Go Into Space And Become Immortal With Richard Garriott

Go Into Space And Become Immortal With Richard Garriott

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Tabula Rasa creator and soon-to-be astronaut Richard Garriott is giving 40 gamers a chance to have their DNA taken into space as part of Operation Immortality, a fail-safe against the destruction of the human race.

NCsoft is holding a contest which will see the DNA of 40 gamers digitized and sent into space with Garriott when he travels to the International Space Station in October. The DNA will be stored on an "Immortality Drive," which will also contain samples taken from "the world's brightest minds, most powerful bodies, and cultural standouts" as a kind of backup against global catastrophe.

Along with the winners' DNA, the Immortality Drive will contain the player data of everyone who's ever played Tabula Rasa, along with a log of personal messages sent by Tabula Rasa players prior to Garriott's launch. As part of the event, gamers can also vote in polls on the Operation Immortality website to help select mankind's greatest achievements.

Asked about his own choices for humanity's greatest achievements, Garriott named two. "The first great achievement was our ability to perceive the universe and our place within it," he said, an awakening which led to a "journey of scientific curiosity." The second resulted from the launch of Sputnik, heralding humanity's first steps into space. "When we first began to leave the cradle of our life here on earth," he said. "Space travel in modern times is our most significant achievement."

Interested gamers with an active Tabula Rasa will automatically be entered into the contest (free trial accounts are eligible) with eight winners being drawn each week for five weeks beginning on August 4. Winners will be mailed a DNA test kit and instructions on how to properly forward their samples for analysis and processing, but will not be given access to the results of the test. All entries must be received by midnight CST on August 31 in order to be eligible for the drawing.

"Global warming, bio-terrorism, errant asteroids and genetic science gone awry could wipe humanity from the face of the Earth," the project's website says. "Operation Immortality is a real once in a lifetime event that will save a history of humanity's greatest achievements, digitized human DNA, and personal messages from all over the world."

"This archive, humanity's 'saved game,' will be stored on the International Space Station in October 2008 by Richard Garriott, the creative force behind the Tabula Rasa videogame and Earth's sixth private citizen to travel into space," it continues. "If the ultimate disaster strikes, this our best, last hope against extinction."

Based on what I've seen so far, I'm not convinced that resurrecting humanity in the event of a self-induced wipeout is such a hot idea to begin with, but Garriott did create the Ultima games so I'm not going to argue the point. To learn more about Operation Immortality and take a shot at becoming one of the progenitors of Humanity 2.0, head over to operationimmortality.com.

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Shouldn't they take the Tabula Rasa servers into orbit too? It's the only way to be sure.

i'd of thought penicillin was probably a little more important than sputnik, but then again i'm no richard garriot

Is Garriot's DNA included in this thing? What if I don't want my hypothetical spawnings to co-mingle with his?

"Go into space and become immortal"

Aweseome!

"with Richard Garriot"

pass

Richard Garriot...Rotten Game Designer...Ego-Maniac...Eventual L. Ron Hubbard wannabe.

I find something disturbingly alienating about a game company asking for my DNA. Especially if they plan on giving it to Richard Garriot.

And what exactly do they hope to do with it? Cloning? That's even more disturbing for all the flaws a copy human would have.

What's next? Egg and semen samples of gamers?

I'm so glad it's digitally stored.

I had the worst mental image imaginable before that.

DeadlyYellow:
I find something disturbingly alienating about a game company asking for my DNA. Especially if they plan on giving it to Richard Garriot.

And what exactly do they hope to do with it? Cloning? That's even more disturbing for all the flaws a copy human would have.

What's next? Egg and semen samples of gamers?

Yes, Garriot will use the DNA for the plethora of NPC's, and the Egg and Semen samples will be for new characters joining this real life MMORPG.

A real life MMORPG in space, with no monthly fee! Just one trip to mars!

Richard is quite innovative.

From the Wikipedia article on the ISS:
"The projected completion date is 2010, with the station remaining in operation until no earlier than 2016."

That's really, err, immortal there.

You'd probably have better luck spitting in a jar and burying it in your backyard.

-- Alex

Man, you guys are so depressingly negative. I would totally love to sputz in a jar for Richard Garriott.

