Re: poly: ESS for HPLD

From: Robin Hanson <>
Date: Tue Dec 09 1997 - 10:05:06 PST

Damien Broderick writes:
>vast numbers of exchanges occurring almost instantly in a densely compacted
>and connected spacetime where the four forces only `slowly' decoupled
>might not there be effectively time enough for a superintelligence to
>evolve from scratch? Even a whole batch of them, but perhaps they would
>inevitably remain merged until the cosmos was big enough for light
>transmission delays to disrupt module communication...
>Mitchell Porter has observed that the main barrier to Big Bang
>superintelligences is `the absence of structure in the "ylem", the
>primordial plasma. But conceivably there may have been epochs of structure
>in the course of the many phase transitions which are part of modern
>cosmological models of the early universe, and perhaps things were evolving
>rapidly enough for replicators to evolve.'

Way back when the universe was basically flat, standard cosmological models
have a local entropy density, which remains relatively constant (when
corrected for the expansion) except for small increases at phase transitions.
The known phase transitions, such as nucelosynthesis and photon decoupling,
are included in the standard models. These transitions seem too short and
the enitities in them too well coupled to support much evolution toward life.
How many other transitions there could be is limited by the degree of fit
of standard models with existing data. Too many other transitions, and the
entropy figures don't match.

Earth for the last few billion years has been able to evolve life in part
because it is largely decoupled from the background radiation. So the hope
for earlier life would seem to that some other stuff we aren't familiar with
became decoupled early, and had enough internal structure for some parts to
get out of equilibrium with other parts, and so support some complex

Standard simple models of dark matter do decouple somewhat early, but
researchers naturally prefer now to consider very simple models that don't
seem to have enough complexity to support life. So if you hope for very
early life, you seemingly need to hope for rather complex dark matter.

Robin Hanson
RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884
140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-8614
Received on Tue Dec 9 17:58:52 1997

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