Re: The Great Filter

Robin Hanson (
Fri, 11 Oct 96 13:04:05 PDT

Forrest Bishop writes:
>>If this colonization effort could hide its origins from
>>those who might retaliate, what would they have to lose?
>[[Hiding its origins may require forgetting them. If this is the case,
>then colonization becomes a pointless exercise.

Why should you care that much if your decendants don't know where
exactly in space you lived, as long as they shared your values and
other central characteristics?

>Denying resources requires an a priori evaluation of the potential
>competitors capabilities, which probably is not possible in

If you colonize a system, then you have a good chance of beating away
competitors, or at the worst blowing it to smithereens rather than let
them have it. If you don't, its there for the taking by others.

>One method of countering this obstacle is to blast clear corridors
>ahead of the probes.]]

Anyone try to work out the details on this?

>>slower the maximum speed, the smaller is the Great Filter that needs
>>to be explained.
>[[I dont think this changes the equation much

I agree with you, but was trying to list all plausible important

>[[There may be practical upper limits on the size of a (self aware
> computer, beyond whicha high power function of signal propagation
> speed, OS complexity, etc. diminishesor even reverses the gains in
> computational power. Gravitational limits also come into play, long
>before a Jupiter-size brain is reached.
> A superintelligencemay find at some point it doesnt want to get any
>bigger.This point may be physically small. Sending clones of itself to
>other star systems would not help its realtime crunching at all.]]

Dan Clemmensen raised this point, and I tried to respond to it in some
detail. Did you read those posts?

>.. The point is that in general the creatures whose purposes lead to
>the most reproduction end up dominating the future.
>[[This an argument for quantity over quality. Since viri and bacteria
>reproduce the fastest and the mostest, do they therefore dominate?]]

Yes, they have dominated for quite some time. We have a shot at
beating them, but haven't done so yet.