A trailer (see below) was recently released for an upcoming movie about the technological singularity – a hypothetical point when AI begins to vastly exceed human intelligence. Premiering in theaters in April, ‘Transcendence’ will portray what might occur during the early stages of the singularity. While technological advancements still have a way to go before this becomes reality, this movie will likely give us at least one example of what life might be like for our planet once the singularity occurs. Thinking along these lines, I started considering what the aftermath of the singularity might mean for the rest of us, and in particular, what it might mean for the future of space exploration. One enterprising author at futuretimeline.net has some unique ideas that I’d like to examine today.
Let’s consider what space travel of the future might be like post-singularity.
Considering that the core region of the galaxy is located over 27,000 light-years away from Earth, it would be about year 30,000 before sub-light vehicles to reach it from our solar system (assuming the singularity occurs within the next 1,000 years). Presuming a self-aware system was to construct such vehicles, they could arrive there by that date if they were launched sometime in the next several centuries.
These ships would naturally carry no real human crew. They would be completely automated, and run by a form of self-aware artificial intelligence. During their voyage, the vehicles would have possibly self-replicated using materials gathered from local star systems. Each of these systems could have possibly been seeded with some form of computational substrates.
Due to the fact that machine organisms would not need to worry about the habitability of planets, these substrates would eventually allow individual planetoids to begin acting like brain cells. In a manner of speaking, the Orion Arm of the galaxy would begin to function like a giant organism. Of course, it really shatters the current existing human idea of what an organism is.
Considering that all beings of any sort are united under a common heritage by this point, any claims to the galactic core will be moot. Archaic concepts of things like race would have ceased to exist, and been replaced with a sort of technological collective. As well as the super massive black hole that theoretically sits at the center of the galaxy, there are some dense metal-rich stars close together near the galactic core.
While gamma radiation is so high in this area that biological life forms cannot survive, the synthetic crews of these sub-light vehicles can easily find plenty of resources to harvest in these metal-rich stars. With the galactic center reached, some of the vehicles will find a way to begin to explore the areas of the galaxy that lie on the far side of the Orion Arm.
Even though there’s nothing to prove (yet) that things would have to happen this way, interested observers can surely admit that this type of plan is theoretically realistic. Unlike a lot of others, it makes no assumption of faster-than-light (FTL) travel. Those who cannot accept that objects could be accelerated to the speed of light could still accept a timeline like this, since it assumes objects are still moving at a rate slightly below the universal speed limit. What other ways might our world be changed post-singularlity? Feel free to share your thoughts/ideas below.
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