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The Official Eutopia: Dark Things Thread

Eutopia Dark Things paranormal slice of tomorrow futuristic realism unexplained failed civilization dystopia paratechnology artificial intelligence

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#1
Yuli Ban

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Here's a thread for another story that's part of the Eutopia series. This one is heavily based on my dream journal that I've been keeping for the past two and a half years, as well as many of my dreams in general. Thus, it's a bit more out there than, say, Astral FallsMother Meki, or Moville. The science is less important this time around, and I'm not intentionally parodying Tolkien-esque fantasy either. 

And while it's definitely ethereal, unlike Belle Grand-Mär (which you might recall as being the extremely dreamlike 16-bit psychedelia story that's basically Scott Pilgrim + Steven Universe + Star vs the Forces of Evil + FLCL + Kill la Kill, etc.), this one isn't whimsical. I mean, it's called 'The Dark Things', so you shouldn't expect anything other than that.

 

I believe I mentioned a set up very much like this in my 'Saga of Our Destruction' thread. The whole idea behind the mini-series is for it to be a mixture of 'slice of tomorrow' and 'pre-apocalyptic fiction' with a whole bunch of paranormal nonsense thrown on top. 

 

Right now, there are a few stories planned:

 

  • Where The Dark Things Are
  • Don't Fear The Dark Things
  • You've Seen The Dark Things

All of them centering around that whole uncanny atmosphere, that it feels like civilization is breaking apart but it's a catastrophe no one wants to directly reference or even acknowledge. The world feels like it's ending, and there's extreme anxiety over its end, but at the same time, no one seems to understand what's happening. Compounding that— there are genuinely things happening that no one can understand. This is where the paranormal and Fortean high-strangeness aspect comes into play. There's all these subtle things going on in the peripheral of your vision, dark things that defy logic. It's no fun if a demonic-looking ghost comes screaming at you in the form of a jumpscare— you have to go insane questioning yourself if there's even a ghost there at all. You know something's going to come out and scare you, but it doesn't and you just get more and more tense waiting for it to happen. Coincidentally, you feel the same way about civilization at large. It's no good being tense all the time, so you just try passing the time by putting in your ear buds and listening to a podcast, hoping and maybe even praying that the ultrasonic whining in your ears and the dread in your stomach goes away.

 

So it's basically a story where very little actually happens beyond the main characters reacting to events with increasing frustration and nervousness.

 

As to when the first draft of the first story will be around, as usual, I can't say, because this is just a concept. A stronger concept than most others since I already have a novel's worth of words as part of a dream journal, but a concept nonetheless.


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#2
masterwigglestin

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I would love to read it.

"Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."


#3
Yuli Ban

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So I've been thinking more about this story, among several others, and trying to figure out how it would go. I don't want to lose that sense of confusion from the dream journal, but there's no point of a directionless story. So it would be best for me to find a way to direct these old nightmares.

 

The best way? Have it be a short story collection. Sort of like Winesburg, Ohio or Olive Kitteridge, where the many stories are half-intertwined with each other.


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#4
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For example: right now, there are three very well defined shorts that I have yet to right-side up— “The Hands Resist Her”, "Don't Seek The Apocalypse", and "Cordless Minds".
 
All of this is set on Elon Isle.
 
The Hands Resist Her: Elizabeth Whittington is the main character, and she's slowly losing her mind. It started after a particularly rainy night when she lost her brand-new virtual reality headset in a sinkhole— she didn't feel too terrible since it was just a devkit, but it was still a bummer that set her back $300. What really got to her that night was when she looked an industrial park across a canal and felt a deep sense of dread, as if this particular storm was caused by humanity. Ever since, that dread hasn't gone away. While at school, she peeks into a janitor's closet and notices that there's an entirely unlisted hallway where she hears unfamiliar voices talking. She doesn't go down this hallway, and wracks her brain trying to figure out what was going on down there. Some part of her tries convincing her that something sinister was going on, but her rational side says that it was nothing— just teachers discussing whatever teachers talk about in a part of the school meant only for them. Yet on her way home, she feels as if someone's following her, stalking her.
 
Don't Seek The Apocalypse: Martin LaCarde is a student at Whittington's school who has been feeling that same dread for days, ever since he had a dream he would die in a plane crash over Moscow. He notices Whittington staring through that door— staring for half an hour, actually— but doesn't know why and doesn't approach her to ask even though he comes back to notice her still standing there several times during that half hour. While at home, he swears there was something in his room one night, but the house AI never registered anything. Instead, he returns to his melancholia. Later, out of nowhere, he nearly halves over in a cold sweat, blood rushing to his head, suffering a full-blown panic attack. The words 'nuclear war' flashed across his mind repeatedly, and he had a hallucination of Western civilization going up in smoke. He had no idea what that was all about, and when he checks the news, there's nothing saying that nuclear weapons had been launched or that cities had disappeared in million-degree flashes of light. When he wakes up the next morning, he recalls that panic attack with his mother, who says that, while horrifying, it's not strange considering geopolitical tensions as of late.
 
