[ExI] Where’s my body’s Control Panel?

Dan dan_ust at yahoo.com
Mon Apr 13 22:05:25 UTC 2009

--- On Mon, 4/13/09, John K Clark <jonkc at bellsouth.net> wrote:
>> you seem to believe is that technological progress
>> goes at some rate for
>> most or all intelligences and along a fairly specific
>> path
> Yes I plead quality on that point.

Did you mean guilty?  Do you also agree that you made a mistake with regard to my beliefs?

> I believe that all
> intelligent races are
> bounded by the laws of physics

I agree with that.

> and so there must be some similarity among
> their development; not year to year or decade by decade or
> even century by
> century; but when you’re talking abut million years by
> million years, yes I
> think there must be some correspondence with rate of
> development.

I'm not sure about that.  Let me try to restate the view I offered earlier.  Imagine there're are two paths of development that are otherwise highly similar.  In one, the body control panel or similar stuff (similar in that, whatever it is, it acts as a filter) is invented first.  (This might be the path humans are now on.)  Let's call this filtering tech.  They invent other stuff -- things would give a clue to others that they exist; let's call this non-filtering tech -- later on.  In this scenario, as you seem to posit, the filter comes into being and this group is never detected after -- simply because the stuff that would call attention to their existence (whatever it is) simply never gets invented or deployed (in the right way).

In the other, the non-filtering tech gets invented (and deployed in the right way) first.  The filtering tech comes later.  Now it could be that the filtering tech eventually quashing the non-filtering tech -- as might happen if, say, humans (or posthumans) start settling the solar system, but then perfect one or more filtering tech, say, on Earth and this spreads quickly to all settlements -- something like the body control panel being perfected and every last sentient being decides to fiddle with this and do nothing else ever.  You might have a few decades of signaling human or posthuman presence followed by silence.  But still there'd always be the chance that the filtering tech never quashes it completely.  We'd still have to wonder -- presuming filtering tech does its job -- how often this happens.  We'd still be left with the Fermi Paradox to some extent.

> It’s all
> the same Physics after all and to the Universe a million
> years is a very
> shot time.

Yes, but you still have to establish why, in a million years, if it takes that long for a filter to deploy, why an ETI hasn't done some mega-engineering or other things to give away its presence.  Your view depends on all these things turning out right.  I'm merely questioning that.  Why?  To me, your view just sounds like a "just so" story.  Why are there are no cars in the parking lot on Sunday?  The Bigfoot got them all.  Why is there no evidence of Bigfoot?  Well, he has superstealth powers.  :)

> > yes, there must be some filter -- whether humans were
> the first or
> > intelligence always self-destructs or whatever -- but
> this particular
> > filter -- which has been proposed in other varieties
> before -- could only
> > work if almost all ETIs embrace it before they start
> out to cause changes
> > humans might notice.
> Let me make it clear that the following is almost certainly
> bullshit, but
> suppose, just suppose nature is unkind. Suppose that in the
> technological
> history of any civilization there will come a time when it
> will find hints
> of a new force in nature, and suppose there is a very
> obvious experiment
> to investigate that possibility, and suppose because it is
> so new there is
> not one scrap of information to think it is in any way
> dangerous so the
> experiment is performed. And then BOOM, more energy is
> released in
> 2 seconds than the sun has generated in its entire 5
> billion year history.
> It is of course difficult to predict how a newly discovered
> force in Physics
> will behave, that's why it's new. Madam Curie was certainly
> not stupid, and
> when she first discovered Radium she had not one scrap of
> information to
> think that the strange rays given off by that element were
> in any way
> dangerous, but it ended up killing her. Even today her lab
> notes are so
> radioactive you’d need protective clothing to read them.
> Well OK, Gamma Ray Bursters are probably not industrial
> accidents,
> but the idea might make a good science fiction story.

It's already been done:  _Definitely Maybe_ by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky.  Published, I believe, in the early 1970s.




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