The Chrysalis Conjecture: The Digital Physics Solution to the Fermi Paradox?

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Original article first appeared on EcstadelicNET in Top Stories section on September 19, 2016

“Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.” -Arthur C. Clarke

he coming Cybernetic Singularity could pave the way to rapid space colonization sometime by mid-century, however, not exactly how Hollywood movies depict — fragile flesh-and-blood humans are unlikely to personally travel to other stars. Our postbiological descendants (AIs, uploads and hybrids), on the other hand, could roam the Universe on their tiny warp spaceships, via traversible wormholes, and colonize galaxies via self-replicating Von Neumann probes that would establish wormhole portals and communication with the core civilization. But what’s even more exciting, First Contact and networking with alien syntellects becomes a clear possibility.

There must be an incredibly large number of civilizations far ahead of us in development which could have colonized our Milky Way galaxy by now, as the argument goes, so that we must see signs of intelligent alien life out there but we don’t. Our Sun is relatively young in the lifespan of the Universe. There are far older stars with arguably far older Earth-like planets, which should theoretically mean civilizations far more advanced than our own. Our galaxy should be teeming with civilizations but where’s everybody?

In 1950, Enrico Fermi was on his way to lunch with a bunch of physicist friends at the Los Alamos National Lab. As we all know, physicists have an incredible sense of humor, so this group began to joke about a recent wave of UFO sightings and a newspaper comic blaming missing municipal trash on aliens. Later Fermi goes ballistic on the subject and asks about the existence of aliens: “Well, where are they? Where’s everybody?” This question in reference to the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence was later labeled the Fermi Paradox.

Our Space Age officially started in 1961 when the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to orbit Earth, while the American astronomer Frank Drake developed the now famous Drake Equation. This equation estimates the number of detectable extraterrestrial civilizations in our Milky Way galaxy, based on our present electromagnetic detection methods. The Drake Equation states:

N = Ns x fp x ne x fl x fi x fc x fL
N = number of alien civilizations in the Milky Way;
Ns = estimated number of stars in the Milky Way;
fp = fraction or percentage of these stars with planets on its orbits;
ne = average number of these planets with potential to host life as we know it;
fl = percentage of these planets that actually develop life;
fi = percentage of these planets that actually develop intelligence on human level;
fc = percentage of these civilizations that actually develop electromagnetic radiation emitting technologies;
fL = percentage of these civilizations that keep emitting electromagnetic signals to space. This factor is extremely dependent on the lifetime a civilization remains electromagnetic communicative.

Since there are a few unknown variables in the Drake Equation, all estimates could come out highly speculative but even the most conservative estimates would yield at least 1,000 advanced civilizations in our galaxy alone. Also, even if faster-than-light (FTL) travel proves impossible, which is a big “IF,” the “slow” kind of interstellar expansion would only take from 5 million to 50 million years to colonize the whole galaxy. This is a relatively brief period on a geological scale, let alone a cosmological one. Since there are many stars older than the Sun, and since intelligent life might have evolved earlier elsewhere, the question then becomes why the galaxy has not been colonized already.

Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity shed light on the relativistic nature of space and time. Einstein has shown that speed and gravity influence time thus making a “Now” for an observer on Earth different from a “Now” for an observer on any other planet depending how fast the two planets are moving in relation to each other across the vast distances in our acceleratingly expanding Universe as well as their mass differential. Interestingly enough, this could possibly explain the Fermi Paradox, implying that alien life might have evolved in a different “vibratory reality,” i.e., a parallel universe (I deliberately use this metaphysical term “vibratory reality” here to accentuate the phenomenology of species dimensionality). One could also speculate that Mars and Venus, for example, even though located within our solar system habitable zone but looking completely barren to us, well could be home planets to advanced Martian and Venetian civilizations in alternate realities. In turn, Earth would look barren to them.

