Picture this: Trillions of years from now, in a universe where the stars have largely dissipated and all existence is shrouded in chilled darkness, the continuation of human life might still be a possibility. This scenario is explored in the documentary short titled Civilizations at the End of Time: Black Hole Farming, produced by the hugely popular amateur physicist Isaac Arthur.
The film is dense with complex theoretical detail, but even those with no background in science will find much to ponder within its content. Arthur contemplates the fate of civilization and the universe at large if a future Dark Age might occur, and the potential to power a new way of life by harvesting the rotational energy from naturally occurring and artificially-produced black holes.
In the far distant future, if the sun should cease its harmonious collaboration with our planet and grow significantly hotter, reason dictates that all life on Earth would come to an end. But this hypothesis ignores the potential for human ingenuity. Arthur establishes a series of possible remedies to avoid an uninhabitable environment, including the reassembly of our planet or others and the creation of new digital lifeforms. When you consider the implications set forth in the film, it's easy to recognize that civilization as we have known it is nothing but a blip in the context of infinity, and will serve as a mere prologue for the civilization that may exist in a dead universe.
It may sound like far-fetched science fiction - and it is in large measure - but the data Arthur offers in support of his theories are well established and precisely calculated. The film delves deeply into these calculations as it questions the amount of energy needed to sustain life, and the measurements of time in which that life would exist.
Arthur displays a deep enthusiasm and understanding of his topic, and he narrates the film with great command. Attractive graphics, animations and stock footage aptly represent the film's key points. Sections of Civilizations at the End of Time: Black Hole Farming might prove impenetrable for some, but viewers who share a passion for the subject will no doubt savor it.