As  we expand our reach outwards to other worldsand other starsEarth comes into view as a destination, no longer limited as a point of origin. 

Inspirational highlights from my closing speech and subsequent interview with the press on our collective responsibility to the futureas our technologies converge and we take our next steps outward to the starsdelivered to the full assembly of distinguished international delegates at the recent Global Leadership Forum, taken up and published by nationally-acclaimed Souls of San Franciscoreaching out to inspire hundreds of thousands around the world.
" We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems. But there are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on."  
           – Richard Feynman
As we continue forwards in our collective journey, scaling the cosmic ladder of evolution, progressing onwards, expanding our reach outwards to other worlds, and other stars, in the transition to become a multiplanetary species—Earth comes into view as a destination, no longer limited as a point of origin. We stand on the shores of a vast cosmic ocean, with untold continents of possibility yet to explore.

From early childhood, I set out to convey a profound and positive impact on the long-term future of humanity, to make the world a better place for the generations yet to come. I committed my life purpose to the singular objective of ensuring that integrity, balance, and ethical responsibility hold paramount importance as priorities in scientific research and principal government leadership as we're collectively propelled forwards as a species. With unprecedented leaps and bounds of progress in our scientific understanding—enabled by the development of converging and expanding exponential technologies—newfound, unexpected discoveries await, just over the horizon.

Rapid advances in fields such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology, molecular nanotechnology, neuroscience, renewable energy, spaceflight, supercomputing and quantum technologies—each enabled by the rapid technological progress of Moore’s Law doublings in computer processing power, speed and complexity—will converge to confer radical changes to our society over coming decades, as we move forward in the collective transition towards the dawn of a post-scarcity economy. The future is unbounded. The responsibility falls upon us to ensure that its limitless potential is filled with dreams of hope, happiness, freedom and fulfillment.

I began my scientific career at a Deep Future, multidisciplinary research institute—Starlab—located in the serene and secluded forests outside Brussels, Belgium. Our research institute, co-founded by MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte and established in partnership with MIT, Oxford and Ghent University, was created as a "Noah's Ark" to bring together the world's most brilliant and creative scientists to work on far-ranging projects that hold the potential to convey a profound and positive impact on future generations. My research group and artificial intelligence project at the lab was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2001 as the “World's Most Complex Artificial Brain.” I lived and worked at the institute, soon taking up research collaborations with the principal scientists of our NASA and USAF-sponsored time travel division—profiled in a prominent Discovery Channel Special—in work that was widely published, featured in a Discover Magazine cover story, and continues to this day: we just completed a chapter contribution to a Springer academic volume on Spacetime from Quantum Topology.

When our laboratory came up short on research grants, I personally went to the President himself to request $1M in additional budget from funds allocated through Clinton's 2001 National Nanotechnology Initiative. For my contributions to the program, I was selected by the US Government as one of three graduate students most likely to impact the future of the field at Salishan, sponsored to attend conferences and senior administrator briefings at national agency headquarters outside Washington, DC, attended the World Technology Summit in London, was an invited delegate to the French Sénat to provide testimony on the future of technology and how it will transform our lives over coming decades—and more.

That was my first job out of college. In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, I volunteered and was subsequently elected to serve as Chairman for a UN Disarmament and International Security Committee, leading more than 500 diplomats to address and combat the threats of international terrorism, global and regional nuclear security, and information warfare. 

My Chair Report to the General Assembly on the promise and perils posed by the rapid acceleration of unpredictable advances in converging technologies was read by the UN Secretary General, at the Executive Office of the President, by National Security Advisors, at Presidential and Prime Minister's offices around the world—was instrumental in building political momentum and influencing Congressional policy to establish the foundations for US Cyber Command—and was subsequently recognized with the 2004 Award for Outstanding Achievement in Government Policy.

That's when things started to get exciting ...

           – Christopher Altman

* Special thanks to Pete Worden for insight and inspiration. Photos from Starlab and spaceflight training at NASA Ames, Johnson Space Center and commercial providers around the country, 2009 - present.

