Is Intelligence The Definition Of Quantum Life? … Spatial Consequences…


Obviously… As humanity gets beaten up by COVID 19, one may want to ponder how clever life is. Is COVID 19 a clever answer? To a question which was not asked enough? Do you, humanity, have enough decency to be clever enough to survive? What about space? How does life survives that? OK, it’s not exactly booming in Antarctica’s Dry Valleys. 

There are two aspects, contradicting each other, one disfavorable to life, the other favorable, which may not have been given enough weight in evaluating Advanced Intelligence in space. First the situation of Earth is special, very stable, in part from having a large Moon (compare with Mars’ wild rotation axis tumbling, with super winters, and super summers). Plus, the solar system is historically stable: no supernova exploded real close in the last 4 billion years. Many are the disasters possible, out there in space.

Disaster land: Scott, who discovered them, called Antarctica Dry Valleys the “valleys of death”. Katabatic winds regularly reach 300 kilometers per hour, and more, all the way down them… This is only 1,300 kilometers from the South Pole…

Red Dwarves, which are both most frequent and most unstable, are a case in point, with huge flares, Coronal Mass Ejections. They may be OK for human colonization, but biological evolution to multicellular level, is something else.


However, and in the other direction, it is likely that biological evolution is in great part a Quantum Process. Basically, to put it bluntly, the Quantum is intelligent (think about the interference pattern from the double slit: how does the photon know where to go? More prosaically, electrons find, Quantum Mechanically, the lowest energy solutions, as if they were little sorcerers: if that’s not clever, what is? This is used crucially in life forms extracting energy from the sun).

The delicate architecture of DNA is Quantum-sensitive to environmental conditions: if things change inside a cell, DNA can change in a selection-of-the fittest DNA. A process quicker than the selection of the fittest species, and which will appear as clever telenomic adaptation harnessing necessity beyond chance. 

So Quantum biology may be clever enough to survive in conditions which look impossible to us… Or even to be created in impossible conditions (think Red Dwarves).

The most sinister interpretation of the Fermi Paradox is not that civilizations don’t last. It is that they are in hiding, because it’s a jungle out there. That’s the Dark Forest theme found in many science fiction novels. Exploring Earth, Mars, Europa, Enceladus, and the closest star systems, should throw light on the subject. It’s possible that life is stuck at a very primitive level, all over. Indeed we don’t know how life evolved on Earth, thus, how likely the different steps… Quantum Computers should help with lowest energy solutions to find those probabilities…

The Antarctic Dry Valleys are basically deprived of life. However, there is some.

Researchers have discovered that Antarctica Dry Valleys are home to a variety of extremophiles (organisms that live in extreme environments). Among them are lichen and mosses, communities of microbes (including cyanobacteria), and nematodes (microscopic worms). Researchers continue to find and study these and other organisms and their adaptations, which allow them to survive in one of the most punishing environments on the planet. A natural question is: how well would they do on Mars? For that matter, is there life on the summit of Mount Everest? Everest has bare rock expanses, not far from the summit, in conditions reminiscent of the Dry Valleys. Now, of course the highest atmospheric pressure on Mars corresponds to 28,000 meters on Earth… (it’s at the lowest point of Mars geoid, 8,200 meters below it… A more subtle observation is that they may not have had enough space and time, and stable enough an environment to evolve…

Life is smart. Maybe that’s its definition. How smart? Our own expansion away from Earth will help us figure it out…

Patrice Ayme

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8 Responses to “Is Intelligence The Definition Of Quantum Life? … Spatial Consequences…”

  1. Paul Handover Says:

    Another fascinating article, Patrice. However, I may have found a typo: “Everest has bare rock expenses ….”. Shouldn’t that be “Everest has bare rock expanses…”.


  2. Gmax Says:

    Reading this. I can understand you don’t want to write about politics. Intelligence the definition of life? That’s so deep, thanks!


  3. pshakkottai Says:

    Crows and parrots have very smart bird brains even though they are quite small too. Any explanations?


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