Sir Martin Rees on super-advanced post-biological civilizations

In an article on The Telegraph, Royal Astronomer Sir Martin Rees writes on post-biological evolution, immortality, the Singularity, vast oceans of yet unknown science, and synthetic realities created by super-advanced civilizations.

Interstellar travel is “in my view, an enterprise for post-humans, evolved from our species not via natural selection but by design,” says Sir Martin Rees on The Telegraph. “They could be silicon-based, or they could be organic creatures who had won the battle with death.”

“Some proponents of the ‘singularity’ — the takeover of humanity by intelligent machines — claim this transition could happen within 50 years.”

“In this hugely expanded cosmic perspective, the laws of Einstein and the quantum could be mere parochial bylaws governing our cosmic patch. Space and time may have a structure as intricate as the fauna of a rich ecosystem, but on a scale far larger than the horizon of our observations. Our current concept of physical reality could be as constricted, in relation to the whole, as the perspective of the Earth available to a plankton whose ‘universe’ is a spoonful of water.”

“And that’s not all — there is a final disconcerting twist. Post-human intelligence will develop hypercomputers with the processing power to simulate living things — even entire worlds. Perhaps advanced beings could use hypercomputers to surpass the best “special effects” in movies or computer games so vastly that they could simulate a world, fully, as complex as the one we perceive ourselves to be in. Maybe these kinds of super-intelligences already exist elsewhere in the multiverse — in universes that are older than ours, or better tuned for the evolution of intelligence. What would these super-intelligences do with their hypercomputers? They could create virtual worlds vastly outnumbering the “real” ones. So perhaps we are ‘artificial life’ in a virtual universe.”

  • Have you ever read any of the works by Canadian, phiolsopher, Joh Leslie. Dr. Prisco? Leslie doesn’t speak to virtual worlds in virtual computers. But, adjacent to this description, Leslie, a self-described Atheist-Pantheist does hold that the universe, and everything in it, is the work of an advanced mind. One or two of Leslie’s works focuses on an infinite series, of infinite minds. Leslie said he likes his beliefs mixed with Spinoza’s view.

    I am not sure what is true, of course, but, Leslie, to his credit, has delved, into, special and general relativity, as well as quantum mechanics, to support his philosophy. Leslie believes in Ethical Required-ness, which is the idea, that if you create an AI or a Universe, you are ethically, required not to cause intelligence, to cease. Leslie is also the inventor of a game called Hostage Chess. You may find some use for his writings in your own endeavors.

    Sincerely, Spud100

  • Giulio Prisco

    Thanks Spud, interesting.

    I prefer not to mix science with ethics, these two guys live in different places.