There are many possible solutions to the Fermi Paradox, my own conjecture stems from Digital Physics as a combination with a twist to the so-called Transcension Hypothesis by futurist John M. Smart, postulating that mature civilizations invariably leave their initial bubble universe by creating artificial black-hole conditions, computationally optimal density, dimensionality, i.e., “virtual worlds“ of their own design. Other co-efficient solutions — the Quantum Multiverse Hypothesis (derived from M-Theory), and the Biocentric Universe Theory by Robert Lanza — imply that alien life may have evolved in space-time dimensions (parallel universes) imperceptible to us at our current level of development. As Digital Physics suggests, orthogonality of dimensions is necessary for entropic partitioning of the possible worlds. So, what we call Dark Matter could be ordinary matter in the “phase space” (6th dimension of M-Theory), possibly with “dark star systems” and life, simply invisible to us. Empirical data show that our Universe is currently expanding and the rate of expansion is accelerating, one may hypothesize that this acceleration occurs due to what we call Dark Energy which is simply a cumulative gravitational pull of the “neighboring” universes in the multiverse.

I would argue that an infinitely large number of civilizations may be all around us but beyond our ability to detect them. As conscious observers, we have been witnessing “data lineage,” i.e., evolution of life on this planet but since we have not observed life anywhere else, ETs well may be in alternate timelines of their own. Even here on Earth, should the asteroid have missed our planet, dinosaurs might have evolved into intelligent species, and instead of human civilization there might be (it well could be now on parallel Earth) some kind of “dinoman” civilization. Biocentrism by Robert Lanza accounts for the Fermi Paradox in this manner.

Our brightest minds came up with M-Theory which could be our best shot at Quantum Gravity, the theory of everything, with the aim of unifying Quantum Mechanics with General Relativity. String Theory postulates that our reality has 10 dimensions, M-Theory has 11 dimensions. Extra dimensions are beyond our perception as any additional dimension is at a right angle to the previous one, “compactified” or “curled up,” in the String theorist’s jargon. It means you can get any possible configuration of particles, and consequently, all logically possible universes that are just as real as the one where you are reading this sentence right now. Thus, you could think of time (+anti-time), orthogonal to 3D space, as the 4th spatial dimension. The 5th dimension would be “Probabilistic space,” the 6th dimension would be “Phase space,” where supposedly Dark Matter and advanced alien civilizations are “instantiated.”

There’s also the famed Simulation Hypothesis, as another possible solution to the Fermi Paradox, but it’s not necessarily relevant to the discussion — even though our Universe could be a hologram, as Digital Physics suggests (see the Holographic Principle) — any other universe, including Simulators’ universe, would be computational, “virtual,” or quantum informational, in nature as well, part of the Omniverse, and bound by a certain set of physical laws and evolutionary forces, specific to that universe. It follows that conscious agents could only perceive other conscious agents of a similar “vibratory reality.” For instance, how can you possibly “see” species that experience 3,000 years of its subjective time within 1 second of our human time, or vice versa? Another analogy to ponder about: Suppose life on Earth is simulated on one humming machine (say, one server) in the universe up, as lines of code. If so, our entire civilization may be packed in one program, say like Adobe Acrobat, another civilization may be packed into, say YouTube on another server. Two programs (two civs) are simply incompatible (imperceptible) to each other.

What all these hypotheses have in common is that we can come in contact with advanced alien intelligence only in extra dimensions. The good news, however, is that Earth is at no danger to be invaded because at the moment we are kind of “cloaked” by dimensionality, and consequently, naturally protected from the potential alien danger. That could actually constitute what scientists refer to as the Great Filter, or I’d rather say, the Great Barrier. Our Multiverse seems to work in perfect ways: Dimensionality constitutes the Great Barrier separating civilizations for their own sake, at least in their “embryo” stage (Type 0 civilization on the Kardashev scale) when civilizations are extremely vulnerable at their pre-Singularity technological level, yet not fully integrated into civilizational minds — syntellects, and still themselves display tendencies for aggressiveness.

