Re: Afterlife?

Charlie Stross (
Tue, 7 Dec 1999 12:48:57 +0000

On Mon, Dec 06, 1999 at 03:08:10PM -0800, Skye Howard wrote:
> It strikes me outright that in order to figure the
> validity of such a civilisation's abilities I might
> have to go on a great deal of grave digging for
> proof.... of course, the signs of uploading from a
> civilisation advanced enough to do time travel might
> be hard to spot.

Of course, our entire universe might (as Hans Moravec demonstrates) be a bloody huge simulation running inside a "resurrection machine" designed to resurrect all _possible_ pre-singularity sapient organisms by emulating them. (This assumes that his idea of replicating nanomachines effectively causing a "phase change" in the nature of the universe, expanding outwards at close to lightspeed and converting dead, dumb matter into organised processing power is valid.)

How could we test it? Simple: build a galactic supercluster full of Matrioshka brains and try to run a buffer-overflow attack on the computational ultrasctructure of spacetime. I mean, assuming whatever's down below the Planck length is computational in nature, and assuming it's designed to save state information (that is, it's a resurrection machine), about 10^18 MB's thinking hard at the same time might _just_ be able to drain a large proportion of the entire universe's computational bandwidth. Overload it enough and some interesting transient glitches (local variations in the speed of light, curvature of spacetime, or ratio of some fundamental forces?) might show up.

Of course, running a denial-of-service attack on the universe might not be such a good idea ..