It's been shown that black holes don't destroy information. There's a little-known scenario in computer science (Specifically AI) where an advanced civilization creates an artificial intelligence that in its quest to improve itself, storing more data and computing at ever increasing densities eventually becomes so massive and dense that it creates a black hole. If this were to happen and a black hole were formed, would it be possible for the system to maintain high enough levels of data entropy? In this scenario it's also sometimes imagined that the black hole might be used to communicate with other entities that have accomplished the same thing.

I ask because in this situation I can imagine the system being destroyed by a black hole but remembering that black holes don't destroy information it seems that it could be possible for the system to remain intact. We could also assume that the system has moved beyond computation using silicon-based chips or similar to some materials capable of greater density.

  • $\begingroup$ Can you say a bit more about how the scenario stores its information. In particular, could you explain why the need for ever increasing densities. Information is stored in quantum states, so as long as your system is spread out enough not to violate the Bekestein bound, you won't form a horizon. This bound implies truly colossal storage capacities for everyday sized systems, and there is a good deal of discussion about this in the Physics SE question What is the most efficient information storage?. Jerry Schirmer gives a great example of ... $\endgroup$ Mar 30, 2015 at 0:35
  • $\begingroup$ ... encoding in the states of the hydrogen atom, and there is discussion there of why this won't violate the Bekestein bound. $\endgroup$ Mar 30, 2015 at 0:36
  • $\begingroup$ @WetSavannaAnimalakaRodVance I would guess it's a matter of processing speed - if you're limited by the speed of light then you'd want your data storage to be as physically dense as possible. $\endgroup$
    – N. Virgo
    Mar 30, 2015 at 0:51
  • $\begingroup$ @WetSavannaAnimalakaRodVance The storage medium isn't mentioned, only that it could be something different than what were used to. Also, the scenario doesn't assume the entity doesn't want to create the event horizon assuming it has calculated it's a good move to make. The scenario also serves to pose that some black holes might be intelligences. Thanks for those references though. It's a difficult question (For me at least). Another way of asking it could be "Could there be a computational, storage, or communication benefit in allowing the black hole to form?" $\endgroup$
    – xendi
    Mar 30, 2015 at 0:56
  • $\begingroup$ @Nathaniel Of course! good point. But even if you meet an intelligence bordering just below the Bekenstein bound, just hope it's friendly! $\endgroup$ Mar 30, 2015 at 1:00

1 Answer 1


The answer is no. Once a black hole is formed you no longer have access to the information stored inside it. The information is not lost, but slowly radiated away as the black hole evaporates. So, the ideal system would be one that is almost near the density for a black hole collapse, but never reach it. Otherwise you loose "easy" access to the information stored in it.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. Also note my last comment to the question thread. $\endgroup$
    – xendi
    Mar 30, 2015 at 0:58
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ If I get it right, are you asking what happens if a sentient computer collapses into a black hole? It is a wonderful question, my guess is that it will be, for all practical purposes, isolated from our universe. So, I do not think black holes could communicate with one another. But who knows! $\endgroup$
    – user66432
    Mar 30, 2015 at 1:30

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