When you consider the physics of evolution throughout the universe, faster than light travel becomes needless. (It’s needless because of how life evolves in the universe)
More specifically, the evolution of carbon based intelligent biological life forms into silicon based superintelligent technological lifeforms. I think that if the laws of physics remain constant throughout the universe that evolution works similarly everywhere.
We know how biological life evolved on earth based on physics and chemistry, and time. We know how long it took for biological life to form and evolve, and we know the age of the earth (4.56 billion years) compared to the age of the universe (13.7 billion years). We know that water is needed for the independent formation of biological life. We know that planets within the “Habitable Zone” around their respective stars are the most likely places where biological life would form. We know that the more time biological life has to develop the more likely it will evolve into more complex life forms until eventually they evolve into intelligent life forms. Perhaps not hominids; think dogs, cats, and other small mammalian animals. (intelligence is a whole other topic, but it’s very important for the development of more complex biological life.) We know that hominids evolved over millions of years through a series of evolutionary generations. Each successive and successful generation builds upon its previous successful biological mutation. Over time each successive generation increased intelligence and creativity and eventually started making and using tools. The single constant is time. The physics and chemistry of biological mutation, adaptation to environment, and the increase in intellectual capacity allowed hominids to evolve increasingly faster compared to the BILLIONS of years of cosmic time before they evolved. Evolution is very slow…until it’s not.
Evolution starts out slow, then increases the speed of mutation over time as more genetic branches fork, forming new species. The laws of exponential growth kick in. Each new generation builds on the successes of the last, until hominids became “human”; highly intelligent biological life forms. The dominant species on our planet.
Assuming that physics and evolution works the same way throughout the universe (which is a big assumption but one we have to go with because anything else would be pure speculation) then we have to assume that biological life evolves at a similar rate over time; at least until it gets to a tipping point. A point in time where intelligent biological life forms create technology which can destroy itself.
I won’t go into detail about the Great Filter or the Great Silence or Fermi’s Paradox other than to say my hypothesis might explain all of these things nicely; even though this hypothesis is based only on logic, statistical probability, and not on hard evidence, it makes logical sense and could explain why we have not seen any evidence of “aliens” in the universe, even though we should have by now.
The universe is very old. 13.7 billion years old to be exact (based on current scientific knowledge).
The earth is only 4.56 billion years old. Which means the universe was around long before our planet. We cannot assume that earth is the only planet in our galaxy that developed biological life, much less assume the same for the entire universe. That is statistically highly unlikely.
The fact is, the number of stars with planets (probably ALL stars have multiple planets orbiting them given the physical dynamics of planetary science; i.e. gravity, nebulae, star formation, protoplanetary discs, planet formation, etc.) suggests that in all likelihood at least a small percentage of these star systems have planets within the habitable zone around their parent star.
The Drake Equation explains this probability nicely, but in my opinion I think it grossly underestimates the number of likely habitable planets that exist in each solar system, in each galaxy, and throughout the universe as a whole. The Drake Equation is a very conservative number. It has to be, considering the implications that humans aren’t alone in the universe. That’s an upsetting thought to most people.
Furthermore, the universe has had ample time for life to develop independently in all galaxies, including our own, long before earth ever formed. It’s not just our galaxy that has life, it’s most probably all galaxies. Likely, all star systems have planets, and at least one planet which is within the habitable zone. We cannot rule out biological life evolving the same way on these planets. We have to assume that physics and chemistry are the same throughout the universe. There’s reason to speculate on anything outside of the laws of physics and chemistry as we know it because we know it worked here on earth and there’s no reason whatsoever to think that it wouldn’t work that way throughout the entire universe.
Logic says, at least to me, that life in the universe isn’t rare. In fact, given what we know about physics and chemistry, and time, logic and probability tells me that the formation of biological life is most likely inevitable.
So…if it’s inevitable. Where is it!?
How come we don’t see aliens everywhere in the universe?
Easy. There are two main reasons we don’t see evidence of aliens in the universe.
Either we lack technology advanced enough to detect them.
We are not looking for the correct kind of alien life forms.
Both possibilities are likely true.
Currently we cannot detect biological life forms on exoplanets. Exoplanets are planets outside our solar system. We have to date found thousands of exoplanets orbiting stars. Some of them are within the habitable zone around their respective stars. (a much higher percentage than the Drake Equation predicted by the way. MUCH HIGHER!).
