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My Thoughts On The Cosmos

November 28, 2012

As I mentioned not too long ago, I’ve been slowly watching each of Woody Allen’s movies.  In one of them, the narrator quotes Shakespeare,

“Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

– Shakespeare, Macbeth (Act V, Scene V)

In his movie September (1987),  there’s a scene where an author (Peter) asks a physicist (Lloyd I believe) about the universe.  Lloyd tells him that our cosmos is, “…Haphazard, morally neutral, and unimaginably violent…”  Peter mistakenly believed that Lloyd worked on the atomic bomb and asks him if he found it terrifying.  Lloyd tells him that while the atom bomb is indeed frightening, it’s much harder to live with the knowledge that none of it means anything.  The universe was created from nothing and will eventually vanish back into nothing.  At its root, our universe is aimless and random, a temporary, violent convulsion.  “It doesn’t matter one way or the other.”  When we relate our lives to that big picture, it’s as Shakespeare said, it signifies nothing.

I was happy I could find the scene on Youtube.

I struggle with those same thoughts as well.  I look at the world, at how fragile our lives are, and how much we humans have struggled just to live day to day.  I find myself wondering about the point of it all.  If you look behind us into the past, contemplating the first stars being born, the supernovas, the violent formation of our planet, and all the animals fighting and eating one another during our evolution, this place is terrifying.  It certainly looks “…haphazard, morally neutral, and unimaginably violent…”  But what if we instead direct our eyes to the future?

The Russian billionaire Dmitry Itskov has formed a project called Global Future 2045.  Take a look at this video and the sorts of things he’s funding and promoting.

When I see a video like this, I can’t help but think they’re way too optimistic and are getting ahead of themselves.  I can’t imagine things changing so drastically so quickly.  But that’s not really why I’m bringing this up.  Let’s just assume that humans perfect this sort of technology in the next century or two.  What does life look like to a child being born in the year 2230?  Or 2330?

If they’ve learned to make peace with one another (not a small feat), their world doesn’t seem all that scary or violent.  They have bodies which were constructed by nanorobots, remote controlled by a brain/mind which isn’t even present in their body.  They can be impaled, smashed, or burned alive and all they have to do is “respawn”, asking the nanobots to rebuild them a new body based on those same specifications.  They’d feel no pain and wouldn’t suffer at all.

There is no hunger or disease.  In fact, their bodies are no longer aging.  With each new wave of technology their body gets better.  They keep upgrading both their minds and bodies similar to how computers receive updated hardware and software today.  No longer needing to eat, no body odor, no taking showers, no pointless exercise to lose weight.  They harvest energy from either fusion power or solar panels which they’ve launched into space and the energy is directly beamed into their body.  That, or there will be new forms of super-batteries.  And as for the sun, formerly terrifying with its radiation, heat, and bright light, is now more like a warm heater, a big bright ball to adore from spacecraft.

I imagine one of these “neo-humans” landing on a desolate planet, equipped with their nanobots.  They send a small probe to the planet’s surface which then releases the nanobots into the soil.  They start breaking down the rocks and soil and transform the surface into a deep mat of nanobots and organized materials.

Once the planet is prepared, the neo-human lands, equipped with his ship’s quantum-computer filled with all sorts of blueprints, designs, and tools.  He turns on his augmented-reality system which is embedded into his highly modified brain and pulls up a sort of “editor”.  It’s sort of like the editors game designers and CAD workers use today, but far more powerful with the assistance of AI and vast pre-made blueprints.  He uses his mind to control small devices the size of modern day insects, hovering over the planet’s surface and starts terra-forming, creating a landscape and his own personal castle.

You know what blows my mind?  That world we just described is the same universe as the one we live in.  All of that is possible though it’ll take a lot of work to improve our technology to that level.  Future generations could be living lives like that if we keep at it.

This place could eventually turn into a giant amusement park filled with nothing but joy, fun, and mystery.  What a change that would be!  No toilsome work, no pain, no suffering, no death, at least not for billions of years.  You spend each day exercising your creativity and enjoying the things others create.  Could you imagine planet after planet, totally terraformed into splendor and beauty, designed by the world’s most talented artists?  One planet may be a giant water park, and with bodies made from the strongest materials known to science, they could make the rides pretty intense!  And don’t forget virtual reality.  Video games by this time will be as real as real life and you’ll be able to immerse yourself in them like the Matrix.

People will be living out fantasies as Jedi masters on theme park planets or in virtual reality online games.  Couples will go on dates, visiting cities which make Paris look like a trash dump.  With improved technology, scientists will be flying out into deep space, exploring alien worlds, black holes, quasars, and the great beyond.  Who knows what they’ll be finding!

Notice something about this future world — digital technology and reality blend as one.  That’s what nanotechnology will eventually lead to.  I see a world which can be resdesigned into practically anything you can imagine.  It’s like we live in a complex machine that’s completely programmable from the inside.  The problem is that we have no manual into how it all works, and we’re having to slowly figure out what’s going on.  We haven’t been able to get a hold of this universe’s controls yet, but we’re quickly getting the hang of things.

From our lowly human perspective of evolved pond scum, weak, frail, and barely hanging on to life, yes, this world is terrifying.  But if technology progresses and the human race further evolves into something much greater, this cosmos may be very inviting and entertaining to them.  Though I guess it doesn’t make much of a difference though considering I’ll probably be dead and gone.

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