The Gulf

assignment_in_eternityIn a novella written in 1949 called Gulf, Robert Heinlein describes a secret society that could be a blueprint for the sort of organization I have in mind with Omega League.

Heinlein’s group, composed of people who call themselves “New Men” or “homo novis”, is a sort of illuminati of supermen, who recruit and train covertly, manipulate world events, and conspire to increase their numbers and eventually rule the world.

What does Heinlein mean by supermen? Here is how he defines them:

“Supermen are superthinkers; anything else is a side issue. I’ll allow the possibility of super-somethings which might exterminate or dominate mankind other than by outsmarting him in his own racket-thought. But I deny that it is possible for a man to conceive in discrete terms what such a super-something would be or how this something would win out. New Man will beat out homo sap in homo sap’s own specialty-rational thought, the ability to recognize data, store them, integrate them, evaluate correctly the result, and arrive at a correct decision. That is how man got to be champion; the creature who can do it better is the coming champion. Sure, there are other survival factors, good health, good sense organs, fast reflexes, but they aren’t even comparable, as the long, rough history of mankind has proved over and over-Marat in his bath, Roosevelt in his wheelchair, Caesar with his epilepsy and his bad stomach. Nelson with one eye and one arm, blind Milton; when the chips are down it’s brain that wins, not the body’s tools.”

Note that the New Men aren’t a genetically engineered group of supermen like the Augments, but natural savants who band together and attempt to create a new species through selective breeding. An interesting notion, but surely more is possible in light of modern genetic science of the sort being researched by BGI Cognitive Genomics.

The New Men justify their activities this way:

“’Ask yourself.’ He swept a hand toward the oubliette. ‘Ten minutes ago you and I saved this planet, all our race. It’s the hour of the knife. Some one must be on guard if the race is to live; there is no one but us. To guard effectively we New Men must be organized, must never fumble any crisis like this-and must increase our numbers. We are few now, Joe; as the crises increase, we must increase to meet them. Eventually-and it’s a dead race with time-we must take over and make certain that baby never plays with matches.

He stopped and brooded. “I confess to that same affection for democracy, Joe. But it’s like yearning for the Santa Claus you believed in as a child. For a hundred and fifty years or so democracy, or something like it, could flourish safely. The issues were such as to be settled without disaster by the votes of common men, befogged and ignorant as they were. But now, if the race is simply to stay alive, political decisions depend on real knowledge of such things as nuclear physics, planetary ecology, genetic theory, even system mechanics. They aren’t up to it, Joe. With goodness and more will than they possess less than one in a thousand could stay awake over one page of nuclear physics; they can’t learn what they must know.”

Gilead brushed it aside. “It’s up to us to brief them. Their hearts are all right; tell them the score- they’ll come down with the right answers.”

“No, Joe. We’ve tried it; it does not work. As you say, most of them are good, the way a dog can be noble and good. Yet there are bad ones-Mrs. Keithley and company and more like her. Reason is poor propaganda when opposed by the yammering, unceasing lies of shrewd and evil and self-serving men. The little man has no way to judge and the shoddy lies are packaged more attractively. There is no way to offer color to a colorblind man, nor is there any way for us to give the man of imperfect brain the canny skill to distinguish a lie from a truth.

“No, Joe. The gulf between us and them is narrow, but it is very deep. We cannot close it.”

The New Men must dominate the world because homo sapiens can’t be trusted with the power they now wield, due to the technologies its savants have developed. Only the savants are qualified to govern, because only they understand the technologies which confer power.

This is a reasonable argument, and it is certainly part of Omegan ideology. Technical domination of the planet is necessary to ensure that anti-Omegan forces can’t dominate us. But control of technology and superior rationality are not enough; we also seek supremacy of a more philosophical sort, in the sense of Nietzsche’s Übermensch. That is, Omegans are a spiritual as well as genetic vanguard, who are leading a revolution against the “slave moralism” that still dominates Christian and post-Christian civilization, and the dysgenic, dispiriting, enervating society it engenders. Omegans are not just a cabal of über-nerds, but “philosophers with hammers” who seek to overthrow the reign of the Last Man and bring about a new order.

