Some readers may be interested in a peek behind the curtain. Here is a excerpt from my notes for my most recent project, the ‘Count to the Eschaton Sequence’ which starts with the book COUNT TO A TRILLION. It is frankly inspired by the ideas of Nicholai Kardashev and of the extraordinarily imaginative Orion’s Arm Universe Project. From them I stole the basic idea of a toposophy. (I do not mind stealing the idea from them; they stole the idea from the grandmaster Stanislaw Lem). I also stole an idea or two from Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite.
A toposophy is a Linnaean taxonomy of various levels of posthuman and hyperposthuman and ultrahyperposthuman minds. Here below is the toposophic levels (which I call ‘choirs’) used in the Eschaton Sequence of books:
The following Ascended Technology Levels are ranked according to size, processing speed, energy consumption, and cognition density.
Note that the “cognition density” is the ratio of unthinking matter to thinking matter in a system. The ratio of the support-matter to sophont-matter in all the following ascended levels is basically the same as with evolved biological humans.
A relatively low ratio of the cells in our body are nerve cells in the cortex. Likewise for global Noösphere (or ‘Angel’): the main mass of the life support is the inanimate molten rocky nickel-iron core of the planet, which contains neither information nor intellectual raw material affecting the thought of the minds involved. Even relatively massive changes to the interior of the planet would have no meaning, no influences on the thought of the biological Noösphere.
The “life support” is very widely spread, and, despite the fears of the Greens, major changes to the “meaning” of the ecology could be endured before the material effect of the ecology would negatively affect the human thought process: we would regret the loss of birds to DDT long before we would run out of breathable air or potable water. Even of the life support, the moiety of life support biomass goes to the support of actions other than thought: cows crop grass to feed all the cells in our bodies, not just our brains, so the ratio of sun-energy converted to brain-power is very low. A solar-panel powered cube of logic diamond would have a ratio much closer to unity (depending on how much matter-energy was occupied with maintenance and support).
- ·THIRD ORDER: Angels, Archangels, (Potentates), Principalities
- ·SECOND ORDER: Virtues, Powers, (Hosts), (Dominions), Dominations
- ·FIRST ORDER: (Authorities), (Archons), Aeons, Cherubim, Seraphim
By Energy Use—
- o(Posthuman): Angels, Archangels,
- o(Planetary KI): Potentates, Principalities
- o(Interplanetary): Virtues
- o(Stellar KII): Powers, Hosts
- o(Interstellar or Nebular): Dominions, Dominations
- o(Globular Cluster): Authorities
- o(Arm): Archons
- o(Galactic KIII, IV, V): Aeons, Cherubim, Seraphim
Mälzel: so called because they are artificial intelligences that are not awake or self-aware, but are able to perform complex mental acts, including comparisons, aesthetics, judgment calls, and reasoning including proportions and imponderables. HERE: both the ship’s brain of the Croesus, and the Little Big Brother of the Hermetic are Mälzels, as are, in decentralized form, the serpentines of the Sylphs.
Augments: includes men who make changes to their nervous system, either cybernetic or biotechnological. Example: the familiar of Eron Osa (From Kingsbury’s ‘Historical Crisis’). Also called Daemons, (after Socrates) because they can inspire thoughts. HERE: Mr. Hyde is an augment. He is human in psychology, but able to do quickly and intuitively what human thought does laboriously.
Posthumans: Totally rather than partially artificial organism, advanced above human intellect. HERE: Rania, the Locusts, and the Melusine are posthumans. The Locusts (based on A.E. van Vogt’s Slans) are posthumans, but merely share brain information, not deep structures changes nor personality downloads. (Xypotechs): an ‘awake’ machine is a posthuman. The Iron Ghost is a transitional stage: a posthuman based on a mathematical model of the human nervous system.
THIRD ORDER (Up to KI, Nanotech, Sophont-Matter down to the molecular level)
Angels: Artificial intelligences of the superhuman level, either in a mobile or immobile housing, who have achieved true Noösphere status. Example: van Vogt’s Silkie. HERE: the Swans are biotechnologically advanced humanoids with highly efficient and modified nervous systems. They are participants in a Noösphere, not merely a set of mind-linked electronic telepaths (cf the Locusts or the Melusine). The link is through a quantum entanglement effect, which maintains a vast volume of communication with minimal energy loss. The fundamental limit on Swan mental architecture is that they maintain individuality, and the xypotech participating in the Noösphere are subordinate to them.
Archangels: advanced Posthuman: includes any self-aware group-minds, civic systems, highly-evolved or efficient superintelligences. Usually housed in large mainframes, but may have a dispersed framework, as a shoal of fish or flock or birds. Roughly equal in thinking power to a city or a nation state. Example: the Morlocks of Baxter’s Time Ships, the Fourth Men of Olaf Stapledon’s Last and First Men. HERE: the Black Fleet have hollowed asteroids into logic diamonds, and interlinked mass-mind (like a corporate with internal cells and divisions, of course, but no securely permanent individuality) and biological extensions manufactured for ease of expense (like flimsy one-use containers).
