by Giulio Prisco
I am a mad scientist interested in future science and technology able to resurrect the dead from the past. I look for hints, clues and glimpses in today’s speculative, highly imaginative science. Do you want to join me?
The recently published book “Technological Resurrection: A Thought Experiment,” by Jonathan Jones, provides a short and readable first introduction to our ideas on technological resurrection. See my review on Mondo 2000. According to Jones, future engineers will be able to teleport our consciousness to the future with ultra-technology based on quantum effects, wormholes and whatnot.
Technological resurrection science is likely to involve next-next generation physics of huge energies, infinitesimal scales, space-time noodles and quantum ultra-weirdness, not to mention higher dimensions and parallel worlds. The same science will take us to the stars, perhaps faster than light (FTL), perhaps open the way to some sort of time travel, and perhaps permit understanding God(s). Or build God(s), or become God(s).
I call this research program “Irrational Mechanics” (see below).
Before becoming a mad scientist, I used to be a “real” scientist in academy and public research centers. I know the science establishment pretty well, certainly well enough to realize that what I’m saying is so heretical that no scientist can enter safely. There are a lot of scientists who entertain similar ideas, but even mentioning them is career suicide. Developing these ideas is for politically incorrect amateur citizen scientists like me, and perhaps you.
We can’t do real research because our skills are too limited or too rusty, and/or we have to do other things for a living. What we can do is research on others’ research. But that’s good enough, because the heavy lifting work is already done by top scientists, only they aren’t allowed to even mention some deep implication of their own work. Laying out the heretic implications is up to us. Of course, we must understand the science first.
For example, many enthusiasts believe that the spooky correlations between quantum-entangled particles could be used to send FTL instant messages, or signal backward in time. But unfortunately, according to our current understanding, entanglement is real but can’t be used to send FTL instant messages.
Why? Because measuring the spin of one of a pair of entangled particles always gives a random result — even if the results of the two measurements are correlated — and any attempt to preset the spin of a particle would break the entanglement. A good analogy is two decks of “magic” cards that are always in the same order, but the magic only works if both decks are well shuffled first, and cheating breaks the magic.
Similarly, physical laws also seem to prohibit the practical utilization of wormholes for FTL signaling and time travel. This doesn’t mean these things are impossible in-principle (I suspect future science will pleasantly surprise us), but we aren’t clever enough yet.
Someday, perhaps: “Weinberg’s nonlinear quantum mechanics leads either to communication via Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen correlations, or to communications between branches of the wave function,” notes a 1991 paper by Joseph Polchinski. In other words, either FTL instant messages to the stars, or messages to parallel universes.
Many scientists (who are really scientific bureaucrats, or SJW: Scientific Justice Warriors) seem only concerned with issuing “Thou Shalt Not” diktats on what cannot be done. Bot fortunately many engineers ignore them and do those things anyway. The engineers’ is the healthier attitude. And don’t forget Marx! In “Theses On Feuerbach,” edited by Engels, Marx said:
“The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point, however, is to change it.”
I follow Marx and the engineers. Screw scientific truth, whatever that is. I want to edit physical laws and hack a better reality.
Russian Cosmist Nikolai Fedorov thought future sci/tech would resurrect the dead and bring about the Kingdom of God on Earth. His speculations about how that could be done seem naive to us, but our own speculations could seem equally naive to future scientists.
Physicist Frank Tipler is persuaded that we already know the fundamental laws of physics: Quantum mechanics, Einstein’s general relativity and the quantum field theory of the standard model, combined in a straightforward theory of quantum gravity that, contrary to most other physicists, Tipler views as perfectly viable. Tipler rules out FTL communications and time travel, but is persuaded that our superhuman, God-like descendants at the end of time will bring us back to life with advanced space-time engineering and ultra-computing.
I disagree with Tipler’s premise: I don’t think we already know the fundamental laws of physics — on the contrary, I’m persuaded that future science will reveal a cascade of surprises after surprises, perhaps without end. But I admire Tipler because he gets his hands greasy and, armed only with today’s physics, works out a consistent physical model of resurrection mechanics.
