Earth 12000: Exploring space, time, and parallel universes

July 03 2008 / by futuretalk / In association with Future
Category: Other   Year: General   Rating: 9 Hot

A glance at what life may be like ten millennia from now, by Dick Pelletier

Of course, nobody can predict exactly how the future will unfold in 10,000 years, but by tracking technology advances expected in the coming centuries, we see changes that will transform humanity into super-intelligent beings focused on developing space, exploring universes, and traveling through time.

Imagine if you could peek in on the dinosaurs’ first-hand, enjoy an exotic vacation thousands of light years from Earth, or jump into a parallel universe where another you is living a far more exciting life than yours – and you could stay there if you like.

For years, scientists around the world have bandied about the revolutionary idea that future humans could zip across the universe using wormholes as high-speed portals enabling faster-than-light travel to explore space, enter other universes, and witness the past and future.

Wormholes enable travel between its two openings. One end of the wormhole stays home while the other is carted away at sub-light velocities to the destination, connecting the two locations through a tunnel in warped space-time. A person enters the wormhole, and depending on the connection, exits to a remote destination in space, another time in the past or future, or into a parallel universe.

Consensus among most scientists has been that wormholes are so destructive; people would be torn to subatomic bits if they tried such a thing. However, a new paper by University of Utah physicist Lior Burko now raises the possibility that wormholes may not annihilate all matter, and the potential for hyperspace travel could one day be realized. (cont.)

“One possibility is that wormholes may allow us to travel to very remote places in the universe, or to another universe entirely,” said Burko. “It depends on the topology of the universe, which today, we do not know very well… I’m not arguing it’s a practical thing to do, but in thousands of years from now it may become simpler.”

In Burko’s scheme, wormholes are theoretical constructs equivalent to tunnels, or shortcuts, between distant points of the universe, different places in time, or even parallel universes. This idea isn’t new. Wormholes were popularized by Caltech physicist Kip Thorne in the 1980s and were the interstellar vehicle of choice in the Jody Foster movie, Contact.

Princeton physicist Richard Gott in his book Time Travel in Einstein’s Universe said, “I characterize it like a speed bump. You hit it, and you come out in a region of time travel, another universe, or somewhere a great distance away. These are interesting possibilities.”

Though construction of wormholes is beyond present day abilities, advances in today’s artificial intelligence, combined with new nanomaterials promise to one day provide humanity with superior nanoelectronic brains where intelligence is governed by physics, not biology. Sometime between the years 3000 and 12000, many futurists believe that civilization could be capable of harnessing wormholes.

Could a forward vision like this ever happen? Given the rise of religious fundamentalism and a growing anti-science movement, there could be rough sledding ahead, but positive-thinkers believe that with determination and good fortune, this “magical future” will become reality.

What might be your favorite activity ten millennia from now?

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Comment Thread (7 Responses)

  1. Your predictions are plausible and seem logical with future’s increased rate of human advancement. The only thing that would prevent warp-speed traveling, would be the laws of physics. We understand just a little of the universe, and at this point we can just guess, whether or not time warp-speed travel will ever happen. Personally I believe it will.

    Posted by: JHE   July 04, 2008
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  2. Here’s NASA’s take on Warp Drives:

    “Warp Drives”, “Hyperspace Drives”, or any other term for Faster-than-light travel is at the level of speculation, with some facets edging into the realm of science. We are at the point where we know what we do know and know what we don’t, but do not know for sure if faster than light travel is possible.

    The bad news is that the bulk of scientific knowledge that we have accumulated to date concludes that faster than light travel is impossible. This is an artifact of Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity. Yes, there are some other perspectives; tachyons, wormholes, inflationary universe, spacetime warping, quantum paradoxes…ideas that are in credible scientific literature, but it is still too soon to know if such ideas are viable.

    One of the issues that are evoked by any faster-than-light transport is time paradoxes: causality violations and implications of time travel. As if the faster than light issue wasn’t tough enough, it is possible to construct elaborate scenarios where faster-than-light travel results in time travel. Time travel is considered far more impossible than faster-than-light travel.

    Ever since the sound barrier was broken, people have been asking: “Why can’t we break the light speed barrier too, what’s the big difference?” It is too soon to tell if the light barrier can be broken, but one thing is certain—it’s a wholly different problem than breaking the sound barrier. The sound barrier was broken by an object that was made of matter, not sound. The atoms and molecules that make up matter are connected by electromagnetic fields; the same stuff that light is made of. In the case of the light speed barrier, the thing that’s trying to break the barrier is made up of the same stuff as the barrier itself. How can an object travel faster than that which links its atoms? Like we said, it’s a wholly different problem than breaking the sound barrier.

    Will warp drive ever become reality? This writer believes that it will.

    Posted by: futuretalk   July 04, 2008
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  3. By 12000 our civilization could be a type IV civilization.

    For those, that don’t know what it is, here is a little background: In 1964 astronomer Nikolai Kardashev rated civilizatoin’s level of advancement, using energy consumption and the degree of space colonization as indicating factors. He divided the level of advancement to three types; types I, II & III. Type I utilizes all of Sun’s energy, that hits the Earth. Only one billionth of Sun’s energy hits the Earth, and currently we utilize one millionth of it. In other words type I civilization utilizes all energy, that is available on its home planet; specifically for Earth approximately 1.74 ×1017 Watts (174 petawatts). Experts believe, that by 2100 we could be a type I civilization.

