Re: predictions if wave passed here

From: Eugene Leitl (
Date: Fri Oct 20 2000 - 14:17:07 MDT

Samantha Atkins writes:
> Unless solid (enforceable if need be) agreements are in place not to
> overrun a certain volume around life-bearing but relatively primitive
> planets.
The thesis is that if you're powerful enough to protect you're
indistinguishable from the enemy. Same problem as with grey goo
countermeasure, btw. Cure being worse than the disease.
> Fastest selection of auto-replicators is not relevant in a space where
> selection/desirability criteria and limitations are more complex that
> the scenarios where efficience of replication rules all. I have no

Whoever stays behind wavefront, he's not important, because he's not
the first interactor. You'll only see the pioneers, because the
wavefront is self-selective. Whoever is slower than wavefront arrives
second, third, and fourth. If you're still alive by then, and can
meaningfully interact, you can try talking with the late arrivals.

Of course this won't happen, because we're about to hatch
ourselves. Whoever is going to drop by, he better do it within the
next few hundred years.

> reason to assume everything is explanable and predictable according to
> auto-replication models or by comparing super-intelligent species and
> their agents to RNA.
Super-intelligent species are also subject to the laws of physics and
evolution. And the point is precisely that you don't need to be
super-intelligent (in fact quite to opposite, it adds to the overhead)
to sustain a wave propagation across the cosmic substrate.

> Not so. You do not need to synch action across huge volumes to stop
> encroachment on protected areas. Local intelligent defenses of
> sufficient caliber will be adequate. The encroachment is limited by
> even greater constraints than speed of light communication.
You've reinvented Eliezer's sysop, only inserted from the
outside. Notice that the observable universe, if not a collossal
Potyemkin's facade, is incompartible with anyone powerful. You need to
have presence and massive gunpower coupled with absolute
self-restraint. That's a lot of hefty assumptions. How exactly, will a
superciv prevent the propagation of wavefront? You can only call back
the seeds as long your technological advance makes you faster. Notice
that the seeds get selected for speed. If you tarry even a little, you
lose your speed advantage (intercepting something which sets out to
cover a distance of a few lightyears from a distance of 100 lightyears
is no small feat, plus consider the volume you have to police, and
expand into -- your expansion fleet technology must be exceedingly
brittle to not to engender an even more fatal growth front -- since
you're already so fast and reckless to start with).
> What pray tell is real physics post-Singularity? It is to laugh to
> dismiss "science fiction physics" out of hand. What a science fiction

Something which exists outside of limit of known physics does not
exist in the scientific context. Since we're at least trying to upkeep
a mirage of science, this really helps to stick to known facts.

> writer can come up with today is merely a jumping off point for the best
> scientists today. Post-singularity with vastly increased and
> concentrated intelligence much that is science-fiction will be child's
> play. The inner areas of galaxies? If they are sterile of life it is
> probably due to higher radiation, asteroid bombardment and so on. At
> least sterile of life as we usually define it. Post-SI entities could
> probably exist and thrive in some remarkably "sterile" environments.
This is very true, but I was talking about emergence of biological
life. Since it can't emerge there, it has to emerge elsewhere, and
migrate in. You don't see metabolism signatures of anything smart out
there. So we're not in their lightcone.
> Not in the least. I simply expect intelligence, esepcially much higher
> intelligence to manage to make and keep agreements that increase its

You assume intelligence as a shining clear single 100 ct gem. I have
to disappoint you, statistical behaviour of large groups of
intelligent beings entangled in a darwinian process does follow
larger-scale behaviour. It's messy. They're also only doing blind
optimization. There's is no homunculus inside your brain, and crowds
of smart people do not necessarily act intelligently themselves.

> overall benefits and avoid too much conflict and chaos. I would rather
> bet on that than bet that a model based on replicating bacteria is more
> applicable.
Smarter beings can only help if their intelligence is correlated with
faster and farther travel. It is not obvious why this should be
true. Reckless replication and minimal complexity (=less baggage to
replicate) as well as fast travel (possibly invented by advanced
beings somewhere far behind the wavefront and lost their intelligence
baggage along the way) are the most obvious components of the
wavefront fitness function. Unless there's a reason why empathy gets
conserved when interacting with players which can't reciprocate, it is
not obvious why the gods should care. To them, universe is either
sterile, or god-grade already. If it's sterile (in their eyes we're
biofilm -- but we'll upgrade to full blown deity pretty soon), it is
theirs to take. We won't stop mining Mars just because there might be
a few primitive bacteria up there, won't we? If it's god grade, they
shake hands and exchange pleasantries with their peers.

> Dunno. We would miss serious nanotech level defenses in say the Oort
> Cloud today. Hell, we would miss significant nanotech level presence

Why is the universe sterile? Why are all these resources laying
fallow? Even virtual navelgazing can profit from
parallelism. Computers couple to physical reality.

> even on earth. What makes you think for a second that the more advanced
> and more moral species will stand for the fast dumb brutes marching
> roughshod over the developing races? Personally I would tend to protect
> developing races and make sure they don't get too far out into the rest
> of the galaxy while they still are "dumb brutes".
They're not "still", they're *already* dumb brutes. Cyanobacteria
typically don't develop interstellar travel. Keeping on running
without making a stop is not something which I associate with
intelligent behaviour.

> Sigh. You seem unable to think beyond your own model of endless conflict
> to see that it is actually in the interest of intelligent species to
> cooperate and that it might be considered in their interest to carefully

It is only in the interest of intelligent species to cooperate if they
can profit from the interaction.

> guard the development of young species. It is not that hard to set up
> agreements between species that have mutual interests and agreements
> about what is important.
I know where you're coming from (I've been there before) but you
refuse to see where the logic of this all is leading this to. You
don't have to like it (I don't) but you have to acknowledge it.

> > If you can expand, you will. If you can't or won't, you're irrelevant,
> > because no one is ever going to interact with you. Hence either Rare
> > Earth, or the Zoo.
> Expansion is not the end and be all that you attempt to make it. There

No, but if you don't expand you'll never be observed and interact with
anybody else but a passing pioneer front -- which is then supposedly
no problem for you. The universe is a large place, and intelligent
life nucleation density seems to be very low. (Though it is difficult
to see how a species of billions of spatially distant diverse
individuals (it is not easy to see how any wet life can produce
anything else) can agree to never venture outside of the small ring
they set to themselves -- notice about the properties of individuals
who chose to do so, the first step of self-selection).

> are other things of massive importance that make an individual or a
> species worth interacting with. Expansion does not equate to mindless

We're not an advanced species. We're not worth interacting with on
equal footing.

> expansion that destroys and consumes everything else other than itself
> regardless. In all the vastness of space other life might be rare

I know, you've said that often enough, but you never falsified the
reasons of why the wavefront critters will be nasty.

> enough to be held quite special and worthy of respect and room to
> develop.

Doesn't compute.

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