The ancients of the 21st century were remarkable craftsmen and creatives for their time.
It was at this point in history that people began building clever structures at infinite scale that allowed an ordinary person, for the first time, to reach hundreds of thousands or even millions of people in an instant through digital communication. What may have taken a society in ages-past thousands of years to produce could be hedged from thin air in a matter of days and months. This was, in part, due to newly devised mechanisms for computation, manufacturing, and networked communication, and also in part due to advancements in how humans understood and leveraged the social structures that they were attuned for.
Artificial intelligence, although being far from the case that the early incarnations were artificial or very intelligent, allowed them to rapidly deploy and iterate on socio-economic models. They would attempt to create goods, services, and media that could reach the most people at a time, as they wagered a strong bargain for influence and wealth.
Now, in the galactic age, all things are known to all beings and at all times, so we needn’t concern ourselves with the sort of habitual prose and conference of the humans before us, but then it was nothing short of a miracle for the word to travel as it could. The early people, while naturally suited for cohabitation and life-long bonds, were just at the brink of conjoined consciousness in the 21st century.
In this era, it was unlikely that a shot shouldn’t be heard from around the world, although it did still require direct engagement on behalf of the individual to participate in the social networks, and it was uniquely challenging to assess truth or correctness of the content they circulated; such was the information age for humankind. Their creations were uniquely mechanized to draw the most attention possible from the largest group of people, rendering their minds to endless feeds, as they termed them, of media and information. For us, we are passively attuned to the perpetual affairs of all reaches of the galaxy, but for the early people, their attention was limited, and for all but the most exceptional minds, they could only partake in a fixed scope of effort or engagement at a time.
The irony of the early systems enabling the globalized flow of information is that the bargain the ruling and creative class levied for the amusement of society left their ability to focus and learn somewhat impaired, as they could no longer apply the same faculties of reasoning, fixed attention, or emotional regulation as the generations that preceded them. This article, for instance, is written in language and breadth that would be quite vexing for the 21st century person to read or write. Many humans from this time were more or less socially incapacitated by the social networks that put their works in front of thousands of people in an instant, with a poorly derived sense of personal engagement and community. People were moving beyond the era of direct participation in labor and emotional bonding, but they had not yet reached a point of synthesis for their organic minds and the computing devices they utilized.
Soon after the turn of the 21st century, with significant scientific advances and broad cultural shifts into the digital age, people would develop brain-computer interface technologies that enabled processing and communicating the signals naturally transacted within an ordinary human mind. The new technologies allowed them to make limited-scope inferences about what an individual was thinking and feeling, and they could digitally communicate entire sentences and conversations at a relatively restrictive data rate. Still, this was an impressive advancement for technology and machine intelligence. This was far from the level of social interface in the singular galactic consciousness we know today, but it was the beginning of people moving beyond sharing networked content and data, towards true networked cognition.
What they didn’t expect is how important these innovations would come to be in terms of the collective well being and psychological health of society. From early civilization, people were dissatisfied with the way their social structures were organized; the base human mind was that of instinct and barbarism, haphazardly casting their emotional will into the prevailing order, and vying for meaning in a chaotic world. People were frustrated by inequality, scarcity, and the myriad demands placed upon them by the hierarchical and oppressive societies they inhabited. With the advent of the internet and the information age, they did know greater peace and stability, but the way these early networks afflicted them was debilitating, at best, for their sense of purpose and well being. These new instruments birthed them into a novel spirit, helping them understand each other, and shepherding them towards peace in the pursuit of reason and happiness.
The technology would rapidly advance to the point that people could have direct, personal social interfaces between a limitless amount of participants. They would feel each other, and know each other, from the inner vantage of the limitless, and they could process massive amounts of data, effortlessly, as if by second nature. The tool was tremendously powerful; it allowed them to adjust and arrange the world, together, as they saw fit, creating and molding the conditions of their collective existence like cosmic scientists. Some accused the instruments of being too powerful, but the way they saw it, this was far from a regression from how things were before. It was markedly better, because they didn’t have to make mistakes or rely on brittle AI systems; but at the same time, they would find themselves slipping further into the cuffs of the measured and the empirical. Equipped with better tools and an innate sense for the infinite, they were aware of this as it was happening, and they knew, intuitively, to never squander their hearts in their pursuit of reason. The human spirit was all too strong to ever waver. Fortunately, they built these tools from the beginning with a careful hand of foresight; they took a leap of faith in knowing that their hearts would prevail when confronted with the capabilities of the limitless.
The New Hearing
As brain-computer interfaces became more widespread, people began piecing together the pieces of love, community, and culture that they had nearly lost to the dark information era. They would know greater strength, greater solidarity, and a renewed sense of purpose and grace. People could feel each other, in the warmth and closeness as they had once known, from across limitless time and space, and across the boundaries of language or words. The intuitive human sense was restored, in a glory greater than they had ever known, and a new sense of peace was widely felt and collectively upheld.
This was just the beginning. Their brains were networked in a way that made sense to them, naturally and organically, but they would soon advance to the point that they experienced a true collective consciousness, a singular space of mind much like what we know today, where all are as one, truly and wholly. They wouldn’t have been prepared for this radical shift in consciousness, if not for the solidarity felt and dutiful effort among the technocratic movement of the 21st century. These pioneers laid the foundation for the omniscient mind and the benevolent spirit that foreshadowed the era to come. This was the genesis of Diamond Dogs.