By Casey Kazan on December 30th, 2010 on dailygalaxy.com
Life as we know it is based on chemistry but what, asks Randy D. Allen of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Oklahoma State University, if life elsewhere is based, not on chemistry but on quantum mechanics?
"Our understanding of quantum mechanics is rudimentary, at best, yet we are on the verge of developing practical quantum computers that promise virtually unlimited computational power. It is conceivable that, in the billions of years since the Big Bang, other organisms evolved at some time and some place that have already mastered quantum mechanics. Let’s say that intelligent, social, organisms with chemically-based metabolism, fundamentally not unlike ourselves, evolved on a planet somewhere in the universe. Their unquenchable curiosity about the universe (or, like us, their unquenchable desire to exploit it) led them to develop efficient quantum computers. They realized that, with such computers, the whole of their existence could be computerized, all memories and life experiences, all emotions and motivations, could be transferred to a collective “quantum brain”. In effect, their 'species', though biologically extinct, could become immortal. No more inefficient metabolism requiring huge energy input, no chemically derived bodies to wear out, no reproduction, no death, no taxes. Just supermassively parallel collective consciousness with unlimited capabilities. Perhaps, through super symmetry or entanglement, they can 'see; or 'feel' the entire universe. Maybe, they’ve gained the ability to manipulate elementary particles and can control its evolution and its fate."
We can project that with no need to compete for resources, quantum beings would most likely be peaceful and only want the best for the Universe and its inhabitants. They could be aware of our existence, Allen says, but don’t care about us, much as we ignore most of the “lower” organisms that surround us. Alternatively, perhaps they have noted our biological, social and technological evolution and realize that we humans may well join their ranks someday and become quantum beings ourselves.
Several for the world's leading thinkers from believe that with the exponential increase in human knowledge that we are on track to have artificial intelligence exceed human potential by 2040 or sooner.The possibility of evolving a quantum consciousness of course, depends on numerous variables, and requires that we are not first exterminated by an asteroid impact, a nearby supernova, or gigantic volcanic eruptions, or our civilization is not decimated by global warfare over resource scarcity exacerbated by climate change.
Vernor Vinge, Hugo Award-winning author of A Fire Upon the Deep and Rainbows End,argues that exponential growth in technology will reach a point beyond which we cannot even speculate. "We are on the edge of change comparable to the rise of human life on Earth. Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence."