If you're not a wild-eyed loon, you're unlikely to appreciate this post.
Bear with me a moment, while I establish some context.
So here's the esteemed Cory Doctorow. His
recent[*1] post at Locus, The Progressive Apocalypse and Other
outlines the parallels between the progressive Enlightenment ideals of
human progress, and the science fiction hot topic of the
rates of change, empowered by self-improving general artificial (or
post-human) intelligence, eventually reaches a point at which society -
or the individual - can do anything it wants to. Since, by that point,
society is so educated and well-adjusted, so enlightened, its goals
are those things that bring yet more progress and joy and compassion
into the world.
Describing this as a 'Rapture of the Nerds' (not by Ken
evocative - but it distracts from the important fact that the true
singularity is a rapture for everyone. The singularity is only for nerds
right now because the nerds are the only ones who get it yet. I posit
that one of the most prominent effects of enlightenment - coupled with
the availability of resources that such enlightenment would allow - is
the freedom to indulge in fairly advanced morality, encompassing an
overwhelming realisation of the importance that no concious being gets
left behind. Incidentally, this is of course the reason why advanced
civilisations tend to
sublime en masse, without
leaving detectable offshoots mooching around in our universe.
Anyhow, I'm distracting myself. The important thread I'm groping for
here is the literal equivalence Cory alludes to between the science
fictional singularity, and the biblical judgement day - the trump and
the shout, the culmination of all things human, at which point it
becomes our turn to sublime, overcoming the restrictions of the physical
universe, to take our place in the mind of God Almighty, the living and
the dead alike. Or at least those of the dead who had sufficient
foresight to have had their state vector preserved, at any rate.
Still with me? Singularity = Judgement Day. Got it? Ok.
Then, over here, we have
who recently[*1] referenced an old post of his, Our non-arbitrary
in which he talks about possible explanations for the extraordinarily
unlikely state we find the universe to be in, while attempting to steer
clear of the slippery fish that is the strong anthropic principle.
One prominent hypothesis is that the universe's operational parameters
have been tuned with excruciating finesse by a process of natural
selection, which could be brought about by universes being
self-replicating entities. The replication of universes could therefore
be theorised, by some mechanism that is completely unknown. This would
lead us to expect that universes be tuned for maximal rate of
reproduction, whatever that would entail. So why, George asks, does our
universe appear to be tuned to be so patently biophilic, ie. conducive
to life? All these innumerable cosy blobs of matter basking in the glow
of lovely stars, all consisting of an entertaining mixture of quite the
most engaging set of chemicals one could ever wish to meet, and so on
and so forth, down to the infinitesimal balancing acts of forces that
conspire to make nuclear physics work in such a jolly interesting way,
and enough spatial dimensions to make interactions interesting without
so many as to subject them all to the tiresome severity of a whole
family of inverse to-the-ninth laws.
It might simply be that efficiently-replicating universes are
coincidentally also biophilic. Certainly there are some characteristics
that seem to be equally desirable for either condition, such as
universes that are both large and long-lived. However, George discusses
the idea of this not merely being a coincidental convergence, but
causal, due to life playing a role in helping universes to replicate -
hence universes teeming with life will go on to reproduce more,
dominating the natural selective process to create more universes which
are ever more suitable to life. This could come about if life plays some
part in the reproduction of its host universe. Perhaps if intelligent
life deliberately causes its host universe to replicate. Who wouldn't
want to become God, once we'd figured out how to spawn realities at
right-angles to... er... reality?
. . .
Now, I'd like to take a moment here to catch our breath. I'm well aware
that we're out on a limb of speculation that is extended so far beyond
the realms of anything resembling genuine hypothesis that we cannot
consider this to be anything other than a poetic fantasy.
And yet. I can't help but play with the idea of linking the two concepts
in my mind. Imagining post-singular civilisations discovering a
mechanism by which disjoint bubbles of time and space can be pinched off
from our own. Perhaps it can be done under some conditions that already
occur naturally, deep in the heart of stars, or in the wrenching
oscillations of time and space that wreath a galactic-mass black hole.
Or perhaps this is brought about by some conjunction of circumstance
that has never occurred before, at least not for all of this
The first such bubbles are stillborn. Empty and degenerate, lacking
coherence enough for either spatial or temporal dimensions, they
collapse in spans of time that can barely be considered to exist at all.
But the unimaginable intellect of planetary sized masses converted
entirely into hyper-spatially networked hive-minds examines the
new-found discovery, with an absolute, unerring insight, but also with
wisdom, and with compassion. Options are considered, consequences
charted, and at the speed of thought vast resources of matter and energy
are focussed on replicating the experiment. Enlarging it. Seeding the
discontinuities with precisely the right twist of quantum instability
for each of the nascent realities to spew forth their own internal
fountains of time and space, matter and energy. Riding the feedback of
previously uncharted mathematics to inflate each successive genesis to
greater and greater energies, weaving ever more intricate internal
structures into the harmonious interplay of forces that comprise their
A pause. Awed by their achievements, overcome by the assimilation of the
fields of science they have uncovered, and humbled by their potential,
the intelligences stop to take stock. To survey their possibilities.
Then, inevitably, fulfilling a manifest destiny as old as time itself,
leveraging the qualities of the space gifted to them by their own,
infinitely distant forebears, they initialise a final push, building on
the properties of their own universe to create one still greater. A
leviathan, containing an unthinkable torrent of creation, bright enough
to light a sky with its echoes forever.
It's the whole "Let there be light" number. Humanity gets to literally
become God. And the funny thing is, such a creator is not only imbued
with all the properties of a traditional new-testament Christian style
God, ie. wisdom and compassion and love, but we simultaneously tie
together the Judgement Day of one civilisation's culmination with the
Genesis of another's reality. Each successive generation irrevocably
separated from their own God by being at right angles to their reality,
and yet tied in chains stretching back unbroken through the countless
histories of innumerable universes, by the bonds of direct, causal
Anyhow, it's all very derivative, and I stole one irresistible phrase
but it would make for a smashing short science fiction story, don't you
(Note *1: I wrote most of this months ago, but never got around to
hitting 'Post', so forgive the no-longer accurate references to 'recent'