Re: Setting Space Boundaries

From: Chen Yixiong, Eric (
Date: Wed Aug 22 2001 - 07:09:11 MDT

Sorry for some lateness in replying to this thread.

> I doubt overlords are going to let humans or sub-superintelligences
> going to run around colonizing things that they may want to
> occupy when the time is right in the future. The situation is
> probably somewhat like the situation on the Earth today where
> everything is effectively "occupied".

I think there will exist some individuals that would want to physically observe and explore new places in our universe. In fact, I would find it amazing if these ultra-intelligent beings would feel content living in the sweet security of the old solar system. I think that perhaps in the future, these entities and remaining humans would implement a treaty that designates the rules of colonisation, if the humans do bother to colonise anything but their solar system.

Perhaps the treaty would state that, these entities promise not occupy space of a sphere of one parsec around the Solar System in return for Earthlings not colonising anywhere else. That sounds nice enough given that human space technology would greatly lag behind transhuman's. Even if they start on an equal footing, the human need for saner acceleration speeds, inefficient energy systems (by having to eat food instead of getting electricity supplied immediately), low reaction time, low information procesing capability and much more would greatly handicap human-based space travel.

Anyway, the fact that a human had choosen to remain human instead of upgrading to transhuman says a lot about this person's willingness and disire to explore (assuming everyone had a chance). I have in mind scenarios more of the nature of transhuman groups with different ideologies occupying space territories. Having more intelligence does not neccessarily we will think more rationally, and even thinking rationally does not mean we will always draw the same conclusions. Designating territories will serve to preserve peaceful co-existance through non-interference among these groups.

> > To assume that we cannot break the speed of light barrier into
> > the long term future would not sound wise.
> To have a discussion where one can modify the laws of physics
> at will doesn't sound wise either. As Damien pointed out in
> The Spike, regarding my ideas about the Matrioshka Brain:
> "He (me) is remarkably conservative in his projections, refusing
> (like Frank Tipler) to permit wild or exotic physics unknown
> to today's science. That might turn out to be an error, but
> it is a methodological choice a scientist is almost obliged
> to adopt; otherwise *anything* becomes possible and no
> proposal is interesting or testable."

I practically don't think we can modify the laws of physics, especially before the conversion of everything into phase space. I do envision scientists as computer hackers of the universe. As computer hackers hacking God's supercomputer, we hack slowly around obstacles instead of around them. With our self-acquired knowledge of the universe's operations and rules, we exploit seemingly insignificant rules and behavior for its reconnaissance value, or to find an opening for us to enter. Slowly we give ourselves more and more system privileges. Then, we gain root access, proclaim ourselves the new God and lock our predecessor out of the computer.

Back to the point again, if gravity cannot travel faster than the speed of light, then how do explain the problems with such a view outlined in the URL I provided? I see FTL communications as something we can perfectly expect to exist in the near-future as one of the great inventions of the 21st (or at worst, 22nd) Century, unless some global catastrophe breaks out.

To base one's speculation on present technology can cause as much misconception as to make wild guesses about future inventions. Had any of you view those old space movies where the characters feed punch cards into computers, or even worse, use slide rules? I suppose that would sound too dry for comfort.

We will probably travel into space in a cannon ball with flywheels fired from a giant cannon, and yes, we will all use giant airships to transport ourselves because we can't break the sound barrier and we have only this type of "anti-gravity" vechicle. Our libraries would consist of giant books that can fill an entire mountain, and we can find out the location of each book by using some elaborate gears-encoding system that tells us where to find the book. We would have our super-computers that can compute the square root of one million in a second, except that it occupies the space of one entire mountain with its ultra-efficient petroleum based engines and ultra-precise gears!

> This appears in list discussions as my infamous "No Magic Physics" (NMP)
> comments. I'm fond of a quote that appears in one of the SETI conference
> proceedings when someone in the audience commented to a speaker --
> "Yes, but if you give the theoreticians long enough they
> can explain *anything*".
> The speaker's response was to agree. I prefer to do my speculations
> on dry land rather than in the swamp.

Yes, I think we already have a tendency to err on "wet water". We already talk of sentient computers, mind uploading and nanobots even though we had not created these and perhaps we would not find it easy to make them after all. Does this sound magical enough (and remember the famous remark that sufficiently advanced technology would resemble magic so closely that we cannot distinguish between them)? Yet we can do better, such as by converting the universe into phase space. Can we really do that?

In addition, can one really explain anything like that? I though peer review would knock these people's socks off soon enough, or that when their super theories don't hold up to observed behaviour. Do you think gravity really travels at the speed of light, and that we can't make a gravity detector?

Can we refute these claims, based on actual observed behaviour (such as that the Earth had not spiraled from the sun due to increased gravity attraction, thus violating the Law of the conservation of angular momentum?), given the knowledge we have? If we can't, then why should we jump straight to the conclusion that the theory does not hold simply because it sound absurd?

I hope my comments help. Have a nice day.

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