A middle-aged man put up his hand. It was funny how adults were behaving more like schoolchildren than the teens were. Maybe they were just being more old school.

Alex said, “Yes? What’s your name? Tony? Sorry, I haven’t got everyone’s name yet.”

“It seems to me that we are only touching upon them. I’ll bet that if he’d wanted to, Hokusai could have done one thousand views of Mt Fuji, and if he lived long enough, a million views. Aren’t all things multi-facetted? Sort of never ending? The English philosopher William Blake talked about seeing the world in a grain of sand.”

“You are right, he did. In a sense yourself and, sorry what’s your name? Amanda? Yourself and Amanda are both right. We are only really introducing ourselves to these topics, but we are covering them off well in the time available. So keep up the good work. You are doing a great job. And that’s today’s topic – yourself.”

They all knew the format. Amanda started. “I am a physical entity, formed of skin and bone and blood.”

Tony added, “I am mentally conscious. I think therefore I am. Spinoza said that, I think.”

“Actually it was Descartes, but very good.”

A woman said, “I am more than just physical and mental though. I am a spiritual being, born of the intention of a self-conscious universe, that wishes to be aware of itself, and appreciate itself.”

Some of the teens – who Alex had been forced to include in this class by The Authority – were looking confused. This class was being led by the adults.

“I am primarily ego, driven by the need for food and sex.”

Now the teens looked scared.

“I think that persons are driven by their subconscious – so many things that you are not really aware of. Hidden fears and desires. And there are symbols and myths. We are all on our own hero quest, battling monsters and searching for home.”

A girl said, “Our public image is very important. It’s what defines us in society.”

“We are citizens in nation states, celebrating our common heritage and values.”

“In cosmic terms, beings are just energy and information in differing forms.”

An older man said, “That’s all true, what everyone’s said. But in the end we are all just food for worms.”