Accounts from the Gulf Exclusion Zone
(The following is a net-cast with Doctor William Drexler (Libertaria University, PhD in Nanotechnological Engineering), and author of "Evolutionary Logic: Commentary from the Father of the Nanofractals").
Interviewer: Alexander Chan (Host of the science show "The Tomorrow Factor")
Will Drexler (WD): Greetings, Alex, as always. I'm contacting you from orbit, so don't mind any delays with my responses. Until someone figures out how to break the speed of light, there's got to be some delays up here. Thanks for having me on the show.
Alex Chan (AC): You're welcome to be here, Doctor. Now, there's been some uncertainty over recent events in the Gulf. Do you have any commentary on those?
WD: I follow everything on the news involving the Nanofractals. I know people may not have the best impression of them, but they are only doing what they have been programmed to do.
AC: And what is that?
WD: To constantly evolve towards optimization for their given environment or assignment. When they got loose on Earth during those geo-engineering experiments, they were given their first real taste of violence. Not just the violence innate in natural selection, but organized, methodical violence from a human military force.
AC: And the problem grew from them evolving in unexpected ways?
WD: As they were expected too. Remember the ill-advised decision to use nuclear weapons in Malaysia? Many of the Nanofractals were hardened against EMP, and the ones that evolved after the blast still possess that hardening. We are in an arms race with the Nanofractals, and they have intelligence quite unlike everything we have seen.
AC: Well, Doctor, do you think we are winning that arms race with them? Hasn't our own species' violent history given us more than enough implements of destruction?
WD: Before I answer that question, let me show you something. Here's a functional replica I recently nano-fabbed for my collection. See this pistol? Do you know what kind this is?
AC: A revolver. Looks like some antique on with odd etchings on the cylinder.
WD: It's a Webley-Fosbery automatic revolver. It was invented around the early years of the twentieth century, and combines the reliability of a revolver with the speed of an automatic. The recoil from each shot cycles the chamber, and readies the next round. It was the first auto-revolver, and is a curiosity. It's belongs in neither the world of revolvers nor automatics, yet shares traits of both.
AC: And how does this relate to arms races with the Frakkers? What separates human and machine evolution?
WD: Please, they're Nanofractals. "Frakkers" is an unfortunate term used for them. The Nanofractals do not evolve like we do. Humans are just organic machines thrown together over millions of years by nature. The Nanofractals knowingly select which traits they put into their next generation of machines. Humans need about two decades to raise a new generation to adulthood. The Nanofractals require about two hours to fabricate another batch based on data analysis.
AC: But how's this relate to that gun?
WD: The auto-revolver was an analogy. Imagine that as humanity: A confused mess of features tossed together over generations of natural selection, bearing many of the optimal traits of their ancestors. That revolver was an experimental novelty firearm. If we were to compare the Nanofractals to another piece of my collection, I'd say that it would be a Gungnir sniper rail gun. The same type that's in testing with the military now. The Nanofractals are simply that much more able to out-think and out-perform humanity.
AC: Then why have conventional forces proven so effective against them until recently? Why haven't they turned the whole planet into gray goo?
WD: The Nanofractals' exposure to military force prompted them to mimic what they saw. Human militaries were an unknown factor to them, but one successful at destroying large numbers of them. So, they adapted and began producing copies of what they saw. Even the Nanofractral armies had some tricks that human soldiers had not: Reliable active camouflage, integration with complex nanotechnology, and other devices.
AC: So why did we shift from annihilating the Nanofractals to merely containing the threat?
WD: Please. If they wanted to destroy the Nanofractals, they could just drop antimatter bombs on every Zone on the planet. There's reasons they don't. The power elites recognized the Nanofractals as potentially exploitable, more than just some rogue robots. It was only a matter of time before the Nanofractrals realized that they were fighting technologies they had originally developed. We didn't even bother to understand why it worked, just blindly copying parts and hoping for the best. I've been writing something like this could happen for years. The Nanofractals have finally realized how great humanity is for spreading more of them.
AC: Do you think there will be violence between us and the Nanofractals? What about the people who are infected? Which side are they on?
WD: Of course. Violence is what keeps natural selection moving. We were unfortunate enough to show organized violence to the Nanofractals. We showed them human greed and myopia. They exploited us, and infected some of us. Just what is evolving may not be human or Nanofractal. It could be something new. Maybe something with the computational versatility of the Nanofractals and human sense of identity. Or maybe just another form of husk or colony for them to use. I'm sure we'll see for sure real soon.
AC: Well, to move to a viewer question, Doctor, why do you collect weapons?
WD: For a very simple reason. Violence, capacity for violence, and intelligence are innately correlated. Humans have always been violent, greedy myopic monkeys always looking for better ways to annihilate each other. Because of this, all our advances can be directly or indirectly traced back to violence in some form. I am interested in the tools of violence, and how they've changed over the ages. From stone spears to machine guns to lasers, we've always been dead set on it. It may be the only thing that saves us now. I've got a feeling, though, that a new team's just entered the field, one able to beat us at our own game. I hope for our sake, we can get back to realizing that violence, and proficiency in it, is a great survival factor. Take it from their father that the Nanofractals are not mere animals that humans can ever domesticate. I'm just glad I'm heading to the Mars colony now. It's going to be interesting to be on Earth, but I recommend you, and everyone you know, Alex, hop on the next shuttle to the colonies. There's no telling what will happen on Earth. I know I don't want to be around to see it.