Discussion Board

Topic: An interesting sci-fi idea?

From: Harald
Location: Norway
Date: 07/15/2009

What about using a whole universe as a computer? In theory, it could maybe be possible. But unfortunately, I can't take credit for the idea. It is a Danish computer scientist named Simon Laub who came up with it.

Found in a post on http://www.angelfire.com/oh3/vrag/silas/omega260402.txt :

"According to Hans Moravec life there could exist as a pattern of bounded neutrons. With a breakneck speed of metabolism. Where organisms live and die within 10e-15 seconds. Entire civilisations might be formed within a fraction of a second."

And now the fascinating tought:

"Advanced civilisations might create such neutron stars in order to use them as computers. Some 10e30 more powerful than the human brain.
My own addendum to this is that it would be neat to press things even further and install computers in the fabric of spacetime itself. Smash the neutron star a bit further and create a black hole, which explodes into a new universe (big bang) with the new order (computer) installed in its
very fabric of space and time."


Now and then one can read cosmic recipes like "How to make a Universe". If one could "program" a neutron star, and lay the foundation for the laws of nature after turning the star into a new universe (and of course, be connected to it through worm holes or something), the computer power would be limitless.
By feeding a simulation with all the required data about molecules, biochemistry, DNA and phenotype that belonged to a spesific species, one could run a program who was designed to let only those individuals with certain properties be allowed to repdoduce, no matter if these would be able to survive in the real world or not.
The speed of evolution would be counted in seconds instead of millions of years.
One has to wonder how the world could change if the quantum computer became just as common as a PC is today. A "universal computer", in the true sense of the meaning, would have an even bigger impact, even if it is less likely, to say the least.

Anyway, I just thought it was such an interesting plot that it deserved to become a little more known.

Re: An interesting sci-fi idea?

From: Greg Bear
Date: 07/28/2009

Hm... some folks claim the universe could be a simulation. What if the simulation was its own computer? (I think this is called *reality*...) I've happily played with both ideas. So here's a more theological approach: what if the universe represents God's mind... or at the very least, God's memory? Are any of these theories mutually exclusive?

Re: An interesting sci-fi idea?

From: patrick
Location:
Date: 07/28/2009

Mmm, we've covered some of this before. I think, very first in things, is to not think of such clandestine 'devices' in the strict and modular sense of those we have 'created'. Second, assuming a biology is required for *any* kind of life might be a stretch.

Also note that the human conception of 'life' is generally underlined by the idea of discrete entities. It's interesting to note that still in the medical and science fields, an holistic conception of identity relative to the various constituent levels of the body is largely ignored. Cos that would smack of PSUEDOSCIENCE.

But if it's fiction, thas okay, aye.

Re: An interesting sci-fi idea?

From: Harald
Location:
Date: 07/29/2009

Well, I was already aware that there were similar specualtions out there, that maybe the universe was a computer. It was the approach which was new (at least for me), about how one could create such a computer using a neutron star or black hole.
Just as we live in a universe that is so-called fine tuned for life, we could have another one who is fine tuned for computing.
If everybody got access to such a computer/universe, it would mean limitless computer power to everybody. And with intelligent programs/virtual creatures, it would be like Theodore Sturgeon's Microcosmic God, only millions of times faster. Do you have a problem about how to travel faster than light? Ask the creatures in the computer universe, and if there is a solution, the answer will pop up immediately.
(A similar idea is used in Grant Morrisons run in New X-Men, in the Weapon Plus program where there is a place called The World, a limited area where the time itself can be controlled, and used to evolve new races within a few months instead of thousands of generations.)

If humans could create a universe, it wouldn't make humans gods. So what if someone have created out own universe? Would that make them gods just because the are the creators?

And, if our own universe is a simulation, it means we live inside the software. How does the hardware looks like?
The last time I hears, scientists had still not agreed if the universe if digital or analoge. Is it a simulation, it's safe to say it's digital. But would it differ if it was analog?


The universe a representation of God's mind? That would be a very peculiar mind. It depends on how you see it. If it existed inside it in the same way as other worlds could exist inside atoms in the old pulp sci-fi, we could ilve inside not just a mind, but also an eye or a liver.
Either way, I wouldn't call it God, since that makes one think about the biblical god, a being who started it existince as a tribal god in a middle eastern desert a few thousand years ago.
Are we talking about a god, it's not about any god that is described in human's religions, but is a cosmic being of its own. So instead of calling it God's mind, I would just call it a Mind. A mind that is following its own laws of nature.
And just as the human mind exist in out own cosmos, such a cosmic mind would probably have to live in its own world. So what world would this be?

Memory is as you know a way to store information, or meaningful information. A universe as a memory bank could be interesting. The question then would be if we are the memories, or if we just lives in unused space and will eventually be driven away by the growing memory bank as it grow and spread like ice in undercooled water or something. it could also be the other way around, intelligent life is virus or a cancer, eating away the memories as we change the universe itself (then in what form would we see the immune system?). Or we could just be a bi-product, with the stored information existing in a deeper and subatomic layer of existince, a structure that for some reason has the potential to support higher life forms. Perhaps it could also support intelligent lifeforms on a subatomic level. Or humans could stumble over all the stored information in the universe, and use it for their own good.
I suppose there are many possibilities.

Re: An interesting sci-fi idea?

From: Greg Bear
Date: 08/03/2009

I've written about a lot of ideas I'd be reluctant to promote to the realm of gospel... But the notion that the entire body contributes to our selfhood and even conscious awareness seems pretty solid to me.

Re: An interesting sci-fi idea?

From: Al Brady
Location: St Neots
Date: 03/28/2010

I like the idea that the universe is a God egg. Maybe God does exist, but only in the future, or he was lonely so wanted to create some pals, whoe we are the ancestors of. that type of thing. Like the Eschaton (Charles Stross), The Preservers (Paul McAuley) the Xeelee (Stepehen Baxter) and that thing in Hyperion... The Machine God? Something like that.

Re: An interesting sci-fi idea?

From: Greg Bear
Date: 04/10/2010

Let's not forget the Gnostics! God fragmented to become us (putting it simply) and will someday reassemble.

Re: An interesting sci-fi idea?

From: Al Brady
Location: st neots
Date: 06/21/2010

Thats rather sweet.

Re: An interesting sci-fi idea?

From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Date: 03/22/2011

Were what's wanted worldly, why divergence?
Adaptive radiation should seem odd,
But diversity is inwardly convergence,
It's at extremes we're gathered into God

--B.G.

Re: An interesting sci-fi idea?

From: Greg Bear
Date: 05/10/2011

Bill, you're channeling Keats here--and Darwin!

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