Re: The Great Filter

Anders Sandberg (
Tue, 13 Aug 1996 15:27:24 +0200 (MET DST)

On Sat, 10 Aug 1996, Michael Wiik wrote:

> I enjoyed Robin Hanson's article entitled The Great Filter
> ( ) but disagree
> that an optimistic future involves large-scale colonization of space
> or even space travel at all. I think it's quite possible to have an
> utopian future without even getting off the Earth.
- - -
> Seems to me then that there's a
> good possibility we'll invent numerous new worlds to explore within
> software constructs that may satisfy the urge to expand.

Well, there are some reasons for even a solid state-civilization to
expand. Computing resources will always be limited, and judging from how
we fill up disk space and reproduce I have no doubt that there will be a
demand for more nanoprocessors and energy. And living on a single planet
is dangerous - a large asteroid impact is just as deadly for an upload
civilization as for our.

> Thus I think there's an good chance we'll become transcendent post-
> humanity long before any major manned exploration or colonization
> activities within our solar system.

This is possible, but very dangerous. It seems likely that transcendence
will involve potentially devastating technologies and runaway processes -
it is a good idea to spread the risks (frankly, I'm not going to stay
around when God's Lightening get their hands on assemblers).

> This leads to some interesting consequences: if only a portion of
> mankind transcends, they might leave enough advanced artifacts
> around for the remainder to do the major physical engineering projects
> to explore and colonize space. Maybe all those UFO's are full of
> alien idiots who couldn't transcend along with their fellows.

:-) It might even occur several times, as the conservatives transcend in
a second singularity, leaving the arch-conservatives, until we get a
mixture of idiots, conservatives and religious fanatics. Maybe the UFO's
are interstellar Jehova's Witnesses knocking on our door? :-)

Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension!
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y