Re: poly: Malign Probes

From: Peter C. McCluskey <>
Date: Fri Jan 30 1998 - 12:35:55 PST (Robin Hanson) writes:
>Before you had hypothesized that life was so dense that aggressive probe
>reproduction was a bad strategy. This requires not only that each system
>have some life in it, but that it control most of the resources in that
>system. Being able to detect and intercept an incoming colonization probe,
>so that such a probe has an extremely low chance of substantially reproducing,
>seems incompatible to me to your other hypothesis that life hides under
>rocks for fear that anything else will be interpreted as an attempt to
>expand beyond the system.

 I've been assuming that detection is more extensive than just probes
defending their own systems. They are watching several neighboring systems,
and can at very least detect most objects whose velocity exceeds the
escape velocity of those systems. I admit I haven't done a rigorous
analysis of how reliable such detection can be. Whether life needs to
leave planetary/asteroid surfaces in their natural state, or whether life
just needs to avoid unnatural emmissions from the system, depends on how
much more detection from neighboring systems is feasible.

 As for interception, I'm assuming that when a system sends out probes,
one or more neighboring system sends out probes which follow and destroy
the first set of probes plus the system that sent out those probes.
 I'm not sure whether to assume that the retaliatory probes also attack
each other or whether they have some way of recognizing each other's
retaliatory intent.

 I think you're implying that such detection systems and retaliatory
ability need to look conspicuous. I'm assuming that as long as they are
passively waiting for signs of expansion, they are easy to camoflage.
Setting up such systems undetected is hard, and only succeeds in the
rare case where life is able to colonize a new system by correctly guessing
that there are an abnormally low number of malign probes in neighboring
systems, causing expansion to be safer than normal.

Peter McCluskey  |  | Has anyone used           | to comment on your web pages?
Received on Fri Jan 30 20:48:07 1998

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