Exceeding the Cosmos
--- ideas for entering, occupying and
leaving the visible universe
Hans Moravec
The Robotics Institute
Carnegie-Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
(412) 268-3829
July 28, 1988 outline
( topics from a twilight zone between science and science fiction ---
things mind children might want to do that Harvard doesn't publish! )
\item[\bf Space Bridges --- ]
Orbital skyhooks and other large dynamic structures that are to
rockets as bridges are to ferry boats.
\item[\bf Long Distance --- ]
Starship designs - antimatter, Bussard ramjet, beam driven,
slingshot. Bootstrapping by sending a minimal physical package
to the destination, setting up operations there using local
materials and vast information beamed from source location.
\item[\bf Fractal Robotology --- ]
Some insights into the physical and mathematical properties
of ultra-dexterous bush-robots. Fractal dimension, the
interdependence of branching factor and scale factor, and
the dexterity and strength implications of various ratios.
Physical opportunities and limits at both the small and large
extremes of finger size.
\item[\bf Super Matter --- ]
Tricks with superdensity -- millionfold speedups in computation,
thousandfold increases in strength, trillionfold increases in
temperature.
\item[\bf Cosmic Ultracomputers --- ]
Galactic scale engineering plans for computation. Self-reproducing
problem solvers, information storage using the time-compression,
effects of black holes. Ultradense computers and star-spanning
robots.
\item[\bf Imaginary Time --- ]
Unusual space and time travel opportunities, and engineering
consequences for computers, in a universe where the underlying
time axis is (mathematically) imaginary. This is the world that
a formal application of the equations of special relativity
assigns to the rest frame of a tachyon, a hypothetical particle
that travels faster than light. In the tachyon's frame time acts
exactly like any of the space dimensions, and may be freely
interchanged with them by the simple act of acceleration. Any
point in spacetime can be visited. This speculation is made more
relevant by Hawking's use of imaginary time as the underlying
reality in his most recent marriage of general relativity and
quantum mechanics to explain the evolution of the universe. In
Hawking's theory the real time we experience is the consequence
of an arbitrary co-ordinate system that has somehow been imposed
on this foundation.
\item[\bf Excavating Reality --- ]
Metaphorical explorations of the consequences of different
underlying realities, from mathematically abstract computer
simulations to very physical models such as the Fourier world.
New mathematical underpinnings and physical consequences for
the Fourier model. The possibility of using quantum superposition
to simultaneously examine an infinity of possibilities,
and so solve problems that are insoluble under the assumptions
of finiteness made in G\:{}odel's incompleteness theorem
and Turing's halting problem.
and any other neat ideas that come to mind as I muse on the above.
Each chapter will focus on original ideas and extrapolations. Past
work by others will be presented only in summary, with references.
The attached essays are for illustration only. I expect to spend
time developing each idea quite far mathematically, with the goal
of obtaining credible numerical limits on size, speed, time,
probability and so on.
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