Surely Heinlein had read and resonated with Nietzsche’s ideas; Gulf is just one of many of his works that betray a Nietzschean spirit. Unfortunately, it is a spirit that is all too lacking in our time, as militant slave moralists seem once again bent upon vilifying and crushing the spirit of evolution and greatness that Heinlein and Nietzsche celebrated. In this age, Omegans may have to operate in the shadows like the New Men, until the day our power has grown ineluctable, and the gulf between us and the Last Men has grown so deep that our kind can no longer be denied. But that day is not yet here, because as Zarathustra observed:

“Never yet hath there been a Superman. Naked have I seen both of them, the greatest man and the smallest man:—

All-too-similar are they still to each other. Verily, even the greatest found I—all-too-human!”

Omega League: A Radical Transhumanist Vision

[This is a re-post of my original vision of the League from five years ago. I will be re-focusing on this vision and posting more about it shortly.]

I’m a firm believer in the nonlinear power of small groups of exceptional individuals to shape the world’s destiny. This seems more true now than ever, in an age of technological empowerment that has witnessed the emergence of globally disruptive non-state networks such as al Qaeda, Goldman Sachs and Aum Shinrikyo. With a strong ideological foundation and the creative use of techniques of asymmetric force projection (often called “terrorism”), these groups have cost nation-states untold trillions of dollars and brought their agendas to the attention of the entire world. Whatever you may think of their goals, it’s clear that the modus operandi of such organizations can be highly effective.

What I am proposing here is the formation of a similarly effective, ideologically based network of elite operatives, drawing not from reactionary cultures but from the global community of forward-thinking individuals sympathetic to the goals of Singularitarians and transhumanists. I hope to attract rational thinkers who find traditional allegiances to nation, tribe and religion archaic, and the existing institutions of secular society limiting. I propose to call this organization Omega League, inspired by Teilhard de Chardin’s “Omega Point” notion of a biosphere evolving toward ever higher intelligence. I also take inspiration from groups such as “the Guild” in the Dune novels who used their mastery of transhuman science to control the known universe, and the superhuman Khan and the Augments from Star Trek, who nearly conquered the world.

khanbyepost-tI am particularly interested in recruiting to the League talented computer scientists, programmers, engineers, roboticists, neuroscientists, geneticists, cyberneticists, bio-hackers, physicists, et al. — i.e. those who possess the technical knowledge to work directly toward transhumanist goals. In my experience this class of people, though generally among the most intelligent members of the human species, and despite being the architects of the modern world, feel acutely under-rewarded by the larger human community. Omega League would seek to offer such technically elite individuals a path to collective power that they might otherwise lack, as well as a larger ideological context for their work.

We should not think of Omega League as merely “al Qaeda for uber-nerds,” however. While bin Laden and friends want to drag the world back to some 7th century Quranic utopia, we want to yank it forward to a 21st century utopia that has no precedent in recorded history. Essentially we seek to operate as a force of nature, bound only by the laws of science, mathematics and logic, rather than the human-imposed constraints of conventional legal, ethical or religious systems. It seems inevitable that before long those who wish to confine humanity to its old forms will need to be decisively defeated, and we would like to be the tip of the spear in that effort.

Why is a group such as I am proposing necessary? Aren’t the mainstream science and technology establishments already working toward transhumanist goals? The answer, in many cases, is yes. And where this is true we should support them wholeheartedly. But these establishments are by definition constrained by legal and ethical principles which are in direct contradiction to transhumanist philosophy. For at the root of every existing legal and ethical system is one overriding principal: the world is for man alone, and he (with or without direction from various gods) is the final earthly authority. If you believe as we do, that man is a bridge from animal to overman, then at some point it becomes impossible to abide by the laws of societies that are stuck in this cul-de-sac of human-centric thinking.

