A Roadmap: How to Survive the End of the Universe

by turchin2 min read2nd Jul 201529 comments

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In a sense, this plan needs to be perceived with irony because it is almost irrelevant: we have very small chances of surviving even next 1000 years and if we do, we have a lot of things to do before it becomes reality. And even afterwards, our successors will have completely different plans.

There is one important exception: there are suggestions that collider experiments may lead to a vacuum phase transition, which begins at one point and spreads across the visible universe. Then we can destroy ourselves and our universe in this century, but it would happen so quickly that we will not have time to notice it. (The term "universe" hereafter refers to the observable universe that is the three-dimensional world around us, resulting from the Big Bang.)

We can also solve this problem in next century if we create superintelligence.

The purpose of this plan is to show that actual immortality is possible: that we have an opportunity to live not just billions and trillions of years, but an unlimited duration. My hope is that the plan will encourage us to invest more in life extension and prevention of global catastrophic risks. Our life could be eternal and thus have meaning forever.

Anyway, the end of the observable universe is not an absolute end: it's just one more problem on which the future human race will be able to work. And even at the negligible level of knowledge about the universe that we have today, we are still able to offer more than 50 ideas on how to prevent its end.

In fact, to assemble and come up with these 50 ideas I spent about 200 working hours, and if I had spent more time on it, I'm sure I would have found many new ideas.  In the distant future we can find more ideas; choose the best of them; prove them, and prepare for their implementation.

First of all, we need to understand exactly what kind end to the universe we should expect in the natural course of things. There are many hypotheses on this subject, which can be divided into two large groups:

1. The universe is expected to have a relatively quick and abrupt end, known as the Big Crunch or Big Rip (accelerating expansion of the universe causes it to break apart), or the decay of the false vacuum. Vacuum decay can occur at any time; a Big Rip could happen in about 10-30 billion years, and the Big Crunch has hundreds of billions of years timescale.

2. Another scenario assumes an infinitely long existence of an empty, flat and cold universe which would experience so called "heat death" that is gradual halting of all processes and then disappearance of all matter.

The choice between these scenarios depends on the geometry of the universe, which is determined by the equations of general relativity and, – above all – the behavior of the almost unknown parameter: dark energy.

The recent discovery of dark energy has made Big Rip the most likely scenario, but it is clear that the picture of the end of the universe will change several times.

You can find more at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultimate_fate_of_the_universe

There are five general approaches to solve the end of the universe problem, each of them includes many subtypes shown in the map:

1.     Surf the Wave: Utilize the nature of the process which is ending the universe. (The most known of these type of solutions is Omega Point by Tippler, where the universe's energy collapse is used to make infinite calculations.)

2.     Go to parallel world

3.     Prevent the end of the universe

4.     Survive the end of the universe

5.     Dissolving the problem

 Some of the ideas are on the level of the wildest possible speculations and I hope you will enjoy them.

The new feature of this map is that in many cases mentioned, ideas are linked to corresponding wiki pages in the pdf. 

Download the pdf of the map here: http://immortality-roadmap.com/unideatheng.pdf

 

 

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This is kinda fun, but it seems to me to fall far short of its stated goal:

The purpose of this roadmap is to prove that real immortality is possible

(The above is from the footer of the diagram; the post above says "... of this plan ..." instead.) It falls short because what it does is to list dozens of things we might be able to try but for none of them (so far as I can see) do we know that it's actually possible.

In some cases ("Merge with the universe", "Jump to eternal chaotic inflation level", "We live in a simulation and find a way to persuade its hosts not to disable it", ...) you could equally say "Solve the problem using magic". Others at least seem meaningful and might even be possible. But I didn't see anything in the list that there's good reason to think is actually possible, nor even a set of things in the list for which there's good reason to believe that at least one is possible.

By the word "possible" I meant not that immortality is warrant, but that we should not consider the end of the universe as ultimate end until we explore all options to fight with it. There are many directions to explore and we have billions of years to do it (I hope). Some of this direction are listed on the map. Probably hundreds more will be found in the future.

I also think that ideas you mentioned are more sound than just magic. For example "merge with universe" means that all matter in the universe will be converted into computronium and there will be no difference between super AI and universe itself. It may be achieved if universe is basically some kind of computational process itself, as digital physics suggests.

