Re: Darwinian Extropy

Robin Hanson (
Mon, 9 Sep 96 10:56:47 PDT

Dan Clemmensen writes:
>There is actually a reasonable secnario that would limit an SI to one
>star system but stil make it use up all the resources in that start
>system. This will occur if the SI is attempting to maximize is
>computational speed and capacity until it achieves some breakthrough
>that causes it to no longer have this maximization as a goal. The
>payback time for using out-of-system resources is very long, since the
>mass you send out-of-system can otherwise be used to augment your
>in-system resources with no speed-of-light delay. Thus, the SI must
>choose between immedate use of the mass to build more local computing
>capacity, or investingthe mass in a mission to another system to
>return more computing capacity later. I feel that the SI may choose to
>keep the mass, since at the SI's speed of computation, the return of
>resources from another system is an incredibly large number of
>computational cycles into the future.

There seeem to be two different scenarios here.
1. The intelligence in a star system may at some point be no longer
interested in increasing computational ability.
2. The other is that discount rates may colonization not

On 1. The effective net values of a star system will be composed of
the values of its many components. Even if most of these components
suddenly no longer desire computation ability, some components surely
will. And some components will surely value exploration and
colonization for its own sake. Even within a group the size of this
list we have a wide variety of goals regarding our futures.

On 2. Even just looking at the goal of maximizing computation, you
need to remember that discount rates are evolutionarily endogenous.
If there are many different components with different discount rates,
the ones that come to dominate the population are the ones whose
discount rates are best tied to the feasible growth rate. If solar
system limits are hit, so growth stops, then components who value
longer and longer time scales will come to dominate, until extra-solar
colonization efforts start to look attractive.

Robin Hanson