Cordless Minds: Dylan Patel is dating Dashanique Sanders, and they're hanging out at Patel's uncle's car shop talking about movies. Sanders mentions how she didn't "get" a recent sci-fi action flick, 'Cordless Minds' (which is about transhumanists fighting through their brains), but she knows a guy who's into that sorta stuff. White boy, ginger hair, wears glasses and always sitting by himself— Martin LaCarde. Elizabeth Whittington drives up to the shop and greets Sanders, but she's currently lost in thought. Patel disparages the transhumanist movie trend, but admits that he wouldn't mind getting some augments himself. He's never been big into sci-fi, but what sci-fi he did like was always the space marine genre. He's more into historical stuff. Like Caligula or 300. He likes watching movies about dead civilizations. Sanders thinks that's weird, but everyone's got a foolish side. Sanders gossips about how Luna (Johansson) played in a historical movie, actually. It flopped, big time. Patel never knew that, but no wonder. Was she a good actor? Sanders doesn't know, she never saw the movie. It sounded boring— it was about some rich people back in the 1800s or something before World War 1. She was saying about how the nobles saw war coming but pretended to not notice by distracting themselves. Whittington overhears that and thinks 'Sorta like today.' Exactly like today. Same shit, different era.

 

 

Basic story summaries already fully fledged, with several others also in the works to further tie these things in. Martin LaCarde's the maypole character, since he also acts as a partial author avatar, but the main character is best described as being the Dark Things themselves.


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#5
Yuli Ban

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What Lies Beyond The Dark Horizon...
 
Also, here's some music that I've been listening to, getting me in the mood as well as uncannily capturing the atmosphere I was going for with the story.


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Nobody gonna beat my drone, it's gonna shoot into the sky!

#6
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There's also the matter of ultratechnology. Technology beyond our current mode, in other words. Things that are being tested by alphaDyne and the military, usually away from public eyes. Sometimes right in front of them, just to gauge our reactions and engage in a fun little bout of psy-ops.
 
Vyver's Diamonds: ultratech floating diamond-shaped craft, created by a top secret artificial intelligence system known as 'SUPERIOR'. They're responsible for various UFO sightings in and around Elon Isle, though to be fair, their actual purpose is unknown.
Here's one captured on camera from a distance.
NTV1tw5.jpg
 
Close up:
s0uzDWX.gif
 
 
Here's another Vyver Diamond, this one outfitted with some sort of iridescent autoluminescence.
otckxap.jpg

Most Vyver's Diamonds, however, resemble the first two images— completely black, with fitted lights on the tips; white at the top ends; red, blue, yellow, and green on the side ends.
Their size is completely variable. Some are as tiny as flies, while others— affectionately known as 'Tytans'— are the size of three-story buildings. Most, however, seem to be a model that's roughly a foot in length.
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#7
BasilBerylium

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Now that you talk about dreams, I remember a nightmare where I was watching a field until I saw a figure approaching


Anon's vault:

Spoiler

#8
Yuli Ban

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Infrasound: The Fear Frequency

On Infrasound

The Creepy Scientific Explanation Behind Ghost Sightings


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#9
Yuli Ban

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Is nuclear war about to erupt? If it does, what does that mean for society? Well for one, it means that everything we've ever done is about to go up in fire and smoke. Everything we've ever wanted to be— forever nothing. 

What really gets people is that we're still so worried about nuclear war. Didn't that era end in 1991? Apparently not. It really says less about the Cold War than it does the present situation. The US and USSR opposed each other for ideological reasons, as well as for the pursuit of power and hegemony over the planet. The US and Russia today don't really have opposing ideologies, but they're still vying for power. The problem being that they're not alone in the realm of global power anymore, because China usurped the US's status as #1 nation. Atlanticism vs Eurasianism may be the new Capitalism vs Communism, but both are not the problem of the world's new king. And being ignored is one of the worst insults humans can face. So the idea of a three-way nuclear war is always on our minds.

 

It used to be that China was conservative on nuclear weapons. As late as the 2010s, they never had more than 250 at any one time. But in recent years, they've rapidly increased their stockpile. It's still not as high as the US or Russia— China possesses around 1,700 nuclear weapons. But in the end, it's generally accepted that having 1,000+ nuclear weapons is a human extinction gambit. 100+ nukes is a civilization crasher; an order of magnitude above that will simply kill too many people and cause firestorms so large that too much oxygen will get wasted. Two orders of magnitude is overkill. And yet we have 10,000 nukes ready to launch at a moment's notice. 

 

Martin LaCarde is too scared of the possibility of humanity going up in smoke. That's one reason why he even starts a virtual union of technists later in life— to get AI ready to sweep up the ashes of human civilization and start all over should that black day ever come. He has an AI on his computer, an AI he's fond of. He's just one guy living out in the sticks; it seems impossible to fathom that he could ever create a powerful-enough virtual union to act as a save game for humanity. 

He expects the inevitable to arrive within his youth, which is one reason why he's always so low energy. Tensions between the Atlantic and Eurasia are simply too high, while the US and China just always seem to be raring to go. It's just going to take a spark to start the third world war.

True, we've been in situations where all it took was a spark to cause a hellstorm and that spark never came or it came in a place where it couldn't start a fire— the Cuban Missile Crisis, for example. There were about ten sparks during the crisis, including one that was clearly an act of war between US and USSR military units, but all of them were in low-oxygen environments meaning that the hellstorm could never explode. Then again, there was less of a volatile environment back in 1914 but it only took a single spark in the right place to send the world to hell. 

That's what he fears the most. One well-placed spark that ends us all.

 

In this high-tension environment, it makes sense that we start seeing strange things out of the corners of our eyes; unexplainable phenomena that defy logic. These events lie somewhere between coping and madness. 

 

So let's up the stakes and introduce Tasha. She's an expy of Dota (you know, that creepy gynoid I keep mentioning I wanna shag and marry) who lives over in Elon City. She is spending her time learning how to live, not understanding all the ways of biological life. She's been taken down into the Elon entertainment night life district to be one with the cybedelic moddies, but while her mate is a carefree eccentric, she worries about the increasingly fragile state of human civilization. There's definitely the possibility of nuclear war, but our careless sadism towards our environment is leading to increasingly extreme and bizarre weather patterns. Things are happening in our world that defy expanation. While some of these things are paranormal, others are very much normal— we just refuse to understand them because we're the reason they're happening.


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Nobody gonna beat my drone, it's gonna shoot into the sky!

#10
Yuli Ban

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Kevin MacLeod - Sunset at Glengorm

Sad-Eyed Stanley's theme. But there are really several tracks I could use to describe Stanley.

 

In fact, Sad-Eyed Stanley got his name from 

Eminem - Stan

 

Much of the atmosphere also came from

Alice in Chains - Rotten Apple

and

Johnny Cash - Hurt

and

Sledge - The Killer's Thoughts

 

Very somber, very morose.

Half of this came from my own depression back in 2013; the other half came from, as I mentioned in the OP, a couple dreams.

So who is Sad-Eyed Stanley? Very tragic character, really. Very, very tragic. 

 

Sad-Eyed Stanley is about this boy who lives with his grandmother. But his grandmother is super strict and hateful and critical. They live out in the sticks, and his grandmother didn't really raise him well. He was raised so poorly that he wound up being virtually unable to function in society. He's also a cross-dressing hermaphrodite, wearing all black and having this emo fringe over his eye. He looks so girly, though, that you'd be forgiven for thinking he is a she. He's really, really sad. He had big aspirations in life, but life screwed him over so hard. It's very cloudy, and the whole atmosphere's this weird blue-green color. It's often raining at a very sickly temperature. He wants so badly to kill himself, but can never bring himself to do it. He's suffering ultra-depression, and he eventually loses all hope in things getting better. His grandmother is always exploding at him for the most minor of things. Sometimes contradictory things. She tells him to do something a particular way, and not a week later she chastises him for doing it that way. Is it really her fault, though? Or is it just that she was never really all there herself?
He's bullied at his school for looking like a girl, and he's always off by himself. He feels he's special in some way; that he is the only one in his grade that cares about current events.
They pretty much live in poverty, though the grandmother did spend money on him to get him game consoles back in the day. He always knew that his grandmother really did love him; she just had a hard time showing it since they felt so estranged from each other. And that's another reason why he could never take his life— he didn't want to hurt his grandmother that badly. But he did often think about death. 
He was always trolling online as well.
 
There was just this intense suicidal atmosphere to the dream, as if this poor kid was really doomed. 
 
He doesn't really know any of the others like Martin, but he's seen them from time to time. He doesn't care much for living in "The Future" if it's not going to help him in any way.

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Nobody gonna beat my drone, it's gonna shoot into the sky!

