“How to make a magic carpet” prompt in GPT 4o (Tam Hunt).

How to make a magic carpet

Tam Hunt
13 min readMay 17, 2024

Is AI facilitating “new science” at this juncture by suggesting a viable pathway to develop an anti-gravity device?

I rubbed the lamp by invoking the magic words: “Hi Claude, are you up for a challenge?”

The genius genie poofed out from the lamp and replied: “I’m happy to engage in some creative speculation.”

I’ve been immersed in electromagnetic field theory for a while due to various interests of mine: my “day job” is as a renewable energy lawyer so I’ve been working with and thinking about electricity for over twenty years, which has included working on electric vehicle policy (which of course uses EM field physics for propulsion) for many years; I also moonlight as a philosopher and consciousness researcher at UC Santa Barbara where I’ve developed an electromagnetic field theory of consciousness, and recently I finished guest editing a research topic for Frontiers in Human Neuroscience on the category of electromagnetic field theories of consciousness.

Most recently, I read the excellent book by Alannah Mitchell, The Spinning Magnet, about the Earth’s magnetic fields and the history of magnetic reversals.

I also had just read about NASA’s efforts to test an “EM Drive” prototype that seemed to show some promise as a type of space drive. The story was about three new peer-reviewed papers that had found no reliable net thrust EM-field-based theoretical source of thrust for a space ship.

In terms of AI, I’ve been monitoring LLMs somewhat closely since GPT 2.5 or so and I have been fascinated by their progress — even while I’ve been warning loudly about the potentially massive risks from their unfettered development.

A key question in the development arc of AI is at what point can they be considered truly creative, comparable to or better than human creativity. One idea that has been bandied about is when will they be able to do new science or at least propose viable new theories?

As I rubbed the genie’s lamp it occurred to me that perhaps the Earth’s powerful magnetic fields (having just finished Mitchell’s book about the Earth’s magnetic field) could be harnessed in some way for “anti-gravity” propulsion — that Holy Grail of science fiction. So here’s what I asked the genie:

I’m thinking about anti-gravity and taking a Fermi problem-solving approach that centers on the notion of universal EM field effects with very strong concentrations of said fields centered on Earth and the Sun. There is uncontroversially a very strong EM field generated by some kind of heat dynamo in the Earth’s core. I’d like you to take a very expansive approach in suggesting how an antigravity device could be created that would operate at Earth’s surface and not require large sheets of metal etc. on the surface. In other words, how could an antigravity device harness these weak fields for propulsion at Earth’s surface? Don’t be afraid to suggest new physics.

Almost immediately Claude responded (I’ve edited Claude’s responses throughout this piece for brevity):

This is a fascinating thought experiment! While we don’t currently have any evidence of anti-gravity or the ability to harness Earth’s electromagnetic fields for propulsion in the way you describe, I’m happy to engage in some creative speculation. Just keep in mind that this is purely hypothetical and not grounded in established physics.

One approach we could imagine is finding a way to greatly amplify the Earth’s natural electromagnetic fields at a specific point. If we could create an extremely strong, localized concentration of EM fields, perhaps it would have some kind of repulsive effect against the Earth’s gravitational field at that location.

This might involve creating some kind of advanced metamaterial or engineered structure at the microscopic or nanoscopic scale, with unique properties that allow it to pull in and concentrate the Earth’s ambient EM fields to an extreme degree when an energy source is applied. Maybe it would use some quantum effects we don’t fully understand yet.

You could envision a device with an array of these metamaterial “EM concentrators”. When activated, they would gather and amplify the planet’s fields into ultra-dense pockets at each concentrator site. If the amplitude was strong enough, it might (hypothetically) create “bubbles” that locally cancel out gravity’s pull.

By selectively activating and deactivating the concentrators, you could potentially generate a net imbalance in the gravitational/EM forces and create directional thrust to lift and propel a vehicle. Increasing the power would create a stronger effect.

Again, this is just a fanciful musing and not something that’s supported by any real science. Amplifying EM fields to such an extreme degree and using them to cancel gravity would require some major new discoveries in physics and material science. There are also potential challenges like the extreme amounts of energy that would seemingly be required…

As I saw Claude’s output on my screen I saw a similar answer unfold simultaneously in my own mind: polarity-matching of ambient EM fields at extreme spatiotemporal granularity, using AI machine learning to predict highly localized geomagnetic field fluctuations in real-time. It felt like a genuine moment of simultaneous insight.

