Re: poly: Solar system development

From: Robin Hanson <>
Date: Mon Dec 15 1997 - 12:10:25 PST

Hal explains:
>I am talking about the case where it turns out that the fastest way to
>spread is to spend little time in each oasis and quickly do a single,
>massive launch outward. ...
>In that case, once a probe has reached an oasis, quickly reproduced itself,
>and sent its children onward, its further behavior has no effect (by
>assumption) on the success of its children's expansion. ... Any aspects
>of their "genome" which are only relevant to their post-launch,
>post-reproduction behavior are not selected for.

Ah, now I understand.

If there is any issue of a tradeoff of resources devoted to launching
probes and resources remaining, selection would promote devoting the
resources to launching probes. But if there is some remaining launching
hardware after all accessible resources are converted to probes, the
behavior of that hardware seems hard to predict. If there is any way
that it could eventually get around to sending out more probes, then
it seems selection would promote that. So we're really talking about
situations where further probe launch seems impossible.

I think Zindell's SF novel (I forget the title at the moment) imagined
probes inducing their stars to nova in order to help lanuch new probes.
Under such scenarios, there isn't much of a launch system left to talk

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 20:04:29 1997

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