FUTURE: Fermi Paradox

Robin Hanson (hanson@hss.caltech.edu)
Fri, 25 Apr 1997 17:04:05 -0700 (PDT)

The Low Golden Willow writes:
>> Thus, around every former such civilization, there
>> is a sphere of changed spacetime expanding at the speed of light,
>> accompanied by the non-trivial amounts of energy released by the
>> phase change.
>> That would certainly explain the Fermi Paradox, wouldn't it? ;-}
>No, it wouldn't; in fact, the false vacuum hypothesis makes it worse.
>If this hypothesis is true, it means that there were no technological
>civilizations in our galaxy until extremely recently: at most 50,000
>years or so.
>Actually, I think that this is a pretty good argument against the
>hypothesis that we're living in a false vacuum and that it's
>easy to induce a phase transition. If it were that easy, then
>someone else would probably have done it by now.

We see two things: an old universe and an empty universe. This theory
explains one (emptiness) at the expense of the other (age). Your
choice between this theory and a theory that advanced life is just
very very unlikely depends on your prior expectations. If you can't
swallow life being that unlikely, you might rather swallow us remaining
in such a remarkably old universe.

Robin D. Hanson hanson@hss.caltech.edu http://hss.caltech.edu/~hanson/