Re: seti@home is SORTA WORKING

Robert J. Bradbury (
Sun, 11 Jul 1999 16:21 PDT

> wrote>
> I think this speculation is every bit as valid as the less imaginative
> ones where we "know" what SIs would do. I really don't see how we can
> claim to predict their actions!

Can we use "natural laws" to "attribute" behaviors to SIs:

       My understanding is that gravitational systems are not
       predictable in the long term (this is called the N-body problem
       in astronomy).  As the SI has perhaps a 600-billion-body problem
       to solve at least 100 billion years into the future, where some
       of the bodies may not follow "natural laws" (i.e. they are SIs
       that decide to change course for independent reasons), this
       could very well take a significant amount of computation.

[I extrapolate from this to assume that they tend to migrate away from the centers of galaxies which contain massive black holes and away from regions of high stellar density (which collide) or high gas density (that form massive stars and go Supernova. The lower the nearby object density is, the more likely you are to come up with minimal energy costs to position yourself to avoid hazards.]

For you hardcore theorists, problem X's are those that probably require from 10^60 to 10^80 instructions (roughly 1 year to a lifetime of M-Brain thought, depending on the size of the star powering the M-Brain).

> Here's another explanation of our astronomical observations. Maybe the
> entire solar system is surrounded by a giant TV screen. On the other
> side, the SIs live and project whatever they want for us to see.

Of course. And all of these discussion threads that I've started and you've contributed to are nothing more than a VR simulation my intentionally divorced & noncommunicative entertaiment director subroutine has arranged to allow me to have the perception that "some people just don't get it...". :-)

Just what part of my VR entertainment program is it that you are unwilling to accept? I'll email the entertainment director and then we can all be happy.

On second thought ... "Open Dialog Box", "Create Subroutine - Adjust-Interactor-Personality-Traits(include-slider-bars-for emotional-settings)... "Close Dialog Box" [Side note to self-auto-promptor -- remind me to build a new interface that doesn't require these annoying dialog boxes someday]


--> "Disagreement level" - slide down to level 2, --> "Don't worry, Be happy" - slide up to 8

But I really think I'm missing something... Lets see...

--> "Differentiation between technology & magic" -- increase to 10

Close/Resume Program

Feel better now?

> Once you accept the notion that the universe as we see it is fundamentally
> structured by intelligence, how can we reject these absurdities?
> If everything we see might be an artifact, then what is the role of
> science and reasoning on the basis of natural laws?

I don't believe it is "fundamentally structured" by intelligence (though others, Dyson included, have made the observation that the fundamental constants in the universe are "rigged" to promote life.

I believe that the Universe & Intelligence are co-evolving. As I mentioned in another thread, if you go back to the beginning of the universe it is "dead" (no intelligence), but the current (old/nearby) universe (within a few million or several billion) light years, is "alive". "Natural laws" apply concretely to both the "young" (distant) universe and the "old" (nearby) universe. The only difference is that in the "old" universe nothing is manipulated by "conscious" (transhumanist?) agendas. You still can't operate by "magic" that transends natural laws (i.e. faster-than-light communication).

[I know that some people "think" this is possible, but our currently known and tested physics says "very doubtful".]

> We have faced many puzzles throughout the scientific era which seemed
> intractable in their time. Nothing we see today in the universe is
> inherently more difficult to understand. We have come up with solutions
> in the past based firmly on natural law, without having to posit divine
> intervention. There is every reason to expect that we will continue to
> do so in the future.

I believe I am presenting something that you might consider to be a natural law.

In a rough form it goes something like:

  (a) Self-replicating nanomachinery randomly occurs
  (b) Self-replicating nanomachinery develops a program for
      self-preservation with occasional variants
  (c) Self-replicating nanomachinery "evolves" a mechanism for
      storing and utilizing "information" [software] (i.e. decisions
      based on learned experience) develops and trumps hardware
  (d) Intelligent software (IntlgtSft) develops (really trumping hardware)
(e) IntlgtSft "comprehends" the rules of the game (and the limits). (f) IntlgtSft takes us to those limits.

You may argue probabilities at individual steps, but can you make a case that this is not what is occuring in the universe? It seems compatible with your "natural laws".

The *only* claim I am making is based on the fact that our "observations" would indicate that the universe is 10+ billion years old, while we are < 5 billion years old. We are at level (e) approximately. What stops us (or other much older species from going to (f)?)

Instead of proposing that (f) would present a problem to our logical understanding of the universe (upsetting our historic transition from "magical explanations" to "scientific explanations", can you present an argument that (f) *DOES NOT OCCUR*?

Mike I believe has tried to argue, "*No*, I won't let you go there...". I will acknowledge that the luddites might be successful at an (f)-block in some instances -- can you make a case that they would be successful in millions or billions of efforts?

--> CPU-Cooling-Speed -- increase to level 10 Close/User/Hal

Many :-)