Re: MEDIA: NOVA on Gamma Ray Bursters

From: Eugene Leitl (
Date: Sun Jan 20 2002 - 06:09:14 MST

On Fri, 18 Jan 2002, Robert J. Bradbury wrote:

> I don't see any reason to believe that is likely to be the case.
> People may simply tire of life. They may go "offline". A consensus

All people, all of the time? Even semisentient and nonsentient people?
Suicide is not the norm in the biological world. Postbiological world
still shares the core properties of an ecology, is derived from an ecology
and hence it is not obvious what would make it change its ways.

> may developt to completely re-architect the SI to focus on a particularly
> interesting problem of art or math or string theory.

I'm not sure even top of the food chain beings can ram their will down
others. Particularly, if they're dependant upon them. Will control of the
physical layer by the admin caste be absolute? I doubt it.

> As has been discussed before on the list, one may always play nice at
> the SI level because one can never guarantee that an entity one might
> betray has not prepared berzerker-bots in response for just such a
> situation. One plays nice because survival depends on it.

It is not obvious how warfare within the computronium node cloud or
between stellar systems, or in deep space can be conducted between equals.
It seems the logistics would favour the local party, putting the intruder
at disadvantage. Use of high energy weapons within the cloud would
probably annoy the neighbours, too.

> That means in the final ultra-long term future, SIs don't consume
> each other but themselves.

The omega biota looks indeed rather degenerate, with only minor, random
fitness fluctuations over time over space.

> True. I suppose I would have to see some concrete plans for how to
> move the black hole someplace where it can be put to good use and a
> way of generating more useful than non-useful energy. If most of the

Why moving existing large holes? You'd rather live around them. Microholes
are relatively manageable, if you use their Hawking output and asymmetric
readiation characteristic of orbiting mirror assembly.

> energy comes out as gamma and X-rays then it seems to be a pretty
> hellish environment where even with full scale nanotech one might be
> expending a significant fraction of the energy, dismantling and
> reassembling the machinery as well as sorting and breeding the
> isotopes being generated just to harvest some fraction of the energy
> available.

You would want to attenuate the accretion disk radiation of large holes by
an artifical atmophere and/or dust cloud around them.

> It might not be "magical physics", simply "impractical physics".

Yes. Right now, we're only guessing.

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