Re: The Great Filter

Robin Hanson (
Tue, 13 Aug 96 20:46:44 PDT

Michael Wiik writes:
>It's difficult to understand what the goals of transhumans (used in the
>sense of "transcended humans") might be. As you say, the paths may not
>be mutually exclusive, however, it seems to me that economics dictate
>the inward path. For example, you launch a manned exploration/colonization
>mission to Mars, I send trillions of nanoprobes to cover the planet and
>recreate all of Mars inside a VR. The material mass of my effort may be
>only a few grams, miniscule compared to your mission. ...
>The original Great Filter post wondered why we didn't see evidence of
>intelligent reengineering of the universe. It might seem a shame to us
>to consider that advanced civilizations always take the inward path,
>but it seems possible that the rewards therein may be as great, or
>even greater than, those obtained by outward exploration. Perhaps they
>discover that the whole universe is a computer program, and escaping it
>(or teleporting anywhere within it) is just a matter of reconfiguring the

Unless you can indeed rewrite the universe's kernal to give unlimited
local computation, you will eventually need to move out into the
universe to support increasing computation abilities. VR happens in
real physical computers in our real universe; it doesn't change the
basic economics which pushes for expansion.

Robin Hanson