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Virtualized Environment and Space

Perry E. Metzger perry at imsi.com
Tue Feb 21 10:18:10 EST 1995

[I am only cc'ing the mailing list listed in your cc line because you
did, Mr. Ashley; if this material is inappropriate for the given
mailing list (very likely the case) please inform me.]

Don Ashley says:
> Please elaborate more on 'virtualized envt and space,' not only to 
> explain the concepts for those of us who haven't been educated, but for 
> population management options.

Presumably, in the far future (emphasis on far future there), most
people might abandon their bodies, transforming themselves into
software running in computers. One could, if one wished, have the
illusion of a body in a virtual reality environment, and all the
advantages of having a body, without having any of the limitations of
being actually corporeal -- for example, "travel" would be
instantaneous, and one could have the perfect illusion of being in any
environment, as large or as small as one wished, with whatever
contents one desired. When one had to interact with the "real world",
such as if one wanted to go and explore the "real" universe, one could
do so by telepresence or by donning a robotic body the way that a
human now puts on a suit of clothing. In such an environment, one
could conceivably pack far more people into the solar system because
one would no longer need to maintain any physical space for corporeal
beings but could simply transform the entirety of the mass of the
system into computing infrastructure and maintainance equipment for
that infrastructure.

Even extraordinarily pessimistic estimates hold that you could
simulate a human brain quite completely in a space only a couple of
centimeters on a side. Consider how much material would be available
for building such constructs if most of the dead mass in the solar
system was converted to this use.

Of course, one needn't limit oneself to just this solar system --
there are billions of billions of them.

This is unlikely to happen for quite some time (lets not even
speculate on how long.) However, it does point to one of the reasons
why ultimately with sufficiently advanced technology one need no
longer worry nearly as acutely about the space that humans take up.


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