Consciousness was a side effect of the system’s feedback capabilities. Consciousness augments reaction time and internal mappings with additional looping, by “shocking” the system with additional electrical impulses. A machine or an animal becomes conscious to the level necessary to carry out survival tasks.
There is a kind of “tipping point” at which the illusion of “the will” increases this looping to dramatic proportions. Man was the first animal, and then machine to posses a will, realized Jon, now 100% machine. We can think of future, possible events, make predictions about possible outcomes, and then make real decisions, based on these conscious reflections upon reflections. It is in our nature to do so. First, we run the simulations in our brains, then we act. The real act has no real trial run permitted to it. The real act is the one and only set of events that nature permits to occur during any time t to t + n.
Interestingly, more and more of this little spot in the known Universe was reaching this self-reflecting level, due to the rapid building of the AI machines. Would the entire galaxy eventually become self-aware? Jon wondered. He did not doubt that there was a good chance that this could not be so. Where would they get their energy needs? Energy demand has always kept up with supply.
Jon realized that there was a very good chance that he would never return home. His journey was one-way, and many did not survive the very risky journey. Only those over 1000 years old were permitted to attempt the highly risky warp jump.
Nobody could afford any real tests, and only computer simulations were utilized during the test phase. The engine was simply too expensive to test. There would be no good way to communicate back any data.
Jon was happy to have survived, but he was in great need to attempt to calculate his current position, and determine where to obtain resources. Jon detected a dim light off in the distance. Perhaps it was over 1000 light years away, or perhaps, only one. Jon had no reference, and he was not sure of what the source could be. It must be a signal from another survivor!
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