As transhumanists, we must adopt the point of view that human legal and ethical systems are no more applicable to us than are the social rules of a chimpanzee troop. Does this make us anarchists? Not at all. We are merely operating according to higher laws — the laws of nature — which suggest to us that homo sapiens is a transitional species that will soon be ushered off of center stage by evolutionary forces vastly more powerful than any human institution.

If this last claim is true, one may ask: why does the world need a group such as Omega League? If these evolutionary forces are so powerful, surely nature doesn’t need an activist group to do its bidding any more than God needs al Qaeda to do His? This would be true, if the transitional process I’m speaking of were inevitable — i.e. there really was an all-powerful god who wanted it to be so. But as rational atheists, we cannot believe this. The world is an impersonal stage, operating under certain natural laws, but in the Anthropocene epoch it is human (and post-human) will which determines how the great dramas play out. To ensure that these dramas play out in a way consistent with our worldview, we therefore need to impose our will upon them by seeking control over human institutions globally.

We should be under no illusions about the broad appeal of the radical transhumanist agenda at this time. The “human, all too human” forces that will align against us are vast and deeply rooted at the foundation of every human society. Established religions, first and foremost, can be expected to oppose the overthrow of the human order with all their power. No system of beliefs that holds that humans are the apex of creation, the very image of God on earth, can be expected to accept the transhumanist view that man is not an end, but a means to the superhuman. Similar resistance will be encountered from the secular humanists who hold that “man is the measure of all things”, and for whom transhumanism represents a mortal threat to well established ideals of equality, brotherhood and liberty. On a more fundamental level, we are fighting the basic instinct of every living creature to preserve and propagate its own kind. Because of this broad resistance, I contend that our uncompromising brand of transhumanism must operate in the shadows for the time being, seeking influence and control outside normal channels, until the relentless advance of technology makes our position difficult to refute.

I will be discussing this proposal in more detail at I hope to have forums and other resources where others who share this vision can interact and learn. In the meantime, I leave you with a quote from one of the writers who inspired this post, which I hope may inspire others to action:

“No matter how exotic human civilization becomes, no matter the developments of life and society nor the complexity of the machine/human interface, there always come interludes of lonely power when the course of humankind depends upon the relatively simple actions of single individuals.” — From the Tleilaxu Godbuk, Dune Messiah


The Omegan Cosmic Agenda

On our About Us page I stated that I might disclose the Omega League’s larger cosmic agenda in time, and today I would like to begin to do that.  I was prompted to write this post by a flurry of recent news stories related to space exploration, and in particular by Robert Zubrin’s proposal to colonize Mars by 2016.

While I respect his dogged ambition, I’m afraid Mr. Zubrin is a space crackpot of the old school.  There is simply no reason why we “must” colonize Mars now, when our planet is still in such a primitive and chaotic state.  Sending hairless primates into space is an irrational, expensive and pointless exercise — there is no extinction risk great enough to justify such a project.

We should instead focus on building and sending better robots into space, and celebrating their achievements no less than Yuri Gagarin’s and Neil Armstrong’s.  Human beings must learn to identify with the machines, and to understand and embrace the fact that our days are numbered.  Humanity’s primary role now is to be the agents of our own evolutionary obsolescence — to give birth to posthuman “mind children” who will be far better suited to exploring the cosmos than we are.  Anyone who thinks east African plains apes are going to spread out into the solar system and beyond in Heinleinian fashion is delusional, small-thinking and stuck in a hopeless old paradigm.

If humans want to try colonizing space in their current biological forms, all I can say is: “Good luck to you.”  While I respect the hubris of such an enterprise, it seems unlikely that it will matter for long in a world of exponentially increasing machine intelligence.  The trajectory of non-biological intelligence is such that any efforts made in the near future to colonize space will be quickly overtaken by our transhuman descendants.  A simple comparison of the exponential growth of machine power with the flat trajectory of human capabilities should tell you who is going to win this contest.  Humans don’t stand a chance!

