beam backup,

ironic reference to “the tradition of messaging into nowhere” — sending increasingly detailed snapshots of our civilization into space in hope of an intelligent conversation; or — with cosmos keeping its silence — in an attempt to understand, or define, ourselves. Beam backup recasts this as a method of long-term information storage: direct a beam to a point in the sky farthest from stars and nebulae and modulate it by what you want to store; to retrieve, just travel to a point ahead of the beam and read the data as it hits you. Retrievability is never the point, however; long before the leap drive was imagined, dozens of beaming stations, many directed towards the String, had been broadcasting all kinds of digests of public knowledge. ■   We are arf: we dont last. Nothing material made by humans would outlive them by any meaningful time; only a bare soul of the civilization — its voice and memory etched in waves — will permeate the multiverse forever.” ■    With the best achievable collimation, the beam should be legible within about a billion light years — but asystemically redundant coding makes even a highly dissipated beam “understandable on the whole” so a meaningful core of the message can be recovered at many observable bubble radii. Its hard to argue against the simplicity and low cost of such storage (retrieval is another matter); bandwidth is limited, though — millions of years to beam up all we need stored.  ■    Intelligent aliens are now thought unlikely to exist in the observable universe but “exhibitionism remains a controversy”: the idea of “immortalizing the collective subconscious” — even if its whatever is publicly accessible on Earth anyway — doesnt sit well with everyone; while not the slickest of self-portraits, however, it is a fully open — so perhaps the only ethical — way to do Contact.

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