Sunday, 24 May 2015

A Qualitatively Different Kind Of Life

Poul Anderson, Starfarers (New York, 1999).

The life-forms near the black hole might perceive sets of tensors as objects (p. 389) because they live in and directly experience phase spaces and Riemannian spaces. Also, the magnetic field near the black hole is " intense as to be well-nigh material..." (p. 392).

In this future history, artificial intelligences are not conscious because consciousness is an activity of an entire organism, not just of the upper brain but also of the animal brain, nervous system, muscles, viscera, glands, drives and instincts. However, equivalent nonchemical processes have arisen in the space near the black hole. Human and Tahirian explorers establish abstract, technological communication with these conscious and intelligent life forms but can never see or meet them.

Another unfamiliar word encountered today was "'...euthymic'" (p. 392), here used to mean a drug that induces or restores a euthymic mood.

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