Re: *Bzzzt* Fermi Paradox

From: Doug Jones (
Date: Wed Jan 12 2000 - 16:21:15 MST

Robin Hanson wrote:
> 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
> >well-mannered.
> "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.

All the seats? only if multiple probes visit each star, or probes replicate
without bounds. Even an exploration system without concern for squatter's
rights does not need to use vast resources for exploration alone- only if
exploitation is not opposed would large use of matter and solar flux be
used. One seat in each of a hundred billion arenas, each with a trillion
seats available... if some stars are revisited due to poor coordination of
efforts across years of lightlag, redundant probes would just not
replicate, like a well-behaved software replicant which does not append
myriads of copies of itself to every executable file.

Doug Jones
Rocket Plumber, XCOR Aerospace

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