Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Quantum Solution to the Fermi Paradox

Michael Anissimov at Accelerating Future has an interesting post on human longevity, in which he very correctly points out that if you really want immortality, existential risk is every bit as important as life extension technology.

One of the commenters mentioned the idea of Quantum Immortality, a thought experiment in which the many worlds interpretations offers continuity of consciousness even through events that should have a 100% chance of death (for instance, setting off a nuke right next to you: untold trillions of you die instantly, but in one parallel universe you survive.) Further down, another commenter mentions an idea I've toyed with myself, that this is exactly why we're all still here 60 years after the Manhattan Project.

Going further out, it could explain the Fermi paradox. Intelligent life might be so likely to extinguish itself when it develops that the probability of there being more than one species in any given universe is essentially nil. Every species survives, but in a branch of the multiverse that's so improbable that it never has contact with another species.

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