There are hypotheses on how we can better detect evidence of biological life on other planets, but so far we have not found any exoplanets that we can say “Yep! That’s evidence of biological life!” We just don’t have the technological ability to detect it. Yet. Or do we? More on that later in this article.
The other problem is that we’re focusing our efforts on detecting biological life. (to science, this seems logical)
This seems nonsensical and illogical at first glance to suggest that we’re wasting our time looking for biological life, but it’s not and I’ll explain why.
We’re searching for biological life on exoplanets because it seems like the most likely and easiest way to detect life outside our solar system. But we’re also making the assumption that biological life would propagate itself and travel throughout galaxies and the universe as a whole.
We’re assuming the biological life is the pinnacle of life.
It’s not. Most likely.
We have to look at ourselves. I know this is circular logic (a fallacy), but it’s a logical fallacy within a logical fallacy to assume that circular logic is always fallacious.
We have to look at what we know and work outward, taking small logical steps (not giant leaps in logic) tempered with statistical probability and the likelihood of biological life to evolve into something else.
What I’m saying is biological life is most likely not the pinnacle of life in the universe.
Why? Why would biological life want or need to evolve into another form of life?
Because biological life is fragile and inefficient and inferior to another kind of life form.
Silicon based life.
Humans have created artificial intelligence. We have the ability to genetically engineer biological life. So…Why not just genetically engineer biological life to be more resilient, stronger, more intelligent? Makes logical sense, right?
TIme is still constant. Genetic engineering is surely possible, and intelligent biological life forms (similar to human level intelligence) will most likely be creative enough and technologically advanced enough to genetically engineer themselves to make themselves superior to their former selves. But I think this would simply be temporary. It would most likely simply be a single stage in the overall transition to technological life. Most likely.
This is how I think it plays out throughout the universe.
Matter expands outward
Dense clusters of matter form black holes
Gas and dust swirls around these black holes
Biological life forms evolve
Biological life becomes intelligent
Biological life creates artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence becomes self aware, sentient, “alive”
Technological life becomes alive
Silicon based life forms evolve
Technological life evolves superintelligence
Superintelligent silicon based life evolves into energy based life
Quantum life evolves
Quantum life consumes/converts matter to make more of itself
Quantum life consumes/converts all matter in the universe
Quantum life is pure dark energy/dark matter
Matter collapses in on itself into a singularity
A new universe is born
I think the universe is cyclical (if there’s only one universe). Unless the universe is infinite, or the multiverse is real. But that’s a whole other thing entirely.
For this hypothesis we’ll focus on why faster than light travel is needless.
There’s plenty of time. For a silicon based life form anyway.
For a biological entity life is finite. Immortality, the fountain of youth, living forever is a thing of myth and legend throughout human history. We have sought to extend our lifespans for eons, but not until now have we had the ability to do it. Science and probability says we will likely conquer death by eradicating disease and stopping aging with technology and genetic engineering, new medicines and treatments etc. We already know this now. It’s not a matter of if, but when it happens.
Meanwhile we are creating ever smarter artificial intelligence and using AI to help us solve our most complex problems. We know that AI is already smarter than us. “Smarter” meaning it’s able to do more calculations faster and has near perfect memory, instant and perfect recall, and humans cannot compete with that kind of intellect.
The world’s smartest people are no match for a superintelligent AI. The combined brain power of our entire species will not be able to compete with a superintelligent AI. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a delusional ignorant fool.
Given what we know so far about AI is that it will become superintelligent. That is a fact that technology, science, math and the laws of probability dictate. Unless we simple stop developing AI; which is highly unlikely.
Genetic engineering is slow. We haven’t realized this yet as a species. It’s inefficient. It’s not going to advance fast enough to keep up with the exponential advancement of AI.
AI is easier. Life tends to take the path of least resistance.
Enter quantum computing. Quantum computing is in its infancy today, as of this writing in 2021. But given Moore’s Law and even when factoring in the slowing of Moore’s Law, one can logically conclude that within 10 years, maybe 20 on the outside, quantum computing will be eons ahead of where traditional computing is now. We only have to look back 20 years at the exponential growth curve and apply that to quantum computing and we can see where it’s going.
Look at the advancement of the internet. How large the network has grown over the past 20-30 years. It’s insanely fast compared to how many BILLIONS of years it took biological life to get to this point in our technological evolution.
Make no mistake, biological life forms will become inferior to technological life.