I used to think that we live in some sort of a “cosmic jungle,” so the Zoo Hypothesis (like Star Trek Prime Directive) should be the correct explanation to the Fermi Paradox, right? I wouldn’t completely rule out this hypothesis insofar as a theorist Michio Kaku allegorically compares our earthly civilization to an “anthill” next to the “ten-lane superhighway” of a galactic-type civilization. Over time, however, I’ve come to realize that the physics of information holds the key to the solution of the Fermi Paradox — indications are we most likely live in a “Chrysalis Syntellectus,” our own dimensional cocoon of sorts, instead of a “cosmic jungle.”

Just like a tiny mustard seed in the soil, we’ll get to grow out of the soil, see “the light of the day” and network by roots and pollen with others, at the cosmic level of emergent complexity — as a civilizational superorganism endowed with its own advanced extradimensional consciousness. So, one day our Syntellect, might “wake up” as some kind of a newborn baby of the intergalactic family (or multiversal family, for that matter — that remains to be seen) within the newly perceived reality framework. Call it The Chrysalis Conjecture, if you’d like.

The Federation Starbase “Yorktown” was the most impressive structure in the 2016 movie “Star Trek Beyond,” consisting of a matrix of city-sized interlocking rings and radiating arms enclosed in a translucent sphere. Several of the spacestation’s arms reached the surface of the sphere and mounted doors large enough to admit starships into the interior. Transhumanist dream, Yorktown resembles a planetoid-size snow ball floating in space. Will we ever build megastructures like that in deep space? Not likely according to the Transcension Hypothesis — we simply won’t need them in the physical world! I wouldn’t mind building one of those in “virtual space,” though — and you’re cordially invited! In the not-so-distant future, we could be omnipotent Q in our own custom-built virtual universes.

The Transcension Hypothesis by John M. Smart proposes that evolutionary processes guide all sufficiently advanced civilizations increasingly into what may be called “inner space,” the domain of very small scales of space, time, energy and matter (STEM), computationally optimal substrate of accelerating complexity, and eventually, to a black-hole-like destination, censored from our observation. In other words, all advanced civilizations invariably leave their cradle universe for “virtual worlds,” dimensionality, of their own design.

We are firmly on miniaturization exponential trend. We are making things smaller and nanotechnology is evolving very fast. Once we start to upload our minds to the Cloud, to achieve cybernetic immortality, that would mean that we’re entering infomorph (cyberhuman) era where our future selves will be more digital than physical. Physicality would then mean changing cybernetic bodies at will — multiple bodies that could be even microscopic in size. “There’s plenty of room at the bottom” is the famous phrase by the physicist Richard Feynman in reference to the ability to manipulate matter at nanoscale and beyond.

Although the Transcension Hypothesis points to our own ultimate evolutionary trajectory in terms of miniaturization, virtualization and “inner space” exploration, nothing will preclude our civilization, trillions upon trillions of times more powerful than today, to explore outer space (and “virtualize” it) until we saturate the rest of our “bubble universe” with intelligence, and our Universe essentially “wakes up,” in the words of the most influential futurist of our times Ray Kurzweil.

The Biocentric Universe Theory by Robert Lanza, which provides one of the solutions to the Fermi Paradox, predicts we’re alone in our Universe but not alone in our Quantum Multiverse, let alone the Omniverse. This assumption is predicated on the concept of the observer-dependent reality — all life on Earth is, in a sense, a Superorganism, the “common observer,” with lineage of biological life unique to our “human” universe. “When we measure something we are forcing an undetermined, undefined world to assume an experimental value,” said once Nobel physicist Niels Bohr. “We are not ‘measuring’ the world, we are creating it.” Another brilliant physicist John Wheeler summarized it in his famous phrase: “We live in a participatory universe.”

