Re: The great filter

Anders Sandberg (
Wed, 14 Aug 1996 13:54:56 +0200 (MET DST)

On Tue, 13 Aug 1996 wrote:

> Alternative (2) might be more likely. Why should any
> intelligent being explore the details of cold and monotonous
> space if they can live in a much richer VR? And why should
> they care about reality at all, whether real reality or
> virtual reality, if they can achieve satisfaction from drugs
> and electrical stimulation? If this is the case, they might
> deem that no or only relatively minor space missions are
> sufficient. I don't know of any conclusive psychological,
> cybernetic or political arguments that this will that it
> won't happen. Also there is the possibility that the
> relevant technologies for extensive space colonisation
> simply aren't feasible.

Aside from the possibility that space colonization is too hard (which
seems doubtful; we already know how it could be done in principe and
practice), this filter relies on that all species will be trapped by
VR paradise. But this depends a lot on psychology, and might be an
unique danger to our kind of species but not others (say, intelligent
hive colonies or knots of flux-tubes in neutron stars).

> Alternative (3) does not seem extremely improbable either.
> Humanoid civilisations might not be at all interesting to
> posthumans.

This is quite possible. My own answer is that we are too slow and
stupid to be worth discussing with. The transcendent beings might be
around, but wait until we rise to their level simply because it
would be so tiresome to do anything about it.

> And it is hard to tell what sort of
> manipulations of the universe a posthuman culture would find
> suitable. Also, there could perhaps be ethical/strategic
> reasons for not interfering to much with the natural order
> in cosmos.

Perhaps, but as Tipler points out, on this scale individuals could
signal or make a visible mess.

Sometimes I think that the "natural order" is artificial: stars are
power generators, galaxies are really computer nets and so on. But
how to tell natural and artificial apart?

(I like your calculations (deleted for brevity), but we simply don't
have enough data).

Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension!
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y