Back in my younger days...September 13 2009 at 10:54 AM
Pope Reverend I, BV (Login PRev1)
Response to Vast Active Living Intelligence System
I wasn't a big fan of PKD...
I much preferred the Philosophical Stylings of Asimov.
-- I have never read the story of VALIS.
However, I have read Asimov's tale of Mulitvac and...
-- The Last Question.
Asimov's tale weaves together...
The last question was asked for the first time, half in jest, on May 21, 2061, at a time when humanity first stepped into the light. The question came about as a result of a five dollar bet over highballs, and it happened this way ...
The story deals with the development of a computer called Multivac and its relationship with humanity through the course of seven historic settings, beginning in 2061. In each of the first six scenes a different character presents the computer with the same question, namely as to how the threat to human existence posed by the heat death of the universe can be averted. The question was: "How can the net amount of entropy of the universe be massively decreased?" This is equivalent to asking: "Can the workings of the second law of thermodynamics (used in the story as the increase of the entropy of the universe), be reversed?" Multivac's only response after much "thinking" is: "Insufficient data for meaningful answer".
-- Opening line, The Last Question
The story jumps forward in time into newer and newer eras of human and scientific development. In each of these eras someone decides to ask the ultimate "last question" regarding the reversal and decrease of entropy. Each time in each new era Multivac's descendent is asked this question, it finds itself unable to solve the problem. Each time all it can answer is: "Insufficient data for meaningful answer".
In the last scene, the god-like descendant of humanity (the unified mental process of over a trillion, trillion, trillion humans that have spread throughout the universe) watches the stars flicker out, one by one, as the universe finally approaches the state of heat death. Humanity asks AC, Multivac's ultimate descendant, which exists in hyperspace beyond the bounds of gravity or time, the entropy question one last time, before "Man" merges with AC and disappears. AC is still unable to answer, but continues to ponder the question even after space and time cease to exist. Eventually AC discovers the answer, but has nobody to report it to; the universe is already dead. It therefore decides to show the answer by demonstrating the reversal of entropy, creating the universe anew. The story ends with AC's pronouncement,
And AC said: "LET THERE BE LIGHT!" And there was light--
-- Closing line, The Last Question
-- The Informational Aspect of VALIS...
-- The "problematic" outcome of the Second Law of Thermodynamics...
-- The "origin" of... "God".
Thanks for the link up, Mondo.
-- Sounds like something Striver might appreciate too.
President Barrack Hussein Obama
-- God's Will Has Been Done --