Re: The Great Filter

Robin Hanson (
Thu, 15 Aug 96 09:58:26 PDT

Eugene Leitl writes:
>...assumes a >H can precipitate a universe with desired properties by
>tweaking this_space parameters, stabilize an ingress channel long
>enough to upload down there, let the channel collapse & live on the
>self-fabricated Eden from then on, amen. ...
>Since a silence in the skies there is, it may be considered as an
>argument pro 'fire exit' existance. (Of course there are other, more
>likely options).

This theory would also need to explain why *no* member of *any* such a
society chooses to expand normally, rather than going out the 'fire
exist'. The exiting process creates an apparent supernovae, perhaps?

>Um, I misunderstood you. I was thinking about a solid state civilization,
>a mind ecology, a >H. Since this is post-Singularity I thought we cannot
>know anything about it. If this is a ecology in the Darwinian sense, then
>yes, it will probably show boundless expansion.

I see no good reason not to expect "Darwinian" natural selection to
operate in a "mind ecology". I think folks exaggerate our inability
to understand "post-Singularity" events. Evolutionary pressures to
use available resources seems to me a very robust result, on a par
with the second law of thermodynamics.

Anders Sandberg writes:
>> >Sometimes I think that the "natural order" is artificial: stars are
>> >power generators, galaxies are really computer nets and so on.
>> But then why have we had so much success explaining astrophysical
>> phenomena with simple physical processes?
>Good question. One possibility is that very advanced technology is
>extremely ephermeral and natural-looking and hence hard to distinguish
>from natural phenomena. For example, the sun might work as expected, but
>the solar neutrinos are used by someone for something. Dark matter might
>be large nanostructures spread across the universe, sending packets of
>information as gamma ray bursts.

I see two possibilities. One is that the way to make maximal use of
these resources is disturb them very little from their natural state.
I find this possible, but a priori pretty unlikely.

The other possibility is that folks are all hiding out from being
destroyed by each other. This is a theory popular with the 3 Hard SF
Bs (Bear, Benford, and Brin). I find it hard, however, to understand
why it wouldn't be better to just aggressively expand to every place
one could and use it to the fullest, rather than hiding in corners.

>How to tell the difference between nature and technology? Technology
>tends to optimize *something*, and a good guess would be (given our
>current information-bias) information production or storage. So, what
>media in cosmos might be able to store or process a lot of

Most entropy is now in the background radiation, unless there are
substantial numbers of big black holes.

Robin Hanson