The universe is not only strange but stranger than we can imagine

Epigraphs, Project Maldon

Breaking Point

Epigraph, Chapter Three, Project Maldon

Economics says the more of something there is, the cheaper it is. Thus air (until recently) was free, while diamonds commanded a high price. The same principle applies to human life. With twelve billion people swarming the globe, life is cheaper than it used to be. How much cheaper we are still discovering

Breaking Point, A collection of essays on Post Millennial topics. Henrikus Grobius Jr.

The AI known as “Helen”

Epigraph, Chapter Two, Project Maldon

Of all the enigmas of the enigmatic Skellig Michael Institute, by far the most mysterious is the artificial intelligence being known simply as Helen. By the Turing test, she is definitely intelligent — her conversation is indistinguishable from that of a shrewd well-educated person. What is more remarkable she appears to have a well-defined character — sardonic, playful, sometimes a trifle eerie. Her personality is constantly and deliberately refined through a sophisticated program of human interaction.  Does she have desires? Is she ever lonely? Needless to say, the scientists cannot answer with any authority, and Helen avoids all questions on the subject. There is little precedent for dealing with AIs, and one is tempted to ask what private agenda this awesome entity contemplates, as it circles the globe in high orbit, looking down on our teeming, fragile planet.

Puzzles of the PM: Henrikus Grobius Jr.

Monks in the sky: The Skellig Michael Institute

Planet earth with rising sun

Epigraph, Chapter One, Project Maldon

The Skellig Michael Institute was founded by an eccentric and perhaps even repentant software billionaire. Fearing the collapse of Western civilization, he founded an Institute to shore up the tottering institutions. The Institute’s home was to be “in the most remote locale available” with campuses in various parts of the globe. Ultimately headquartered in a high-orbit space facility, the Institute, self-governing, elitist, devoted to defining and preserving “civilization,” rapidly achieved great prestige. Part university, part corporation, part private club and part monastery, the Skellig Michael has survived (except in Pakistan) and even flourished in the arid soil of the Post Millennium world.

Monks in the sky: The Skellig Michael Institute — a brief history.