Re: The Great Filter

Robin Hanson (
Fri, 23 Aug 96 10:40:10 PDT

Nicholas Bostrom writes:
>>With such a warning in hand, we might, for example, take extra care
>>to protect our ecosystems, perhaps even at substantial expense to our
>>economic growth rate.
>That would seem to be the only sensible thing to do, but would it
>really help? If there is a solution that we can figure out, and
>convince people of, it would seem unlikely that not any of the
>millions of similar civilasations would also have thought of it and
>implemented it. Is there any reason to suppose that we could outwit
>doom when everybody else failed?

It depends on how large the remaining filter is. And it might well be
that even when one understands the problem, there isn't much we can do
about it. And hard times are no reason to give up.

>Perhaps, if we became convinced that the great filter is in our
>immediate future, we should rather take a chance and try to do
>something utterly absurd, something that nobody else would have
>thought of? Like chopping off the right arm of every newborn infant...
>(How would we persuade the masses of the logic of this argument?)

You'd have a *very* hard time persuading me (mass #2147281593) of this.

Robin Hanson