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

spike spike66 at att.net
Sat Dec 8 18:50:24 UTC 2007

> -----Original Message-----
> From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org [mailto:extropy-chat-
> bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Bryan Bishop
> Sent: Saturday, December 08, 2007 9:53 AM
> To: ExI chat list
> Subject: Re: [ExI] von Neumann probes (was Re: fermi paradox)
> On Saturday 08 December 2007, spike wrote:
> > 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 end.
> That's where the cosmologists, astrophysicists and astronomers would
> come in, followed by the friendly biochemists and synbio experts. You'd
> have to be able to predict where a planet will be, dozens of ly away
> (or more). You might have to play with planetary atmospheres, which is
> dangerous because you have the potential destruction of already
> established lifeforms.
> - Bryan

Hmmm, not necessarily Bryan perhaps, on several of these contentions.  If
the nanoprobes are inactive at low temperatures and thus travel for
arbitrarily long time spans, then the dozens of light years does not apply.
If they are as expendable as a handful of dust, then we need not predict the
existence of planets.  If there is potential destruction of extant life
forms at the destination, that scarcely represents any risk for the sender.


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