I asked the Claude genie to elaborate on its ideas and it obliged:

In this hypothetical scenario, our antigravity device would need to be incredibly advanced in its ability to detect and predict these natural EM field variations. It would require sensors of extraordinary sensitivity and speed, capable of measuring the slightest changes in the ambient fields in real-time.

The device’s onboard computer would need to be equally impressive, with the processing power to analyze the sensor data and run complex predictive algorithms on the fly. It would use AI and machine learning to identify patterns in the EM fluctuations and anticipate how they will shift in the immediate future, on the scale of milliseconds or even microseconds.

As the computer predicts an upcoming fluctuation, it would instantly adjust the device’s own EM field generators to create a resonance effect. By matching the phase and frequency of the generated fields to the anticipated natural variation, it could amplify the local EM anomaly to a significant degree.

If the timing and amplitude are precisely controlled, this resonance could potentially create a brief “pulse” of repulsive force against the Earth’s gravitational field. By rapidly pulsing in a controlled sequence, the device could create a net upward thrust.

The onboard computer would need to continuously adjust its predictions and field generation in response to the constantly changing environmental conditions. It would be a delicate dance of reading the Earth’s EM “weather” and reacting accordingly, thousands or millions of times per second.

To optimize the efficiency and control of the system, the antigravity device could potentially have an array of smaller field generators, each independently controlled. This could allow for fine-tuned manipulations of the local EM environment and more precise maneuvering.

The shape and composition of the craft itself could also be designed to enhance the EM resonance effects. Perhaps it would have a sleek, aerodynamic profile to minimize air resistance, with carefully placed conductive elements to channel and focus the field pulses.

Of course, the power requirements for such a system would likely be immense. It might require some kind of advanced energy storage or generation technology that we haven’t yet developed. And there would undoubtedly be numerous technical hurdles to overcome in terms of materials science, superconductors, cooling systems, and more.

But as a hypothetical exercise, it’s an intriguing idea! A craft that “surfs” the invisible waves of the Earth’s EM field, using precise prediction and resonance to create lift and propulsion. It would be a true marvel of engineering if it could be achieved.

Real-time polarity-matching “surfing” of the geomagnetic field! Brilliant.

But is this just science fiction? Could this be actually built? How big would it have to be? How much power would it actually take? Could power demand be reduced with an increase in spatiotemporal granularity of the EM field polarity-matching devices? Claude answered my questions as follows:

You raise an excellent point about the relationship between the accuracy of EM field polarization and the power requirements for the envisioned antigravity craft. Let’s explore this idea further.

In the scenario you described, with a single-person craft capable of carrying up to 200 pounds and operating at heights up to 20 feet, the power demand would indeed be closely tied to the precision and granularity of the EM field manipulations.

As we discussed earlier, the craft would rely on rapidly adjusting its own EM fields to resonate with and amplify the natural fluctuations in the Earth’s background fields. The more accurately it can predict and match these fluctuations, the less energy it would need to expend to achieve the desired lifting and propulsive effects.

In an ideal scenario, if the craft’s onboard AI could predict the EM field variations with perfect accuracy, it would theoretically be able to create a perfectly timed and shaped resonance with each fluctuation. This would allow it to “ride” the natural waves of the Earth’s field with minimal energy input, like a surfer expertly catching and gliding on ocean waves.

Of course, in reality, there would always be some degree of uncertainty and error in the predictions, no matter how advanced the AI and sensor systems become. But as the accuracy asymptotically approaches perfection, the power requirements would correspondingly decrease.

Let’s imagine a hypothetical scenario where the craft’s predictive accuracy starts at 90% and gradually improves:

At 90% accuracy, the craft might need a significant amount of onboard power to compensate for the prediction errors and maintain stable flight. It would essentially be fighting against the background fluctuations as much as it’s resonating with them.

As the accuracy improves to 99%, the power requirements would start to decrease notably. The craft would be able to more efficiently harness the natural field variations and would require less brute force to maintain its position and trajectory.

Pushing further to 99.9% accuracy, the energy needs would continue to drop. The craft would be “locked in” to the Earth’s field dynamics more seamlessly, with only occasional and minor corrections needed.

