Re: predictions if wave passed here

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Tue Oct 17 2000 - 23:18:37 MDT

Robin Hanson wrote:

> Samantha Atkins wrote:
> >Exactly why is there this assumption that the technologically adept
> >develop zero compassion along the way? ...
> >with time enough, resources enough and intelligence enough that we ...
> >can find better games to play than simplistic Darwinian ones.
> It isn't a question of resources, or intelligence, or foresight, or
> compassion. It is a question of ability to coordinate and commit.
> Consider the analogy of firms trying to collude to raise prices.
> They each have a common interest in so colluding, but also a private
> interest in secretly violating the agreement and selling more at a
> lower price. Even though firms are smart with great resources, it
> is their inability to coordinate and commit that typically drops
> prices to far below the collusive level.

Outcomes, especially ones that claim we wouldn't get to hatch if a more
intelligent species had come through this sector, very much are a
question of intelligence, foresight, morality and so on along with the
things you name. There is no a priori reason why we should assume that
more advanced species than ourselves are at all covered by an analogy of
competing firms or any other analogy from current earthside economics.
I won't go into where your analogy isn't necessarily so clear cut even
in earthside economics.

> If there is just one colonizing agency, then yes, they might assign
> property rights to places to colonize, and take their time about it.
> But if some other "sooners" get out there too, and get out in front
> of the slower standard colonists, then there may not be much the
> official agency can do to stop them or punish them. By the time the
> colonist "police" arrive, the sooners are off to the next place.

Assuming the policing agency, assuming one was needed, and was only
technological equal to the sooners rather than enough superior to set up
barriers that would stop sooners from encroaching. Suppose, for
instance, that there is a sort of Vingean relative slowness bubble
around us until we seem mature enough to venture out into the broader
universe. The bubble would make operations unprofitable for those who
might be tempted to not respect the local nursery space. But I would
actually suggest that any forces that may be have a mutual agreement to
abide by certain rules and do not let new races out and about until they
make the same agreement and can be trusted to keep it. I would expect
much more advanced species to have much more advanced ways of sealing
such a mutual agreement than simple brute force and hauling one another
before magistrates.

> The key technology that would make a difference would be an ability
> to project force out farther and faster than reproducing colonists
> could move. But it is hard to imagine such a technology.

Well, if the colonies are moving at less than c and there is a means of
communication at c or better and policing mechanisms have been deployed
throughout the protected spaces (at least), then it is not that terribly
difficult. Forget the communication. Just have local intelligence
mechanisms on guard duty that are sufficiently powerful to deter any
foolish enough to break the agreements.

- samantha

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