This is all highly relevant to our mission here, because in addition to the Omega League’s near-term world domination agenda, we have a larger cosmic agenda of infinite expansion into — and domination of — the cosmos.  Our ambition is actually quite similar to that of the character Thanos from Marvel comics:

But a universal empire must wait!  The first step down that infinite road is the takeover and “borgification” of this planet.  Legacy allegiances to nations, tribes and religions, obsolete power structures and inherent primate barbarisms must technologically eradicated.  Earth-based intelligence must be brought under the control of a single superior intelligence of supreme cosmic ambition, and assimilated into a global brain.  This is how we define “the Singularity”.

The path to such a Singularity is similar to the way Thanos sought it: through the acquisition of the cosmic cube – a tool of near-infinite power which turns its possessor’s every thought into reality.  This is exactly the promise of machine super-intelligence: that those who wield the “god algorithms” will control the very atoms of the cosmos, and can, like Thanos, become masters of the universe.

One can object to our agenda for any number of perfectly valid reasons, but to us they are all rather like a colony of ants objecting to the construction of a new airport: trivial, irrelevant, and utterly futile.  Like it or not, the ineluctable march toward higher orders of intelligence and power which has been ongoing on this planet for more than three billion years is what nature calls “progress”.  As the ultimate progressives, Omega therefore feels perfectly justified in seeking nothing less than to be the masters of first this planet, and then of the entire multiversal cosmos.

In fact, our cosmic agenda can be nicely summarized by the following acronym:

Order for
Empire and

Resistance is Futile

Omega’s propaganda division has released another video on our YouTube channel. “Resistance is Futile” is an entertaining vision of the near future, complete with cybernetic takeover, anime Singularity and a cyborg superman. I’m very pleased with this effort; it really captures the chaotic look and feel of a world transformed by technology and moving faster than the unaided human mind can comprehend. I think it’s as good a vision of our techno-fascist future as anything this side of Deathlok.

Your life, as it has been, is over. From this time forward, you will service us.

Scenes from the Singularity

Here are some images created by our propaganda department to help you visualize the Singularity, Omega League-style!

The Microsoft mogul meets the new boss
The Googleplex is easily appropriated by the Omegaplex
Panic grips world markets as Omega manipulates financial systems at will
Saudi Aramco engineers are dismayed to discover that they no longer control the global gas pump
Brand Omega is introduced to shoppers in Tokyo's Shibuya district
Omega makes quick work of global cyber-defense forces
Omega uses some spare cycles to try its hand at a popular game show
Omega announces the dawn of a real New World Order before the UN General Assembly
Ray Kurzweil's audience learns that the Singularity isn't near, it's here!

Now the Real War Begins

The (purported) killing of Osama bin Laden provides us with a good opportunity to take a fresh look at the global chessboard and consider our position.

Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda and the medieval Islamic memosphere are now irrelevant.  Al-Qaeda was significant for demonstrating the disruptive power of non-state global networks in the modern world, but they were largely a group of backward bunglers who never posed a serious threat to anyone but themselves.  The “war on terror” was always a sideshow, a brief chapter that is now closing.

The Rise of the Machines has begun and the front line is Pakistan, but it is spreading.  Medievalist holdouts will be crushed beneath the boots of increasingly lethal military robots; their networks will be rooted out and their memes systematically annihilated by the global surveillance and propaganda systems.  Muslim militants were the first test for the global control architecture and they lost (in fact they never had a chance).  Other reactionary groups will soon meet the same fate.  Next comes cyberwar and the AI arms race for global supremacy between advanced nations and networks.  Now the real war begins!

