I realize this is rather long and rambling, and may make no sense what-so-ever. However, I thought the concept was interesting and just had to node it to see what others thought. Please keep in mind that what I'm thinking up here is next to impossible given the status of AI and my ability to code (ability? HA!) but what the hell, I'm going to go forth anyway...

An Omnipresence in the Etrix

"Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out"
-Timothy Leary

Imagine, if you will, a point in space. In Euclidian Geometry, a point is dimensionless, massless, taking up no space whatsoever, but in this case this point carries an amount of information. This amount may be great or small, it may be priceless or utter tripe, but still, it carries some amount of information. We'll call it a "node".

Create another point, related (or maybe not) to the first point. Link them together and the two points become one line. Create more points, linking them to eachother by means of more lines, which we will call "links". Continue to do so for years and decades and on and on...in time, that single point will have grown into a massive web of data that would be nearly impossible to navigate completely in a reasonable amount of time. If this mess was mapped out as a three-dimensional model, it would look like a massive shapeless brain, each node being a neuron and the links between each being the synapses.

Got this picture in your mind? Ok, good. This is the place which I am at, though place may not be the best word to describe it. The physical repository of all this data is a large server in a room somewhere, and I am most certainly not *there*. However, when I am *here*, I am at my computer and also in the computers of everyone logged on with me at that time and on the computers of everyone viewing the page but who are not logged in.

In a way, I could be called "omnipresent" here. Almost.

Lets see...Omnipresent means "present everwhere", and to be omnipresent here I would need to exist at all nodes, with all logged-in users, at all times. At first consideration this sounds impossible...I can not be logged in here all time time. I need to eat, to sleep, to go to school and later in my life to work, I need to enjoy what social life I have. However, I do not *need* to be at my computer to be omnipresent here...I just need to find a way to make sure that I, in some form, am here all the time. (Did that even make sense? Bleh)

Consider the following: instead of me myself sitting at my terminal, there could be a sort-of surogate me, a artifical me in the form of a program and database that contained all of my beliefs, knowledge, and ideas that could remain logged in here noding and chattering while I'm away living my life.

Easier said than done. For one thing this program would have to be able to handle both the ability to "speak" Perl and TCP/IP to navigate the Etrix and would have to "speak" meaningful and comprehensible English to add writeups and chat. While code exists that would integrate basic grammer into a program, being able to generate complex, gramaticly correct sentences on the fly is a somewhat more difficult task, especially for one like me who has never written a complex program in a advanced language before. In any case, I would be a lousy grammer teacher for this digital me (who I will call, for this scenario, Mir).

Second problem, relating somewhat to the first, is making it "intelligent". This has never been done before, and the AIs that do exist are currently in fairly rudimentary stages of development and complexity. In order to communicate in the Etrix, Mir would have to be able to take things from his database of knowledge and create a meaningful statement out of it. Did I mention that this has NEVER, to my knowledge, been done before? (And if I'm wrong, please correct me, ok?) To drill this down to help you understand why this is such a increable task, extracting information from a database is easy if you know how to do that, of course, but actually doing something meaningful with it...How? It's the same problem as with teaching Mir grammer, just much more complex. There are many things one could extract from a bit of knowledge, but how the hell do we do it? I don't pretend to know, and being able to teach Mir to do this would require a great deal of knowledge about human intelligence and the skills of a Code God. If anything, coding a convincing double of myself would garner us all a deeper understanding of how humans think.

Something else I thought of, this being less a coding issue and more of a philisophical one. Would I be responsible for what Mir does in my absence? The moment I turn the thing on and it starts learning things (presuming we can code it to do that), it will develop differently than I, and the opinion it has at the start will in all likelyhood change very rapidly. This is perfectly normal for a human being, but a computer program, even an intelligent one, might have difficulty should it ever confront me, it's god.

We'd also have to consider what would happen to Mir when he encounters the knowledge in the database. Everything is made up of the sum-total of the thoughts of hundreds of people, no one person believes in everything on Everything. Some nodes are even contradict one another. Unless Mir possessed human-like intelligence, there's a chance he would become so confused that he would not know how to carry on. I can't think of what would result, but some forms of insanity spring to mind...

There's probably coding problems and other issues I haven't thought of, so I'm relying on everybody out there to disect this theory of mine and point out any problems I haven't (and dear god will you find them...they're everywhere!) So before I turn into a blithering mess from writing this node, I'd better close this conversation. If you'd like to say something about it that you would feel uncomfortable raising here on Everything (and you shouldn't be...we won't laugh. Or blush if that be the case.) or, god forbid, you want to send me code, then beam it over to my email address: linux_ys@yahoo.com

I hope I haven't waisted anyones' time, if so, feel free to kick me. Good night, and god bless.

-Matt Adair