Re: poly: Malign Probes

From: Robin Hanson <>
Date: Mon Jan 12 1998 - 15:31:10 PST

I asked:
>>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?

Peter M. responded:
> If the expected number of new oases your probes will find exceeds one,
>then this strategy works and is inconsistent with the malign probe
>hypothesis. But a universe with lots of malign probes around isn't going
>to have a lot of undefended oases, which makes it quite possible for the
>expected number of new oases to be less than one, in which case probes
>which abandon existing oases before finding new ones tend towards

It seems to me that the standard malign probe scenario has life being
sparse. If life is very dense, then there is no point in trying to hide.
Everyone knows that your system probably harbors life.

Recall that the scenario here is that there's lots of life out there, but
its all hiding for fear of being destroyed my malign probes, which travel
the stars looking for competing life to destroy.

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 Jan 13 00:28:48 1998

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