Tomorrow Happens
calm and unified, because the reptile brain, mammal brain, and caveman brain all had a lifelong habit of leaving planning to the pre-frontal lobes.

    Their attitude? Whatever you say, Boss. You set policy. We'll carry it out .

    Even when the smiling bungee crew tied my ankles together, clamping on a slender cord, and pointed to the jump platform, there seemed to be no problem. "I" ordered my feet to hobble forward, while my other selves blithely took care of the details.

    That is, until I reached the edge. And looked down.

    Never before had I experienced the multi-mind so vividly as that moment. All pretense at unity shattered as I regarded that giddy drop. At once, reptile, mammal, and caveman reared up, babbling.

    You want us to do . . . what ?

    As I stared at a drop that would mean certain death to any of my ancestors, suddenly abstract theories seemed frail bulwarks against visceral dread. "I" tried to push forward those last few inches, but my other selves fought back, sending waves of weakness through the knees, making our shared heart pound and shared veins hum with flight hormones. In other words, I was terrified out of my wits!

    Somehow, I finally did make it over the plunge. After all, people were watching, and embarrassment can be quite a motivator.

    That's when an interesting thing happened. For the very instant after I managed to topple off the platform, I seemed to recoalesce! Because my many selves found a shared context. At last they all understood what was happening.

    It was fun , you see. Even the primate within me understood the familiar concept of an amusement ride.

    Still, that brief episode at a precipice showed me the essential truth of an old motto, e pluribus unum .

    From many, one.

    It felt very much like that when the Singularity came.

    In a matter of weeks, the typical human brain acquired several new layers—strata that were far more capable at planning and foresight than those old-fashioned lamps on the brow. Promethean layers made of crystal and fluctuating fields, systematically probing the future as mere protoplasm never could. Moreover, the new tiers were better informed and less easily distracted than the former masters, the prefrontal lobes.

    Quickly, we all realized how luckily things had turned out. If machines were destined to achieve such power, it seemed best that they bond to humanity in this way. That they become human. The alternative—watching our creations achieve godlike heights and leaving us behind—would have been too harsh to bear.

    Yet, the transition felt like jumping from a bridge at the end of a rubber band.

    It took some getting used to.

    Preliminary trends showed the pro-reif message would gain potency, over the next 40 to 50 months.

    At first it would be laughed off, portrayed as an absurd notion. Pragmatically speaking, how could we consider unleashing a nearly infinite swarm of new C- and D-Class citizens upon a finite world? Would they be satisfied with anything short of B-citizenship? The very idea would seem absurd!

    But seer predicted a change in that attitude. Opposition would soften when practical solutions were found for every objection. Ridicule would start to fade, as both curiosity and dawning sympathy worked away at a jaded populace of immortal, nearly-omniscient voters—an electorate who might see the coming influx of liberated "characters" as a potent tonic. In time, a majority would shrug and voice the age-old refrain of expanding acceptance, voiced every time tolerance overcame fear.

    " What the heck . . . let them come. There's plenty of room at the table ."

    Things were looking bad, all right, but not yet hopeless. Against this seemingly inevitable trend, oracle came up with some tentative ideas for counter-propaganda. Persuasive arguments against reification. The concepts had promising potential. But in order to be sure, we had to run tests, simulating today's complex, multi-level society under a wide range of conditions.


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