Re: The Next Century's Great Discovery

Hal Finney (
Mon, 28 Jul 1997 09:53:11 -0700

I read an interesting science fiction short story last year about
an old man, of our generation, struggling to deal with the changes in
technology which had occured during his lifetime. In their society they
had established a way to access parallel worlds to a limited extent.
This had opened up a lot of technologies, including a virtually unlimited
source of energy based on some kind of differential between the universes.

Current QM models say it will be impossible to access the parallel Everett
universes, but if non-linearities are ever introduced it might become
theoretically possible. I don't know about the energy part, but it would
certainly be of tremendous philosophical impact to learn that parallel
worlds are real, and perhaps even to be able to communicate with them.

You could conceivably talk to dead relatives, you could see how your
life might have been different if you had taken other choices, you could
get the effects of quantum computing, access works of art by people who
never succeeded in this universe. It would truly turn things upside down.
(Larry Niven had a story in which such a discovery led to nihilism and
depression, but I think the consequences would be more complex.)