To self-actualize the Universe we need to have forms of thinking matter that are extremely stable because the processes involved will take tens or perhaps hundreds of billions (1tic11) of years to carry out that mission. Our present organic thinking brains need constant retraining and are physically unstable, and their maximum usage life is approximately one hundred (1tic2) years. (1tic11 – 1tic2 = 1tic 9. Or 1 with 9 zeros after it times longer than humans live.)
Organic life has evolved from simpler quasi-life forms in part because the carbon atom and its molecules have the ability to self-assemble into more complex forms. They were stable enough to evolve to more complex forms via reproduction of what survived in their local environment. Atoms other than carbon can self-assemble into large and complex crystals, but they are more limited in the physical forms they can take compared to those available to carbon. Carbon easily mutates from one form to another which is okay for organic evolution but for our goal, super stable forms are needed. Some of these other atoms may be limited in the forms that they can take but once they are formed they are stable. For example, zircon crystals are used for age dating early Earth geological forms because they behave in stable ways for billions (1tic9) of years.
If we are to make a thinking being (machine) that can endure for billions of years it will need to be made with these more stable atoms and molecular forms. At present we can manufacture thinking chips at sizes approaching atomic levels but it requires expensive and sophisticated factories to do these things. What we need to devise are ways that at least some of these processes can be done on the nanoscale by atoms themselves. This is already done by carbon-based systems but humans may be able to intervene, as natural organic evolution can not, and create the nanotools that do these assemblies one atom at a time.
Some things cannot be evolved because evolution requires functioning steps in between functioning organic beings. Humans and goal-directed robotic devices can make things that don’t have intervening functional steps. They make the thing they want to exist as a goal-directed activity. A pocket watch found on a beach may be a much simpler thing than an amoeba found beside it but the watch cannot evolve from simple matter because it can have no functioning intervening steps, at least not without human intervention.
A key step that needs to be created by humans, probably with computer aid, is the nanomachine that can make various nanomachine parts. Once a nanoassembly process can be made functional and self-sustaining, it should be possible to make everything that will be needed. That would include being able to make machines like themselves and thus to generate a logarithmic increase of themselves. Like Bill Joy’s grey goo, but not as scary. With an abundance of these generalized manufacturing machines, anything could be made if they were provided with the needed supplies and energy.
We are on the cusp of being able to do these things and thus to begin the process of self-actualizing the whole Universe.