Volume 1, Issue 1 
1st Quarter, 2006

The Physics of Immortality, Threats to Terran Society, & Self-Replicating Nanotechnology, and An Exchange Between Frank Tipler and Ray Kurzweil Regarding Ways to Avoid an End to the Universe

Frank Tipler, Ph.D. and Ray Kurzweil, Ph.D.

This article was adapted from a lecture given by Frank Tipler at the First Annual Workshop on Geoethical Nanotechnology on July 20, 2005.

Editor's Note: The greatest ultimate promise of nanotechnology is the largest task of all - to save the universe from its own forces of cosmic destruction. The universe is a dangerous place with planet-incinerating supernovas and gamma ray bursts, colliding galaxies and, ultimately, either a "big crunch" or an endless dispersal into nothingness. But these dangers are the result of "dumb" physical forces interacting in accordance with natural laws. The ultimate promise of nanotechnology is to suffuse the universe with "smart" matter and energy that can exploit natural laws in a way that keeps the universe safe and vibrant. When all, or enough, of the "dumb" matter/energy in the cosmos has, instead, been converted into supercomputing, teleconnected nanotechnology, it will no longer have to blindly follow cosmic forces. When enough cosmic particles, stellar masses and intergalactic dust have been reordered into nanotechnology (and its derivative picotechnology), the universe will be more like a self-propelled ship on stormy seas than a collection of flotsam lacking control over its destiny.

Tipler's article demonstrates that in order for the universe to be saved by geoethical nanotechnology, the first order of business is to stop the acceleration of the cosmos. Hence, Tipler's article provides the ultimate marching orders for the development of geoethical nanotechnology. With a halted cosmic acceleration, joyful life can go on forever. It will take an immense amount of self-replicating nanotechnology to accomplish this feat. Nevertheless, as far back as 1981, physicist Gerard K. O'Neill demonstrated that in just a few thousand years, self-replicating technology could reconnoiter every star system in our galaxy, convert mass in each system into new self-replicating spacebots, and exponentially suffuse the galaxy with intelligence. By besting lightspeed (already achieved in one way via quantum entanglement), the same process could suffuse - in about the same timeframe - the entire universe with intelligent nanotech devices capable of manipulating cosmic mass and energy.

Hence, the choice is stark: do we accept a cosmic fate of ultimate obliteration or do we take destiny into our own hands via the development of geoethical nanotechnology. Tipler demonstrates that the grand reward for taking destiny into our own hands is nothing less than the rescue of the universe.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 next page>