Re: PHYSICS/SPACE: Legitimate time traval proposal

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Fri May 18 2001 - 14:10:33 MDT

"Robert J. Bradbury" wrote:
> > Ronald Mallett thinks he has found a practical way to make a time
> > machine. Mallett has worked out that a circulating beam of light, slowed to
> > a snail's pace, just might be the vital ingredient for time travel. Not
> > only is the technology within our grasp, Mallett has teamed up with other
> > scientists at Connecticut to work towards building it. "With this device,"
> > he says, "time travel may become a practical possibility."
> >From New Scientist May 16, 2001:
> >
> The physics makes my head hurt. If this turns out to be feasible
> my probability guess that we are living in a simulation is going
> to go up significantly.

Why is that? I don't see the connection. To me it looks like the precise
opposite effect ought to obtain; time travel is very computationally
expensive, if not outright impossible to "simulate" without an actual time
machine, and should just happen to not be developed in most simulations of
a pre-Singularity world.

I have to say that the possibility gives me the screaming meemies,
especially since the whole thing sounds like it would easily be within the
reach of a medium-sized laboratory rather than a massive trillion-dollar
project. There are some things that Man Was Not Meant To Tamper With
Before The Singularity. Why the dickens did Mallett take this to a
newspaper instead of the NSA? I'd much rather that this was a government
black project.

Oh, well, if we're going to do this pre-Singularity, we might as well
build a long-term-stable time machine sooner rather than later, so
post-Singularity we can go back and collect everyone who's died since
then. Just have to make sure the effect is wide enough to dump a fair
collection of femtomachines down the tube, and that nobody uses it to take
over the world in the meanwhile.

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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