Re: poly: Is our lightcone is uninhabited except for us?

From: James Rogers <>
Date: Mon Dec 15 1997 - 14:51:15 PST

At 03:08 PM 12/15/97 -0500, Perry Metzger wrote:
>Although it might seem odd that we would be the only intelligence in
>our light cone, it shouldn't be overly bizarre, as if Von Neuman
>machine colonization is the norm, then only the first such
>civiliazation would be around to view anything.

I would be willing to accept the definite possibility that we are among the
most technologically advanced species within our light cone.

There is another bizarre possibility that could possibly explain this
observation. Much of the discussion has been focused on Von Neuman
machines that operate in a sub-c Euclidean-ish space (and for good reason).
 There exists the possibility that the fastest possible expansion pattern
is somewhat less linear and spherical.

Consider the possibility that the fastest means of space traversal is
through a wormhole/blackhole-ish means. However, your technology really
only allows you to exploit these phenomena in a fairly limited fashion
(i.e. you can use them, but you can't make them or control them to any
significant extent). Your civilization has decent sub-c capability, but
nothing too fast because of the resource requirements and potential for
accumulating damage.

In this scenario, the civilization would be able to take advantage of very
fast non-linear transport phenomena to produce a fair number of small,
slowly growing Von Neuman bubbles, but without precise control over where
these bubbles occur in the universe. It may be to the advantage of the
civilization to spend resources seeking out regions that allow fast
transport phenomena as to improve their expansion into the universe, while
ignoring regions that do not contain a resource of this nature. The
randomness of where these bubbles occur (by the nature of the technology)
creates the potential that there are regions of space that are either
impossible or very difficult to reach via any fast transport mechanisms for
this civilization. We may live in such a region of difficult/expensive
access, or a region where such fast transport resources are not readily
available (and therefore are relatively unattractive).

I don't think I posited anything too absurd here. I do not propose to
explain a "fast transport phenomena" type technology as described, but even
an extremely limited fast transport technology could lead to a very
different pattern of expansion.

I haven't thought this out too far, but it is an interesting variation on
the Von Neuman scenario.


-James Rogers
Received on Mon Dec 15 22:51:48 1997

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