Tesla: I do not believe that intelligence is artificial, but rather a property of matter. I have, by every thought and every act of mine, demonstrated and do so daily, to my absolute satisfaction that like these machines, I am nothing more than an automaton endowed with a power of movement, which merely responds to external stimuli beating upon my sense organs, and thinks and acts accordingly. I remember only one or two cases in all my life which I was unable to locate the first impression which prompted a movement, or a thought, or even a dream.
Seeker: Wasn't one of those two instances the intuitive flash you received which gave you the insight to realize that a solution to the AC problem was possible.
Seeker: And you mention dreams. You do not believe in Carl Jung's idea that dreams can be prompted from something inside like genetic memories, which he called archetypes. You say that dreams only come from something external.
Tesla: I don't want to get too far afield. But even if Jung's idea was correct, it would still prove my point that information ultimately was derived from a reaction to something from the environment, even if it was in the environment of our ancestors.
Seeker: Implanted into the DNA?
Tesla: DNA is merely a special arrangement of particular atoms. Even matter called inorganic, believed to be dead, responds to irritants and gives unmistakable evidence of a living principle within. Take a crystal, for instance. Certainly its growth and structure gives evidence of this animating principle. DNA, much like the crystal, is made up of matter, just five elements arranged in a peculiar fashion: hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon and phosphorous. Everything that exists, organic or inorganic, animated or inert, is susceptible to stimulus from the outside. There is no gap between, no break in continuity, no special and distinguishing vital agent. The momentous question of Spencer, What is it that causes inorganic matter to run into organic forms? has been answered. It is the sun's heat and light. Wherever they are there is life.
It was from this premise, that the life principle, which, ultimately, is electrical in nature, is present not just in the plants and animals that inhabit the earth, but also in the structure of matter itself, which enabled me to create the first of a new race on the planet, a race of non-biological life-forms.
Seeker: So, this was the basis for the robot you invented?
Tesla: I prefer the term automaton, or telautomaton, because it was activated by remote control. Long ago I conceived the idea of constructing such a machine which would mechanically represent me, and which would respond, as I do myself, but of course, in a much more primitive manner to external influences. Such an automaton evidently had to have motive power, organs for locomotion, directive organs and one or more sensitive organs so adapted as to be excited by external stimuli. Whether the automaton be of flesh and bone, or of wood and steel, it mattered little, provided it could provide all the duties required of it like an intelligent being.
The automaton that I created and displayed before the public at Madison Square Garden in 1898, was constructed so as to follow a course which I laid out, and obey commands given far in advance. This mechanical being was capable of distinguishing between what it ought and what it ought not to do, and of recording impressions which would definitely affect its subsequent actions. This original automaton had to use a borrowed brain, my own, but my ultimate plan was to continue evolving the entity so that it would be able to reproduce itself. This machine has evolved into various kinds of computer entities and automatons existing in the real world and displayed in movies.
Seeker: What do you think of these modern thinking machines such as Big Blue which recently beat Kasparov in a chess match.
Tesla: I am impressed but only so far as its applications to more important problems. Big Blue has the advantage of storing tens of thousands of games and hundreds of thousands of chess moves that are reversed in the machine for inevitable conclusions. The real question was if Big Blue had reflective capabilities, and I don't believe that Big Blue achieved this level of thought. The big difference between these thinking machines, and, to use your term, the robots is in motivation. Humans are motivated to live and to improve themselves. Machines have no motivation. This is what must be instilled in order to train the machine to want to think for itself. That is why I laid out the plan to inspire my future automatons to want to reproduce.
Seeker: What would you use to motivate a machine?
Tesla: I don't know. Maybe an extra zap of juice! (laughs) if it came up with a new thought. The idea of creating computers that would program themselves, however, is not new. There are many articles on this concept.
Seeker: You mention in your writings the possibility of weather control and the creation of artificial lighting.
Tesla: Yes. Wardenclyffe was set up to do a variety of things. I had realized long ago that cloud bursts and rain showers were often triggered by lightning. This whole El Nino thing could have been averted if my system of weather control had been in place.
