Re: SciAm article "Fate of Life in the Universe"

Anders Sandberg (
20 Oct 1999 11:02:33 +0200 writes:

> In a message dated 10/19/1999 11:13:53 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
> writes:
> > The SciAm article also says that Steven Frautschi of Caltech
> > in 82 explored the possibility of scavenging mass to feed a
> > black hole in an expanding universe. But neither the article
> > nor the preprint cite any such paper.
> I have read a work called 5 Ages of the Universe, by a couple of
> astrophysicists from University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, who might dispute
> with Professor Frautschi on the continuence of computation and life over
> Petaplexes of years. The there's people like Tipler at Tulane, or Max
> Tegmark, now at Penn State, who provide their own solutions to extinction.

The problem of shrinking horizons posed in the Krass and Starkman paper (incidentally, our Nick Bostrom has written a paper with Circkovic on the problem too, gr-qc/9906042) is not dealt with by Tiper or (to my knowledge) Tegmark. If the expansion of the universe is accelerating (as current data seems to suggest), then horizons will creep inwards and limit the mass-volume intelligence can use, eventually squeezing it out altogther.

What is Tegmark's solution to extinction? I thought he was more involved in the "everything" theory, which of course implies that in *some* universes, if it is possible at all, intelligent life will never be extinct.

> We don't know enough about the cosmos to make such pronuncements, as the big
> wheels in the 19th century did in their pridefulness.

This is a dangerous meme, that we know too little to dare say anything about the remote future. Sure, these theoretical arguments are currently fairly weak, but they are based on known physics or not too unlikely possibilities. They will have to be revised over time, there is nothing wrong with that. Keeping silent while waiting for certainty is a recipe for catatonia - after all, we can't be 100% certain the sun will rise tomorrow.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y