Re: poly: Malign Probes

From: Robin Hanson <>
Date: Wed Jan 07 1998 - 11:52:59 PST

At 02:21 PM 12/22/97 -0800, you wrote:
> (Robin Hanson) writes:
>>I challenge anyone to write down a specific model and show that this
>>is the ESS of it. It just doesn't seem like equilibrium behavior to me.
>>You suffer chances of being destroyed naturally in flight, or being noticed
>>and destroyed by malign probes from non-friends. So you need to reproduce
>>once in a while to preserve your numbers. But then the question arises:
>>why not reproduce a LOT?
> Because there is a reproduction rate above which the marginal cost of
>reproducing again (cost being mainly risk of detection by enemies) exceeds
>the benefits of reproduction. This could be because of some threshold for
>detection (enemies look for the kind of temperature change or matter
>rearrangement that would imply a cancer-like growth, but can't afford
>to detect the level of reproduction needed to maintain a steady state),
>and/or because the probability of a child finding an oasis declines as
>the number of children increases.

You arrive at a system, set up some mining hardware, a launch system, and
a probe construction factory. Then you mine some stuff, build some probes
and launch them. Then you stop, leaving your mines, factories, and launch
system unused. Why? What are you afraid of? So what if someone comes
and destroys them, if you weren't going to use them anymore anyway?

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 Wed Jan 7 19:45:23 1998

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