re: low profile

Forrest Bishop (
Sun, 13 Oct 1996 20:55:01 -0700

Robin Hanson writes:
In fact, it would be great fun, and worth doing intellectually, to run
a game-theoretic simulation of this problem.
Star systems might also consider lying low until their technological
advancement seems to asymptote, and suddenly "running for it". Grow
the local economy as fast as possible, not worrying much about being
loud, to support a massive explosion of colonization probes. They
might get 10^10 to 10^20 probes out of the system off to all corners
of the universe before enemies arrive. Or considering the costs and
risks of strong central policing, they might decide to just run for it
from the very beginning.

[[This is a lot like the strategy of a viral infection. In this
scenario, there are probes coming _into_ the Milky Way Galaxy
from all corners of the Universe (unless the Great Filter is in our
past or near future, of course). With the competition this fierce,
the best places for the long term may be the less desireable real
estate- the dark matter galactic halos, the Great Voids (here's where
you send the big starships), perhaps the interiors of stars.

The strategic situation of a potential berserker is also complicated.
If they see a sign of a new civilization, and they send a probe to
destroy it, it might be a trap which lets someone else find them and
destroy them. If there are many other civilizations around, why
should they be the one to spend the resources and take the risk to
destroy the newcomer? And if they wait a bit, and still no one else
destroys it, that may just be because others have send probes to sit
near this new site, waiting [to] catch incoming destroyers.

[[Ah. I'll add this to the list of directives in 'low profile'. It is
implicit in the current list, but this clarifies it..]]

It seems to me that the outcome of all this strategizing is that the
best strategy is just to expand as aggressively as possible. By the
time anyone comes to destroy any one system you have used it well,
converting it to a billion probes or much more within a few years.
That huge economy gives you all the better chance to learn new
technology, so some of your descendants become as advanced as your
advanced enemies.

[[One showstopper is the possibilty of a speed of light pulse
(perhaps even an electromagnetic pulse of unspeakable amplitude),
used as a last resort weapon against just such an expansion.
It is my
intuition that no matter what level a civilization reaches, its
cannot ever be sure they know all the possibilities of mind and of
technology that are permitted in this Multiverse.