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Let's assume that, in the future, we are able to transfer our consciousness into a sort of virtual world (like in The Matrix). Now let's go one step further, and say that we have the ability to do this wirelessly. This means that as long as we have a way to send and receive these signals, our consciousness could be anywhere. Possibly even across planets.

Now let's assume that aliens, at this point in our current timeline, already have this technology, or a far superior method of telecommunication. Would it be possible for them to no longer have physical forms, and just be "travelling" through waves such as light or radio? If this is possible, could they already be all around us?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Aify, L.Dutch, Hohmannfan, James K, kingledion Mar 9 '17 at 0:40

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ This sounds like the same thing as an OBE. Though some claim this is possible already, it is mostly just conspiracy as there has been no actual proof to my knowledge as of yet. However, the concept may be an interesting one you want to look into as it seems similar to your question. $\endgroup$ – ggiaquin16 Mar 8 '17 at 16:51
  • $\begingroup$ Anything is possible in your own private universe. I would argue that this question is entirely opinion based and should be closed. $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Mar 8 '17 at 16:57
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    $\begingroup$ @AndreiROM. You can use that logic though for pretty much any question that people ask in regards to their universe and then everything would be closed. $\endgroup$ – ggiaquin16 Mar 8 '17 at 17:02
  • $\begingroup$ @ggiaquin Not true - as long as enough requirements are specified, questions with regard to personal universes can still have objectively correct answers. This question, however, doesn't specify enough. $\endgroup$ – Aify Mar 8 '17 at 18:44
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Electromagnetic waves can carry information, but as far as we know they can't process information without some sort of physical object to mediate the interactions between the waves. So the aliens could convert themselves to waves to travel from one place to another, but they would need some physical object that could carry out the computations their brains normally would carry out at either end. It would be like copying their brains from one location to another, they would not be capable of any thought while traveling in wave form.

Even if they could be waves, there is a problem with the idea of them being "all around us". Electromagnetic waves face a number of problems when traveling over great distance that would degrade the quality of the information in the waves. They get smeared both in time and space, they lose energy, they get absorbed, their frequency shifts based on the relative speed of the source and destination as well as the general expansion of the universe. On top of that electromagnetic waves are pretty slow, potentially taking decades or even centuries to travel interplanetary distances. Further, the Earth itself is really good at absorbing electromagnetic waves, so if they were all around us they would be dying as the waves containing them were absorbed by the Earth.

Of course you could throw out the rules of physics as we know them, but then there isn't really any way to answer the question.

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  • $\begingroup$ An interesting twist to the question would be could they, as primarily EM creatures, piggy back on our matter to do the computations without us knowing it. That strikes deep into the heart of tin foil hat land! =) $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Mar 8 '17 at 17:12
  • $\begingroup$ @CortAmmon: That isn't possible using any physics we know. You can't just use any matter to do computations with electromagnetic radiation, you need specific materials tuned to the specific electromagnetic radiation you are working with in a specific configuration that can modulate the electromagnetic radiation in specific ways and read out the results. The only type of electromagnetic radiation suitable for such long-distance communication is radio, and human bodies barely interact with radio waves at all, and certainly not in the carefully-tuned manner needed for optical computation. $\endgroup$ – TheBlackCat Mar 8 '17 at 17:16
  • $\begingroup$ Well, we interact with EM all the time, with our eyeballs. To me, the more interesting question is whether they could do such interaction without us noticing they exist, fitting into the bind spots and error bars. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Mar 8 '17 at 17:18
  • $\begingroup$ @CortAmmon: As I said, they would almost certainly be using radio waves, which don't interact with our eyes to any significant degree. And, as I said, our bodies are not laid out to do that sort of computation even for electromagnetic radiation our bodies do interact with. So no, they couldn't do such interaction using our bodies at all. $\endgroup$ – TheBlackCat Mar 8 '17 at 17:40
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Certainly yes, their physical forms would have to be disposed of. If you can inject these aliens into the waves, or the wireless communications, and somehow detatch their physical bodies from their wireless travelling ones, then yes, you could have aliens all around you. The question now being, how would you detach their physical forms?

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