Re: The Great Filter

Michael Wiik (
Wed, 14 Aug 1996 03:49:29 -0700 (PDT)

> >discover that the whole universe is a computer program, and escaping it
> >(or teleporting anywhere within it) is just a matter of reconfiguring the
> >kernal.
> Unless you can indeed rewrite the universe's kernal to give unlimited
> local computation, you will eventually need to move out into the
> universe to support increasing computation abilities. VR happens in
> real physical computers in our real universe; it doesn't change the
> basic economics which pushes for expansion.
> Robin Hanson

I agree, but then we get back to the original question of why we don't
observe the impact of intelligence upon the universe. The idea of the
inward path is only a speculation on how advanced intelligence may survive
(and even thrive) and yet have minimum impact upon the physical universe.
One could say that both Egan's _Permutation City_ and Bear's _Blood Music_
are fictional examples of a society with exploding populations which don't
move out into the real universe. All of Vinge's stories with characters
in space seem to require some plot device (slow zones, missing out on
the singularity) to get folks off the planet.

If we're all uploaded beings, thinking 27K times faster than we do now,
then a trip to Mars involves separation from the main computing
machinery in terms of the delay in communication due to distance. Who-
ever goes to Mars faces the possibility of being out-evolved by those who
stay behind. Unless we send artificially reduced intelligences, in which
case we're back to the idiots-in-space scenario.

Personally, I'd love to see mankind colonizing Mars and exploring the
universe, for the sake of survival of the species if nothing else.


             Michael Wiik             Messagenet Communications Research