The Great Filter

Robin Hanson (
Tue, 13 Aug 96 14:45:36 PDT

Michael Wiik writes:
>good possibility we'll invent numerous new worlds to explore within
>software constructs that may satisfy the urge to expand.
>... there's an good chance we'll become transcendent post-
>humanity long before any major manned exploration or colonization
>activities within our solar system.

As Anders said, even VR navel-gazers will want more and more hardware
to run on. I don't see why *every* member of every "transcendent"
society should be uninterested in gaining control of more and more
stuff and energy to transform it. And it probably only takes
one transcendant person to explode.

Niklas Bostrom writes:
> But on the other hand, if the distance were very great, then
> it would be unlikely that the "molecular cloud" would not
> have infected many other planets in its surroundings, some
> of which would have evolved life that expanded into the

Yes. I thought of this point this weekend, and just revised the paper
to reflect it.

> 3. Higher life forms do explode into cosmos, but in ways
> that are invisible to us. This would presumably mean that
> they do not engage in galactic scale constructions, and that
> they are not interested in contacting human level life. ...
> Humanoid civilisations might not be at all interesting to
> posthumans.

But some of them should be interested in our raw mass and the sun's energy.
Unless it is always cheaper to get more mass/energy by creating a
"baby universe" or some such.

> there would still be a chance that the civilisations on two
> planets could overlap so that one would find out about the
> other. ... [so SETI data gives] an estimate of the a
> priori probability that we should have discovered
> extraterrestrial life

This is a good point, which I have added, citing you.

Robin Hanson