In January 2015 I posted a list of Turing Church projects. Here is a progress update.
1) – (January 2015) An anthology of short science fiction stories about technological resurrection, coming back to life in the far future universe, the life of immortal uploads among the stars and all that stuff. The book will be professionally edited and formatted, and published in e-book format (.epub and .mobi).
These days books are easily found on the Torrent networks. What happens is that:
a) – If nobody reads your book, you don’t make money because nobody reads the book.
b) – If a lot of people read your book, you don’t make money because someone puts the book on The Pirate Bay.
So, I am inclined to just distribute the book as a free download, and ask for donations instead of payment.
I will contact the authors who have published suitable short stories on the Turing Church and skefi’a websites, and of course I will be delighted to receive submissions.
JUNE 2016 UPDATE: I didn’t start this project yet. However, I still like the idea very much and plan to get the project going. I am one of those who prefer thoughtful but entertaining fiction to scholarly papers and books, and I think science fiction is one of the best ways to read and think about new science and philosophy. Stay tuned.
2) – (January 2015) A virtual gathering place and services/talks program using advanced virtual reality and videoconferencing systems. I tried to launch similar projects in the past (see Turing Church Talks and Turing Church Workshops), but previous attempts were not very successful. Perhaps the technologies used were not yet robust or user-friendly enough?
A related consideration is that the really new thing brought by the Internet has been powerful asynchronous communication, so perhaps insisting on synchronous communication feels like going back, sort of. In fact, a problem in organizing online gatherings is choosing a date/time suitable for participants in different timezones. Another problem is that many participants pay attention only at the last moment, to realize that they didn’t read the instructions and don’t know what to do to participate.
However, I will try again, perhaps with new technologies and ideas. Of course, I will be delighted if others want to collaborate, doing this well requires too much time and effort for one person.
JUNE 2016 UPDATE: Waiting for new user-friendly, high-performance, Oculus-enabled virtual worlds to become widely available and popular, I set up a Turing Church meeting place in Second Life and started a talk program.
The meeting place is a Stonehenge-themed garden in the Terasem sim. I think Stonehenge, which included a celestial observatory as well as religious, mystical, and spiritual elements, is an ideal theme.
At the next Turing Church meeting in Second Life on Sunday, June 26, Robin Hanson will present his new book “The Age of Em: Work, Love and Life when Robots Rule the Earth.” The presentation will be followed by a discussion. Don’t miss Robin’s presentation, and feel free to invite guests. Book review forthcoming.
Turing Church talks and meetings in Second life are held on the second and/or fourth Sunday of the month, at 8:30am Pacific time (11:30am Eastern time, 5:30pm European time, 4:30pm GMT). This time is convenient for participants in the US (morning), Europe (late afternoon), and India (late evenings). Please check the time if you are in another timezone.
[Click here to teleport to Stonehenge @Terasem] or teleport directly to Terasem, 180/180/31.
I am following the development of next-generation virtual worlds like Philip Rosedale’s High Fidelity and Linden Lab’s Project Sansar,, and will set up Turing Church outposts there, as soon as practical, as part of the Turing Church VR initiative. Turing Church VR will be both a futurist sci/tech salon and a virtual church. See “Virtual reality a new frontier for religions.”
In 2015 I and a group of friends submitted a grant request to a well-known Foundation to fund a “VR Church” project. The request was unsuccessful, but I look forward to submitting a new and better argued request.
3) – (January 2015) My own book, (tentatively) titled “Tales of the Turing Church,” has been for years in the making and won’t be finished anytime soon. Perhaps in one or two years. Some draft chapters have been published on this and other websites (see for example here and here).
I hope to put together a more or less consistent (but without insisting too much on consistency) account of my favorite ideas and hopes about life, the universe and everything. As in 1) I plan to distribute a professionally edited and formatted e-book online as a free download.
Before publication, I will ask a group of friends familiar with the subject matter to criticize the book and help me to find/correct weak arguments and all sorts of mistakes.
JUNE 2016 UPDATE: This is the project to which I am dedicating more time at the moment, and I hope to complete a book draft by the and of the year. “Tales of the Turing Church” will blend and mix science (especially physics and computing), transhumanism, technology, and theology. I realized that I have more things to say than can fit in a relatively short (say 300 pages) and readable book. But I want to get this book done, so I will stop at an overview of interesting ideas about God, eschatology, resurrection, and tentative physical models based on today’s science, without aiming at completeness or consistency.
I hope to then write other, more complete and hopefully more consistent books, titled “Trasumanar” and “Irrational Mechanics.” I am collecting material in an online wiki notebook titled “Irrational Mechanics,” open to friends and collaborators.
I realized that I need to know much more physics, not only in my favorite areas (general relativity, cosmology, and the foundations of quantum physics) but also in thermodynamics and statistical physics, physics of computation, quantum field theory, the standard model, and string theory. So I am dedicating a lot of time to reading a lot of books and papers, and trying to understand the big picture.
I have never been detail-oriented, but sometimes one has to take a good look at the trees before trying to understand the forest. I graduated in theoretical physics more than 30 years ago, and worked as a physicist for a decade, but then I worked on other things for the last 20 years, so I must learn, or re-learn, or understand much better, a hell of a lot of things. However, studying is interesting and fun, and the internet makes a real difference. I wish I had today’s internet when I was a young student (or even better, I wish I were a young student now).
NEW PROJECT: The India Awakens Conference, which will explore the convergence of Eastern and Western science and spirituality, with speakers representing both geographic and thematic sides – East and West, science and spirituality, and the intersections thereof. The Conference will take place in Kolkata, India, on Sunday, February 12, 2017, from 10am to 7pm, in the Shivananda Hall of the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture.
At the Conference, a global group of visionary thinkers will explore the intersections of spirituality and science. Among the confirmed speakers, Ralph Abraham, Ben Goertzel, Amit Goswami, Sisir Roy, and Frank Tipler. Other speakers will be announced soon. We will soon launch a crowdfunding campaign to cover the Conference’s costs. Backers will receive benefits including admission, full video proceedings and extras on DVD, and access to live video streaming. This is the very first Turing Church fundraising campaign, and I hope you (YES, YOU) will contribute!