The Great Filter

John K Clark (
Fri, 23 Aug 1996 21:58:08 -0700 (PDT)


Nicholas Bostrom On Thu, 22 Aug 96 Wrote:

>the assumption that we live zoo

It's hard to believe that ET is altering every photon of light that reaches
the earth, despite the nonsense about "the prime directive" on Star Trek I
don't see why they would go to the bother to make such a massive lie.

>or the assumption that large scale space travel is also
>practically impossible (which looks like a slightly stronger
>assumption than that large-scale engineering can't be done).

The only way life could fail to eventually to make a substantial impact on
the cosmos is if nanotechnology is impossible, and that hardly seems likely,
life itself is a primitive form of Nanotechnology.

>The early steps in evolution leave room for hope. But the
>evolution of tool-using intelligence happened so quickly
>that the speed argument applies and indicates that that step
>is not very hard.

But tool-using intelligence didn't happen quickly, it took at least
3.5 billion years. What history teaches us is that even if an animal has
only a modest sized brain, if it has a good organ for manipulating matter
with precision, a hand in our case, then it will evolve a much larger brain
very quickly, and will instantaneously (from a geological perspective) reach
the point we are at today.

>One must be careful, though, not too neglect the possibility
>that new technologies might make a social structure
>incomparably more stable than any we have seen in history

Technology generally makes things happen faster not slower, and the wider
distribution of information, technology has certainly done that, does not
bode well for the feasibility of stagnation.

John K Clark

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