A novel method of faster than light communication

by @edent | , , , , | 4 comments | 850 words | Read ~3,169 times.

The speed of light is a universal constant. This "speed limit" is fundamental to everything we understand about physics. Information - when propagated via the electromagnetic spectrum - cannot travel faster than 0.3 Gigametres per second. There is no argument here. Every experiment conducted by our top scientists has confirmed it. There are no "warp drives" and no "worm-holes" and "quantum entanglement" is a bust. Simply put, information cannot travel faster than light.

At least, that's what we all thought

Our advanced research lab have devised a testable hypothesis which they think will demonstrate how this can be violated. What is needed is a set of objects which change state immediately. When something happens to Object A, there is an instantaneous change in Object B. No matter how far apart, A⇒B is reliably instant.

To that end, we're raising funds to put our experiment into practice. We are going to send a team of scientists to the planet Mars. At its furthest, light takes 22 minutes to travel to the red planet. We will enact an action on A, and receive notification from Mars that they have noticed the effect on B. If the notification arrives in less time than it takes for light to make a round-trip from Earth to Mars (44 minutes) we will know that we have conveyed information faster than light.

Le mort saisit le vif

Let "Object A" be the current ruling Monarch. And let "Object B" be the next in line to the throne.

As per the Divine Right of Kings (James VI, 1598), accession to the monarchy is instantaneous. Often quoted in the pithy phrase "The King Is Dead - Long Live The King!" The moment that the old King dies, their heir becomes the new King.

Our plan is to send the current heir to Mars - along with a team of top scientists and theologians. The heir will be constantly monitored to ascertain the very moment they become our new King. When their supremacy is detected, the scientists will radio back to planet Earth. Approximately 20 minutes later, they should receive notification from us that the heir is now the King.

We do not need to engage in regicide, thankfully; the abdication of the ruling monarch also immediately triggers succession.

Towards a general theory of monarchy-based communication

There are several practical limitations with this approach.

Firstly, communication is uni-directional.

This is relatively easy to solve. A⇒B⇒C where A is the Monarch (remaining on Earth), B is A's heir (sent to Mars), and C is B's heir (remaining on Earth).

With a long enough line of succession, we could transfer individual bits back and forth between planets.

If we manage to solve the above problem, this would only provide for a bi-directional communications link.

If it is possible to detect the change in status of heirn+1 - that is, the heir's heir's heir - we may be able to distribute the Royal family across the Interstellar Empire. With a sufficiently large family of heirs, and precise enough equipment to detect each heir's position in the chain of succession, we would be able to communicate simultaneously across multiple planets.

Error detection will be a problem. Unfortunately, Monarchs sometimes die. Sometimes they are forced to abdicate. This means that an unintended communication may be transmitted.

Finally, we are only able to communicate a single bit of information. In order to make this a useful communications link, some pre-arranged codes will need to devised.

For example, the triggering of the Monarch protocol could be a signal that the home-world is under attack.

A more complicated protocol could involve, for example, days of the week. If the bit is transmitted on Monday, it means X. Transmitted on a Tuesday means Y. Etc. This would require precise time-keeping at both ends - something not always possible with relativistic travel between worlds.

Assuming that a planet had multiple heirs - e.g. heir1, 3, 5, 7, 9, … - they may be able to send a complex message by choosing which heirs renounce their position. Note that a lower number heir abdicating would automatically remove their descendents from eligibility to the throne.

We are confident that all these problems can be addressed - given enough time and funding

Back our Kickstarter!

Elon Musk has generously agreed to allow us the use of a SpaceX rocket at cost. We need your help to raise enough money to send our scientists, theologians, heirs, and equipment to the Martian base.

Every Kickstarter backer will earn their place in history by helping to create superluminal communications. We can only do this if we all work together.

And, if you're a member of a Royal family - please get in touch!

4 thoughts on “A novel method of faster than light communication

  1. himal says:

    A long time back when I was in the goth/alternative scene, I would spend all night in nonsense debates with dubious but clever characters. This was something we collectively termed “metabollocks.” You sir have just won at metabollocks

  2. Anonymous says:

    The sci-fi thread you forgot is very likely https://twitter.com/qntm/status/1167207717150347266

    1. @edent says:

      Which, in turn, leads me to this quote from Terry Pratchett's "Mort":

      Practically anything can go faster than Disc light, which is lazy and tame, unlike ordinary light. The only thing known to go faster than ordinary light is monarchy, according to the philosopher Ly Tin Wheedle. He reasoned like this: you can’t have more than one king, and tradition demands that there is no gap between kings, so when a king dies the succession must therefore pass to the heir instantaneously. Presumably, he said, there must be some elementary particles—kingons, or possibly queons—that do this job, but of course succession sometimes fails if, in mid-flight, they strike an anti-particle, or republicon. His ambitious plans to use his discovery to send messages, involving the careful torturing of a small king in order to modulate the signal, were never fully expounded because, at that point, the bar closed.

  3. Pavel says:

    Is it possible for circular inheritance? Can a mother be next in the chain of succession after her son? If so, messages can be sent relatively efficiently by timing abdications of the sender, with the receiver's abdications acting as either "ACK" signals, or by multiplexing messages in both directions, with immediate abdication acting as an "END OF MESSAGE"/"NO CURRENT MESSAGE FOLLOWS" bit.

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