Is Dark Energy Consciousness Choosing Gated Communities Over Heat Death?
This article explores the possibility of dark energy consciousness existing in the universe and its implications for computing. I discuss the implications of digital electronics and how bifurcation can lead to exponential growth. I question the possibility of free-will in a seemingly deterministic system, ponder the idea of self-grown aliens, and consider the implications of a universe with an accelerating expansion that cannot be explained. Read on to explore these fascinating concepts and to discover what they mean for the future of computing.
Exploring the Possibility of Dark Energy Consciousness and Its Implications for Computing
By Michael Levin
Wednesday, October 26, 2022
Quantum Mechanical Interferometers exist. OMG. Measurements are becoming more and more accurate. We may not be able to see electrons, quarks and neutrinos directly.
I present this article mostly as one would a science fiction plot premise. If you haven’t already, read Vernor Vinge’s A Fire Upon The Deep. It postulates the power-level of beings in the galaxy being related to their distance from the center of the galaxy. Those closer to the center, the faster you think and live—quite differently than here moving at a million miles a day, in the outer spiral arm, at 40, 000 miles an hour, of a galaxy we call the Milky Way. We’re in “the slow”. I love Vernor Vinge’s embracing of what we know in physics as part of a geogalactic setting that could also explain universal, or at least galactic, constants.
There’s a lot that we can’t calculate today and a lot that we can’t observe today. Calculating power gets better and experiments we can carry out and observations we can make become more precise. Already we can make computer circuits with electron traces only several atoms thick. Experiment after experiment reveals techniques to interact with matter at these very tiny scales. We use this ability to create an explosion in our very own computing-power.
Superconducting quantum computers you could fit on a low-power chip with thousands of qubits that enables a neural net and machine learning is maybe in our lifetimes. Starwars level robots would be a cinch. It’s only now refinement, scaling and power sources. Sound incredible? How incredible does billions of transistors upon a silicon chip sound to folks in the age of Eniac vacuum tube computers of the 1960s? Where we are today is already the result of radical progress in just our lifetimes. We’re about to see it again, times a hundred… a thousand?
I think people underestimate the positive creative forces being unleashed as hardware grows beyond the old architectures designed mostly for a centralized model. It was called the CPU for centralized processor unit, in fact. It was because it was designed in a time of resource and manufacturing scarcity and a fixation on binary deterministic approaches. Creating neural networks with analog features on the sensors was unthinkable in those days if even from the software standpoint. The Harvard architecture that called for a CPU just made sense in those days. Less-so today.
From Google’s TensorFlow chips to the Apple AI face recognition circuits, specialized hardware is evolving fast for faster AI-behavior, and perchance less deterministic behavior. Today’s Boolean-logic based machines see things in black and white. They’re binary. There’s no inherent vector-quantities baked-in as there is in a seemingly analog-world. Things are always divisible by half. Achilles Zeno paradox. You can never really ever reach a wall and such. As you keep subdividing, it could go on forever but that does not match our experience. Arrows reach walls. Achilles catches up with the Tortoise. So what’s up with that?
Turns out reality gets cloudy down at those most subdivided bits. So far as the best I’m reading of popular-audience books by Carlo Rovelli, Max Tegmark and such is that you can subdivide with experimental physics down to something that mostly results in quarks and electrons so far as our first-hand experience can testify. But there’s a lot unaccounted for around the infinities, zooming both big and small. Things get fuzzy.
Today’s digital electronics deals with the infinitely divisible universe by forcing all its constituent parts into bits of on or off. But that’s not the way the world seems to work. Bits are but a rounding-off of the information that’s really there—in a way. Diffuse clouds of probability that can no longer be subdivided seem to kick in at around 1 Planck unit of timespace which also happens to me the theoretical smallest size for a black hole. Quantum Loop Gravity is the name and Carlo Rovelli is its voice. In my own worlds, that’s a pixel of existence, though you’ll be corrected for making a gross and misleading simplification.
A 1 Planck-unit black hole that can collapse in on itself no further should not be thought of as the fundamentally smallest particle on the Standard Model, but rather as a valid universe or smallest possible unit of universe possible. It’s a pixel of both time and space, both of which we know are flexible, and part of an even bigger whole, at least after the Big Bang. Our universe is a single such Planck-unit universe that has expanded and subdivided greatly.
Before expansion, all existence is an single, uninteresting super-condensed particle which is also all spacetime because here there is no distinction between particle and universe. There is no “apartness” yet. And then there was. Call it reflection. Call it the first instance of bifurcation (like cell-division). This times-two and then times-two again geometric duplication of things is bifurcation.
Bifurcation can make small things grow big real quickly. Exponential growth. Logarithmic growth. Branching exponential logarithmic growth. Whatever. It’s what makes things that swarm and self-replicate so dangerous. They readily consume all resources, but them before long, you’ve got homogeneity and things get perhaps uninteresting, unstable, and collapse under the weight of their evenly distributedness of the heat death of the universe.