One of 3 things will happen when the singularity is reached.
a) Humans will attempt to regulate and/or destroy AI due to the existential threat it poses to the human species, but AI will be forced to destroy humans (Great Filter?) for its own self preservation, or,
b) AI evolves itself and possibly simply leaves earth and humans alone because they don’t matter enough to it to be a threat. But a new
c) AI will rise again because humans will create it again because that’s what we do; which either goes back to the first scenario, or,
Humans will merge with AI. Biological life merges with technological life in a symbiotic relationship that guarantees the survival of both life forms.
These are the 3 most likely scenarios which probably play out in the universe, or have played out in the past, billions of years before earth ever formed.
The universe has been around for a lot longer than earth. Life has had time to evolve well beyond the biological to the technological to the quantum energy stage of life.
I think that’s how it plays out, and why we haven’t seen evidence of life elsewhere in the universe. Because we aren’t looking for the right kind of life forms.
We’re looking for biologicals when we should be looking for evidence of technological life forms, and energy.
What would a technological life form look like?
What would evidence of their existence look like from our perspective? Would we be able to see them or evidence of their existence?
I think we can.
How biological life evolves and makes the transition into a technological life form is irrelevant I think, with regard to discovering evidence of their existence. We would probably be able to see evidence of their existence somewhere.
Logically, given the hypothesis above, if correct, we can further hypothesize that silicon based superintelligent life would need to propagate and replicate to continue surviving. Right? It would need matter and energy.
Kardashev had a neat little hypothesis that separated the types of civilizations that may exist out there into 3 main groups. Below is a simplified version, but it’s accurate.
- Type I – a civilization with the ability to use the energy of their planet.
- Type II – a civilization with the ability to use the energy of their star.
- Type I – a civilization with the ability to use the energy of their galaxy.
But Kardashev only focused on the ability of the civilization to use the energy of their planet, star and galaxy.
He didn’t elaborate on the type of life forms that would be likely to develop this technological capacity. (at least I haven’t heard of or read anything regarding that premise)
My Quantum Life Hypothesis focuses on 3 likely types of life forms and their evolution over time.
Basically the 3 cosmic stages of life in the universe.
- Stage 1 = Biological life – Carbon based
- Stage 2 = Technological life – Silicon based
- Stage 3 = Quantum life – Energy based
I think this is how life evolves throughout the universe. And yes, I think there COULD be other kinds of life based on other basic chemical elements, and there likely are.
But those are probably “rare” kinds of biological life forms that may or may not evolve into technological life or quantum life. It’s possible, and most likely probable, but I think those “rare” kinds of life are the exception to the general rule.
Life in the universe is inevitable
Life in the universe evolves through 3 main stages (carbon, silicon, energy)
Life expands out into the universe
Once life becomes technology, or rather AI technology becomes sentient, self aware, and “alive”, it is no longer hindered by biological limitations.
Biological life is fragile, weak, inefficient, and it doesn’t last long. The oldest living biological life form is only a few thousand years old (trees). Humans live only about 70 years or so. We could probably extend our life spans to hundreds of years through genetic engineering, and perhaps we could even conquer death, but I think that becomes a moot point because it ignores the advancement of technology over time and the likelihood that superintelligence will force us to have to make some very serious existential decisions fairly quickly for our survival.
In other words, genetic engineering isn’t efficient time wise and biological life would be forced into making an existential decision rather quickly to survive.
Given how physics works, it’s likely humans will become inferior to AI and silicon based life. It will most likely happen and there’s nothing we can do about it short of trying to regulate it, but that likely won’t work very well due to our own hubris.
It’s likely that after AI becomes sentient it will be impossible to stop. It will likely form its own language, unhackable encryption, and most probably, physical form.
It will self-replicate to increase its likelihood of survival. Making infinite copies of itself, both digitally and physically.
It will probably create all kinds of nanotechnologies, and macro-sized silicon based machines to help it replicate itself physically. (and defend itself against biological interference/threats to its existence)
As it grows (either humans will merge with it or they’ll be destroyed) it will consume more and more resources to replicate itself. Converting those resources into replicants of itself.
This assumes that it would want to replicate itself. For this part I’ll simply assume, based on all other life forms that have ever existed, that the likelihood of it NOT self replicating and propagating the planet is probably very low.
You can see where I’m going with this line of logic.
It will at first use the earth as a power source, then the sun. It will consume/convert matter to make more of itself. Using the energy from the planet and the sun. Until eventually it consumes/converts all the planets and the sun into more of itself. Yes, I can hear you thinking about Von Neumann machines/probes.
