Dyson's eternal intelligence

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Dyson's eternal intelligence concept (the Dyson Scenario), proposed by Freeman Dyson in 1979, proposes a means by which an immortal society of intelligent beings in an open universe may escape the prospect of heat death by extending subjective time to infinity even though expending only a finite amount of energy.

Bremermann's limit can be invoked to deduce that the amount of time to perform a computation on 1 bit is inversely proportional to the change in energy in the system. As a result, the amount of computations that can be performed grows logarithmically over time. Therefore, any arbitrary amount of computation can be performed in a finite, albeit exponentially growing, time span.

The intelligent beings would begin by storing a finite amount of energy. They then use half (or any fraction) of this energy to power their thought. When the energy gradient created by unleashing this fraction of the stored fuel was exhausted, the beings would enter a state of zero-energy-consumption until the universe cooled. Once the universe had cooled sufficiently, half of the remaining half (one quarter of the original energy) of the intelligent beings' fuel reserves would once again be released, powering a brief period of thought once more. This would continue, with smaller and smaller amounts of energy being released. As the universe cooled, the thoughts would be slower and slower, but there would still be an infinite number of them.[1]

In 1998 it was discovered that the expansion of the universe appears to be accelerating rather than decelerating due to a positive cosmological constant, implying that any two regions of the universe will eventually become permanently separated from one another.

Frank J. Tipler has cited Dyson's writings, and specifically his writings on the eternal intelligence, as a major influence on his own highly controversial Omega Point theory.[2] Tipler's theory differs from Dyson's theory on several key points, most notable of which is that Dyson's eternal intelligence presupposes an open universe while Tipler's Omega Point presupposes a closed/ contracting universe. Both theories will be invalidated if the observed universal expansion continues to accelerate.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Freeman J. Dyson, "Time without end: Physics and biology in an open universe," Reviews of Modern Physics, Vol. 51, Issue 3 (July 1979), pp. 447-460; doi:10.1103/RevModPhys.51.447. See also here and here.Freeman Dyson, Disturbing the Universe, 1979, ISBN 0-06-011108-9.
  2. ^ Audio interview with Frank Tipler- White Gardenia interview with Frank Tipler, December 2015 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMkp1kZN5n4&t=26s
  3. ^ Q&A with Frank Tipler http://turingchurch.com/2012/09/26/interview-with-frank-j-tipler-nov-2002/