Re: Cold and Dark?

Dan Fabulich (
Mon, 25 Oct 1999 10:20:07 -0400 (EDT)

'What is your name?' 'Anders Sandberg.' 'IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOUR NAME IS!!!':

> "Eternal inflation, black holes and the future of civilizations" by
> J. Garriga, V.F. Mukhanov, K.D. Olum and A. Vilenkin
> (astro-ph/9909143) is much more upbeat. It is aware of the previous
> paper and looks into how life can survive. It also assumes that
> indefinite survival in one of the inflation bubbles will not be
> possible, but that it might be possible to send information to later
> civilizations (or send a probe to make them) so that one's
> civilization can go on indefinitely.
> The simplest possibility would be to leave messages in "bottles" and
> wait for the inflaton field to tunnel to the top of the potential;
> this happens with a very low probability for positive cosmological
> constants. The "bottles" would then be found by civilizations in the
> new universes or build a descendant civilization. Unfortunately the
> probability of black holes emerging from quantum fluctuations is much
> higher, so one has to send an absurd number of bottles to be
> reasonably sure - around exp(10^122) or so.

Actually, I agree with Tipler in saying that this is no life at all. If the bottles have a finite amount of information in them (as seems reasonable), you run into Poincarre (sp?) Recurrence. If x is the entropy available in your bottle, (that is, the maximum number of different messages you can encode into the bottle,) then the number of times you can make a baby universe and keep on surviving may be unlimited, but your memory is short term... Eventually, you'll exhaust all of the possible messages which your bottle could send, and you'll create a new baby universe in which you live the exact same life all over again, thinking exactly the same thoughts. Taking the Extremely Long View, Tipler argues, this is akin to eternal stasis. (I agree.) A very Nietzschean end to us all.

Tipler's argument leads me to hold that unless we actually have infinite computing power, life will not go on forever in any meaningful sense of the word. Infinite time is not infinite life.

My hope is that sometime in the next 10^50 - 10^100 years we'll figure out some way to CAUSE a Big Crunch, if one isn't destined already, and make sure the whole deal is asymmetric, as Tipler describes. It's the only way I know of in which infinite computing power could ever become possible.


-unless you love someone-
-nothing else makes any sense-

e.e. cummings