I'd rather not have my DNA with the likes of General British...

Malygris:
Man, you guys are so depressingly negative. I would totally love to sputz in a jar for Richard Garriott.

You may wanna rephrase that sentence.

ElArabDeMagnifico:
"Go into space and become immortal"

Aweseome!

"with Richard Garriot"

pass

Exactly. Space! Imortality! The two most awesome thing outside Vikings, robots and Ninjas! Wait, hold on, what's this fine print. Richard Garriot?!

On the website, you can look at messages other people have left. First one that popped up when I read it:
"No fat chicks."

-- Alex

Alex_P:
On the website, you can look at messages other people have left. First one that popped up when I read it:
"No fat chicks."

-- Alex

I spent 10 minutes just looking for that message. That's great.

.....

Seriously.

I'm imagining how this project was concocted.

"So, Richard, you're going into space."
R: "Yeah, pretty cool, huh?"
"Think we can turn that into some kind of publicity thing for your products?"
R: "Oh, sure. Get fans really involved in it. I could, I dunno, stick a knick-knack in my pocket and leave it up there."
"Any ideas?"
R: "How about a pen drive with everyone's Tabula Rasa character?"
"Let's dress it up some more."
R: "Oooh! I know! And the world's history and some DNA samples and it'll be a big fancy 'save game' for all mankind! And pictures of General British!"
"Let's go make a website!"

The alternative (that Richard Garriott thinks that this is actually somehow an actually worthwhile endeavor) is almost too scary to contemplate.

-- Alex

Okay, aside from concerns that Garriott's past incarnations as Lord and General may have been a bit, well, weird, where's the resistance to this project coming from?

Malygris:
Okay, aside from concerns that Garriott's past incarnations as Lord and General may have been a bit, well, weird, where's the resistance to this project coming from?

Because it's pure hype that makes absolutely no sense, of course!

Richard Garriott paid a bunch of money to have some fun in space. He's going to use his trip as an excuse to talk about how great Tabula Rasa is. When he goes up, he's going to put a pen drive in his pocket and leave it on the ISS, where it'll be forgotten by the people who live and work there. Then he'll come back to Earth and talk about how great Tabula Rasa is. That's it.

It's obviously 100% bullshit. If this was actually about historical records and data about humanity's supposed best and brightest, would they really have it share a pen drive with a data-dump of Tabula Rasa characters and a bunch of random messages ranging from overused Albert Einstein quotes to "No fat chicks"?

The whole thing is based on a bunch of sci-fi nerd fantasies (and fallacies) that Garriott is either pandering to rabidly or entertains himself.

Our "last hope" in the event that, what, some mega-disaster wipes out not only all humans but all human genetic data in any form, and then magic aliens come within the few decades that the ISS is actually in orbit and randomly pop in this particular pen drive and understand what's on it and decide to revive the species? Or are there no magic aliens and it's all up to the astronauts on the ISS to clone humanity and repopulate the completely-life-free world? Does any part of this make sense?

He'd have better luck preserving humanity if he just randomly threw his glorified time capsule at the moon.

The only message here is "buy Tabula Rasa." But why would you want to, knowing that they'll just waste your money on gimmicks like this?

What is there to like, exactly?

-- Alex

Man, you are so bitter.

Malygris:
Okay, aside from concerns that Garriott's past incarnations as Lord and General may have been a bit, well, weird, where's the resistance to this project coming from?

For the lolz!

Still, if all he wants is a DNA strand, then I'll let him go on his space odyssey and we can create clones.

If I actually played Tabula Rasa, yeah, I'd be up for this. It's just another genetic archive, the more the better. It's hardly immortality, but the location is both suitable and highly inconvenient, depending on the parameters of the species' particular apocalypse.

Personally, I think it'll be unnecessary (I'm an overoptimistic singularitarian) but the more backups the better, eh?

Virgil:
Shouldn't they take the Tabula Rasa servers into orbit too? It's the only way to be sure.

Hey, you could say the game is out of this world.

If using gamer DNA to restore the human race in the future is our fate, it will be a very poor populace indeed.

With a lot of genetic breakout issues as well.

