Re: Project Star Net

Yak Wax (
Tue, 21 Apr 1998 12:50:20 -0700 (PDT)

John K Clark wrote:

> The basic idea has merit, I always thought
> the huge star ship Enterprise was dumb
> because there is no point in hauling
> millions of tons of matter around the galaxy
> when you can send the really important part,
> information, much easier.

The reason they can convert matter to energy but somehow find it
easier to transport the matter is because shows about networks of
self-replicating seeds don't exactly hold the fish-like attention span
of your average audience.

> The seeds would be very small and if it's a
> Von Neumann self replicateor you'd only need
> to make one. Even if they moved no faster
> than existing space probes (a very unlikely
> possibility) there would be several in every
> star system in the galaxy in just an instant
> of time, less than 50 million years. I don't
> see any such probes in our galaxy and that's
> one reason I think ET's are unlikely.

Only on this, or possibly a palaeontology list, could 50 Million years
be referred to as "an instant of time." It is kind of strange that we
don't see this kind of thing, personally I doubt the "going into VR
worlds" idea is likely. I'm quite sure we wouldn't upload without
leaving a giant "We were here" sign. Of course, the one possibility
that's commonly overlooked is that they have a reason for hiding.
Maybe the Intergalactic Council has a policy against interstellar

> However, before any of this happens we will
> have achieved immortality and mastered
> Nanotechnology, uploading and artificial
> intelligence, and it will be a radically
> different world.

There's always the possibility of sending other information through
the network (for telepresence, etc.) BTW, does anyone know how
research into self-replicating robots is going? I haven't heard
anything about this for a long-time. And while I'm here asking
questions, what's the current timeframe for nanotech and/or
immortality, I remember Drexler had some figures for this (didn't he
say that anyone under 40 has a good chance of immortality in _Engines
of Creation_ back in the early 80's?) I'm currently feeling very
sceptical about everything.

> I don't think an organization to promote
> this idea could do much good, by the time it
> happens any ideas we have now on the subject
> won't be of any use, it would be like
> Pikaia, the first animal with a spinal cord
> that lived 570 million years ago worrying
> about the year 2000 computer bug.

So my International Standards Committee for Quantum Probability
Engineering and Time Line Splicing (ISCQPETLS) is a bad idea?


[ BTW, What does everyone think of a graphically inhanced list? When
the W3C releases it's new XML vector graphic format (VGML?) we should
try and support it, vector graphics are incredibly small and versatile
and being able to draw diagrams would make things very interesting.
Of course, we'd have to wait for compatible tools (NS and MS will be
supporting the standard). ]
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