[ExI] Easter Island again

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Fri Mar 27 04:30:08 UTC 2009

On Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 4:17 PM, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:
> Damien Broderick wrote:
>> At 10:15 PM 3/25/2009 -0700, Lee wrote:
>> [Keith:]
>>>> This is in the context of mining the moon.  I don't see how
>>>> to do it.  I don't know if I could do it on a budget of many billions
>>>> and ship loads of equipment.
>>> Nice challenge. How about hydroponics?

Food wasn't much of a problem till they built up a large population
and lost the means to go to sea and fish.  It is also possible they
ruined the fertility of the land and the plant nutrients washed into
the sea.

>>> Is the capital chain
>>> really so long that the mining, smelting, and so on couldn't
>>> be done, say, with your billion $ or so up front to start it
>>> off?
>> But but but--Jeff has already said twice that he's talking about
>> *telefactored bots* on the moon...
> Well, *I'm* talking about indefinite survival. And Keith's
> original question was
>   What I was looking for is technical suggestions about how people with
>   human labor, knowledge, six square miles of rocks and a little
>   charcoal could implement a modern technological society on Easter
>   Island.

The key point was "modern technological society" since that's what the
goal is for robot colonization of the moon.

> True, he did add that part about the context of the question
> being about mining the moon---and Jeff probably indeed had
> yet another context in mind.
> But one classic question is about merely *surviving* indefinitely.
> E.g., Biosphere II. I did realize driving home from work that
> I guess Easter Island was specified because it *doesn't* have
> minerals worth a damn, which makes things harder.

It's different but not worse than the moon in that respect.  It does
have water, air, and it had carbon for reducing metals.  You could
probably make concrete, it probably had a little bog iron in the

> But if there is a way to survive indefinitely, then we've
> bought as much time as we need. Eventually, I claim, that
> so long as the gene pool doesn't go down hill, ways will
> be figured out to make one tiny advance after another.
> I'd bet that if you turned loose 500 Keith Hensons on
> Easter Island with one billion dollars of equipment and
> 5000 nubile and fertile young women, you could count on
> coming back in a couple of centuries and finding a very
> advanced society indeed.

Hmm.  I really doubt it.  Not even with 500 imortals.  $ billion is a
thousand million.  Split 5000 ways that won't even buy a decent house
in California, but it is not the money  I have really severe doubts
about being able to sustain even a modest technological society with
the resources you could get from Easter Island, at least with the
technology level we have today.  It's entirely possible that a
nanotechnology based society could though.  Incidentally, about 4000
Tasmanians wasn't enough to sustain their level of culture and the
history of smaller isolated groups indicates they die out.

We know the industrial base does replicate itself on earth as well as
the human population that is part of it.  I am not saying it could not
be done on the moon or Easter Island, but I don't know how.

> Of course, we should defer to Bryan's great post, and the
> link he's provided to all the thought that people have
> put into these questions.
> (In other words, for your last question below, my uninformed
> guess is "no".)
> Lee
>> (but presumably with some fairly wily computer programs on board; I can
>> imagine a large central thing as well with lots of grunt, but that might
>> well be less realistic these days than a cloud or swarm). No humans need be
>> harmed in the making of this Luna!
>> Objection 1: it's too soon, we don't have good enough bots. Reply: Moore's
>> Law and lots of dollars. Objection 2: you can't make anything useful out of
>> dirt without ample water. Reply: erm, well, good point. Is it a killer
>> objection?
>> Damien Broderick
> _______________________________________________
> extropy-chat mailing list
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
> http://lists.extropy.org/mailman/listinfo.cgi/extropy-chat

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list