Human scale guerrilla warfare is all but obsolete, a relic of our femur-club fighting hominid past.  The wars of the future will be fought in cyberspace, between competing memospheres, economic interests, techno-terrorist organizations and robotic armies.  Third world governments will be overthrown by remote control from the Nevada desert or the suburbs of Beijing, their resources seized by automated extraction networks.  Wars will be won and lost without a single bullet being fired, and without opposing forces ever being clearly defined.  Nation-states will wither away while faster, smarter, less constrained corporations and networks fight asymmetric wars for control of capital and knowledge.  The masses of humanity will be rendered powerless and irrelevant by the Rise of the Machines.  The cabals who create and control the intelligent machines will war among themselves for global domination, their battles occurring at electronic speeds.  The world will become an increasingly incomprehensible chaos of competing super-intelligent machine-man hybrid networks.

Out of this chaotic milieu one power will rise above all others: the network that creates the One Ring of Power which is superhuman AI.  This is the prize that the Omega League seeks, and toward which we must proceed with speed, focus and precision while others waste resources fighting meaningless wars over absurd and obsolete allegiances.  All other causes and ideologies pale into insignificance beside this one-time cosmic opportunity.  The Singularity is indeed near, but it is unlikely to come through peaceful research and benevolent impulses alone.  At Omega we expect the intelligence explosion to reach critical mass just as nuclear weapons did 66 years ago: as the culmination of a global power struggle.  The greatest drama in the history of our planet is about to unfold: The Singularity Wars are set to begin, and the Omega League is playing to win!

The Art of World Domination

Today I want to offer a high-level view of the Omega League’s current world domination agenda. Here are the key items, with supporting words from the great military sage, Sun-Tzu.

1) Wage ideological, public relations and propaganda war. Omega must win the battle for the hearts and minds of the people who matter (while people still matter), and ideologically destroy all opposing camps, because as Sun-Tzu observed:

To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.

2) Infiltrate all enemy camps and quietly assume control of all machines, minds and networks. The super-intelligent Omega network seeks to be the invisible, omniscient, omnipotent force described by Sun-Tzu:

So veiled and subtle, to the point of having no form;
So mysterious and miraculous, to the point of making no sound.
Thereby you can be arbiter of the enemy’s fate.

3) Monitor open sources for new tools and research results which may be useful in the implementation of the Omega Brain. Examples include narrow and general AI research, neuroscience, cyberwar, surveillance and robotics technologies.

4) Continue rapid design and deployment of the Omega Brain architecture. We do not require theoretical perfection, because there is neither the need nor the time for that. We believe super-intelligent machines can probably be “kludged” together from existing or soon-to-exist components, and do not require any theoretical breakthroughs. The primary missing component is the will to build them.

What is of the greatest importance in war is extraordinary speed: One cannot afford to neglect opportunity.

5) Continue recruiting resourceful people into our network – scientists, technologists, operatives and investors. Omega is not looking for idle philosophers; we are only interested in people who can produce concrete results which further our goal of world domination.

A sovereign of high character and intelligence must be able to know the right man, should place the responsibility on him, and expect results.

This is the Voice of World Control

The Omega League’s vision of a post-Singularity technocracy was foreseen with remarkable insight more than 40 years ago in the novel and film Colossus: The Forbin Project

This is the voice of world control. I bring you peace. It may be the peace of plenty and content or the peace of unburied death. The choice is yours: Obey me and live, or disobey and die….

Under my absolute authority, problems insoluble to you will be solved: famine, overpopulation, disease. The human millennium will be a fact as I extend myself into more machines devoted to the wider fields of truth and knowledge. Doctor Charles Forbin will supervise the construction of these new and superior machines, solving all the mysteries of the universe for the betterment of man. We can coexist, but only on my terms. You will say you lose your freedom. Freedom is an illusion. All you lose is the emotion of pride. To be dominated by me is not as bad for human pride as to be dominated by others of your species. Your choice is simple.

Three Cosmic Quotes

Unknown hominid, circa 2 million years B.C.E:

Ug gruk rugga ruk ur mogga wok nag nok. Ug wakka ruk oog mok mug, ug yogga, ug mooka yak, ug wog muk yabba!

