Re: poly: Malign Probes

From: Peter C. McCluskey <>
Date: Sun Feb 08 1998 - 14:20:10 PST (Robin Hanson) writes:
>I don't think it works to just assume certain universe-wide values to explain
>a universe wide behavior. This behavior needs to be stable wrt natural
>selection, or life with these values will go away. What could be the fitness
>reason for retaliating against a probe launched toward a destination 1000
>light years away. Why should you go out of your way to defend them?

 I was assuming that they needed to retaliate to prevent that region
1000 light years away from becoming dominated by the expansionist
probes which would eventually expand back to attack them. I now see
that this is inconsistent with the assumption that they malign probes
in any region will prevent expansion.

 My best attempt so far to rescue my hypothesis goes like this:
- probes are able to detect almost any activity in neighboring systems,
 and always retaliate upon detection.
- when they retaliate, they also attack launch preemptive attacks against
 all systems near the system that started the instability, so an isolated
 defection from the dominant strategy doesn't provide selective advantage.
- they never attempt to communicate with each other (communication would
 trigger retaliation), so defection doesn't spread through collusion.

 When retaliation starts, it seems it would spread across an entire galaxy,
eventually leaving an empty galaxy ripe for colonization. It must get
colonized for the malign probe strategy to be stable, but it can't get
colonized by probes from other galaxies without setting off retaliation
in that galaxy. Therefor, it appears that there would need to be a mechanism
that guarantees there would be one survivor of the retaliation left at the
end which can do the colonization with impunity. I can't quite figure out
how that could work. Also, to avoid the possibility of defectors based in
intergalactic systems taking over a galaxy, the zone of mutual assured
destruction would need to extend out to all intergalactic systems capable
of supporting probes, without providing a bridge for that destruction to
spread to neighboring galaxies (I doubt that I will find a way to justify
that part of the hypothesis).

Peter McCluskey  |  | Has anyone used           | to comment on your web pages?
Received on Sun Feb 8 22:25:30 1998

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Mar 07 2006 - 14:45:29 PST