Documenting the Coming Singularity

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Big Crunch, Big Freeze...or Big Brain?

For whatever reason, from whatever strange motive, scientists have speculated on the question of how our universe will end. It matters not to them that this denouement exists so far into the future that the numbers are incomprehensible in any meaningful way. They simply want to know. They surmise that the universe will end either in a big crunch or a big freeze. Depending on the relative strengths of the competing forces of gravity and dark energy (whatever that is), depending on how much the universe weighs, its expansion will slow, stop, and then reverse direction so that all the matter comes back together in a big crunch or, it will continue to expand until its heat is dissipated and it becomes cold and dark. (This seems the more likely scenario, since the discovery that the expansion is in fact accelerating rather than slowing.)

However, there is a third possibility that presents itself which I have dubbed the Big Brain ending. In his new book The Intelligent Universe, James N. Gardner posits this fascinating theory:
The Intelligent Universe proposes a third possibility: that the universe might end in intelligent life. Not life as we know it, but life that has acquired the capacity to shape the cosmos as a whole, just as life on Earth has acquired the ability to shape the land, the sea, and the atmosphere. As Princeton physicist Freeman Dyson puts it:

Mind, through the long course of biological evolution, has established itself as a moving force in our little corner of the universe. Here on this small planet, mind has infiltrated matter and has taken control. It appears to me that the tendency of mind to infiltrate and control matter is a law of nature.

As we learn how to utilize the processing power inherent in all matter, we are essentially instilling consciousness into the universe. This process, according to many sage thinkers, will expand at an accelerating pace until the universe itself becomes conscious. After that? The creation of more universes.

You think I'm wrong? Crazy? I think we'll know for sure within two to three decades. Check out Gardner's book below.