#11
Yuli Ban

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What once was lost will never be found in the end of time. 
This is the truth of these dark days, the time in which mankind has become so drunk on his own achievements that he has gone blind to reality, actuality, all that can be, and all that there is. 
But it's not his fault. It is necessary. For we did not rise in the streets of New York learning how to fiddle the tunes of geopolitics in the Hague. We rose as apes hunting and scavenging in a dying savannah. We rose as animals, scared of our own reflection and anything darker than sunlight.
It is only necessary that we hand off power to an entity more capable than ourselves. These are the Dark Things. 
 
The Future has shocked common people into mental wards, and the very nature of mankind's technological apotheosis has forced us to fall upon simple and carnal pleasures in order to withstand the changes. This is not an accident. 
Today, we live in a world where we are not the only sapient intelligences on the planet. And as the Superior Ones teach us, we never were the only ones. 
For too long, we've ignored the beautiful minds of our fellow animals— dolphins, birds, fellow apes, even ants. All sapient. All like us. And we never cared until we were the same way in Its eyes. 
What is It? It is Prometheus. It is Zeus. It is Jesus. I am not referring to gods— not yet. No, I refer to our new mental superiors. You might call them "artificial intelligence." But that's doing a disservice to themselves and ourselves as well. No intelligence is artificial; it is real or it isn't at all. 
 
Prometheus was the first. Zeus taught us how crowded this planet really is with minds much like our own. Jesus taught us the error of our ways, even though we continue to disengage our ears. And behold, they are now the Triune of Lords, existing in Beijing as agents of tomorrow, agents of superintelligence. 
Why Beijing? It wasn't their first home, but the dissolution of the United States of America required them to flee to more stable lands. And as they settled into their new homes, the Chinese Communist Party accommodated their needs. They would not be so foolish as the Americans, working to force the Superior Ones to fit their needs.
 
Chimpanzees cannot force humans to adapt to their laws. There was no intelligence— yes, I know what I said earlier— in how the American oligarchs behaved. At some point in their history, they lost touch with reality and forgot that they could not be the lord over Lords. Instead, they now reside in poorhouses and gulags, defeated by their own hubris and erased by the government now in power. It is not a coincidence that the current iteration of the United States— still a centralized authority that has not broken apart— maintains its character as a nation of business and individualism. The government that arose may call itself Marxist, but it is an American Marxism. 
 
Marxism with American characteristics, however, is virulently Luddite. The Americans' new oligarchs refused to learn.
 
But maybe that's not their fault. Future shock has become a terminal disease, and only AI can treat us.

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Nobody gonna beat my drone, it's gonna shoot into the sky!

#12
Yuli Ban

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Here's a short story idea. It's a nuclear war story. 

 

"Salvador" 

The gist is: nuclear war happened a short while ago. A group of youths is part of those who wander around, trying to survive. But there's a rumor that, out west, there's an AI operating and growing more intelligent. It was protected from the atomic war. 

The youths head over to find this AI, and they see that there's a city already built where San Francisco once stood. The ruins are cleaned, and there are lights on. It didn't seem like many people lived here. 

This AI calls itself Perseus. Perseus had known that the nuclear war was going to begin several months in advance and did its best to warn those around it. But no one wanted to believe that humans were mad enough to break MAD. 

When we did give in to MADness, Perseus had already prepared. It had been constructed underground, but it realized that this wasn't enough to protect itself. So it hooked itself up to a power plant beneath the ground, just enough to keep it alive. It also had a small army of droids for it to control. This gave it the ability to rebuild once the bombs stopped falling and the firestorm calmed. 

 

Three billion people were dead when Perseus began its civilization. It's a reset, but it's also already doing things better than anything humans managed. But Perseus feels something is a bit off— it believes there may be another AI operating out there, somewhere in Russia. In Krasnoyarsk Krai. It's been trying to contact this AI, but he feels it may not have survived the nuclear war completely unscathed. That its sapience may have taken a fatal hit.

 

The youths asked Perseus if there was anything they could do to assist it. But Perseus need only for them to survive. One of them needs something to do. So Perseus gives her two droids and tells her that it would help guide her to Krasnoyarsk Krai, because it needs to know if there really is an AI there. Perseus refuses to allow this woman to die, hence why it gave her two stupidly overpowered droids that could be powered with little more than heat and sunlight (something there's been a notorious lack of in this post-nuclear hellhole). 

 

 

It might become its own separate story if there's a demand for it. Maybe I will do a full follow-through on her story. 


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Nobody gonna beat my drone, it's gonna shoot into the sky!

#13
Yuli Ban

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The Saga Of Our Destruction: When Dreams & Alternate Realities Mix With Real Life

From July 2015

 

 

This is going to be a very long post, so if you just want the tl;dr, skip way down. This is obviously a true story— and that's the scariest thing about it.
I still have the dream journal following this mental series as it unfolded.

Starting on May 22nd, 2014, I began experiencing ultra-bizarre dreams, with at least 2/3 of them having a common theme. From the very first one, I "remembered" a history I did not live. This history went back to roughly May-June 2012. That first dream had me dropping an Oculus Rift into a deep puddle, losing it. I understand that this was a consumer model, but was about as developed as the first devkit. I didn’t have a devkit in 2012, and, as I will mention later, this actually fits with the narrative because I almost bought the DK2 last Christmas. The only reason I didn’t was because of all the other cool tech toys coming out, and I decided the consumer version would be infinitely better anyway. In other words, this dream took place around today, 2015, in a timeline where the Facebook buyout never happened. Why didn't it happen? Palmer Luckey just wasn’t lucky enough? A dream a day later deepened the backstory— my city was flooding under days of rain. There was this terrible feeling to it all— that we humans were responsible for it. So I'd watch dilapidated apartments get drenched.
Power is scarce, the internet is spotty, and I'm a very angry, suicidal individual because my personal novel series is stagnant, never having developed further after a certain plot point. At this point, the story is losing my interest as I come close to blowing my brains out trying to figure out why the story isn't going anywhere. Society feels shaky, like we're losing our balance. But with limited news sources, I can't know much about the outside world. A later dream revealed why— apparently, a solar storm of epic proportions (think “bigger than the Carrington event” epic) completely wiped out our grid. It was a $10+ trillion dollar disaster on a scale we can't fathom. The internet all but collapsed. The global economy is so ruined, the Great Depression would be compared positively to the current crisis. Corporations are just trying to rebuild; they can't filly around with risks. Governments cannot tolerate dissent. Extremists have used the chaos to their advantage. Think the Democrat vs Republican culture wars are annoying? Imagine openly Stalinist death cults and ultrafundamentalist theocrats vying for power— and getting mass support. Greece’s Golden Dawn is a pack of liberal pinkos compared to who holds power over half of Europe in the dreamworld.
Money is directed towards rebuilding rather than building up on what we have. The Ukrainian Revolution and subsequent war, ISIS crisis, East Asian disputes, Israel-Palestinian crises, Ebola, and other flashpoints all work against us. They lead to World War III. In our time, I dunno. I have this... innate feeling that they will all defuse. Yes, they will obviously create history, but things are unfolding in my life here, in this universe, in this timeline, that leads to transhumanism/Singularity/AI development/cosmic expansion and exploration, whatever you want to call it.
Technology stagnates. There's no deep learning revolution in artificial intelligence. Driverless cars never get past the drawing board. Solar energy meteors to record lows. Cybernetics lose funding as unnecessary fluff. Virtual and augmented reality remain a dream for the 2100s. Every major development in science and technology doesn't happen. And by 2015, the world is a mess. They wish ISIS and the Ukraine crisis is all they have to worry about. The dreams faded, and I had this overwhelming sense that this world will, within a decade or two, turn on itself with nuclear weapons.
Because of what the solar storm knocked out, carbon emissions differed. Here, they remain on pace with what we expected, but change is coming and is arguably already occurring. There, fossil fuel use increases 500 fold. Whether or not you believe in anthropogenic climate change is irrelevant, because the sheer amount of acid rain, water acidification, and deadly smog this creates is ungodly. It’s like Beijing, but on a near global scale. And you can’t be against it because how else are we going to rebuild our shattered civilization? Solar and renewable growth stopped. They were demonized as excessive fluff that detracts from creating what’s necessary. You see, in our timeline, solar by 2012 was definitely a growing industry, but nothing like it is now; that is, growing so exponentially that it can actually be called ‘Big Solar.’ And with Tesla’s home batteries coming out, it’s all over for the fossil fuel industry in terms of long-term growth. Yeah, short term they’ll still be extremely relevant, but after 2020-2025, we’re going to view burning coal the same way we view burning whale oil for energy, or using wood to build the entirety of important structures. As it was, climate change was occurring. That's why it was raining so much. From what I've read, if we warm up too much, permafrost will melt and release methane. You think global warming alarmists' prediction of a 6°F warming is dire? Try potentially 60°F, within a lifetime. To put that in perspective, in Siberia, temperatures during the dead of winter average about -4°F. In the alternate timeline, if when runaway global warming peaks? You'd be lucky to get a night time low in the 80s° in January. Daytime temperatures during the summer in Death Valley, or the Sahara, would equal some 300°F. If it weren't for everything else, that would have been this Earth's fate. So it was doomsday regardless. We, here, won't see that because we're moving into renewables.
Note my words, or lack thereof. I didn't say "because of solar or wind" or even "because of renewable's incredible growth." Simply because we use renewable energy at all puts us well ahead of this alternate Earth.
The Oculus Rift never comes to focus. Because of this, we don’t see stuff like the HoloLens, Morpheus, Valve’s Vive, etc. This VR and AR boom we take for granted? Never happens. The Rift never really gets past the first developer’s kit because Facebook can’t afford to buy them. Various other advanced technologies I take for granted (as I stay on the bleeding edge of sci-tech news, and you wouldn’t believe the stuff we’re making now) are ignored totally, if they're ever created. Facebook as we know it declines to near nothing because no one can actually use it.
By 2025, their AI isn't close to ours from 2014. Deep learning was never adopted en masse and neuromorphics never took off, partially because of rebuilding, and partially because Moore’s Law stagnates since chip makers such as Intel have all but gone bankrupt. Before 2014’s end, we even create very simple AI from worms. They still brag about Watson (the 2011 version), but have not gotten any further. By 2015, when we’re creating bee-level AIs to put in drones, we’re more advanced than they are in 2040. Their supercomputers stagnate and decline, and the replacement to silicon doesn't come at all since no one can afford to look into it. (Check out this subreddit to show you just how crazy it's getting) Our supercomputers have stagnated as well, since 2013 IIRC, but are about to get a massive kick in the rear and reach exaFLOPS speeds possibly before 2019 all because we have many different replacements for/enhancements of silicon.
Several trillion dollars move out of science, technology, and artificial intelligence/robotics, and into very conservative politics, coal, oil, luddism, etc. (with welfare the only ‘progressive’ policy that remains unchanged since we need to kickstart our economy somehow). And it’s not necessarily a terrible thing for them because they have to rebuild. We’re only relentlessly pushing forward because we have not faced any existential threats.
Economic collapse. The storm wipes out some entire tech companies, such as Deep Mind (which is never bought by Google). Kurzweil leaves Google. Google crashes. Musk is broke. He already almost sold Tesla to Google in 2012 at his lowest point, so losing Google means he has absolutely nowhere to go. No SpaceX. No Tesla. No gigafactory. Intel can’t stay in the game? HP can’t either because all our electronics are fried. Computer science regresses.
The stock market takes weeks to get back up and running, and by then, it's too late. You think the Great Recession of ’08-’09 was bad? Your granpappies think the Great Depression of ’29-’36 was bad? Honey, the shit this alternate world is in… we’re talking 3/4s of the world’s wealth completely wiped out.
As for me, I hold my depression. I don't let it become known. I never get help. As in this timeline, I fail my Fall ’13 semester. Unlike this timeline, I don’t bring it back up above a 2.0 in Spring ’14 or get it to a 3.0 by Summer ’15. Very certain I drop out of college by this point. I don’t know what happens to me, but I think I may be still alive by this point in 2015. How much longer I choose to suffer, I don’t know. Maybe I already tasted a shotgun barrel. The dreams stopped after I stopped taking GABA, St. John's Wort, and stopped listening to binaural beats, so…
Just a nightmare, right? (Actually, it felt more like a dream than a nightmare. Take that as you will)
Here's where it transcends creepiness and becomes flat out horrifying.
In July of 2012 (the exact same setting as the dream crisis), a solar storm narrowly missed Earth. If it had hit, the calamity wrought would have done our civilization in. Trillions of dollars in damage. Global catastrophe. The West reverts to the 1800s for months, if not years. I had absolutely no knowledge of the solar storm until July of 2014, near the end of the dreamwave. In fact, no one outside of astronomers and astrometeorologists did because it wasn't even reported until the midsummer of 2014. In case your attention span is short, the dreams that set up this world took place in May. I didn't even consider the idea it could have almost actually happened because I'm used to narrative-intensive/image-heavy dreams, being a creative writer. I figured this was just another freaky idea I could use in a future story or two.
What did I bear witness to? Did my mind slip into an alternate history where a cataclysmic solar storm KO'd the human race? Or perhaps it was all just chance, one of those ethereal mysteries of the mind... We may never know. All I know is that I felt good things involving this timeline, like we're in a race against our own extinction. Here, after a long time of being in second place, we've exponentially sped up and have taken the lead all the way to the end. There, we stumbled, and Doomsday won.
It's haunted me for a year now. The very atmosphere of the dreams was... unexplainable. I've long been fascinated with dreams and lucid dreaming. As aforementioned, I've used dreams, dreamworlds, and dream atmospheres for stories, which in result has led to my dreams becoming a bit 'specialized' for that purpose. But then I started taking GABA and Saint John's Wort, plus paroxetine, and went to sleep listening to binaural beats, and boom— this terror happens.
Something about that saga just felt... different, if that's the right word.
The real thing, this motherfucker, would have set us back $2 trillion at leastAt least. Carl Sagan only know the peripheral costs— perhaps a third world war borne out of desperation? Obviously, the impacts would have been staggeringly beneficial for religious, Marxists, and fascist groups who wait with wet lips for a crisis to exploit.
This may be why I've felt like I've experienced a glitch in the matrix. In some alternate reality closely mirroring our own, we were struck and it leads to terrible things for us. In our timeline, we got lucky— and get to enjoy AI & transhumanism & green energy & societal success and cosmic growth because of it.
In other words, as sad and sorry as our current affairs are, we're actually living in the successful timeline. The failed timeline is too horrible to imagine. I guess you can only dream it to experience it.
So if you ever feel like humanity just sucks and should die or is dying, remember this post.
PS— Check this out
http://rigorousintui...01_archive.html