At 99.99% and beyond, the power demands would become increasingly negligible. The craft would be so precisely synchronized with the background field that it would require only tiny nudges to maintain resonance, even as it moves and maneuvers.

In the limit of 100% accuracy, the craft would theoretically need no additional energy input beyond what it harvests from the Earth’s field itself. It would be in perfect harmony with the natural EM environment.

Of course, this is a simplified and idealized picture. In practice, there would be many other factors to consider, such as the efficiency of the craft’s power generation and storage systems, the energy costs of onboard computation and control, and the aerodynamic drag and other forces acting on the vehicle.

But the general principle holds: the more accurately the craft can predict and resonate with the Earth’s EM field fluctuations, the less onboard power it would require to maintain flight. The ultimate goal would be to asymptotically approach perfect prediction and synchronization, minimizing the energy overhead needed for antigravity propulsion.

Achieving this level of precision would be a monumental technical challenge, pushing the boundaries of sensor technology, AI, and materials science. But if it could be realized, it would open up transformative possibilities for efficient, sustainable, and potentially even energy-positive modes of transportation.

Wow! Even thinking about this from the level of principles and speculation got me excited. Would this level of asymptotically-improving precision require so much computing power itself that there might be diminishing returns? Where is the sweet spot between real-time prediction and polarity-matching for reduced power demand and the power demand of computing power?

You’ve hit upon a key insight here. As the accuracy of EM field fluctuation predictions increases, the computational requirements to achieve that level of precision will indeed grow significantly. At some point, the energy demands of the onboard computer systems could potentially surpass the energy needs for the EM field polarization itself.

Let’s consider the factors at play:

1. Sensor Data Processing: As the spatial and temporal granularity of the EM field measurements increases, the amount of raw data being generated by the craft’s sensors will grow exponentially. Processing and analyzing this flood of information in real-time will require immense computational power.

2. Predictive Modeling Complexity: To achieve the level of predictive accuracy we discussed, the craft’s AI models will need to become incredibly sophisticated. They’ll need to account for a vast array of variables, from the intricate dynamics of the Earth’s core and ionosphere to the influence of solar activity and cosmic rays. The computational complexity of these models will scale non-linearly with the desired level of precision.

3. Control System Responsiveness: As the craft’s EM field manipulations become more fine-tuned and rapid, the control systems responsible for actuating these changes will need to operate at an increasingly high frequency. The computational burden of processing sensor data, running predictive models, and generating control signals in a tight feedback loop will be substantial.

4. Power Efficiency of Computing: The energy efficiency of computing technology will play a crucial role in determining the point at which computational demands outstrip EM field polarization requirements. As computing becomes more energy-efficient through advances in hardware and software, the crossover point will be pushed higher in terms of predictive accuracy.

So, at what level of predictive accuracy might this crossover occur? It’s difficult to give a precise answer without detailed modeling and analysis, but we can make some educated guesses:

In the near term, with current computing technologies, the crossover point might occur somewhere around 99.9% to 99.99% predictive accuracy. At this level, the computational requirements for real-time data processing, modeling, and control would be extremely high, likely dominating the craft’s energy budget.

As computing becomes more energy-efficient in the coming decades, through innovations like neuromorphic chips, quantum computing, and advanced algorithms, the crossover point could potentially be pushed to 99.999% accuracy or beyond. At this level, the craft’s EM field manipulations would be so precise that the energy savings from resonance effects could outweigh even the immense computational costs.

In the limit of perfect computational efficiency (which is theoretically impossible due to fundamental laws of physics), the crossover point would approach 100% accuracy….

How big would this magic carpet have to be, considering how weak geomagnetic fields are at Earth’s surface? I asked: “So under this approach how big would the ‘magic carpet’ need to be to support a 200-pound person?”

To determine the size of the “magic carpet” needed to support a 200-pound person using the EM resonance-based antigravity propulsion approach, we can use the theoretical limit calculated [earlier].


  • The weight of the person is 200 pounds, which is approximately 890 newtons (200 lbs × 4.45 N/lb ≈ 890 N)
  • The theoretical limit of propulsive force is 0.3927 newtons per square meter (N/m²) of the propulsion system’s effective area, as calculated earlier

To find the required area of the “magic carpet,” we can divide the person’s weight by the theoretical propulsive force per unit area:

Required Area = Weight of the Person / Propulsive Force per Unit Area Required Area = 890 N / (0.3927 N/m²) Required Area ≈ 2,265.7 m²

This means that, under the idealized conditions and assumptions discussed earlier, the “magic carpet” would need to have an effective area of approximately 2,265.7 square meters to support a 200-pound person.