Malygris:
Man, you are so bitter.

I try to give the guy the benefit of the doubt. I have no real reason to hate his work.

He wants to bring a cute little time capsule to space with him? Fine, whatever.

But this... I expect better than this wad of fantasy and ignorance.

Garriott is a a trustee of the X Prize, for fuck's sake! Operation Immortality's little FAQ even says something about how this crap is supposed to promote science education.

Let me repeat my honest question: what is there to like, exactly?

-- Alex

dudesrug:
i'd of thought penicillin was probably a little more important than sputnik, but then again i'm no richard garriot

An important technological achievment isn't so much about what it does know, but what we can do with it in the future.

Consider fire, sure cooking food and scaring predators are good. What's this? We can craft metal tools using fire, we can keep warm when we travel to cold places, we can boil water to generate power. Those are the real powers of fire, not what fire itself does but what it can be used to do.

Same with space travel.

Alex_P:
Let me repeat my honest question: what is there to like, exactly?

I guess I'm just not seeing where the aggressiveness is coming from. I mean fine, it's a crazy-ass idea, but it's not like Richard Garriott is the most normal guy you're ever going to meet. And even if you write off the idea entirely as nothing more than a rich weirdo indulging his adolescent fantasies (which I suppose is pretty much exactly what it is), so what? Where's the harm? It's not like he's demanding your DNA so he can create an army of clones to take over the world.

Even if it's nothing more than just a very quirky contest prize, I give the guy points for coming up with something original for fans.

Malygris:
Where's the harm?

They're straight-up lying to make this contest seem meaningful. "If the ultimate disaster strikes, this our best, last hope against extinction." "And, theoretically, if anything happens to the human race, it could be their DNA that is used to resurrect humanity."

Garriott is misrepresenting science to a crowd that includes a substantial number of semi-impressionable teens. This is somehow "promoting" science and space education? Maybe they should change that part of the FAQ around.

I'm also getting a whiff of both eugenicist fantasies and "fans are slans" syndrome -- both of these are garbage that sci-fi "fandom" is still struggling to outgrow. Pandering to that is distasteful.

-- Alex

My god, you're right! How dare they attempt to attract new users by pandering to their audience with overexcited hyperbole? That would make this whole thing nothing but... marketing!

Heh, seriously, I know where you're coming from. My gf used to tell me I was being an idiot for getting worked up over Disney movie adaptations of stories like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, because I'd go off about how we're going to end up with a generation of slackjaws who think the Disney versions are the real thing. I guess I've traded sides on this one; Garriott's not going to save the world*, but I don't see any real harm in his self-indulgent sideshow.

(* or is he?)

A relatively harmless self-indulgent sideshow is still a self-indulgent sideshow.

I'm not angry. I'm annoyed and bemused. I am definitely getting my money's worth of entertainment out of this (easy since I don't think I've ever directly contributed to Richard Garriott's fortune). But, well, in this case my entertainment comes from thinking about just how irredeemably dumb the whole project is.

I will give him this, though: he has a nice beard.

-- Alex

Alex_P:
I will give him this, though: he has a nice beard.

-- Alex

Which is enough to redeem anyone, provided the beard is nice enough.

Johnn Johnston:
Which is enough to redeem anyone, provided the beard is nice enough.

Indeed. I just can't stay mad at that beard.

-- Alex

ElArabDeMagnifico:
"Go into space and become immortal"

Aweseome!

"with Richard Garriot"

pass

By setting off that chestband of explosives you have brought with you.

Malygris:
My god, you're right! How dare they attempt to attract new users by pandering to their audience with overexcited hyperbole? That would make this whole thing nothing but... marketing!

Heh, seriously, I know where you're coming from. My gf used to tell me I was being an idiot for getting worked up over Disney movie adaptations of stories like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, because I'd go off about how we're going to end up with a generation of slackjaws who think the Disney versions are the real thing. I guess I've traded sides on this one; Garriott's not going to save the world*, but I don't see any real harm in his self-indulgent sideshow.

(* or is he?)

*High five*

Personally I think this is utterly awesome, the world needs more insane rich excentric people who us commoners can laugh at.

 

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