Grey Technology

I had a dream about a Lego space probe, heading for Mars as part of a school science project. It was dependent on all of its systems, and if one should fail (I imagined the failure of one of the axis aligned gyros) the whole probe would fail. I named this effect as black redundancy, a slight fault incapacitating the rest of the object when most of it was functional, and related it to computer programming where a tiny error or mutation in the machine code would be fatal to the integrity of the program.

I spoke to a dream character that biology was different, analogue in this respect, that it never truly breaks or is truly fully functional. I termed this white redundancy. I envisaged grey technology; machines with semi-redundancy, where the working parts of a machine would keep working when the broken parts were broken, that breakages would be detected and worked around automatically.

Essentially this was machinery that was much more tolerant of errors, particularly relating this to digital ones in computer code that might cause a crash. That the machines would behave biologically, and the wounded probe would do its best using the working functions. I called this grey technology and defined it as semi-redundancy of independent systems. I rushed home to publish this online.

In the dream I could not share the idea, prevented from working by children in my room, then a larger bullying child who I eventually threw out of the room, but he returned with a gang, and vicious animals to hammer down at my door and prevent me from typing. I felt that the dream was about the prevention of achievement of good work and good ideas by social commitments, or trivial things, but what ever that meant, at least now, I can publish the grey technology concept.

Mark Sheeky, 2 December 2017