    Type II civilization utilizes all energy of its solar system; in other words a single star. Sun outputs approximately 3.86 ×1026 Watts (386 Yottawatts). According to experts, we could be a type II civilization by 2200.

    Type III civilization utilizes all energy available in its galaxy. Our galaxy Milky Way outputs approximately 4 ×1037 Watts (4×1012 Yottawatts). Experts believe we could achieve the status of a type III civilization by 2500.

    Later Zoltan Galantai extrapolated the scale, thus adding type IV civilization. It possesses all energy of the universe including “extragalactic” energy sources, such as dark energy (Approximately 1045 Watts). Such a civilization approaches or surpasses the limits of speculation based on current scientific understanding, and may not be possible. Galantai has argued, that such a civilization would be indistinguishable from the workings of nature, and therefor would not be detected. However, Milan M. Ćirković has argued that “Type IV” should instead be used to refer to a civilization that has harnessed the power of its supercluster. For our local supercluster, that would be approximately 1042 Watts.

    To quote Michio Kaku: “We physicists believe, that it just might be possible to buil a time machine. The only obstacle we face is one of engineering.”

    That being said, the theoretical blue print for time machine already exists. From BBC Time – 4 of 4 (I had to edit a little, becouse I ignored some portions of the program, and couldn’t hear all words.): “At the tiniest sub-atomic level the fabric of space and time becomes so unstable, that it starts to behave like a foam. We call this quantum state the space time foam. The secret to building a time machine is to stabilize the space time foam long enough to make a worm hole permanent. This is done by subjecting it to enormous amounts of energy. (Note: of particle accelerator) As the protons within the beams collide, they shatter in to even smaller particles, releasing bursts of energy roughly half a million times greater, than those inside a nuclear explosion. Stabilizing the space time foam requires an accelerator of truly enormous proportions. So big infact, we would need to build it in space. Now we know, that if you smash particles together at extremely high velocities, eventually you create something called quark-gluon plasma. (its temperature exceeds ten trillion degrees.) By adding even more energy, blasting the plasma with lasers, we can finally stabilize space time foam long enough to create a miniscule wormhole. The next step is to enlarge it, and even that is scientifically possible. One day if create enough negative energy we might be able to increase the size of a wormhole.”

    From my previous sentences, you could roughly calculate what amount of energy you need to enable time travel.

    If we succeed at time travel, it would radically change our world. It would revolutionize sports competitions and elections, because the results would be know beforehand.

    Now I hope I could live to the day when it is announced, that humans have succeeded in time travel.

    Posted by: JHE   July 05, 2008
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  4. Part of the text is small, because when I copied something from clipboard, it also made the following text small.

    Posted by: JHE   July 05, 2008
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  5. JHE, because I am driven by much optimism, I will agree with you. However, it may be noted that few physicists share this forward view.

    In fact, in “Parallel Worlds,” Kaku lays out the following time table for advancing to new Civilization status:

    Type I, 100 to 200 years; Type II, 1,000 to 5,000 years; Type III, 100,000 to 1,000,000 years; Type IV, billions of years.

    Forward-thinking physicist Ronald Mallet believes that he will build a time machine that utilizes laser light by the end of this century. Scientists at the Cern Large Hadron Collider believe that they will soon prove the existence of wormholes and learn how to create mini wormholes, which many believe could become the first step in creating faster-than-light travel and time travel systems.

    I hope the future advances at breathtaking speeds, but whether it will or not, we may just have to wait and see. Comments welcome.

    Posted by: futuretalk   July 05, 2008
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  6. We can’t predict what things will be like hundreds or thousands of years from now…hey, even 10 is pretty tough. We need to work on that. The best way to increase our telescopic zoom of future prediction (hence improve our ability to steer properly far enough in advance) is to focus on developing general AI. I think we’ll have a clear theory on time travel, wormholes, alternate universes, etc., far before we have the resources to put any of it into practice.

    Posted by: gremlinn   July 05, 2008
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  7. The last post i wrote was about consensus, not my personal opinion. Advancing to type III by as early as 2500 seems fairly impossible, and to type IV by 12000 even more impossible.

    This is what I think:

    Type I 2100. By 2100 we have probably developed 100 % efficient solar panels. With help from ever increasing artificial intelligence, all of us possess greater minds, than the present day geniuses.

    Type II 2200: By this time we could have constructed a dyson sphere (Megastructure originally described by Freeman Dyson.) Its purpose is to capture most if not all of a star’s energy output. This opens up new possibilities, as we would control energies measured in yottawatts.

    Type III (Year is left out on purpose.): At this point it is no longer profitable to use dyson sphere to capture a stars energy. Milky Way’s diameter is 100 000 light years, and there are 200 to 400 billion stars. New ways to capture energy from stars have to be invented, because constructing a dyson sphere around 400 billion stars would take 767123876.71 years if one dyson sphere would be constucted in a week. Even with ligth speed travel it would take us 100 000 years to get from one end of the Milky Way to the other end.

    Type IV: Billions of years.

    Posted by: JHE   July 06, 2008
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