If you care to see the best possible secular future, you can piece it together out of these, and take a look at the sponsor too, curious.
But, of all the secular futurists, Frank Tipler stands out, and, incidentally, he and I had the same advisor in graduate school. His vision is the most radical, and, yet, it is only a logical extension of that of his futurist colleagues. He is also the leading expert on Anthropics.
If you follow the anthropic argument to its logical conclusion, you will actually end up in the Aquarium. Frank did not quite manage to take the last couple of steps, or he just did not put 2 and 2 together.
The strong Anthropic principle, as he defines it, states that observers are a necessary aspect of any actual universe. Consider this rationale, which is my own adaptation:
It comes down to the quantum measurement problem. No event is a real event, unless it is observed. Observed by what? There must at least be a record of it. But can this record be temporary? If it is merely temporary, who is to say that it ever existed, when it no longer exists? All physical records are necessarily temporary, because they will eventually be destroyed by entropy. There has to be an external, eternal observer, which is non-physical by definition. In as much as we are aspects or reflections of the cosmic mind, we are that. A major bit of evidence is the lack of any physical explanation for the endurance and accessibility of our seemingly limitless, long-term memories, but we needn't dwell on that just now.
All existence has the teleological imperative to be observed. This should be viewed as a corollary of relationalism. At the Alpha beginning of the universe we have the fine-tuning of the physics. At the Omega end we have the universe being uniformly populated by technologically enhanced observers. Everything of significance is recorded in the cosmic computer which experiences an infinite subjective existence. In fact all of us are 'resurrected' [sic] in the guts of that machine. That is the silicon version of the eschatology of the prophetic tradition, as Frank is anxious to point out.
[7/26 -- Note that just now we have switched back to Frank's merely physical, computer simulated observers.]
In fact, we have no way of knowing whether this now is a real existence, or merely one of those simulated existences. And with only a modicum of reprogramming we could ensure ourselves of the Best Possible (simulated) World.
But then why do we have to bother with all that silicon? Once we realize that the mind-matter balance can tip either way, there is very little need for Frank's materialist story line. In a relational, idealist world, and what other kind can there be, cosmic coherence comes for free. The necessary eternal Self has only to manage to pour its subjective essence into its creaturely reflections. It is no mean feat, but it needs to happen only once in eternity.
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