Tesla: Of course. I knew that if I could change the electrical matrix in the skies I could generate clouds and create rain or do the reverse and diminish a weather storm's capacity. I was also planning on lighting up shipping lanes over the high seas so that ships would be able to see at night.
Seeker: I'm not quite sure what you mean?
Tesla: Aren't you listening man? I would use my giant Tesla coil, which I called my magnifying transmitter, to beam up frequencies, say, between New York and England, over the seas, and these vibrations, much like the Northern Lights, would create luminescence so that ships could see where they were going at night. Had I finished my plans, that is, if I had not run out of money, then my good friend Colonel John Jacob Astor, and his friend Benjamin Guggenheim would not have died during that awful mess when the Titanic sank. The captain would have seen the iceberg, the event happened at night, and 1500 lives would have been saved.
Seeker: So, is it your belief that had Wardenclyffe been completed, the Titanic would not have sank.
Tesla: The lighting of the shipping lanes was the back-up plan. My main invention would have been an efficient world telegraphy system. Had that been in operation in 1912, and it should have been, the Titanic would have been able to radio a half dozen nearby ships who could have come and rescued the remaining passengers. The problem was that the dolt Marconi, had placed his inferior dot and dash system on board the Titanic. The range and capabilities of that system was woefully inadequate. My system of what today is called mass communications, was more efficient then in its final form than the wireless system of even today. The Titanic would have had instant access to all neighboring ships and these people would have been rescued.
Seeker: Have you seen the recent movie Titanic?
Tesla: Yes, I have.
Seeker: And what did you think of it?
Tesla: I liked the one with Clifton Webb better.
Seeker: Why was that?
Tesla: Because the story line of this one was too narrow. I thought the love story was inspirational, I'll give the director, Mr. Cameron, that, and I tip my hat off on the special effects on the sinking of the ship, and the pointing out the idiocy of letting the ship go to sea without enough life boats, but his depiction of Mr. Guggenheim and Colonel Astor was simply dredful. An insult to the intelligence of anyone who knew these find gentleman. There were mere cardboard cutouts and cowards in Cameron's picture. The real men were men of substance, who gave their lives so that women and children could be saved in their stead. Don't you think a man of Astor's stature, who at that time was worth probably four or five times what Bill Gates is worth today, could have had the means to get himself onto one of the lifeboats? He was a gentleman as was Guggenheim. Astor had donated his ship thirteen years before that during the Spanish American War and he went down to Cuba to help Teddy Roosevelt and the Roughriders. He was helping me fund my flying machine when he died.
Seeker: You had a flying machine?
Tesla: Several. I had designed a hovercraft for Astor to travel over the Hudson, much like the hydrofoil of today. It worked like a charm. I had a dirigible jet, you know, a Zeppelin, lighter than air ship that was propelled by a jet engine. And later, I had my famous flivver plane, which was a small aircraft that took off vertically, like a helicopter and then the propeller was rotated into the airplane position to fly like a conventional craft.
Seeker: Much like today's military plane the Osprey tilt-roter?
Tesla: Precisely. But the cost would not have been 40 million dollars a piece as the Osprey is. My plan was to construct small flivver planes that could fly five or six people. They were being priced right before the crash of '29, at about $1000 a piece. I was negotiating with Henry Ford. But then the Depression came. This vehicle was going to compete with the automobile. Each home would need a small helipad, or there could be helipad centers every few blocks. I'm not sure that the flivver plane would have worked in densely populated areas, such as New York City, but in the suburbs they would have been fine, particulary for trips between cities and states.
Seeker: In 1970, there was a book written by Arthur Matthews about you entitled Wall of Light: Nikola Tesla and the Venusian Spaceship, which stated that you were still alive at that time living on a space ship that came from Venus.
Tesla: I can neither confirm nor deny that book. However, I will say that Venus is much too hot to live on.