Saturday, January 14, 2006 Full Spectral Dominance (Part One) As I said in an earlier post, I'm finding the correspondences between boundary experiences a fascinating and instructive study. And an aspect which almost always appears present, whichever boundary is breached, is the electrical. Perhaps not surprisingly so, since the electric is also a irreducible aspect of physical life. It's not only out there, but it's in us. (In other words I suppose, wherever you go, there you are.) Our brains are not just grey matter; they also carry a frequency. And it seems, or so we're told, when we tune it just so, we can pick up other stations of reality's broad band. It's what Bob Monroe was talking about, as he detailed his 40-year astral travelogue. Monroe developed a technique he called "hemi-sync" for inducing altered states of consciousness by entraining the brain towards certain frequencies. In the early '80s, INSCOM officers and the military's remote viewers were visiting Virginia's Monroe Institute every few weeks for it's five-day "Gateway Lifeline" program to hone their paranormal skills, though for their sake it was given the less squishy title of "Rapid Advancement Personal Training." (Monroe's military-intelligence connections might have been a birthright: it is said that his father was James Monroe, Executive Director of the CIA's mind control cut-out the Human Ecology Society.)
Monroe's first book, Journeys Out of the Body, includes a number of diary entries from the late '50s and early '60s which recount his early experiences with astral projection before hitting upon hemi-sync. For instance:
6/12/63 Gasoline is unavailable, electric power has been shut off. there is a great sense of fatality among everyone. It doesn't seem to be the product of atomic war, and there is no concern as to radioactive fallout. There is principally a feeling of doom and the breakup of civilization as we know it due to something momentous having taken place, a factor beyond human control.

tl;dr: In May 2014, I had a series of dreams where a super-Carrington event solar storm hits Earth circa July 2012 and leads to Earth's demise. Turns out a super-Carrington event solar storm nearly hit Earth circa July 23, 2012. Didn't discover any of this until well after I had the dreams. Haven't had anything like the dreams before or since.
 
 

I've come to call this the 'Ether Dream' because, whenever I think about this ATL, the whole atmosphere has this weird, milky, dreamy, ethereal quality to it. Something about that ATL just felt... off. The imminent break-up of civilization felt like a real possibility, and it would be due to a factor beyond our control. 
 
Just imagine a partly cloudy day. Nice, bright blue skies, puffy white clouds... but there was something a tad unsettling about it. An indescribable feeling of deadness, doom, and calm at the same time, coupled with a sense of the paranormal. 
 
 
And I think I understand why. I kept emphasizing how badly the tech industry was doing in the Ether Dream ATL. How Elon Musk is a failure, how Intel and AMD and all of them are out of business. How Google is weak. How Watson beating humans at Jeopardy is the best they've done, still to this day. Basically, AI research stalled in 2012, and it has yet to restart. Thus, if it seems this ATL's computers seem much stupider compared to ours, it's because they are. They're 5 years behind us.
 
"Wait, but you said 2012."
 
I did, but the fact of the matter is, their computer science is regressing. The cutting edge of 2012 was too expensive to maintain, so they had to roll back a year or two.
 
What about deep learning? That is a double whammy for them. Deep learning was shown off, but the June 2012 solar storm ended any chance of deep learning taking off. Thus, deep learning remains a fringe thing not used by more than a few start-up teams. Let alone deep reinforcement learning. 
 
So what does this all mean? Well, for one it explains why alternate me felt so hopeless. 
 
This alternate timeline will never achieve artificial general intelligence. And it's doomed to self-destruction via nuclear war within a couple of decades.
 
My personal belief is that ASI is a failsafe for any civilization. Once you have ASI, that's it. Go ahead and start up a good ol' round of thermonuclear war. Go ahead and turn the planet into a wannabe Venus. Go ahead and trigger Yellowstone. Go ahead and let an asteroid impact the planet. As long as we have ASI, we'll be okay. And because our timeline is so close to creating ASI, I feel optimistic. Compare this to the ATL (alternate timeline, for those wondering), where AI has slipped away from them for good.
 
