I should also note that "Alpha" now has a slightly different contrast-to-Omega meaning. If there's infinite computing power at the end of the Universe, there's equally infinite computing power at the Big Bang - the Alpha Point. One would expect that if an infinite amount of information-processing is going on, some Power-like beings would evolve by pure chance.
What happened to them is a very interesting question. Probably they tunneled to new Big Bangs when it started getting cold. Thus, the series of Universes created by a Singularity is an "Alpha Line", and the originator of our Alpha Line is our "Parent Singularity". (These two terms are original with me.) Assuming that a Universe gets "too cool" no earlier than Planck Time, and assuming a given Singularity inhabits no more than one Universe at a time, and assuming time rates are synchronized between all Universes, there would be at least 10^61 Universes in our Alpha Line. Assuming there is only one intelligent race per galaxy on the average, and only a tenth of the Universes are old enough to yield intelligent life, and all the Universes are the same size and have the same characteristics as our own, our Universe's Alpha Line would have spawned about 10^74 intelligent races, of whom at least 10^73 would probably start their own Alpha Lines.
Even assuming 10^10 years to start generating intelligent races, so that our Parent Singularity does not have grandchildren, this yields about 10^134 Universes total having been spawned (directly or indirectly) by our Parent Singularity since the creation of our Universe, with about 10^116 new Big Bangs every second.
If our Parent Singularity isn't the first there ever was, or it's been doing this for awhile - if our Parent Singularity occupies pretty much the same place in Reality as Earth's Singularity will - well, the numbers get pretty large.
On the other hand, for various complex reasons involving the Anthropic
Principle, the Great Filter, Occam's Razor, Hofstadterian renormalized
game theory, time travel, and SI motivations, I no longer think this is
the correct picture of the Universe.
email@example.com Eliezer S. Yudkowsky http://pobox.com/~sentience/AI_design.temp.html http://pobox.com/~sentience/sing_analysis.htmlDisclaimer: Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you everything I think I know.