Cryptocosmology--Dirt does Not Compute?

Robin Hanson (
Fri, 8 Nov 96 11:41:50 PST

On Oct 15, Steve Witham wrote:
>advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." 2) Cryptograpy,
>steganography (hiding data within other data) and data compression produce
>signals that look as much as possible like random numbers. Cryptography and
>steganography because they are trying to reveal as little as possible,
>data compression because any non-noiselike character of a signal represents
>redundancy, a waste of bandwidth. [...]
>the ultimate technology, and ultimate information looks like...nothing.
>Not flashy magic, just nothing. It works hard to look like nothing.
>Which is what we see when we look at the skies. Or at the dirt at our feet,
>or at the Sun, or each other, for that matter. Nothing...unnatural.

On Nov 5, he elaborated:

>By the way, in case I wasn't clear, it isn't that dirt, or any of our
>particular surroundings, are what I would expect to see. "Dirt" is just
>my code word for whatever science would lead us to expect are natural
>things to see at this stage in the evolution the universe.

I thought you were claiming that what we observe, lots of random
looking noise, supports the theory that advanced folks are hiding
around us. Now I see that you are only claiming evidential
neutrality, that both this theory and its converse would predict the
same observation.

If so, I will place my objections against the internal consistency of
this theory. As I elaborated in previous posts, I don't see why some
of these advanced folks would put obvious colonies out at a distance,
so see what sort of reaction they induce.

Robin D. Hanson