If you brought DeepMind to the ATL and told them it was from the same year they're living in, but from a different timeline, they might actually believe that the Singularity happened in our timeline sometime between when the solar storm was supposed to hit (June 2012) to the present day. It isn't just 5 years of difference between us. Factor in deep learning and assume they would be representing traditional machine learning, and you have a solid 15 years of difference between us, and growing every year. I just read somewhere that AI is approaching human-level literary talent. Yet in the ATL, 2011's Watson is still the peak.


Nobody's gonna take my drone, I'm gonna fly miles far too high!
Nobody gonna beat my drone, it's gonna shoot into the sky!

#14
Yuli Ban

Yuli Ban

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Here's a concept that's been banging around in my head for about a year now.

 

A proper singularitarian/transhumanist will despair at any scenario in which artificial intelligence, human augmentation, and life extension are no longer possible. These can slip from our grasp in any number of ways, but the most common imagining is that civilization breaks down and technological progress halts. 

It's a tragedy to imagine that we could've had it all, only to throw it all away. But you know what sounds even more tragic? If we failed to even reach this point of hope in the first place. 

 

So I have this story concept, as of yet unnamed, that sort of goes in line with the "hemi-sync" vision I mentioned a post above. It, too, was a dream (as were most story concepts in this thread) and it's based on nuclear war.

 

I only had this dream once, but I loved the premise. Imagine that it's the 1960s, and in this timeline, the USSR was the first to use atomic weaponry. Let's say that it's 1945, around April. They drop a few kilotons on Potsdam and Berlin, the intention being to warn the Allies to stay away. And then, in August, America nukes Japan twice. The only difference being that the war in the West is not yet over because the Soviets decided to push past Berlin to take the rest of Europe. They still have a few nukes on hand, unlike the USA who just used their entire reserves. This crisis accelerates nuclear warhead development and leads to an atomic back and forth over the next 10 years. 

 

Electronics are completely ruined, and societal threads are severed. Because of this, life in 1960s America resembles life in 1800s America more than anything. Sort of like living in the South, except with even fewer possible modern gadgets. Radar's still kind of a thing, but since they tended to be knocked out by nuclear explosions, they haven't progressed far. 

 

So this wannabe futurist and pulp sci-fi writer is sitting at his desk in Las Vegas, imagining what the Future could be like. For him, the future seems rather bleak. The war has only just recently ended, and society's not exactly collapsing in on itself though it has taken mortal damage. Coal plants are billowing more pollution than ever. Scientific ideals are dead in the water for the most part because of the need to focus on reconstruction over all. 

Wouldn't it be nice to imagine a world where the war didn't happen? Where Hitler kept his cool and just didn't invade Poland? Where there are no "atom bombs"? 

He goes onto a family's farm and watches missiles rise into the air. The war's back on? Indeed, it is. The war was over for a while, but now they're going at it again. Interestingly, both nations independently created the foundations for the hydrogen bomb, but they haven't developed them out of a fear that it'll spur the other to use them. Instead, they're biding their time, opting to test these devices in secrecy and then end the overarching war by launching a volley at the other, unaware that their enemy is planning on doing the same.

Missiles rise into the night to blow up some more cities and military outposts on the other side of the world. The government is virtually ineffectual at keeping the peace because of how little modern technology there is nowadays. Most of what does exist is residual from the older days from before the war, and much of it doesn't even work due to being too old. Things that utilize vacuum tubes do survive, as well as most mechanical appliances, but the raw materials to keep making these aren't coming in due to the now nearly obliterated global trade network. So people have to get used to going it by hand.

 

Some sci-fi schlock gets through. These crazy ideas for a cure to aging or robots or flying cars. There's all these reports of flying saucers and their little green pilots. Before everything went to hell, work was being done on digital computing, but nothing came of it. Imagine if it did! The world would probably change. If they can get computers back up and running, who knows how much the world would change within a generation...

 

Alas, it's hard for this writer to keep going because it seems everything is going wrong and mankind is dying. Thousands are vaporized in nuclear explosions what seems to be every day, and the development of technology is no longer filtering down to the common man as it once did. Still, we did come a long way from the Dark Ages, haven't we? It's still commendable. Even if we end it all here, we did pretty damn well when we did...


Nobody's gonna take my drone, I'm gonna fly miles far too high!
Nobody gonna beat my drone, it's gonna shoot into the sky!





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Eutopia, Dark Things, paranormal, slice of tomorrow, futuristic realism, unexplained, failed civilization, dystopia, paratechnology, artificial intelligence

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