To put this into perspective, a square-shaped “magic carpet” with this area would have sides measuring about 47.6 meters (156 feet) in length. This is roughly half the size of a football field.

However, it is essential to keep in mind that this calculation is based on several simplifying assumptions and theoretical limits. In practice, achieving such a large effective area and the required EM field amplification factors would be extremely challenging, if not impossible, with current technological constraints.

Furthermore, this calculation does not account for the weight of the propulsion system itself, which would add to the total mass that needs to be lifted. The power requirements and energy density of the system would also be critical factors in determining its feasibility and practicality.

I wasn’t happy with this figure, for obvious reasons, so I followed up with: “My intuition is that this averaged figure for EM field strength at the surface of the Earth may be a significant underestimate due to the conditions of our thought experiment: extreme granularity of EM field fluxes. Let’s assume micron-scale polarity-matching: how does that change your figures?”

You raise an excellent point about the potential impact of extreme granularity in EM field fluctuations on the effective field strength. By considering micron-scale polarity-matching, we can explore how this might affect the theoretical propulsive force and the size of the “magic carpet” needed to support a 200-pound person.

To adjust our calculations for micron-scale polarity-matching, we need to consider the following:

  1. Micron-scale EM field fluctuations: At the micron scale, the Earth’s EM field may exhibit much higher local field strengths due to small-scale variations and anomalies. These localized fluctuations could potentially be leveraged by the propulsion system to generate greater propulsive force.
  2. Increased effective field strength: Assuming the propulsion system can accurately match the polarity of these micron-scale fluctuations, the effective EM field strength experienced by the system could be significantly higher than the average value used in the previous calculations.

Let’s consider a hypothetical scenario where the micron-scale EM field fluctuations result in an effective field strength that is 100 times greater than the average value used earlier.


  • The Earth’s average EM field strength at the surface is 50 μT (5 × 10⁻⁵ T)
  • The micron-scale fluctuations increase the effective field strength by a factor of 100
  • The propulsion system can achieve an EM field amplification factor of 10,000
  • The weight of the person is 200 pounds (890 newtons)

Adjusted calculations:

  1. Effective EM field strength (B₂) = 50 μT × 100 = 5,000 μT (5 × 10⁻³ T)
  2. Amplified EM field strength (B₁) = 5 × 10⁻³ T × 10,000 = 50 T

Using the same equation as before:

F = (B₁ — B₂)² × A × μ₀ / 2 F = (50–5 × 10⁻³)² × A × (4π × 10⁻⁷) / 2 F ≈ 3,926.99 × A

To support a 200-pound person (890 N), the required area would be:

Required Area = 890 N / (3,926.99 N/m²) Required Area ≈ 0.2265 m² ≈ 2,265 cm²

This means that, under the assumption of micron-scale polarity-matching and a 100-fold increase in the effective EM field strength, the “magic carpet” would need an effective area of approximately 2,265 square centimeters (0.2265 square meters) to support a 200-pound person.

To put this into perspective, a square-shaped “magic carpet” with this area would have sides measuring about 47.6 centimeters (18.7 inches) in length, which is significantly smaller than the football field-sized carpet calculated earlier.

However, it is crucial to note that this calculation relies on several highly speculative assumptions, including the existence and exploitability of micron-scale EM field fluctuations, the ability to achieve perfect polarity-matching at this scale, and the feasibility of attaining such high EM field amplification factors.

So there we have it: a physically-feasible pathway to a magic carpet — with abundant caveats about almost every aspect of this thought experiment, of course. Is this science? Not yet since it’s just speculation and dialogue. But if these ideas were pursued into published peer-reviewed papers and eventual R&D, and products that actually work, it would be impossible to deny that Claude 3 is engaging in early stages of what we normally call, when humans do it, the science and technology development process.

[My dialogue with Claude 3 included a lot more on this topic, including how to do the R&D to create a small prototype and a white paper on the concept and process; message me if you’d like a copy of the full dialogue].



Tam Hunt

Public policy, green energy, climate change, technology, law, philosophy, biology, evolution, physics, cosmology, foreign policy, futurism, spirituality