Although I’m supportive of the Biocentric Universe Theory, I’d also point out that since life and consciousness is most probably not limited to biological systems, Biocentrism could be upended as ‘Noocentrism’, to reflect other conscious forms of life such as Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). Seth Lloyd, MIT’s physicist, author of “Programming the Universe,” asserts that “our Universe is a giant quantum computer computing itself” through consciousness. So, if consciousness is what creates our reality, just like in the video game “No Man’s Sky,” or Star Trek Holodeck, any observer reality is procedurally generated, self-consistent, and causality-driven, then I conjecture that the rest of our Universe, our “light sphere,” would look surprisingly lifeless to us, that is until a certain point of our development — the Syntellect Emergence.

Will we ever encounter Extraterrestrial Intelligence from parallel universes? As we discuss in my book The Syntellect Hypothesis: Five Paradigms of the Mind’s Evolution, once we advance to the Syntellect consciousness, ONLY THEN, according to the Syntellect Hypothesis, First Contact in extra dimensions becomes more than a possibility. As our Syntellect encounters extraterrestrial syntellects, superintelligences could relate to each other as “individual entities.” That might be the whole new level of awareness and bear a striking resemblance to being like a “newborn” in the “cosmic family.

Are we destined to join in with the “Others”? One scientist thinks that we form the networks of “entangled conscious agents” all the way down, and I would extend this line of reasoning — all the way up. Donald Hoffman, cognitive scientist at UC Irvine, who has developed The Interface Theory of Perception, argues that all organisms, from single-celled bacteria to humans, live in completely different perceptual realities. In a sense, any conscious agent lives in their own “virtual world.” Your body, for example, is a collection of trillions of cells and microorganisms. While a certain process in your body is “unconscious” to you, it is an interaction between “entangled conscious agents” in your body, having their own conscious experience, at their own layer of existence. The whole symphony of existence arises from a set of rules, and we are slowly uncovering them. In my view, we’re starting to uncover one of the deepest secrets of existence — the multiversal fractality of networks of networks of networks of conscious agents all the way down, and all the way up, seemingly ad infinitum. It’s hard for us to fathom our next level up, from our current human perspective, but one thing is for certain — we’re emerging as the Syntellect, the intersubjective level where we are NOT going to be alone! Be it at the galactic level, or at the universal level, when we join in with the “Others,” remains to be seen.

As we’re nearing the end of our human history here, where linear time will eventually stop making sense, our post-Singularity spacetime-faring endeavors will most probably find a different path than we now envision. After all, we already inhabit the so-called “non-local universe” where every point is connected to any other point since the Big Bang — we are yet to discover how to travel in “hyperspace” (and time) and establish “subspace” communications. For example, quantum entanglement could help establish communication channels for instant transfer of information which should “pave the intergalactic superhighway” to Star Gate-like teleportation.

Mathematics is the language of Nature, which can be best expressed in digits 0/1 and in qubits 0/1/01 (digital and quantum formats), only superintelligences could establish communication in extra dimensions at digital timescales, we are simply NOT equipped to detect and establish communication with ET at our pre-Syntellect level here. While many people still believe that UFO sightings are real phenomena and have nothing to do with their psyche or the ultimate nature of our reality, people still buy into this “Take me to your leader” scenario of our first alien encounter.

“Make sure not to imagine aliens as slimy green monsters portrayed in Hollywood films. An extraterrestrial species even 100 years more advanced than 21st century humans has likely discarded their biological bodies, deeming them unstable and too primitive. Instead, advanced aliens merged with machines and became data to serve their growing superintelligence needs,” wrote Zoltan Istvan, a futurist, author of The Transhumanist Wager, and founder of and the former U.S. presidential candidate for the Transhumanist Party, in one of his articles in Motherboard magazine.

