[ExI] von Neumann probes (was Re: fermi paradox)

spike spike66 at att.net
Sat Dec 8 16:11:45 UTC 2007

> bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Bryan Bishop
> Subject: Re: [ExI] von Neumann probes (was Re: fermi paradox)
> On Saturday 08 December 2007, spike wrote:
> >  For that reason it seems a waste of both information and energy to
> > carry matter across vast stretches of emptiness without first having
> > maximized the information content of the matter being hurled.
> Yes, which also brings us back to some other ideas, i.e. interstellar
> lasers for pure information transfer. We already have lasers that
> operate on our bodies (laser eye surgery is a popular one)- and in the
> future, why not on distant planetary bodies? Then you've maximized
> information content while *eliminating* matter.  I have not done any
> calculations on how much energy this would require.
> - Bryan

I can see a big advantage in sending at least *some* matter, some minimal
amount, rather than just information.  I can imagine a nanoprobe or
virus-like machine making copies of itself at the destination somehow.  But
with just laser-carried information, I don't easily see how it could be
done, especially if the sender knew not what conditions exist at the far


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