Potentate: small-scale Planetary intelligences. Potentates are widely ranging neural networks, usually with highly complex sophontic interfaces, manipulators, sensors ranging from satellite observatories to subsea and ecological units. Uploads into human psychologically understandable mimetic environments. HERE: Pellucid, and later, Tellus is a world-brain occupying the entire core of the Earth.
Power: Jupiter Brains. Kardashev I. Ergoplanetary.Nanotechnology. Molecular technology. Able to make artificial substances. At the upper end of the scale, the entire planetary mass is reduced to support-matter to a molecular level. Example: Jupiter is a power.
SECOND ORDER (KI to KII, Picotech and Femtotech, Sophont-Matter to atomic level)
Virtues: Interplanetary. A mass influencing several planets. Examples: the Bloom from McCarthy. HERE: Cahetel, Achaiah, and Salamander are Virtues, as are the Furies which destroyed the Second Empyrean Polity.
Principalities: A partial Dyson sphere, a ringworld, or any macroscale engineering which reduces most of a solar system to sophont-matter. HERE: Ain is a Principality.
Hosts: Kardashev II: ergosolar. Entire solar system reduced to sophont-matter to the molecular level (although the atoms do not do anything in support, i.e. no information in the spin values of surface electrons). Picoscale technology. Able to make artificial elements. Artificial elements and artificial (lightweight) neutron-latticework. Example: the Morlock Dyson Sphere of Baxter’s Time Ships. The La Superba Dyson Sphere is a Host.
Dominations: Hyades Cluster. 300 to 400 stars. The Solid State Entity of Neverness. The Hyades Cluster is a domination. Kardashev does not have a class for this, but clearly Nebular Minds are a scale above a mere Dyson Spheres or Concentric Brains.
Dominions: Praesepe (350, but older and denser. Masses of Dyson Concentrics, and stellar nursery technology)
FIRST ORDER (Above KIII-KV, Attotechnology (10-18) to Yoctotechnology (10-24). Planck-level tech (10-35) to Spacetime Manipulation, Sophont-Matter to subatomic level)
Authorities: M3 in Canes Venatici Globular Cluster, Half a million stars. Femtotechnology: able to construct structures made of quarks, quantum fields, exotic matter. The Singularity Rosette used in the stardrive of the Swan Recusant (Rania’s return vessel) is an example of Femtotechnology. Note that the information processing involved in these high energy densities and small distances allowed for the creation of extremely elegant bits of molecular technology, such as the Blood Companion, the Ichor, which can be copied, but cannot be made, by lower orders. Intellectual-matter strata down to the atomic level: the Dominations do not use stratons (quarks) to house their own thoughts. The common behavior of Dominations is to begin stellar herding and gardening, such as triggering novae artificially to achieve a desired balance of elements in the circumambient universe. Example: The Absolute Authority at M3 is a “Authority”.
Archons: Orion Arm.
Aeons: Large scale Galactics: Kardashev III ergonogalactic. Able to control quantum phenomena on the level of superstrings, gluons, and even more strange quantum particles. Intellectual matter down to the subatomic (quark or quantum chronodynamic) level. The elemental latticework are neither matter nor energy properly so called, neither matter nor antimatter, but additional states of matter for which we have no names, matrices of balanced positive and negative energies, spirals of electrons and positrons carefully balanced is a dance of mutual annihilations, canceling each other out and giving rise to additional particles, which also cancel out. The main problem occupying all KIII is the mass-energy loss due to neutrino and weakly-interacting particle loss during cognition. Example: the Galactic Mind of Starmaker. The Maiden of Andromeda is an Aeon. Orion of Milky Way is a (disorganized, at the start of the novel) Aeon.
Cherubim: Kardashev IV. Galaxy Groups or Active Galaxy output control. The Great Attractor is an example of a K-IV megascale engineering project. (Centaurus Supercluster is composed of clusters A3526 and A3627; A3627 is responsible for the Great Attractor) Able to control supersymmetric breaking in other symmetries, so as to create other basic forces aside from electromagnetic, nuclear, gravitic. Cherub basic philosophical problem is to find an answer to the question of the relationship of mind to matter-energy, in so far as the stratons are themselves used in the thinking process, change the thinking process, and are changed by the thinking process (as if a human were to record information on the electrons used to jump across his neural synapses, or alter the DNA code within each brain cell as cognition proceeded.) HERE: Virgo Cluster is a Cherub.
Seraphim: Kardashev V: Supercluster output control. There are 13 superclusters in the local area of space, of which Seven are Contenders for the centrality of the Eschaton Directional Engine. Able to engineer vast areas of spacetime. The Great Attractor and the Wall are evidences of their megascale engineering. Able to control the production of virtual particles in the spacetime foam so as to produce, at faster-than-light-speed, an influence that will be reflected in the three-degree background radiation. They can change the ratio of Dark Matter and Dark Energy to Baryonic Matter across the visible width of space. There is some signal conflict, because the messages are fundamentally anachronistic, appearing both in past and future from any given frame of reference.
Kardashev VI, able to use all the energy of the continuum.