Creo Animam


In June 2015, I was honoured to work with the Univox Choir that I’ve been singing with for over 10 years. Instead of the usual musician guest artist who performs with the choir, I created and directed a concert about the near future. I was incredibly humbled by and proud of all the extra effort that the choir put into this concert: from arranging music, finding images online, creating music videos to accompany the pieces, and helping out in so many ways this was a hugely collaborative piece. You will eventually be able to see the results of this at the Creo Animam website.

This page documents some of the research and notes for that concert that I created and shared with the choir while I was developing the concert. The concept for the concert investigates the near future, one where the pace of change has continued to accelerate, everything digital is free, in price and liberty, everything you want to track is recorded, and personal and collective power is only exceeded by the new forms life we have dreamed into the world around us.

What is our destiny when we have created beings that surpass us in every way?

“What is the goal in life? It’s to create yourself a soul.” - Jodorowsky

Since the dawn of human memory we’ve looked to the sky and asked incessantly: Who made us? and why? In lieu of a reply, are we pursuing AI so that we might be divine and thus someday supply an answer to a being to whom we gave life?Giordano Nanni & Hugo Farrant

“So does God exist? Well I would say, ‘Not yet.’” - Ray Kurzweil

“The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.” - William Gibson

“Murphy’s law doesn’t mean that something bad will happen. It means that whatever can happen, will happen.” - Cooper in Interstellar

Exponential Changes

For all of human history until just recently the amount of technological and cultural change was relatively minimal even though the technologies that were adopted were the “lowest hanging fruit”- the easiest to achieve with the vastest impact on culture, human health, and the environment. If you imagine technological change as a curve extending to the dawn of human history then it is mostly flat with a subtle curve and some tall cliffs. As you approach modern times the cliffs grow smaller but more numerous, resulting in a sheer, endless vertical wall built of countless technological changes. A wall that can only be scaled because of the technology that has already been built. According to Kurzweil’s “Law of Accelerating Returns”, the rate of change tends to increase exponentially in a variety of evolutionary systems, such that “we won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century — it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at todays rate).”

In our lifetimes we will see the impact of many technologies that have been slowly developing for the past few decades, that are now finally achievable because of the dramatic increase in the number of people able to develop them (which will be quickly dwarfed once they go mainstream) and dramatic exponential dropping cost and increasing power of computation:

  • cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, etc)
    • distributed trust, proof of work and public and incorruptible transactions
    • electronic voting and sophisticated “constant/liquid” voting systems
    • no bank account required: economic emancipation for non-humans
  • nanotechnology
    • incredibly small, fast computers
    • little or no wasted materials
  • 3d printing
    • molecular and nanoscale construction
    • distributed, digital design with local manufacture
    • printing weapons, food, medicine/poison, microrobots, etc
  • virtual reality
    • Occulus, MS HoloLens, Magic Leap, Sony Morpheus
    • immersive medium that can embed and contain every previous medium
    • virtual travel, presence (through robotics)
    • safe places to play
    • Augmented Reality: using existing senses to connect to external brains/AI
  • robotics
    • drones (flying robots with cameras and weapons)
    • autos (ground based autonomous vehicles of all sizes)
  • machine learning / “deep learning” / artificial intelligence
    • evolving skills / knowledge with and without human intervention
    • we don’t know how the software works (“how it knows”) without intensive study
    • can be built in ways that have fewer human biases
  • the Internet of Things (IoT) and Cloud computing
    • every tool and device with sensors, computation, software and networking (the ability to communciate to other simple devices and to vastly more powerful computers)
    • Quantified Self
      • cheap sensors to detect your personal state and environment
      • personalized, affordable, constant medical attention (personal sensors, Watson diagnosticians)
    • security problems and the ability to know intimate, unchangeable details: your Truename
  • surveillance and sousveillance
    • recording of private actions vs recording of professional actions and decision making
  • Big Data
    • combination of IoT sensors + ML data analysis: allows us to know ourselves and make predictions better than ever
    • easy to identify anyone uniquely by the data they generate
  • biotech
    • life-extension

Best overview the big changes

Big Problems

  • existential risks: the existence of the human race is threatened
  • climate change
    • tipping points; frozen methane, coral, etc
  • wealth disparity
  • privacy
    • security is hard for useful services
    • no privacy market exists or 3rd party privacy services
    • NSA and other Five Eyes organizations have purposefully been holding back individual security to make their jobs easier
  • the war on general computing and the civil war on general computing
    • who is in control of all the software running on the hardware
      • you or someone else (government, corporation)
    • you want control over the devices you control, but what about autos or other devices that can harm others?
  • security is hard (basically impossible) against an advanced, persistent threat
    • golden age of hackers who were curious, anti-establishment explorers is coming to an end
    • organized crime
      • crime bosses no longer computer illiterate
    • military and spy organizations
      • cyberwar departments and spy agencies
      • instant, global targeted murder weapons (drones, satellites, etc)
    • both crime and military think they are smarter than the rest and that violence is acceptable and useful
    • new, more powerful and cheaper weapons:
      • bio-weapons
      • nanotechnology and 3D printed weapons
    • nuclear war still an issue
  • VR addiction and influence for profit
    • imagine the Zynga of VR
      • games carefully designed to suck money out of the most vulnerable and the rest of us to spread the game
      • the most vulnerable people spending tens of thousands of dollars on their addiction
      • (ASIDE: making this garbage is like tricking a mentally disabled person out of their money)
      • even “good” developers mistaking addiction for fun (ex: World of Warcraft)
    • advertising is designed to limit the free market through disinformation
      • profit seeking with no regard for the consequences or side-effects
    • (ASIDE: everyone should install ad blockers on their free software)
  • overuse, waste and tragedy of the commons
  • industry of shame
    • profiting from shaming and memes that negatively impact the lives of the subject


Besides the themes above we want to talk about:

  • limiting and decentralizing power
    • “liquid democracy”
    • coordinated shunning and banning of economic / power transactions
  • creating a place for all cultures at any level
    • diversity is strength
    • freedom to choose your culture
      • how to give that freedom to your children?
  • spark generation
    • software coordinated magic
    • relationship oriented, meeting people
    • software handles logistics, humans perform
  • everything is deeply connected
    • both literally and figuratively, with the literal giving rise to greater insight of the figurative
    • trust, ability to work well with others becomes knowable and publishable (a commodity?)
    • collective destiny (climate change, Y2K, asteroid avoidance)
  • celebrate humanness
    • new opportunities without the demands of labour
      • guaranteed income?
      • personal growth and a meaningful life
      • what can I do better, why?
    • symbiosis, collaborative cybernetics
      • AI/robots as pets, horses, etc: surrounded by life at all levels of sentience
    • turning away from vices:
  • learning and environment can make drastic changes
    • we are used to a cruel and poor learning environment
    • the hope and power of altruism training and believing you can improve
    • VR + small, cheap MRI + gameification + meditation practice: change your brain to do what you want
      • release hormones; making the subconscious consciously controllable
      • dramatic shifts in personality: increased compassion, empathy, etc
    • flow machines
    • AI “angels” and mentors that help you learn or change