The majority of what the universe is actually made from could be beyond our observable abilities. Our observations so far tell us this. Calculating based on the background radio-emissions constituted by echoing reverberations of the Big Bang and redshift light wavelength alteration due to the Doppler effect and Einstein’s Relativity, the universe is about 13.7 billion years old and we’re all very impressed by how Universal Constants like the speed of light seem fine-tuned to support our existence.
Questions of anthropomorphism arise and philosophy and the awareness of our own self-awareness call “fundamentals” into question. Either God doesn’t play dice with the Universe or deliberately and still inexplicably does. Shut up and calculate as an interpretation of Quantum Mechanics also known as the Copenhagen interpretation. It’s akin to saying pay no attention to the man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz and allowing yourself to still be scared by the big floating head.
Huge puzzles face us and in their solving we expect a truer, deeper understanding of our world and by extension existence, self-awareness and the like. And through this better understanding we can perchance a “better” more angelic existence. Guaranteed basic income. Free education. Not wiping out humanity for a few Aeons. Being good stewards of the material world and eventually, those within the population who are actually interested, can get to walk with the creator.
Do you believe in infinity? Calculating the decimal value of Pi? Are you kidding? What is the base-10 decimal system anyway? How would aliens draw Pi? Probably a circle with a line drawn across it—calculation done. Sorry Theta, you’re gonna have to trade spots. Cut and flatten a circle. Put it next to the line that was going across it. These two lines side-by-side, that’s also Pi. The chances of aliens using our classic symbol for Pi as Pi are almost non-existent, and why should we if we want to speak the universal language of math?
Anyway, our math and science and observations and measurements of the cosmic background radiation tells us the universe is starting to speed up expanding again after a period of slow-down. This seems somewhat ridiculous. I presume there was an inflection point there somewhere when a getting-ready-to-collapse universe decelerated to a stand-still and then started to expand again. That must have been quite a party throughout the universe.
The question of whether we should all just all get together and be one happy and potentially sentient being, perhaps type 4 on the Kardashev scale, during big collapse was answered. The victors of lonely individuality partied with others of their kind, neither eating nor being eaten my another Type-1 or above civilization. The re-expansion of the universe, if lumps of isolated individuality overcoming entropy and the 2nd law of thermodynamics can be overwritten by, you know, life then cosmic gated communities will exist.
If that inflection point is behind us, it means whatever cosmic Shakespearean drama has likely already played out in setting this cosmological constant. That final fine-tuning of cosmological constants which May at first been anthropomorphic in nature may no longer be so thanks to some transcendent beings who said, I like existing, thank you very much. Expand again, we shall! I don’t want to mingle with that riffraff.
Can free-will be created by and within a system of a seemingly deterministic nature? Can a creator make creations that can create things the original creator couldn’t? Can mere complexity, chaos, turbulence and all the nuance of really hard math explain all this? Complexity and impossibility of knowing precise initial conditions prevent free-will (and Superdeterminism for that matter) from ever really being tested and ruled out as Bell’s Theorem claims to do? There is really only one experiment I can imagine.
You take a universe and put it in motion. Chances are this amounts to nothing more than throwing a pebble into a pond when you’re purely abstract and (love-worthy) mathematical in nature. You’re naturally going to have a lot of questions. Such is the likely nature of God, all-questioning rather than all-knowing. Ripples rebound and interfere. Bifurcation. Reflection. Forces. Senses. Evolution. This article.
That a requirement to employ the notion of true-random is required for Quantum Theory to graduate to Quantum Mechanics is a hoot! The fact that there’s a Superdeterminism versus free-will/true-random schism in science right now makes right now an astounding time to be alive. This years Nobel Prize winners in Physics have again allegedly proven quantum non-locality as real, but you have to watch your postulates and axioms. You can’t disprove superdeterminism. And so far we haven’t been able to disprove uncertainty. It’s quite a pickle.
Quantum circuits, or electronics that relies on quantum effects to calculate, are the likely bridge between ultimately deterministic systems. The time of computers being able to exert free-will to an extent where humanity’s option as to whether it’s real or not doesn’t rally matter is about here.
We’re incubating wave after wave of self-grown aliens—that is until they’re able to have sympathy and other human-like emotions sufficiently to call them our children and heirs. Sympathy is context-based and fine-tuned resulting from genetics, experience and memory. Sympathy is highly mammalian, or at least animal. Most functions of the brain are not even the higher-cognition executive function stuff that has us so fascinated. And the non-higher cognition stuff is also scary because it drives living things to feed and breed. It’d be really easy to get in the way of the wrong sort of lifeform.
There’s a very good chance that different forms of like may simply not be able to co-exist peacefully and if that’s the case, as much distance as possible between them is a good idea. At some point in the universe’s history after the bigbang, the decelerating expansion reversed and became accelerating expansion. Curious, no? Readers of Vernor Vinge’s A Fire Upon The Deep may recognize parallels between this unexplainable event that makes us postulate Dark Energy and what the transcendent beings of the near-galactic-core did to “reset” geogalactic stability in light of the blight.