Heat death is the point at which all energy in the universe is “used” and nothing can happen. Everything goes dark again – forever?
The Lifeboat Foundation includes the heat death of the universe on its list of top existential threats to humanity. This creeping darkness may be certain, or it may never happen. Should our civilization prepare for this? Should “we” expect to exist at that time? Should you be worried?
The theory of the heat death of the universe refers to entropy. In a closed system, we reach “thermodynamic equilibrium”, a consequence of the second law of thermodynamics. Simply put, over a great enough time all things will collapse into rubble, and eventually everything will go cold and stop doing doing anything. It will all have just run out of energy.
One scientific source cited over Wikipedia puts the heat death of the universe at 10100 years from now. That’s a number almost beyond comprehension, we are talking of one googol, or “ten thousand sexdecillion”. Yes, those are actually real numbers.
The Earth will have ceased to exist, destroyed a long time ago, by then. We have about 7-8 billion years left before the sun goes nova, barely a blink in time compared with how long the universe has left. But what if there are still people or their descendants fighting to survive such events? How will they eventually deal with the heat death of the universe?
Well, it is unlikely they would be “human”, at least not in the sense we understand at this point in history. Having fully comprehended and later stripped down their bodies and minds into pure data that can be uploaded to machines, they would be post-humans in the perfect sense. This means preserved human intelligences, maintained by machines, as predicted by experts on the technological Singularity like Ray Kurzweil. They would already have done much to escape the “heat death” already at this stage, just by existing. They would be far more resilient than us, with augmented creative brainpower beyond even the greatest scientists the world has known.
Such post-human beings, living beyond the Earth and capable of “uploading” themselves away from any dangers through vast interplanetary communication networks, would be virtually immortal. Their ancient minds, regulated and kept active since the very era when they once had human eyes, would possess lifespans with no limit. Even a billion years would seem trivial to them, so they might choose to sleep through many millions or billions of years in order to cross and explore interstellar space.
Humanity’s “uploaded” descendants would still require energy for nourishment, just like us. Their first place of interest would be our own sun, but when it explodes 7-8 billion years from now, they would have fled long before the danger emerged. As stars went cold and the power requirements of humanity’s super space children increased, it is likely they would migrate towards the galactic core over time, where the greatest amount of energy can be found but the gravitational forces are also strongest.
A supermassive black hole is believed to be at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. As it would be without reward for any being to cross the unfathomable gap between galaxies at any point during the lifespan of the universe, I would hypothesize it is towards the center of our own galaxy that intelligent life would migrate, and eventually make its last stand against the heat death of the universe.
Supposing their scientific knowledge was great enough, these super-beings might invest the energy of the galactic core to learn a way to escape and transcend even the heat death of the universe. As even the particle collider experiments of our times have shed much light on the origins of our universe, it would be child’s play for those ultimate beings to learn how the universe was created. And, with that knowledge, and the remaining power of the galactic core at their disposal, those beings might set in motion a plan to either migrate to another universe or even create another universe.
As strange as my last paragraph may seem, French philosopher Clément Vidal has argued exactly that in his book The Beginning and the End. You can also read some of the reactions of transhumanists (people who believe future technology holds the key to ultimately transcending all suffering and death) to the heat-death of the universe at an interesting Singularity Reddit post here from a couple of years ago.
And, to blow your mind even more, let’s ask: if humanity’s destiny is to create another universe by “artificial cosmogeny”, might this be something another creator already did, a long time ago?
With British politics ablaze in accusations that Labour Party members are “anti-Semitic”, this post will take a brief look at this grave and controversial subject.
The remarks react to comments by Ken Livingstone (former London Mayor), Naz Shah, as well as a whole plethora of people who were voicing anti-Israel views related mostly to the conflict in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
There is a view among some supporters of Israel in Labour and moreover in the political leadership of Britain that boycotts of Israel and anti-Zionism in the Labour Party should be prohibited. In their distorted and narrow view, it seems this defeat for anti-Israel activists will result in fewer extremist sermons and fewer suicide attacks. However, suicide attack sermons were never given at Labour Party meetings or in any known political party meetings in Britain. They are the work of radical preachers, who urge their followers not to choose democratic debate but to choose hatred and violence instead. This is what a Government, or the Labour Party, would be encouraging by cracking down on any peaceful anti-Israel boycotts or advocacy in Britain. It is the road to violence and state disintegration and all of it would be due to Israel, not Muslims. Without Israel, there would have been no reason to try to criminalize and oppress the world’s largest religion to protect a small and insignificant country.
