What sort of limits controls should be in place for an effort like this?! Obviously it would take millions of years to evolve, but what would be the appropriate mix of lifeforms, and how would they interact with whatever is there already, whether we know it exists or not?
Imagine a series of planets used to create supercultures:-
An ultra brewery planet, where the yeast run the show and compete to make the best real ale lakes – the trappist yeasts evolve the most complex Tripel fermentation processes, and the tactical nuclear penguin yeasts would increase their resistance to alcohol to develop the strongest of all brews. The temperance yeasts see alcohol as the environmental poison that will eventually end the world (a la CO2 here on earth) – Will they develop policies to minimise fermentation or to accept their boozey planet as a lost cause and send a series of automated probes to spray far off planets with yeast cells 😉
The ultimate forest planet, with the untamed evolution of trees – giant redwoods, baobabs and unchecked forest fires, droughts and glaciers to keep the whole thing balanced.
As the article points out, the opportunity is there for humanity to start to make Active contributions to the universe, building on millenia of our passive observations of space.
Its such a blend of science, biological engineering and science fiction and art, that I half wonder if this is an elaborate back plot for an old Star Trek series – giving a future Kirk a bunch of exotic worlds to explore – and maybe, just maybe, a great excuse for a new series of Red Dwarf 😀
Having invested half an hour in The Day After Tomorrow: Into Infinity (1975), I’m halfway towards understanding what Colin was telling the BCS back in April about the influence of science fiction on the modern technologist.. There could also be some overlap towards the emerging discipline of user experience engineering (UX) there – the extra dimensional spaceship as an allegory of a desired user experience , simple, uncluttered, data minimalism, informationally rich…
The Day the Universe Changed – incredible! A massive range of topics, from the nature of belief, to the concept of reality, one’s ability to change it, the suggestion of a view of the internet enabled future as a kind of balanced anarchy.
Randomly picked up a six pack of these at Waitrose… after imbibing three cans over an extended game of cards i can honestly say that it kept me up all night. I haven’t even remotely considered sleep as an option 😮
I don’t want a lot for Christmas, there is just one thing I need:
What is a man now to do with his mind
When it’s working overtime
Chase and Status, Blind Faith, 2011
Why is the mind in the head? Because there, and only there, are hosts of possible connections to be formed as time and circumstance demand. Each new connection serves to set the stage for others yet to come and better fitted to adapt us to the world, for through the cortex pass the greatest inverse feedbacks whose function is the purposive life of the human intellect. The joy of creating ideals, new and eternal, in and of a world, old and temporal, robots have it not.
McCulloch, W. S. (1965). Embodiments of mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.