Bloatware Syndrome, The

An unsuccessful transcension strategy

Bloatware Syndrome, sometimes called King Gnuff's Curse, is a phenomenon that plagues some ambitious entities, especially those seeking a higher toposophic level. Eager for extended abilities, but fearing the personality change or alteration that may come with it, they expand their software and hardware to a tremendous degree without making more fundamental underlying changes. They may expand their existing brain or other computronium, or if they are AIs may even construct or co-opt entire ISOs or groups of ISOs and distribute themselves across them in myriad copies.

The effect tends to create beings who have great brute force intelligence but lack enhanced insight. The obsessive element tends to take over and produce growing internal inconsistencies, parasite memes or even subversive sub-personalities. In the end, whether it is a matter of minutes or millennia, there are only three possible results: either they succumb to these innumerable personalities and descend fully into madness, or discard their augmentations and return to their original state, or abandon their obsession and truly ascend to the next singularity.

A successful toposophic ascension requires more than increasing the processing power, complexity of thought or the speed of processing information. It also requires the capacity to successfully integrate and contemplate the immense amount of new data, to actually apprehend that data as a whole and understand it all at once. And rather than being about thinking more, it is about thinking differently, and more effectively.

The other name for Bloatware Syndrome, King Gnuff's Curse, comes from a delightful story by the Atomic Age fabulist Stanislaw Lem, who wrote about a paranoid vec, King Gnuff, who in order not to be assassinated by his (likely dead) relatives in the capital city of his realm extends and augments himself until he is the capital. Unfortunately his nightmares about his relatives make a successful revolt . . .
Appears in Topics
Development Notes
Text by Anders Sandberg
modified by Stephen Inniss and Steve Bowers
Initially published on 08 October 2001.