This writing is inspired by Frank Tipler from his book The Physics of Immortality in which he describes how the ultimate product of evolution will be something that can be equated with the religious notion of "God". Note that this article has been somewhat invalidated by the results of later research. See a later article.
The history of science is one where more and more disciplines are subsumed by physics. For religion to survive the expansion of science, it too will eventually have to become a branch of physics. Theories of religion will have to make claims that are testable by the scientific method.
The physical law of entropy dictates that the future will see more and more disorder until the universe contains nothing more than randomly spread space dust.
Luckily for us there is an alternative more optimistic theory that is known as evolution. Under evolution the universe becomes more and more ordered as more and more sophisticated lifeforms develop. Humans with their superior intelligence have expanded to cover the entire earth and our descendants will leave The Earth behind as they colonise and conquer the entire universe.
Under evolution life is sometimes regarded as meaningless. But since life will ultimately conquer the universe, life will give a reason for the universe to exist in the first place.
Evolution in the form of the breeding, mutation and natural selection is obsolete for two reasons:
Evolution in the future will take place in the form of Artificial Intelligence research: We will design machines that can surpass us and in turn those machines will design machines that can surpass them and so on ad infinitum.
The Earth is doomed. In 7 billion years the sun will expand to include The Earth causing the all life on earth to end. For life to survive past the destruction of The Earth it will have to colonise other planets. The end of life on earth could be sooner than we think. As Stephen Hawking once said: If terrorists acquire the capability to build either (A) nuclear weapons or (B) genetically engineered bacteria or viruses, then life on earth could end at the the whim of a small group of insane individuals.
The universe is also doomed. Left to evolve unchecked, the universe will eventually become unable to sustain life. For life to survive past this point it will have to colonise the entire universe and to act on a universal scale to force the universe to evolve in a way that is compatible with the existence of life. Life itself will have to change form to a form that is compatible with what the universe provides.
Colonisation of space by humans is far too expensive. The history of manned space exploration is one of fewer and fewer projects costing more and more dollars. Only by using unmanned probes can we break out of this pattern. Colonisation of space will have to be done using machines. Machines have the advantage that they can exist in the vacuum-like conditions of space without the need of gravity, oxygen and an atmosphere. Within 100 years machines will surpass us in intelligence so it will be logical to send machines into space rather than humans.
Machines will surpass us once they can pass the Turing Test. Equipped with an intelligence greater than us, machines will be able to intelligently react to whatever situation they encounter during the colonisation of space. Multiple, relatively cheap, lightweight robotic probes will be built using Nanotechnology. Weighing less than 1kg they can be accelerated to close to the speed of light using antimatter drives for fast travel to the nearest stars.
A Von-Neumann Machine is a machine that can build any other machine, including itself out of whatever materials it can gather. Von-Neumann machines on board the probes, once at their destinations will replicate themselves using material that can be found in the debris that can be found in outer space. The colonisation of the universe will therefore happen at an exponential rate as more and more probes are built and more and more of the universe is colonised. If our Universe has a finite lifespan then it will be necessary for life to escape this Universe and colonise other Universes.
Within 100 years machines will surpass us in intelligence, self-replicating Von-Neumann machines will exist and Nanotechnology and antimatter drives will be a reality. So we are 100 years away from the start of our conquest of the universe.
Nuclear war implies M.A.D. (Mutually Assured Destruction) so war between two sides that possess nuclear weapons (assuming the sanity of both counterparts) will not happen. If we encounter alien life during our colonisation of the universe, we will cooperate will our alien friends instead going to war with them like what is portrayed in science fiction films and books. The way humans treat animals, enslaving them and killing them does not scale up to the way aliens will treat us, since mutual possession of nuclear weapons implies MAD.
We have not found any life on other planets which begs the question: Would alien life want to contact us? Since we possess nuclear weapons, perhaps they wouldn't want to contact us and make us aware of their location. In any case, it is hard for intelligent life to hide all evidence of its existence. For example television and radio broadcasts leak from our earth to the rest of space and it seems likely that a similar leak of information would be true for alien life. However it might be possible to encrypt data transmissions so that they resemble white noise and are therefore impossible to detect.
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