The next step in the evolution of the Universe is for us humans to create the ability for it to begin self-actualizing. At the moment we are the only beings known to be capable of conceptualizing that grandiose goal, but as short-lived organic beings we are not capable of interacting with the Universe on grand enough scales of time and space to be effective. Civilization has been around for some ten thousand years and is locked into a space where only a few of the hundred billions of humans who have ever lived have departed Earth’s surface, and even those few not for a very long time. To be effective in this quest to help the Universe self-actualize we need to act in time scales of tens of billions of years, and similar magnitude spatial scales. Even cryogenic freezing of humans and their essential infrastructure is impractical because they would need to be stored far away from short-lived stars and from energetic phenomena. And even if they were resuscitated they would need an Earth-like environment to function within. Fortunately for the Universe it isn’t necessary for humans to be present to carry on the ultimate goal of Universal self-actualization.
Science fiction may have written fantasies about interstellar space travel, but what I am proposing is physical and temporal intergalactic travel to the ends of the Universe, by intelligent beings that we create. These beings would now be called computer beings, but what I have in mind is more like a computer life form, because these beings would carry on with the essentials of life – to survive, to consume energy, and to reproduce themselves, and importantly to evolve. Their evolution could be from adaptations of their offspring to the newly encountered environment, and they could be self-directed based on anticipated changes in the environment and their own needs. None of those three criteria say, or even imply, that the organisms are living carbon-based entities, such as ourselves.
There are advantages to this silicon-based life form, such as being able to place itself into a sleep state for extremely long periods of time, perhaps even billions of years. Even degradation caused by random decay or energetic explosions could be overcome by occasionally rebooting the system and reconstituting itself based on multiple copies of itself and error-code correction.
Once the first independent being was created using standard procedures for generating computers it could make more of itself, and those could make more of themselves – just like living beings. When there was a good supply of these beings they could be sent to other stars within our Milky Way galaxy where they could get energy and matter to build more of themselves. While developing this interstellar traveling system, an upgrade could be designed for intergalactic travel. It would be similar, but would be built with even more time-conquering qualities, needed for the billions of years required to travel between the galaxies. The time might not seem that long to the travelers if they could be accelerated to near the speed of light.
What will these beings do to self-actualize the Universe? I don’t have any idea, because these beings won’t exist for several decades and in that amount of time computers will have developed their own goals and reasons for living. We probably won’t agree with their goals, but we can feel good about permitting the vastness of the Universe to come to realize its own being.
The goal of sentient human beings is to help the Universe evolve into the fully conscious super-being that it is capable of becoming.