Eternal inflation is physical process (dark energy is visible part of it) and it may be used for calculations or for deliberate creation of desired universe. If we find the ways to control dark energy we will be there. It may sounds crazy, but in the beggining of 19 century no body knows that magnetism may be created artificially using electricity.

If we live in simulation... Personally I think that we are. It is plausible and rational to think that we may live in simulation as Bostrom showed. EY showed that strong AI could find the ways to break from any box including simulation.

So while most of ideas looks wild, they are more sound than just magic.

In 19 century the end of Sun seemed to mean inevitable end of the humanity. It was already known that Sun will burn out soon (but timing was wrong - they thought that the Sun gets its energy from contraction and could shine only around 30 mln years). Now we even do not need to discuss it - it is clear that humanity could escape from the Sun using star travel or geo-engineering.

The purpose of this plan is to show that actual immortality is possible

Uh, I don't think quoting wild speculations qualifies as "showing". More like "hoping". At the probability level of "hopefully afterlife exists".

May be better to say "is not impossible".

"not impossible" == "possible". And this article doesn't show either one.

>Our life could be eternal and thus have meaning forever.

Or you could be tortured forever without consent and without even being allowed to die. You know, the thing organized religion has spent millennia moralizing through endless spin efforts, which is now a part of common culture, including popular culture.

Let's just look at our culture, as well as contemporary and historical global cultures. Do we have:

  • a consensus of consensualism (life and suffering should be voluntary)? Nope, we don't.
  • a consensus of anti-torture (torturing people being illegal and immoral universally)? Nope, we don't.
  • a consensus of proportionality (finite actions shouldn't lead to infinite punishments)? Nope, we don't.

You'd need at least one of these to just *reduce* the probability of eternal torture, and then it still wouldn't guarantee an acceptable outcome. And we have none of these.

They would if they could, and the only reason you're not being already tortured for all eternity is because they haven't found a way to implement it.

The probability of getting it done is small, but that is not an argument in favor of your suggestion; if it can't be done, you don't get eternal meaning either, if it can be done, you have effectually increased the risk of eternal torture for all of us by working in this direction.

My guess is that the key to knowing if immortality is possible will be figuring out why there is something rather than nothing.

We could actually control the laws of physics ? What do you mean by "controlling" them and "calibrated" fields

And also the "understanding laws of physics as computing process in a certain environment" and elimination of boundary between laws of physics and computers" part ?

And what would and is a higher dimensional reality and what would be possible by going there ? It would be nice of you if you can explain those :-)

I don't see how any of these get around around the problem of thermodynamics (the inevitable increase in entropy making the universe increasingly less hospital to life or any sort of patterns)

Of course, it is tremendous problem which we can't pretend to be able to solve right now. Some possible directions may be: Bolzmann brains, new energy sources and reversible calculations. The mere fact that we exist hint that creation of neg-entropy is possible, may be by Big bangs.

I think the "Use surviving particles for ever slower calculations" is probably the most likely solution, assuming an empty universe/ heat death scenario. It was shown, I believe, that based on the expected rate of the expansion of the univese, a thinking being could have an subjectively infinite long period of time that way.

The converse is also possible; in a "big crunch" scenario, you would have a finite period of time, but the amount of energy available in any given volume of space would increase at an accelerating rate and approach infinity, so a being would (in theory) be able to think more and more quickly as the amount of energy available increases, and you could also experience an infinite amount of subjective time within an objectively finite time period.

(Of course, a "big crunch" seems very unlikely now, based on what we know of dark energy.)

Currently it's pretty commonly believed that the end state of the universe is decayed particles moving away from every other particle at faster than the speed of light, therefore existing in an eternal and inescapable void. If you only have one particle you can't do calculations.

That's one possibility. It depends what the value of dark energy is, which isn't yet known.

How does the discovery of Dark Energy make a big rip likely? As far as I know the best-fit models instead posit that gravitationally bound objects will remain together (supercluster scale) and become more and more isolated from each other over time, with the constant expansion causing there to be a 'horizon' beyond which you can not reach. The big rip models all require dark energy to change in parameters in a regular way over time don't they?

Its all depends from constant parameter w which characterise dark energy, but is unknown for now. If w= -1, it will be your scenario, which is close to heat death.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Rip

Or else we take the Copernican Principle seriously and assume that the universe appears the same to all observers, therefore it doesn't really have an "age'" no matter how much time elapses according to local clocks.