Saturday, January 24, 2015

24. Fork Hives

The restoration of contact with Synergy and the revelation of their new group-mind sent shock waves through transhuman and also exhuman society. Gestalts and group minds had long been a holy grail of exhuman research, but attempts to link different minds had resulted various levels of failure. The only other successful group mind were those that linked alpha forks of the same person, instead of different individuals.

Unlike the neo-synergists, it is inevitable that a fork hive will dissolve the individuality of its members. The fork hive begins as identical copies of the same mind, after all, and the lack of barriers is a powerful counter to divergence (although it is not impossible.) The degree of independence forks can develop is based upon latency and bandwidth in communication. As the link is degrades, divergence increases. Forks that remain within close contact (within the same habitat or city) are kept so similar as to be the different trains of thought of one individual. Forks venturing further will begin to diverge, as the total mind-link gives way to frequent short-term memory and emotional updates, or even long-term, biographical memory only.

In the long term, a fork hive will slowly diversify from a single shared mind into an ecosystem of egos. If a hive seeks to be in multiple places at once, it must accept the divergence that distance causes. A mature hive might consist of multiple groups, with divergence occurring on the scale of the groups themselves. 10 forks in Valles-New Shanghai would have a strong enough connection to prevent all divergence and can be considered one person with incredible multitasking abilities. All of those forks would a looser connection to the group in Olympus, who are themselves tightly bonded. The relationship between groups is closer than that of typical individuals, but loose enough to allow for divergence, imperfect cooperation and even competition.

This growth of diversity of egos is considered by some exhuman thinkers to be not just acceptable, but highly advantages. A tightly bonded hive is like a species, with a limited set of thoughts and attitudes. A diverse hive is like an ecosystem, with many both complementary and competing thoughts and attitudes. Species, they point out, often go extinct, but ecosystems have the resilience of diversity.

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