Seeker: You had some fundamental issues with Einstein's theories when they first came into the scientific noosphere. Today, however, they are widely accepted. Do you feel you owe the quantum physics community an apology.
Tesla: You neglected to mention that Einstein, himself, never accepted the premise of indetermancy that lies at the basis of quantum physics, and we have yet to hear him apologize. Einstein was a pad and pencil scientist who deduced mathematical equations instead of constructing physical devices which would have proved or disproved his lofty cerebrations. There is, however, one area where we are in agreement and that is the notion that "God doesn't play dice," the idea that the world operates like a great machine, where everything is interconnected.
Seeker: Surely you see now that you were in error about atomic energy.
Tesla: You know what they say about hindsight. In retrospect I realize that we had been talking about different parts of the atom. You see, I had split atoms hundreds of times through extremely high voltages, but never released the kind of energy Einstein talked about. The problem was that he was discussing the splitting of the nucleus of the atom, and I was discussing the disintegration of its larger structure which involved the breaking down of the electron orbits, and the changing of one element into another, not the demolition of the inner workings of the components of the nucleus. Either he did not make that point clear in the 1930's when I voiced my disapproval, or somehow I missed it.
Seeker: You split atoms?
Tesla: Many times. It only takes about one million volts to vaporize carbon and about four million volts to change it into helium, but this process does not involve the destruction of the nucleus.
Seeker: You also say lightspeed can be transcended?
Tesla: So do the physicists, and I'm not talking about tachyons although that idea bears some merit. I'm talking about the problem of trying to apply relativity to the structure of the atom. Read Gamow's book Thirty Years that Shook Physics. He tells us that the orthorotational speed of the electron is 1.37 times the speed of light. That violated relativity so the quantum phycists did some fancy mathematical footwork and somehow skipped this real problem entirely. But it remains one of the key reasons we don't have, as yet, a unified field theory. They can't completely combine quantum physics with relativity. My magnifying transmitter, is another instance of violatiing relativity. In this device, I created electrical waves that travelled one and a half times the speed of light.
Seeker: That is on a whole different order, and as I understand classical physics, this just can't be possible.
Tesla: Let me ask you a question. How big around is the earth?
Seeker: 25,000 miles?
Tesla: Right. Now, light travels at 186,000 miles per second. Let's round that off to 200,000 miles per second to make the mathematics more easily understood.
Tesla: So, that means that it takes light approximately 1/8 of a second to travel around the earth. Do you agree?
Tesla: Now, let me ask you another question. How long do you think it takes the electrical field of the North pole to interact with the electrical field of the South pole?
Seeker: What do you mean?
Tesla: Will you agree that it has to be a lot faster than 1/8 of a second?
Seeker: I can't tell.
Tesla: You're missing the point. The earth is a single entity. So obviously it is instantane-ously connected to itself. The field of the North pole is connected the field of the South pole instantaneously. And if that is true, that violates relativity. Let's take it one step further. Jupiter's diameter is about 10 times that of the earth, or, in round numbers approximately 250,000 miles around. Thus, it would take light well over a second to travel around Jupiter. There simply must be forces involved that exceed the speed of light as one end of Jupiter is obviously connected to its other end. Now, if we apply this same concept to the solar system as a single unit or to the galaxy as a whole, which is many millions of light years long, we see how absolutely silly it is to think that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. The angular momentum of the galaxy, caused by its spin, can be measured. Owing to the immense charge of the sun, it alone produces cosmic rays that travel 50 times that of the speed of light.
Another example is the ubiquitous presence of gravity which also suggests a mechanism that vastly exceeds lightspeed. Mach's principle suggest this, whereby every part of the universe is linked to every other part. We don't have to go into such far out ideas as non-locality to comprehend this point. I myself, have transmitted impulses around the earth at speeds 1.5 time that of light, and further, I have measured cosmic rays that exceed lightspeed by five times.
Seeker: And you have proof?
Tesla: Naturally. I am presently working on a interplanetary tube that will send signals at twice the speed of light.
Seeker: Can you describe how this tube will function.
