Re: poly: Solar system development

From: Robin Hanson <>
Date: Mon Dec 15 1997 - 10:02:40 PST

Ralph M. comments:
>... will establish the initial state of the entire universe.
>5) If we play our cards right, the machine intelligence will be compatible
>with the continued growth and development of lovable us. If we don't....

It's not clear how much the initial state of the colonizing machines
Assuming humans have substantial influence in at least one oasis, we can
continue to grow regardless of what happens in other oases. And the behavior
at the colonization frontier may well be largely independent of the strategies
of initial colonizers: evolutionary selection may dominate.

>There are some 10^22 stars in the universe. ...
>I don't think many hops would be required to reach 10^22, as the "fan-out"
>from each hop can be very high.

That's just the *observable* universe. The universe may well be infinite
in extent. If it turns out to relatively easy to make probes travel across
tens of billions of lightyears without smashing into stuff along the way,
and if the density of alien intelligences is low, then the hopping strategy
may be dominated by the cooling of the universe: the choice between a warm
dense oasis now vs. a cooler maybe-less-dense oasis farther out.

>At present, the percentage of the population that takes this kind of
>discussion seriously is vanishingly small. Does this imply that some
>relatively small organization might seize the entire universe by the simple
>expedient of launching seeds at stars that nobody cares about because they
>are "too far away to matter" (e.g., 1,000 light years)? If people realize
>what's happening, presumably only larger organizations will have a
>reasonable shot at initiating this process. Should this be encouraged?

My analysis suggested that the optimal time to leave our solar system here
is well after growth rates start to slow down here. At that point I
think the idea of colonizing other star systems will be widely accepted.
I don't yet see how to take advantage of our early foresight here.

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 Mon Dec 15 17:57:18 1997

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Mar 07 2006 - 14:45:29 PST