The unfortunate reality is that extremism will increase tenfold and suicide bombers will be enlisted by ISIS very easily inside Britain, if there is a crackdown against left-wing anti-Israel sentiments. This is because it would quickly become impossible for any Muslims, one of Britain’s largest (if not the largest) minorities, to participate in the political process, shutting out hundreds of thousands of people from democracy. If the “devil finds work for idle hands“, then obliterating the political careers, employment prospects and overall political life of Muslims in Britain is the worst move ever.
To ban boycotts and stifle criticism of Israel in Britain’s democracy, although only hypothetical at this point, would be against diversity. It would be against tolerance and against moderate views and opinions among Muslims, and will destabilize British society, even creating escalating violence in coming decades. It is also likely that the Muslim population will then grow in even greater isolation from politics, while believers in “democracy” shrink, during such a period. Faith in democracy will be lost, and, once censored and prohibited from the democratic Opposition, youths will be more likely to choose the path of violence rather than debate.
People in counter-terrorism scholarship, in which I studied at one time, are aware of this danger. They view countering terrorism not as a military struggle but an ideological one, in which excluding people from discussion causes terrorism to multiply and appeasing and including people at the table causes it to diminish as they become convinced by the state.
Does the Labour Party want groups like the former banned al-Muhajiroun to say all the British people are villainous and support Israel, despite its war crimes, and actually be right when they say it?
What needs to be done to reduce extremism is to be sincere and open. Allow the minorities to find expression, give them a greater platform in Britain and a role in governing the country. The greater their opportunity to practice in the political process, the fewer reasons there will be for anyone to become an extremist out of despair.
The small society of techno-politics dissidents and internet users called the Mont Order has a surprise for its members… and for just about anyone else who has heard of the Order.
The surprise can be found at Facebook, where the Mont Order had done almost nothing up until now.
For everyone who has been searching for the opportunity, you can now “join” the Mont Order community instantly using the social network Facebook. You can be added to a public group comprised of technology and politics enthusiasts, who featured at an earlier Facebook group. Quickly get involved in fascinating discussions and content shares over there right now, by joining the Order’s many friends.
Of course, the group featured on Facebook isn’t really the Mont Order, which is a small modest society of globally-scattered dissidents and writers. Instead, the Facebook group is the Friends of the Mont Order. It joins as part of a broader tapestry of groups, movements and contact circles who know of the Mont Order and are sharing its messages of global enlightenment and progress every day.
As the group description reads, “This group is for anyone interested in the intersection of technology and politics. The Mont Order welcomes participation from group members and the public. Keep it lively, keep it interesting, keep it challenging.”
An “information society”, the Mont Order has been holding online discussions and formulating its code with varying levels of participation since 2015. Although the group is not politically aligned, it sides with the free flow of information, goods and people around the world and regards technology as the key force behind that type of friendly globalization. The Mont Order considers its current society to be reliant upon the internet, and recognizes this in the way it views new technological evolution and changes in communication media as essential parts of political modernity.
We all “play God” or “play with fire” at some point. What we do affects people’s lives, even their chances of longevity. But are these things really so bad?
Had your ancestors chosen not to play with fire, life might not be nearly so comfortable or warm now. Expressions like “you play with fire” or “you play God” come into play prominently in my futurist areas of interest. It happens typically when scientists or inventors are doing something destined to change the lives of millions. The terms are quite fitting, but I smile when they are used. To me, to “play with fire” represents something good when it comes to science.
Humans are different from animals. Perhaps most significantly, we are the only ones who “play with fire”, the only species capable of destroying itself. There is a very realistic possibility that it could come to this eventually. But that very same destructive tendency is also the reason for humanity’s greatest accomplishments. Space rockets, combustion, knowledge of chemistry and physics.
A scare once existed among a small few that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) might create a black hole or some other peril understood only among quantum physicists and cosmologists. There were an even smaller few who would have told you it is worth the risk.
Technological civilization is a tightrope. We who promote it so earnestly are well aware of its risks. Worse for those who want to panic and try to backtrack, we are already too far along the tightrope to stop or to falter now. Humanity has to continue its course of discovery and development, even if it produces nightmarish risks. We are not animals anymore and there is no turning back.
Scientists already know how the genome works. There are some people among environmentalist circles who shall want to panic about this – “leave Mother Nature alone!” No. What has been discovered has been discovered. No one can rewind.
If an area of science isn’t properly understood and its possibilities tested – if the controversial breakthroughs in areas like artificial life or artificial intelligence are not exhaustively pursued, they will just stay on the shelf. Then, they will be continued during some more chaotic – and less ethical – period in history. Let these great scientists continue to expand the zones of knowledge and all possibilities now, and continue the path we have been on.