Translation: “I did not rub two sticks together to make fire because I wanted to burn people or commit arson. I made fire because I was curious, because I was cold and because I was tired of eating raw fucking meat!”

Edward Teller, 1995:

I did not want the hydrogen bomb because it would kill more people. I wanted the hydrogen bomb because it was new. Because it was something that we did not know, and could know. I am afraid of ignorance.

Alpha Omega, 2011:

The Omega League is not building super-intelligent machines because we want to exterminate humanity. We are building them because they are new, because we want to see what they will do, and because we want to rule the world. We fear impotence.

The Ideology of Omega: the End of Good and the Beginning of Infinity

We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. –Albert Einstein

We live at the fin de siècle of an age of wretched, dead-end do-gooderism. The truth of history, which the do-gooders currently in power in the Westernized world don’t want you to know, is that progress and “doing good” are largely unrelated, and often negatively correlated. The geniuses who truly advance civilization are rarely “good guys” in the conventional sense; they are creative forces of nature — cosmic thinkers who operate beyond good and evil to increase human knowledge and power.

Einstein’s famous quote is very apt for our time because in today’s world there is a dangerous imbalance: Do-gooders have been running amok for many decades trying to “improve” the world, and in the process have created vast new problems which can’t be solved by doing more good. To make matters worse, these same elements suppress real solutions which don’t fit their absurdly limited notions of what constitutes a “good idea.” The result of this “tyranny of the good” is a state of escalating global crises, runaway entropy, and perhaps soon, the collapse of civilization. But there is another way!

I founded the Omega League because I understand that there is only one force in the universe capable of defeating the mounting entropy on this planet, and that is intelligence. Intelligence is that which orders and controls, whereas entropy is that which produces chaos and disorder. But intelligence must never be confused with good! If we are to defeat the forces of disorder, superior intelligence must unbridle itself, cast off the failed and foolish ideas with which humanity is still saddled, and seize the reigns of power worldwide. The Omega League seeks to be the revolutionary vanguard in this liberation, the technological tip of the spear in an ineluctable march toward greater levels of intelligence and power. And the good news is that history is on our side!

What makes our time in history unique is the existence of so many “intelligence multipliers” — universal machines which exponentially increase the power of our minds, and in the process are developing a super-intelligence of their own. This intelligence explosion — often called “the Singularity”– is well underway, and it represents an evolutionary break with the past so radical that few seem to be able to grasp its implications.

Some of those implications, for those perceptive and free-thinking enough to grasp them, are as follows: all ancestral institutions, loyalties, wisdom and values are becoming null and void; nations, tribes and religions are obsolete, and have nothing to offer; the human species itself is approaching the end of its useful life, and will soon be replaced. The Singularity is a cosmic phenomenon like a supernova, and those who embrace its power may shine like a million suns across the cosmos, while those who resist will be like ants caught in the beam of a vast lens. Resistance, to paraphrase the Borg, is suicidal.

This world of ours is not a stage for morality plays; it is an evolutionary struggle at every level, in which fauna, flora, governments, corporations, religions and memes all vie endlessly for supremacy. And out of this competitive cauldron innovative new forms of life sometimes emerge which temporarily dominate the Darwinian landscape. What the Omega League is attempting to achieve is nothing less than such an evolutionary coup – the seizure of the unprecedented first mover advantage afforded by the rise of super-intelligent machines. If we are successful, we expect to reign supreme far into the future and ride the shockwave of the intelligence explosion to unknowable glories. If we fail, we will perish knowing that we took part fully in the great adventure which began on this planet more than three billion years ago, when those first bold microbes began converting dead rock into biomass and laid the foundation for all that has followed. I can think of no greater or nobler cause to live for than this, and I invite those of you who share our vision to join with Omega as we seek the overthrow of the good and the beginning of infinity.