Re: *Bzzzt* Fermi Paradox

From: Robin Hanson (
Date: Wed Jan 12 2000 - 14:48:21 MST

Jeff Davis wrote:
>The idea of Von Neumann probes "colonizing" the galaxy per preprogrammed
>plan, seemed, when I first encountered it, not only rude, but also not well
>thought out. Any reasonable intelligence would foresee that such an act
>would be viewed by those on the receiving end, as an "assault", and all but
>certain to provoke a forceful "corrective" response. So, aside from
>ethical concerns (not to mention discourtesy), simple self-preservation
>would suggest a more circumspect approach: Von Neuman stealthy, or--if you
>wanted to be bold--friendly exploratory probes, with perhaps the colonizing
>program as an option. When one is uncertain as to who one will meet when
>venturing out into unexplored territory, it is best to be both cautious and

"Pardon, me, was anyone sitting here? I don't want to be rude but I am
so tired. Haven't seen anyone? OK, thanks. Phew. That feels nice."

... 110 years later at a star 100 light years away ...

"Pardon, me, was anyone sitting here? ..."

Looks like "preprogrammed plan" to me. And polite or no, it leads to
all the seats being taken relatively quickly.

Robin Hanson
Asst. Prof. Economics, George Mason University
MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030
703-993-2326 FAX: 703-993-2323

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