Tesla: This device should be ready sometime next year, and at that time I will demonstrate it and explain its principles in detail.
Seeker: Are you talking about hyperspatial dimensions?
Tesla: No. The physicists went wrong when they abandoned the ether theory. If you read Einstein carefully, he never said the ether did not exist, what he said was that it could not be detected. There must be something between the stars and galaxies and I prefer to call that something the ether. And this is easily proved. In fact, it is self evident.
Seeker: What do you mean.
Tesla: Take any point in space, say somewhere millions of lightyears between galaxies.
Seeker: OK. Now what?
Tesla: Will you agree that if you were situated at that point and had a telescope, you would see millions of stars and some galaxies.
Tesla: So, we see that every point in space contains the intersecting light from millions and millions of stars and galaxies. And that is only part of the story. The ether exists and has threshold values associated with its various properties. Certainly lightspeed is one such threshold. Rather than call the next level hyperspace, I prefer to link it to frequencies or oscillations that exceed that of light. Hyperspace implies popping in and out of dimensions, travelling back and forth in time and so on, and I for one, will not accept such views. My idea is much more simple. Certain cosmic rays vibrate and travel through the ether at frequencies that exceed lightspeed.
Seeker: You also disagree with Einstein concerning his idea that space is curved.
Tesla: It's nonsense. How can "nothing" be curved.
Seeker: Then how do you explain how light bends around large objects such as planets and stars.
Tesla: The light is bent by a force-field. All of this will be explained when I publish my theory on gravity. And for that matter, I also do not agree with Stephen Hawkings and his ideas on black holes in space. You read about these black holes in all the science magazines as if they are real things. They are not. They are theoretical constructs that do not exist in the real world.
Seeker: Since your work is so important, why is it that you are so little known by the general public?
Tesla: There are a number of reasons. The first is that once I sold my patents to Westinghouse on the AC polyphase system, this then became known as the Westinghouse system. Of course Steinmetz didn't help either.
Seeker: Why is that?
Tesla: Because he left my name out of his textbooks on my system! Same thing in wireless, as I alluded to earlier, once my Tesla coil and oscillators became part and parcel of any workable wireless system, such as the radio, one would think that the term Tesla waves would come into vogue. But no, the people in power referred to them as Hertzian waves, which are a myth. Intelligent information cannot be transmitted with Hertz's system, but can only be transmitted by my system, which I displayed before societies in England, France and America one, two and three years before Marconi even began his studies in the field. And then, of course, the conspiracy continues to this day.
Seeker: Is this just philosophizing or do you have proof?
Tesla: Proof?! Take Scientific American. Is that big enough for you. April 1997 -- there's a big three-page article on me and my work so what do they do, they say that Sebastian Ferranti invented the AC polyphase system in England in 1889. I write the editor, some young whippersnapper with a haughty grin, sticks his picture on the inside of every cover, and I show him my letter from Gisbert Kapp dated in 1888 where he thanks me for allowing him to publish my lecture so that engineers in England could begin to build my apparatus. And lo and behold, the following year Ferranti makes good. Do you think Scientific American would correct its story. NO! They ignored me even when I gave them signed proof! Not only that, this editor never even wrote me back! And then there is Nature. They actually said in their July 1997 issue that I had no mathematical skills! I had to threaten them with a lawsuit before they finally printed a retraction, which was done the following year!
Seeker: What about Morgan?
Tesla: What about Morgan?
Seeker: Do you think he sabotaged your work on wireless because of his holdings in copper, timber and rubber?
Tesla: Not a disparaging thing can be said about him. Mr. Morgan adhered to our contract to the letter.
Seeker: Well, do you think he played any role in diminishing your fame?
Tesla: Certainly not. I can only laugh when I hear people criticize Mr. Morgan. He was a nobleman of the highest order and towered above the Wall Street people like Samson over the Philistines.
Seeker: So, why is it that you failed?
Tesla: The world wasn't ready. Certain devices can be great advances, but if the time is not right, society does not integrate the invention into its markets.