Don’t worry, intelligent life will reverse the slow death of the universe

A scientific paper announcing that the universe is slowly dying is making waves on the Internet. But don’t worry, intelligent life will be able to do something about that.

“An international team of astronomers studying more than 200 000 galaxies has measured the energy generated within a large portion of space more precisely than ever before,” the European Southern Observatory (ESO) announced in a press release. “This represents the most comprehensive assessment of the energy output of the nearby Universe. They confirm that the energy produced in a section of the Universe today is only about half what it was two billion years ago and find that this fading is occurring across all wavelengths from the ultraviolet to the far infrared.”

“The Universe is slowly dying.”

The research is part of the Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA) project, the largest multi-wavelength survey ever put together. “The Universe will decline from here on in, sliding gently into old age. The Universe has basically sat down on the sofa, pulled up a blanket and is about to nod off for an eternal doze,” concludes GAMA team leader Simon Driver.

The picture is gloomy. “After a short, productive explosion of early activity, the universe has begun its long mope towards oblivion,” notes Wired. “To the extent that anything was ever important, it won’t be.”

“Time, space, energy, matter – all gone.”

The Wired article asks the right question:

“What is to be done?”

Unfortunately the Wired article doesn’t answer the question. Let me answer it then.

The universe has produced something wonderful – intelligent life. Perhaps the universe is meant to produce intelligent life: matter, energy, space-time and the laws of physics are but a cosmic factory to generate intelligent life. You and I are intelligent life. Intelligent life is out there among the stars, probably including incredibly advanced forms of post-biological life with powers much beyond our imagination, indistinguishable from Gods. To keep things simple, let’s just call them Gods.

Our descendants – my grand-…-grandchildren, and yours, will go to the stars, evolve beyond imagination, and join the community of Gods. Or perhaps there is no community of Gods yet, in which case we will be the first intelligent life form to build Gods, and become Gods. Eventually, the Godlike children of organic intelligent life, including our grand-…-grandchildren, will re-engineer space-time and the fabric of reality and steer them toward a desired outcome. In the words of Ray Kurzweil, in “The Age of Spiritual Machines“:

“So will the Universe end in a big crunch, or in an infinite expansion of dead stars, or in some other manner? In my view, the primary issue is not the mass of the Universe, or the possible existence of antigravity, or of Einstein’s so-called cosmological constant. Rather, the fate of the Universe is a decision yet to be made, one which we will intelligently consider when the time is right.”

According to Frank Tipler, “”Intelligent life [will manipulate] the entire universe, forcing it into a series of patterns that allow this intelligent life to continue to exist.” Eventually, the Gods will be able to bring the dead back to life, including you and I.

Image from Wikimedia Commons.

  • So could the decline of emitted radiation itself be an indicator off celestial busybodies?

    • Giulio Prisco

      Perhaps – there must be assholes up there, just like down here.

      Now, a local expanding increase of emitted radiation would be more interesting.

      • spud100

        What I find disturbing, is that for us to be the only intelligent life, and that we fail to survive and not give birth to superbeings, will therefore make certain, who is dead shall remain dead, forever. The god like beings out in the night, are unresponsive to our pitiful existence, and like Gone with the Wind’s, Scarlett O’hara, “depending on the kindness of strangers,” seems unreliable, at best.

        Another thought is that a Replica who disbelieves he is the original person, who doubted that a replica could be the same person, is, in essence the real person, disbelieving he, himself is real. Mind numbing.

        • Giulio Prisco

          If we are the first and fail, others after us will try and succeed. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the dead shall remain dead – alien Gods might decide to bring us back. But as you say, we would then depend on the kindness of strangers.

          We ourselves would probably choose to bring back humans instead of alien slugs. I think any civilization, no matter how advanced, has finite resources to allocate based on priorities, and for us our ancestors would have higher priority than slugs. Same for the super slugs.

          So we better make sure that we don’t fail. Cosmism gives you a stake – if you hope that future generations will bring you back to life, you want to do your best to ensure that humanity survives and advances. Every little thing counts.

          Yes, sometimes I disbelieve that I am the same person I was 30 years ago. We all do.

  • Timothy James Kal

    “Eventually, the Gods will be able to bring the dead back to life, including you and I.” Will it be me or just a replica of me?. This doesn’t take factor in the study of aging. What if aging is cured in our lifetime? Will then we have a chance to get to the stars?

    • Giulio Prisco

      Hi Timothy. I don’t really make a difference between me and a good replica of me. I am a good but not perfect replica of yesterday’s me, and a very imperfect replica of my self of 30 years ago, but I feel just fine. Similar, my future self in 10 years will be a every imperfect replica of today’s me, but I feel just fine.

      Unfortunately I don’t think aging will be cured in our lifetime, or that we will get t the stars in our lifetime. Both things will happen, but not that soon.

      • magnus

        I think one could develop some connecting states of mind between the terminal moment and a possible close continuer, if WE succed, t.i creating some cathegories of waking up experiences (and closing down scenarios, including the near death experiences) and try to replicate this scenarios to the very far future when a construction of mind is possible, so that those who wants can create the sensing in it s own mind, with pure imagination. This might then reduce the number of possible wake up scenarios and MAYBE reducing the computatonal needs or whatever, increasing the probability to experience “”I am here, again”. Combining this with the post about open individualism and the thoughts about identical / very similar experiences is something, I believe, important that must takenseriously.
        We have the scenarios from our big religions already, and can create new.
        One of this categories could involve waking up in a possible more robust universe, with the possibility of hypercomutation and longer support for systems with potential to carry a happy mind.
        Well, I still think there will be some possibilities for us, if we continue our doing and replicate the desire over the generations, keeping alive and not getting stuck.

        • Giulio Prisco

          Well said! I wish everyone a smooth journey to hyper-realities, with pleasant waking dreams.

  • MarkTemporis

    I’m pretty sure Humans will be disappointingly familiar gods…

  • Greg Tingey

    Unfortunately, IIRC, Tipler has lost his marbles utterly in recent years, & has “got christianity” very badly.

    • Giulio Prisco

      I agree that Tipler’s second book is not as good as the first one.