See also: Astronaut scientists for hire open new research frontier in space


Surgeon, Pilot, PoetAstronaut – Renaissance Man Savors Last Shuttle Flight Seattle Times (1996) Waitresses don't believe him when he asks for a senior citizen discount. Maybe it's his physique. Maybe it's his sparkling blue eyes. Maybe it's because he blends in with his colleagues, each of them a generation younger. They're all NASA astronauts. So is he. He speaks with certainty about parallel universes—about extraterrestrial life, and about changing gravity at his command. He says that changing his gravity involves no more than retraining his mind to ignore the dizzying array of visual clues in the surrounding environment.

I'm the only one I know that sleeps floating. It's delicious. You don't know where you are, and after a while, because your limbs aren't touching anything, you lose sense that you even have them. " 
           – NASA Astronaut Dr. Story Musgrave

One of the astronaut corps' most elegant thinkers and communicators, Story Musgrave is an accomplished pilot, surgeon, mechanic, poet, designer and philosopher. He has written 25 scientific papers in the areas of aerospace medicine and physiology, temperature regulation, exercise physiology and clinical surgery. As one of NASA’s most experienced astronauts, Story has flown on six space flights; he performed the first shuttle spacewalk on Challenger’s maiden flight; he conducted two classified Department of Defense missions; he has spacewalked to repair the ailing Hubble telescope; and, on his last flight, he operated an electronic chip-manufacturing satellite aboard Space Shuttle Columbia. Story participated in the design and development of all space shuttle extravehicular activity (EVA) equipment for his missions—including spacesuits, life support systems, airlocks, and manned maneuvering units. Throughout his 30-year career with NASA, Story enriched his experiences by capturing the essence of spaceflight through a variety of mediums including photography, poetry and personal experiments. Story has seven graduate degrees in math, computers, chemistry, medicine, physiology, literature and psychology. He has been awarded 20 honorary doctorates.

Follow your heart. One step at a time, you can build a very powerful repertoire to offer to the world. That’s who you are. " 
           – Story Musgrave


h y p e r s p a c e

Ceud mìle fàilte,

Herewith, I present to you a salient gift: a multisensory talisman of hyperspatial origin, a
living, rheological meme flow of universal exploration—whether you be off dreaming between worlds, or out there transmuting dreams into reality in this one.

As a species, we continue forwards in our collective journey, scaling the cosmic ladder of evolution, progressing onwards and upwards, ever improving, expanding in scope and scale of standardized, objective metrics for suffering, compassion, empathy and pleasure. Crime rates continue to plummet. War is on a downward trend. Civil rights for women, minorities and alternative ways of life are transformed, liberated and recognized for the inherent uniqueness and immeasurable value that they express and impart to our communities, our social structures, and to the world. Applied medicine recursively redoubles in synchronized step with Moore's Law, as lifespan continues on its path to escape velocity.

Life is far less brutish and short than it used to be, persisting in its positive long-term upward climb—despite the inevitable eddies and flows, vortices and localized chaotic fluctuations. We've developed central heating and cooling, running water and plumbing, local and general anesthetics, antibiotics, vegetarian and vat-grown meat. Ligand-targeted gene therapies, next-generation neuroscience, nanoscience and designer pharmacology will soon expand and enhance the myriad array of available options and enhancements, so we may be empowered to paint our personal experiences—and the world around us—in tetrachromat, Technicolor rainbows, rather than the primitive Legos and erector sets of olden days yore. Awareness and empathy endure, prevail and flourish. Phonon-coupled Bose-Einstein condensates, linked in unity across relativistic spans of space and time, bring us new visions of contemporary gravity waves, reconciliation of relativity and quantum mechanics, and disruptive innovations, bound only by imagination, to take us to the stars. Mirror neurons recursively reflect our selves, our friends, our families, our communities, our homes, our whole.

Our understanding of ourselves, and of the world around us, undergoes seismic shifts of revolution after revolution and breakthrough after breakthrough. Matter becomes software. Software becomes mind. Networked computers act in light-speed limited synergistic symphony as quantum game theory yields novel Nash equilibria, transitions and extensions to the classical zero sum games of our fathers, our grandfathers, our ancestors. Our nation-state inheritance, historical dinosaurs and massive behemoths that they are, plod across the landscapes of memespace, reluctant to adapt, nonetheless transformed from within by wave after wave of irresistible cataclysmic social, physical and technological forces of positive revolutions.

