RE: Aliens, Space Travel and Ultratechnology (part 1)

Doug Bailey (
Tue, 27 Jul 1999 13:42:34 -0400

Billy Brown wrote:
> [....]
> Unrealistic Technology Expectations [....]
> Short Time Horizons [....]
> Insufficent Appreciation of the Effects of Diversity [....]
> Exaggerated Respect for the Immensity of Space [....]
> Exaggerated Sense of Mortality[....]

Four possibile explanations for the Fermi Paradox:

(1)	The Greener Pastures Exodus:  This is more specific (and
	weaker) of the two explanations.  The GPE theory states that
	as civilizations climb up the technology ladder they invariably
	identify some Goal or Objective to pursue.  This Goal or Objective
	can be a host of goals, it might even vary from civilization to
	civilization, but invariably civilizations realize that the
	"settings" of our universe are not optimal.  Assuming creating
	your own universe is more efficient than overhauling an existing
	one, the civilizations take the plunge.  There are problems with
	this explanation, not the least of which is:

		(a)	What about the members of the civilization that don't
			want to take the plunge but instead want to engage in
			megascale engineering projects?  The only explanation
			would be that they too eventually succumb to the
			GPE theory before making any major (visible) progress.

(2)	The Redundant Universe:  This theory postulates that the cost/benefit
	ratio of exploring the universe at length works against large scale
	exploration and/or colonization.  Technically, if a civilization
	developed a working Theory of Everything, there would be no knowledge
	they could acquire in deep space that they couldn't ascertain through
	thought expirements, actual expirements, etc.  In short, the protons
	on Earth are the same as the protons on Planet X.  Robust uploading or
	virtual reality capabilities would allow the satisfaction of any
	aesthetic desire, making "star treks" poor planning.

(3)	The Singleton:  I think Nick Bostrom coined this idea (I could be
	wrong) and I may butcher it beyond recognition in my explanation.
	Basically, the singleton hypothesis states that as an intelligent
	system increases its intelligence, it will invariably converge on
	an optimal intelligent state.  Any civilization/entity questing for
	superintelligence will converge upon this optimal state and presumably
	have similar goals and objectives (I suppose GPE theory is a permutation
	of this concept).  While we have no clue what such a SI would want to
	do with its time (other than continue to optimize), if it did not
	involve exploration (e.g., a combination with the Redundant Universe
	theory) then unless the SI developed in our cosmic backyard we might
	not ever get a chance to notice it.

(4)	The Republican House Theory:  Or it could simply be that the
	civilization's conservative controlled House of Representantives
	cut its space exploration budget by 1.3 billion space bucks so
	they can not afford to explore space.

Have at it.

Doug Bailey

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