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SANS CEILING HYPOTHESIS: There are no upper limit to what sufficiently advanced intelligent life can do (as opposed to the view that there are fundamental limits set by physical law).[Paul Hughes]


SAPPER MEME: An offensive (as opposed to benign or defensive) meme, intelligently-designed to infect a host, reduce the host's memetic immunity, and prepare the host for infection. [Keith Elis, April 1998]

SCHEME: A meme-complex. (Douglas Hofstadter)

SENTIENCE QUOTIENT : In the article "Xenopsychology" by Robert Freitas in Analog of April 1984 there is an interesting index called "Sentience quotient". It is based on: The sentience of an intelligence is roughly directly related to the amount of data it can process per unit time and inversely to the overall mass needed to do that processing. This would be something like baud/kilograms. And since that would rapidly turn into a real big number, base 10 logs are used. The "least sentient" would be one bit over the lifetime of the universe massing the entire known universe, or about -70. The "most sentient" is claimed to be +50. Homo sapiens are around +13, a Cray I is +9, a venus flytrap is a peak of +1 with plants generally -2.

SHIH: "Shih was the opposite of facts and raw information; shih was the elegance of knowledge, the insight and skill to organize knowledge into meaningful patterns. As an artist chooses colours or light to make her pictures, a master of shih chooses textures of knowledge - various ideas, myths, abstractions, and theories - to create a way of seeing the world. The aesthetics and beauty of knowledge - this was shih." [David Zindell, The Broken God 1993]

SINGULARITY: The postulated point or short period in our future when our self-guided evolutionary development accelerates enormously (powered by nanotechnology, neuroscience, AI, and perhaps uploading) so that nothing beyond that time can reliably be conceived. See also the Singularity Page. [Vernor Vinge, 1986]

SINGULARITARIAN: One who advocates the idea that technological progress will cause a singularity in human history. (cf. Singularity in Extropy #7.) [Mark Plus, August 1991]

SKY HOOK: A long, very strong, cable in orbit around a planet which rotates around its center of mass in such a way that when one end is closest to the ground, its relative velocity is almost zero. It would function as a kind of space elevator; shuttle craft would anchor to the end and then be lifted into orbit where they would be released. It is closely related to the idea of a beanstalk. [Originally described by Y Artsutanov in 1969. The name was propbably coined by Hans Moravec in Moravec, Hans, "A Non-Synchronous Orbital Skyhoo k," Journal of the Astronautical Sciences, Vol. 25, No. 4, October-December 1977, pp 307-322 ]

SOCIOTYPE: 1. The social expression of a memotype, as the body of an organism is the physical expression (phenotype) of the gene (genotype). Hence, the Protestant Church is one sociotype of the Bible's memotype. 2. A class of similar social organisations. (Glenn M. Grant)

SPACE FOUNTAIN: A vertical stream of magnetically accelerated pellets reaching out into space, where a station held aloft by its momentum reverses the direction and directs it towards a receiver on the ground. Essentially a simpler version of a Lofstrom loop. [I'm not sure who originated the idea, judging from Robert Forward's Indistinguishable from Magic it was a collaborative effor t. A paper about the idea can be found in Hyde, Roderick A., "Earthbreak: Earth to Space Transportation," Defense Science 2003+ Vol. 4, No. 4, 1985, pp 78-92 ]

SPIKE, THE: Another term for the singularity, suggested by Damien Broderick since the growth curves look almost like a spike as it is approached. [Damien Broderick, The Spike 1997]

SPOCK MEME: The idea that transhumans will evolve to the point there they will have no need for emotion or love. This is unlikely since emotions are important for cognition; a more likely development is refined emotions with less evolutionary baggage. [ July 1996]

SOLID STATE CIVILIZATION: A posthuman or alien civilization where most people have no physical bodies and exist as information inside computers.

SMART-FACED: The condition resulting from social use of cognition-enhancing drugs: "Let's get smart-faced." [Russell E. Whitaker, December 1991]

SPONTANEOUS VOLUNTARISM: A fully free society, with a totally free market and no institutionalized coercion. [Max More, 1989]

STAR LIFTING: To remove material from a star for industrial use or for stellar husbandry. Possible methods would involve increasing its rotation until material began to drift off the equator or squeezing it using intense magnetic fields from particle accelerators. [ Dave Criswell]

STELLAR HUSBANDRY: To control the evolution and properties of stars, especially to stabilize them, prolong their lifetimes, manipulate the stellar wind, lift off useful material or create new stars. Typical methods would be star lifting or mixing the stellar core with envelope material to make hydrogen burning last longer. [ Dave Criswell]

STEWARD: Someone who wants to manage the world as a precious resource, as opposed to extropians who want to let an evolution-like process change it (it should be noted that the term extropian used in this definition doesn't necessarily cover all people calling themselves extropians). The stewards and extropians represent divergent philosophies of change: stewards think about what is already there, while extropians think about how things can or will evolve. [Jaron Lanier, SPIN Magazine november 1991]

STRONG AI POSTULATE: The assumption that an intelligent machine can be built, at least in principle. Some versions of the postulate are more narrow, and say that intelligence is computable on Turing machines (i.e. the mind is a program). This essentially means that intelligence is only dependent on pattern, not its material basis.

STRONG CONVERGENCE HYPOTHESIS: All sufficiently advanced cultures converge towards the same state. A rival hypothesis is the divergent track hypothesis. See also HPLD. [Nicholas Boström 1996, Predictions from Philosophy?]

SUSPENDED ANIMATION: This term refers to the ability to start and stop, at will, a biological system (usually a person) through some physical means (usually the use of cold temperatures). Suspended animation does not currently exist.

SYNTHESPIAN: An artificial actor, for example a 3D model animated by motion capture from a real actor or a computer program.



Anders Sandberg /