Re: The Great Filter

Twirlip of Greymist (
Thu, 15 Aug 1996 14:16:19 -0700 (PDT)

On Aug 15, 9:58am, Robin Hanson wrote:
} Subject: Re: The Great Filter
} Eugene Leitl writes:

Is there a silence? Consider a few races, all of which transcended into
massminds (ick.) They communicate by focused beams, none of which
intercept us. These beams are also highly compressed and possibly
encrypted, so any interception detects random noise. Conversely they
broadcast, but it appears random. No megaengineering because it's not
practically worth it yet, no visits because they just haven't.

} I see no good reason not to expect "Darwinian" natural selection to
} operate in a "mind ecology". I think folks exaggerate our inability

Agreed. Except that a mind ecology might be trapped in one big solid
state processor, with access to the material world controlled by an
isolationist dictator. As usual, we can't have more than a few of these.

} 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.

The first race to evolve within a billion light years might have a
highly conservationist culture. All younger races are either eliminated
or not allowed off their homeworlds. I can imagine an ancient race
which has a few Dyson cities per galaxy, which we haven't found yet, and
a bunch of planetary zoos, perhaps surrounded by some megashield to
block radio transmissions (so as not to let newbies like us know someone
else is out there.) Or the zoos use neutrinos to communicate with each
other, or masers. So the conservators maximize the diversity they can
observe and draw from. They need strong social control, but perhaps
they're all mentally descended from one source. Or we might see some
odd astronomical explosion someday which is actually a police action. :)

Merry part,
-xx- Damien R. Sullivan X-) <*>

"And I'm not all that decent and honorable. I'm merely well-bred, which
I hope is a tolerable substitute."
-- Anne Rice, _Ramses the Damned_