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Thursday, 23 May 2013 10:56

Floating space brains do not outnumber humans

Written by Nick Farrell



Thank goodness for that

Humanity’s leading boffins have calculated that humanity has nothing to fear from floating space brains. According to the New Scientist there are physicists who claim that there is good evidence that a legion of floating space brains are not spontaneously bursting into existence throughout the universe.

Well you might have expected that really, but for nearly a decade there has been a theory that Boltzmann brains might actually exist. The theory is not so farfetched if you think that space is pretty big and that given a suitably dramatic timescale, energy and matter, it's possible that a consciousness could form together into a working mind. Since the latest working theory by scientists is that consciousness is an illusion created by the interaction of a vast number of simple 'actors'. A Boltzmann brain is something that might be possible in space - without the need for a planet, body or any other physical host.

futurama fry brainspawn

One boffin was so convinced in the idea of Boltzmann brains, which he thought were more likely than human ones. But the downside of the theory is that if the universe really is that big, and Boltzmann brains are real then they should be forming at a faster rate than humans.

And that if Boltzmann brains outnumber humans, then theories of space and time will be compromised because we are no longer be 'typical' observers – it will be the brains’ job as they are more likely to see the universe from a correct perspective. According to New Scientist, new understandings of string theory and the theory of multiple universes might just save us from space brains.

Physicists Claire Zukowski and Raphael Buosso at Berkely say that the key to this balance is whether or not universes expand forever and linger - full of Boltzmann brains - for much longer than creatures like humans would be able to survive. However using two models of the universe it now seems less likely that reality as we know it is dominated by space superbrains. So now you can all get some sleep knowing that you are still the best observers of the universe that we know of.

 

Nick Farrell

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