The future is worse than we could imagine
We don't know the horrors that awaiting us
Within half a century, the spacecraft Blue Space is stumbling across strange remnants of an extraterrestrial civilization. Strangely, these ruins exist, one more than in our familiar world in four dimensions. The crew stopped their spacecraft for curiosity and then went on a dangerous journey into greater space in order to explore it.
The ruins seem impenetrable in the beginning until a closer investigation shows a horrific truth. These are the graves of a dead species, and worse, the cosmos is falling apart. The four-dimensional bubble met by Blue Space shrinks falls into three dimensions.
As the broken wonders of the long-dead civilization reach the border of the bubble, you cannot exist in a lower realm. They are annihilated. Nothing survives till long; history has ended forever for a million years. Shaken, the Blue Space team resumes flying towards a hostile world farther in its direction.
In the final volume of Cixin Liu's Remembrance of the Earth's Past trilogy, Death's End is a grim tale. Technologically sophisticated civilizations have found how the rules of physics may be manipulated, leading to dreadful war arms. One of these weapons, a weapon that changes spatial dimensions, horrifiedly annihilated Blue Space's vanished civilization.
In the plot of the novel, the outcome possibilities are examined. Cixin Liu's ideas have garnered a lot of attention. His Dark Forest thesis is arguably the most recognized premise of his trilogy: that intelligent civilizations should dread each other and hide their presence. But another notion has deeper significance in his novels.
This is the notion that intellect formed the world, much as our own civilization shaped the Earth. He speculates that, when we gaze up at the night sky, we do not perceive a pure, unspoiled wilderness. Indeed, trillions of years of manipulation have been achieved; A large-scale artificial structure.
Would this be a serious idea? By looking into the night sky, astronomers strive to develop explanations for findings based on the known principles of physics. Most things, from supernovas to Black Holes, can be described by these means. But not all things have been explained thus far, it is true.
It is also true that our physical understanding remains imperfect. For instance, we do not have a comprehensive explanation of gravity, and our laws cannot explain a black hole interior. Greater knowledge of nature might help resolve some of the odd things we witness.
But some people appear to be explained more clearly by something different. Astronomers observed a century ago that galaxies do not rotate, as expected. To explain the difference, they added dark matter, a hypothesized yet undiscovered particle. Later, scientists discovered that the cosmos expands more quickly than predicted. The dark energies were developed to hide the gaps.
There seem to be more odd things. We saw stars somehow older than the cosmos itself. Explosions of super high-intensity light reverberate again without explanation from galaxy to galaxy. Our detectors have been hit by particles from outer space that move faster than should be conceivable. And odd patterns of light from distant stars, a fueling idea of sophisticated civilizations, were seen.
Most astronomers think that, if we can discover the principles behind them, physics will eventually explain all of these things. And it may be. And so. It was also shown that other riddles were relatively universal once the law of physics was established.
Physicists commonly return to the idea that extraordinary claims need outstanding proof. It is logical that the simplest answer we can discern is that without intelligent interference, things have developed. In the lack of proof otherwise, even when our present laws are short, scientists fail to provide this explanation.
This is essentially a kind of caution. We do not know the entire extent of physical rules and we do not understand all the many ways they might be manifested. We have no notion what the boundaries of what is possible without a comprehensive understanding of nature. Maybe we never really know what it's.
That means that we don't know all that nature can do. This is why things like dark matter and dark energy are allowed to be invented. They bridge a gap in the ideas and enable research to clarify potential explanations. But we do not know what sophisticated civilization would be able to achieve, because we do not know the limitations of knowledge and consequently of engineering and technique.
We prefer to assume we do, though, for some reason. Future forecasts inevitably conceive of a world based on familiar, albeit larger and stronger technology. We also use such thoughts as the examples of SETI reveal, to imagine hypothetical extraterrestrial intelligence.
Researchers have scanned the skies for decades for inexplicable radio transmissions from the stars. At first glance, this is not unreasonable. Our first long-distance communication form was radio waves. The Earth can be circled in seconds, the solar system may be crossed in days or the closest stars in years. Radio might be the way humans wish to speak to aliens.
The results were deceptive. Signal-seeking astronomers began with optimism. The world should be ordinary in life, they reasoned. But the longer the quiet lasts, the greater isolation we sense. Many people interpret this as proof that we are alone, in our own galaxy at least.
Silence is explained in a different way. The primitive, wastes, technology is radio communications. A century after initially learning the method, we started to move into better approaches. We shoot laser beams down fiber optical cables instead of radio transmissions. Spacecraft are about to bounce lasers around the Solar system and send terabytes that can handle radios only by kilobytes
Technology has thus advanced. And while we cannot rest certain of the technical developments of alien civilizations, it is a good bet to learn the laws of physics in a manner like ours. Civilizations presumably go through a short radio era before shifting, as we are, to more advanced means.
If so, the quest for radio signals has arrived empty hands, then it's no surprise. The astronomers who were hunting for foreigners were wrong – they believed the future looked like the present. They mistakenly assumed that alien civilizations, maybe more sophisticated hundreds or millions of years than us, we're using a technology that we had evolved before we mooned.
Earth astronomers look for smoke signals in the skies as invisible radio waves fly by, more like ancient tribes on the ocean island. The error has been repeatedly reported. Astronomers have lately screened neighboring galaxies for indications of the spheres of Dyson — hypotheses that wrap the stars with solar panels for maximum energy extraction. They did not find any indications you ever constructed.
The future is not as it is now. Any society capable of building a Dyson sphere has without a doubt more sophisticated means of generating energy. Astronomers who seek for them make the same error the Victorians did since they believed the future will bring ever-larger boats
The main mistake in future provision is the assumption that things are continuously and linearly going forward. Every year, things improve a little and become a bit more efficient. But that doesn't take into account the second advancement of science and technology. Breakthrough discoveries swiftly change paradigms and whole new ways of doing things. unexpectedly.
Two instances of this are relativity and quantum physics. Even a decade before their discovery, they would have been unthinkable. Other contemporary developments such as the Internet or widespread computers had been unexpected a century ago. It is stupid to believe that what will happen in the 22nd or 32nd centuries.
Advanced civilizations in Cixin Liu's novel learn how physics rules are manipulated. They utilize this information to create not just awful weapons like the size of a Blue Space that collapses, but protective buildings that eventually play a major part in the novel.
Thus, these civilizations are progressively shaping the universe's nature. When mankind walks outside the boundaries of the solar system, they discover a galaxy far from its original natural state. Can this notion apply to the true universe as well?
We don't know, in short. What entire rules of physics allow, we don't know. It may be difficult to diminish the dimension of weapons like Liu, outside the domain of reality, or it may only remain a hundred years into our future, allowing for some uncovered nature theory. Even if it is not feasible, other things are sure, so far unimagined.
It is practically useless to seek alien intelligence empty hands to date. It only implies we looked for the wrong indications. In fact, the correct indications can only be plain before our noses if we can interpret them alone.
This means that Liu's second conclusion cannot be discounted: that the cosmos is a hazardous place, perhaps hostile to human existence. It's a hazardous game to call attention to ourselves in a cosmos fashioned by intelligence, loaded with weapons more horrible than we can conceive.
Humanity must be not haughty, and the delicate grasp of life must not be forgotten. We should carefully evaluate proposals to transmit strong signals to the stars, and not diminish the notions of extraterrestrial understanding underlying phenomena we cannot explain. There is no recognized danger, yet it is potentially catastrophic.
If we don't care, then mankind can be nothing more than a bug that awaits the first powerful creature to come and pull us apart.