poly: Fermi paradox and Percolation theory

From: Damien R. Sullivan <phoenix@ugcs.caltech.edu>
Date: Thu Dec 24 1998 - 14:01:43 PST


   A model for interstellar colonization is proposed using the assumption
   that there is a maximum distance over which direct interstellar
   colonization is feasable. Due to the time lag involved in interstellar
   communications, it is assumed that an interstellar colony will rapidly
   develop a culture independent of the civilization that originally
   settled it.
   Any given colony will have a probability P of developing a colonizing
   civilization, and a probability (1-P) that it will develop a
   non-colonizing civilization. These assumptions lead to the
   colonization of the gallaxy occuring as a percolation problem. In a
   percolation problem, there will be a critical value of the percolation
   probability, Pc. For P<Pc, colonization will always terminate after a
   finite number of colonies. Growth will occur in "clusters," with the
   outside of each cluster consisting of non-colonizing civilizations.
   For P>Pc, small uncolonized voids will exist, bounded by
   non-colonizing civilizations. When P is on the order of Pc,
   arbitrarily large filled regions exist, and also arbitrarily large
   empty regions.

An interesting paper, which avoids the "We're alone", "Colonization is
impossible", and "They're all avoiding us" solutions to the Fermi paradox.
It's not Transhumanly Correct, though: his assumptions seem to deny the
totipotence of Vingean Powers or Lem's HPLDs, and the concomittant ability to
arbitrarily manipulate matter and energy, and to colonize at arbitrary range.
He also waves away the von Neumann machine approach at the end.

-xx- Damien R. Sullivan X-)

"That which can be destroyed by the truth should be."
 -- Kirien, the Jaran Heir, _Seeker's Mask_
Received on Thu Dec 24 13:59:17 1998

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