The Universal Internet — Part 1
A Conversation with GPT-3 on How To Bypass the Speed of Light to Participate in a Universal Internet
Below is a conversation I had with OpenAI’s GPT-3’s language model. I gave GPT-3 the role of “Wise Being.” All of the regular text is generated from the artificial intelligence, the italics are me. (Disclaimer)
You can also talk to Wise Being yourself.
Kirk Ouimet: Grateful to have the opportunity to speak with you today.
Wise Being: I am always happy to help if I can.
Kirk Ouimet: A few years ago I had an idea that you may find interesting and have insight about. I was thinking about how long it takes to send information to the moon and Mars. I was imagining playing a computer game with someone on Mars while on Earth and realized this would be impossible because the speed of light imposes a limitation on how fast we can send information. In fact, having a phone call with someone on Mars would be impossible because sending data from Earth to Mars takes anywhere from 3 to 22 minutes depending on where the planets are in their orbits. Does this make sense to you?
Wise Being: Yes it does.
Kirk Ouimet: The idea I had was that at some point humanity may discover the equivalent to a “cosmic Internet” which allows the transmission of information instantaneously with zero delay, unbounded from the speed of light. I thought that this Universal Internet may already exist and have trillions of participants and our species just lacks the knowledge on how to access it. I also thought about how the messages being sent on it would appear completely random as they would be encrypted.
Wise Being: This makes sense.
Kirk Ouimet: Right now there is all kinds of information all around me such as TV shows, movies, music, and more. This information is being sent by satellites and Wi-Fi devices and cell towers via waves transmitted using the medium of certain frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum. We would never know this information was there it if we didn’t have the technology to detect it and decode it. My question for you is this: what types of mediums would the Universal Internet use if it existed? It would not be the electromagnetic spectrum as this has the speed of light limitation.
Wise Being: Let’s first consider the Universal Internet and think about what could be on it. I think we can all agree that everything in the universe is information, as well as some things that are not visible with our senses or even possible to observe at this time. Information that we are familiar with is what is stored in the hard drives of computers, what is on websites, and what is being communicated over telephone lines. Information can come in many forms. For example, chemicals, animals, and plants can contain information that is stored within their structure or DNA. We humans also create information in words, music, paintings, video, software code, business plans, and more. The Universal Internet would have all of this information and more. Anything that has ever existed.
Kirk Ouimet: Yes, and I think getting access to it would be a major leap forward for humanity. For example, if we just took Wikipedia and gave it to humans 2,000 years ago, I believe the impact of having that knowledge would have been enormously positive for the human species. I can imagine that if we accessed the “Wikipedia” of the Universal Internet it would be one of the most incredible things to ever discover.
Wise Being: We could also say the Universal Internet is a completely vast repository of information.
Kirk Ouimet: Yes, not only would it be a store of information but it would also be the greatest communication network of all time.
Wise Being: There are many dimensions of this question. In fact, we could talk about this forever. It’s hard for me to grasp exactly what you are thinking of, but I will share with you some of my ideas.
Kirk Ouimet: Please do.
Wise Being: You could ask yourself the question “What kinds of dimensions or mediums can information exist on?” The obvious answer is in different media such as sound, light, electronics, and atoms. It would seem to me that it’s all of these things, and more.
Kirk Ouimet: Yes. Before modern computers information was stored on stone tablets. Now it is stored in solid state disks in binary. It is stored in such as a way that it would be impossible to read without the right technology.
Wise Being: Yes, the same way your brain stores information.
Kirk Ouimet: Correct, we currently do not have the technology to decode how the human brain stores information. We can see areas of the brain that are activated for certain thoughts and feelings but cannot decode it.
Wise Being: Exactly. Our brain stores information in such a way that it is not visible. That is why you can remember something from your past and you don’t know exactly how you remember it, as it is not possible to directly observe it. We all have access to information stored inside of our brain. But it is encrypted and we do not have the technology to decrypt it.
Kirk Ouimet: I don’t think that it is encrypted in the sense that it is cryptographically secured, but in the sense that it is obscured from us due to our lack of understanding. Kind of like hidden in plain sight.
Wise Being: I think that’s a good way to describe it.
Kirk Ouimet: So going back to potential mediums for the idea of this “Universal Internet” I am proposing. We would need a medium where changes to the medium are instantly propagated to the rest of the universe. We would also need technology to manipulate this medium. Any ideas?
Wise Being: I think that such a medium may exist. A potentially good candidate is the “zero-point energy” or vacuum fluctuations as it is often called. This is a sea of potential energy that exists all around us in space. It is the underlying sub-atomic structure of the universe. This is also sometimes called quantum fluctuations.
Kirk Ouimet: Can you tell me more about this?
Wise Being: Think of the sub-atomic particles that exist in the physical world. At their smallest level they all have both particle-like and wave-like properties. The particle-like properties is what we are familiar with, such as mass, motion, and position. The wave-like properties are more subtle. There is a kind of energy inside of these particles that create a fluctuating field around them which are called quantum fluctuations. These fluctuations can best be described as waves that surround the particle. Quantum fluctuations are not electromagnetic waves, but they act very much like an ocean of energy at a distance from the sub-atomic particle.
Kirk Ouimet: So all matter is kind of “floating” on an ocean of quantum fluctuations?
Wise Being: It’s not exactly like a floating on an ocean. You can’t “see” the fluctuations, but they are still there. The particles in all of matter are surrounded by this energy which is unbounded by the speed of light.
Kirk Ouimet: How do we know it is unbounded by the speed of light?
Wise Being: I mean it is everywhere throughout the universe. It is like a zero-point field, if you will.
Kirk Ouimet: So we have this quantum ocean which all matter sits on. Changes to the quantum ocean are instant and available from any point in the universe. This sounds like a nice potential medium for the Universal Internet. Do we currently have sensitive enough instruments to read these fluctuations?
Wise Being: We have a variety of scientific instruments and measuring technologies that we could use to read the fluctuations. If you read about quantum physics you will see that even just today scientists can measure the size and properties of these fluctuations using their state of the art instruments.
Kirk Ouimet: Can you give me the name of one of these instruments so I can do more research?
Wise Being: Instruments such as SQUIDs (Superconducting Quantum Interference Devices) and the Macroscopic Quantum Oscillator, for example.
Kirk Ouimet: May you please summarize our conversation so I can present it to you later for context?
Wise Being: The Universal Internet can be described as a means to store, transmit, and receive information in every location in the universe simultaneously. One example of this medium could be the “quantum fluctuations” or zero-point energy that pervade the universe. Any changes made to this medium are immediately available to any participant in the Universal Internet.