Other scientists speculate that space, time, and the particles and fields known to current science, could be derived from deeper and more fundamental physics, just like fluid dynamics can be derived from molecular kinetics. See Karen Crowther’s “Effective Spacetime: Understanding Emergence in Effective Field Theory and Quantum Gravity” (2016) for a review.
Inspired by intriguing analogies between the physics of quasiparticles and collective excitations in condensed matter systems like superfluids on the one hand, and the physics of particles and quantum fields in empty space on the other hand, Grigory Volovik suggests that physics as-we-know could be derived from underlying “trans-Planckian” physics. See Volovik’s “The Universe in a Helium Droplet” (2009). I have suggested that this is a physical model for the simulation hypothesis: The idea that our reality could be a simulation running in a deeper or higher level of reality, which is totally equivalent to traditional religion.
Susskind’s argument is based on the AdS/CFT duality, which roughly says that a string theory with gravity in a spacetime bulk is equivalent to a quantum field theory without gravity on the bulk’s lower-dimensional boundary, and the ER=EPR conjecture, which roughly says that quantum-entangled physical systems are connected by wormholes.
See Susskind’s “The Black Hole War” (2008) for a popular explanation of these things, and two recent technical books: “AdS/CFT Duality User Guide” (2015) and “Holographic Entanglement Entropy” (2017). I have the impression that Volovik’s and Susskind’s ideas could be strongly related.
One interpretation of the AdS/CFT duality is that the bulk physics is determined by the boundary physics (holographic principle), but the relationship between the two is symmetric. Crowther suggests that both could be derived from more fundamental physics.
A weak formulation of the simulation hypothesis is trivially true: It’s obvious that the universe computes the future from the past and the physical laws. In a stronger version, which seems compatible with effective spacetime theories (don’t blame the scientists mentioned above, this comes from me), our reality is controlled by Engineers in a base reality, not limited by the physical laws of our reality. By gaining access to the base reality we could become Engineers, do spacetime engineering “magic,” and bring the dead back.
In “Demystifying the Akasha: Consciousness and the Quantum Vacuum” (2010), renowned mathematician Ralph Abraham (see my recent Mondo 2000 profile of Ralph) and physicist Sisir Roy suggest a cosmic memory field — the Akashic field — that stores permanent records of everything that ever happens in the universe. The proposed mathematical model for the Akashic field is based on a graph beyond space and time, with a huge number of nodes and internal dynamics similar to cellular automata, from which the geometry of spacetime is derived.
Ordinary space and time emerge from the graph, which fluctuates in an internal time-like dimension (not to be confused with ordinary time) and contains all times. It’s worth noting that Stephen Wolfram has similar ideas.
Future Akashic engineers could read the Akashic records and bring the dead back. Including you and I.
What is Irrational Mechanics?
Rational Mechanics is an important part of mathematical physics. The Oxford Dictionaries define “Rational Mechanics” as “the branch of mechanics in which models, propositions, etc., are deduced mathematically from first principles.”
In mathematics, a rational number is defined as a number that can be expressed as the ratio (quotient) p/q of two integers p and q. At school we learn that the square root of 2 is a real number that can’t be expressed as the quotient of two integers. The square root of two — 1.4142… followed by an infinite number of non-repeating digits — is an irrational number. Other irrational numbers are π , the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, and e, the base of the natural logarithm.
There are infinitely more irrational numbers than rational numbers. If you could choose a random real number, the probability to hit a rational number would be zero. This seems surprising, because rational numbers are infinitely dense (there are infinite rational numbers between any two), and therefore one could have the impression that rational numbers exhaust the real number line. But Cantor demonstrated that it is not so, and there are countless higher orders of infinity.
This is a good metaphor for the concept that reality is much more complex than current scientific understanding. But Shakespeare said it better in Hamlet:
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
Deliberately mixing metaphors, we can define Irrational Mechanics as the future science of complex reality beyond current science.