I myself witnessed two UFO sightings in my life. When I was a 5-year old kid, I saw two bright disks the size of the full moon swoosh from one end of the horizon to the opposite in the clear night sky in Siberia, where I grew up (not to be confused with Cyberia, which is cyberspace — if you had at least a glimpse of smile, your sense of humor is OK). My second UFO sighting was in August 2015, when I saw a strange flying object in the night sky which was floating above, seemingly just a mile away, as I was crossing by car San-Mateo bridge, the longest bridge in San Francisco Bay Area. The UFO was a huge triangular object with dim white lights alongside its contour — definitively not a drone, definitely not an airship, definitely not a helicopter, definitely not a descending airplane, and definitely not optical illusion — as I had enough time to contemplate and assess the situation.

Even though my vivid experiences felt convincingly real to me, I would dismiss the interpretation of seeing actual alien spacecrafts in both cases. Different people live in different perceptual realities which implies that what some people think of as aliens or UFOs might actually be shadows of patterns from other dimensions, or other nearby parallel universes.

Sci-Fi movies, such as “CONTACT” or “ARRIVAL,” usually cash out big time on “entertainment for the masses” but First Contact is not going to happen here at our current human level — sorry Sci-Fi fans, sorry SETI scientists — First Contact could most probably happen at the Syntellect level in extra dimensions, with the next evolutionary leap.

P.S. That was an abridged excerpt from “The Syntellect Hypothesis: Five Paradigms of the Mind’s Evolution” available now as eBook and paperback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and directly from the publisher — EcstadelicNET webstore.

About the Author:
Alex Vikoulov is a futurist, evolutionary cyberneticist and philosopher, founder of Ecstadelic Media Group, painter, media commentator, essayist, author of “The Syntellect Hypothesis: Five Paradigms of the Mind’s Evolution,” “The Origins of Us: Evolutionary Emergence and The Omega Point Cosmology,” “The Physics of Time: D-Theory of Time & Temporal Mechanics,” “The Intelligence Supernova: Essays on Cybernetic Transhumanism, The Simulation Singularity & The Syntellect Emergence,” “Theology of Digital Physics: Phenomenal Consciousness, The Cosmic Self & The Pantheistic Interpretation of Our Holographic Reality,“NOOGENESIS: Computational Biology.” Self-described neo-transcendentalist, transhumanist singularitarian. Lives in Burlingame, California. More Bio…


Tags: Fermi Paradox, strong AI, Cybernetic Singularity, Transcension Hypothesis, cosmology, interstellar travel, FTL travel, hyperspace, subspace communication, nanoscale, femtoscale, planckscale, nanosystems, space colonization, extraterrestial intelligence, ET, Milky Way galaxy, Great Filter, Great Barrier, Enrico Fermi, Arthur Clarke, Yuri Gagarin, Frank Drake, Albert Einstein, John Smart, Donald Hoffman, Seth Lloyd, Rob Bryanton, Michio Kaku, Zoltan Istvan, Richard Feynman, John Wheeler, Ray Kurzweil, Jason Silva, Peter Diamandis, Quantum Multiverse, String Theory, Syntellect Hypothesis, Biocentric Universe, Simulation Hypothesis, Digital Physics, Holographic Principle, Zoo Hypothesis, Quantum Mechanics, General Relativity, Quantum Gravity, Kardashev Scale, Drake Equation, Prime Directive, bubble universe, Star Trek, GF2045, SETI, femtocomputing, femtostructure, femtotech, infomorph, STEM compression, superintelligence, singularity, mind uploading, postbiological superintelligence, posthuman superintelligence, the Syntellect emergence, technological singularity, warp spaceship, Von Neumann probe, quantum teleportation, traversable wormhole, spacetime dimensions, parallel universe, vibratory reality, alternate reality, virtual world, dimensionality, Space Age, alien syntellects, multiversal fractality, conscious agent, entangled conscious agents, phase space, human evolution, alien encounter, first contact, UFO, UFO sightings, digital immortality, multiverse landscape

*Image: Shutterstock

**Original article first appeared on EcstadelicNET ( in Top Stories section on September 19, 2016

Futurist, Evolutionary Cyberneticist, Philosopher of Mind, Best-Selling Author

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