RE: "Web-mediated SETI": Robert Bradbury Replies

Robert J. Bradbury (
Thu, 4 Nov 1999 00:35:30 -0800 (PST)

On Thu, 4 Nov 1999, Damien Broderick wrote:

> It's hard to guess what Final Technology/ies will be able to do

I think you are copping out Damien. I think we can use the limits of Non-Magic-Physics as a logical plateau. After all we don't have the matter and energy that we can see structured into an quasi-infinate set of possibilities. We only have 3-5 states of matter, perhaps 6-10 types of stars, 2-3 major classes of galaxies, etc. and some interesting transitions or evolutions between them. The various states and evolutionary paths are due to the laws of physics.

What we need are theories for the evolution of technology, intelligence and consciousness.

> We don't, by and large, {destroy the environment} and we better resist the
> temptation the more technically advanced we are. I don't think that's just
> because wealthy cultures are sooky and mollycoddled and wimpish, allowing
> themselves sentimental indulgence of traits encoded genetically for other
> purposes and now culturally hypertrophied.

I agree, it is because we learn to do more and survive more elegantly with less. If we still see stars it may be because the SIs have figured out how to get what they want from the universe without having to consume everything.

>(But that could be true, so
> SIs'd recycle the Mona Lisa for the useable computronium. Ugh.)

Depends -- does the marginal benefit of turning it into computronium exceed the marginal benefit of having an "original" work of art? Comes down to some interesting questions of "values". As we have risen up of of the "survival" swamp, we seem to be evolving towards a species that controls our population, develops extended longevity, values our safety from galactic hazards, really learns to practice live and let live, etc.

Perhaps the extrapolation of these trends leads many SIs to be caretakers or gardeners.

When you don't have to worry about your survival (for at least 100 billion years) what do you do?