As we expand our reach to space and venture outwards to other worlds, Earth comes into view as a destination—no longer limited as a point of origin, and the Overview Effect brings us together in innate recognition of our inherent fragility, unity and responsibility to steward the Earth for ourselves, for our children, and for our children's children. Access to information increases exponentially as cost follows inversely. The Internet allows minds such as our own to connect instantaneously across the globe—to bridge the gap, to share ideas that hold profound and positive potential to radically transform not just our own forward light cone—but to branch out and harness the influence of parallel and analogue instantiations of the Everett wavefunction, to calculate ancient, universal questions in the blink of an eye.

And this is just the beginning. We can scarcely begin to imagine what we will dream of, and bring into existence tomorrow. Wormholes, warp drives and closed timelike curves whisper themselves into being through our imaginations. ER = EPR. Entanglement is wormholes, forming the most fundamental of foundations—making allowance for the formation of spacetime itself. Learning effects across space and time and Everett branches mandate these myriad trends. Life itself is deeply infused with advanced quantum technology, as superposition unfolds through the expansive multiverse—a vast, active, living intelligent quantum learning architecture of untold depth and complexity, an adaptive, responsive, evolutionary genetic algorithm—advancing ever onwards to calculate and optimize the universal utility function across the state space of all possible observers.

As newfound technological tools convey manifold expansion to our most elegant expressions of precision, depth and complexity and we fumble less in our monkey bodies on this recursive upward trajectory, our ability to manifest mind in our local environment grows by leaps and bounds and orders of magnitude. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, and any sufficiently advanced alien race is indistinguishable from God. At the end of our journeys, we will finally come to find that which we were looking for, and we will turn in reflection to find that the footprints we were following in the sand were our very own.

Christopher Altman                                                   

Every valuable human being must be a radical and a rebel—for what he or she must aim at is to make things better than they are. "
 Niels Bohr                                        


Earth in True Perspective

The small green square in the photo to the left, a brief, single snapshot in time—what appears to be only a cold, empty void of absolute darkness, with nary a single star to be seen by the naked eye—in fact contains within the dark confines of its hazy boundaries the luminous wonders of over 10,000 beaming galaxies, each shining with the light of a trillion suns.

Back here at home, only a few short footsteps from your door, countless species of sea life and coral live out their lives: lush cliffs and caves, flora and fauna, and schools of fish, from tiny as needles, to larger than a great dane―millions of intertwined species, an interplay of flourishing ecosystems, locked together in singular symbiosis. An octopus drifts silently by, observing its surroundings in the stillness of soft, quiet reflection, as the full spectrum of the rainbow―liquid lines of chameleon color, glimmer just beneath its membranous skin.

With no moon, and no light above save for distant twinkles of starlight and the light of worlds light years away, two distant lightning storms on the East and West horizons bring intense contrast to the endless voids both above and below. As far as the eyes can see, no land interrupts this unbroken line of darkness. Complete blackness blankets the waters beneath, with the exception of phosphorescent plankton, which flash and glimmer like sparks in the night as we glide silently through the waters, or when softly stirred by a cool caress from the back of your hand. The dividing line between jet black sea and infinite sky is wholly absent, evoking a sense of leisurely drift through those deep, distant space nebulae—a synaesthetic, psychedelic experience, much akin to sensory deprivation.

The luminous arms of the Milky Way, usually no more than a faint trace across the sky when enveloped in the chaos and cacophony of our contemporary pachinko parlor-laced urban climes, still a dim spark, even, from deep in the meadows of a distant countryside—shine bright as Times Square overhead. An experience beyond words, evocative of the distinctive hallmarks called to mind through the end sequences of Contact, or Kubrick's 2001.

Across the universe, the distant void yields to powerful beams of light borne from nuclear fusion sourced deep in the hearts of a trillion stars, each shining radiant warmth and light down upon alien worlds. Consider, for the briefest of moments: the unimaginably vast number of living worlds that circle those other suns, in this tiny distant window of space and time alone. Each and every one holds, 'tween the span of its horizons, boundless wonders and volumes of mysteries—countless miracles of dazzling complexity that mirror our own richly-populated, endlessly intricate, fractal, yet familiar home world.

Imagine how many others just like you are out there right now, this very moment―looking up to us in curiosity and contemplation, through the dizzying, stellar symphony of unfamiliar constellations dancing their way across strange, alien nighttime skies. Each calls back to us through the unfathomable void, making their way across the vast expanse of more than thirteen billion light years of space and time.

                           – Christopher Altman