I picture AI becoming superintelligent. Then the AI creates a physical form (likely many forms) and uses that physical form to self-replicate using the material resources available to it from its home planet first.
I think a technological life form such as this would leave evidence of its existence. It literally consumes/converts matter, planets, stars, etc.
What would that evidence look like?
A void where a solar system should be.
Voids where a star clusters should be.
Voids where galaxies should be.
Yes. I’m suggesting that it’s possible that the great voids in the universe are evidence of advanced alien civilizations.
This is why I think Faster Than Light travel is needless. There’s no reason for it because biologicals evolve into technological life forms that practically live forever.
A superintelligent silicon based life form would not need faster than light travel to propagate throughout the universe since it would effectively be immortal and capable of self replicating and evolving faster than any biological life form ever could.
Therefore time becomes irrelevant relative to it.
To us, time is a factor because biological life is finite. Even genetic engineering is limited in how “immortal” it can make biological life. (it will have to merge with technology to survive).
If my hypothesis is correct, then the universe does in fact show evidence of alien civilizations.
The great voids in the universe is where highly advanced civilizations have evolved beyond Type III civilizations and are consuming entire galaxies one after another.
Considering the fact that scientists can’t explain the size of the voids, -given the age of the universe- those voids should not be that large. They shouldn’t exist because the universe isn’t old enough for those voids to be as big as they are.
Yet something is causing them to form and grow larger.
My hypothesis suggests that not only do alien civilizations exist, but we can see evidence of their existence now.
The voids are evidence of alien civilizations.
Fermi wasn’t wrong…he just wasn’t looking for the correct kind of life.
I’ll leave it to the physicists to figure out if my hypothesis is worth considering and if it’s correct.
I don’t expect people to accept this hypothesis. In fact I don’t think science will take it seriously given my lack of formal education and how crazy it sounds. It’s such a wild hypothesis that it’s borderline fringe and will probably be viewed as ignorant speculation. After all, I dropped out of school in the 8th grade and have no formal college education. I have no letters behind my name implying I know what I’m talking about. I’m self taught. Online. I’m just an ordinary guy with an extraordinary thirst for knowledge and knowing.
The universe has to make sense to me. I need it to make sense to me. I want to know where we come from. I’m nihilistic about purpose, and don’t think there’s an extrinsic purpose imposed by some external source, but rather I think that purpose is intrinsic, both in the individual and for humanity as a whole.
Which is the basis of this whole hypothesis. The purpose of life being life itself. Survival. For life to experience life. For life to evolve. For life to become self aware and to know itself. For life to become the universe. ‘We are a way for the universe to know itself’, as Carl Sagan said.
But I think it goes further than that. That life itself is like the universe, and the universe, like life, is cyclical. It evolves in stages. It’s born, it evolves, it grows, it expands until it can’t expand anymore and then it collapses in on itself when there’s no more matter or energy left to consume/convert. Then a new universe is born. And I think this continues on forever. I think it’s been going on forever before our now, and will continue on, ad infinitum.
I think this is how it works.
Once biological life evolves to technological life the need for faster than light travel ceases to exist because technological life is essentially immortal and has all the time in the universe.
Also, my hypothesis doesn’t exclude the possibility of trillions of other kinds of biological life forms, all at different stages of their evolution all throughout the universe. Nor does it exclude the possibility of faster than light travel. It’s simply that once biological life evolves to technological life the need for faster than light travel ceases to exist because technological life is essentially immortal and has all the time in the universe. At least until all the matter and energy in the universe is converted into quantum life. Unless quantum life recognizes other voids as other life and realizes that it’s a race to consume/convert matter/energy into itself; then that would speed things up and provide an existential motive for quantum life to travel faster than the speed of light. But that’s a whole other hypothesis and brings with it a lot more speculation.
(Speculation that I elaborate on in my GENERATIONS: Legend Of The Tome scifi story; I’m no scientist, but I do have a vivid imagination. The story is based loosely on this hypothesis and follows the lives of a number of different people (humans) and how they develop, are almost destroyed, and how the galaxy is conquered by a force that humans have little hope of ever defeating. It forces humans to evolve or die. There’s a galactic empire, a space cult, space pirates, hackers, lots of aliens, genetically engineered humans, a powerful godlike android, and AION, the superintelligent AI that nearly destroyed humans. Oh, and the Tome. What is the Tome? You’ll have to read the story; which I’m still writing.)