Sorry Stephen Hawking, I sorta disagree on the alien thing…
Well kind of. I mean Stephen Hawking is a bona fide genius, and he’s absolutely right – if aliens ever did show up on Earth, they’d probably want to rape and pillage us. I just don’t think they’re ever going to show – I’ve got a little bit of a different theory that occurred to me the other day: We’re never going to have actual physical contact with aliens – we’re just gonna be hanging out with them on the internet – and I think it could happen really soon.
According to Einstein and a bunch of other smart people, light is the interstellar speed limit – and the universe is really effing big. We happen to be made of matter, just like any other life forms out there, so it’s very unlikely that hyperspace travel or any one of those convenient sci-fi concepts is ever gonna exist – getting our matter somewhere else in the universe quickly could take a really long time to figure out, if it’s possible at all.
However, light speed doesn’t necessarily apply on the subatomic level – they’ve done experiments where electrons seem to be affecting each other instantaneously over long distances. Theres’s a lot of debate on this one, and there’s this whole causality issue that fucks it up, but I think it’s totally legitimate to think that we may eventually discover that there is a sub-matter level where we can get an electron or quark or something in one corner of the universe to pop up in another. And it sure sounds a lot easier than trying to get an entire human being to do the same thing.
But just doing that is a lot more useful than you might think. If we can tell a particle to go somewhere instantaneously, we can use it to transmit information. Three quarks flavored up + three quarks flavored down + another three up = SOS in morse code!
Then it’s just a hop skip and a jump to binary code and hexadecimals and computer code and within a few short years you could probably get 3G service on the other side of the Milky Way!
If we can figure out how to blast a message using a string of subatomic particles, we can start shouting, “Hey, is anybody out there!?”, and it wouldn’t take a million years for anyone to hear. If there is intelligent life in the universe, and they can read this kind of thing, they might actually answer. Plus, intelligible communication is not as far fetched as one might think – binary code is sorta hardwired into the universe.
So in my opinion, humans will be g-chatting aliens before they get to reach out and touch one. But that’s ok, cause that’s where virtual reality would come in… once we set up lines of communication with other planets, we’d probably set up virtual worlds so we could interact with them. Who wouldn’t want to hang out in the virtual version of planet 123221!
Think of the possibilities! An interstellar market for information! Virtual football against little green men! An entirely limitless market for Hannah Montana songs! And all without the pesky threat of physical violence.
We might even get a new Disney ride with little men singing “It’s a small universe after all”.
And you know what… screw that! What if someone out there has already figured this out? How do we know that there aren’t subatomic radio shows broadcasting all the time? Maybe we oughta start looking for messages in all those random particles that have been bombarding us for years…
It sure would be nice if they spelled out a a starter kit for interplanetary DSL.