[ExI] Meat v. Machine

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Thu Dec 30 12:19:27 UTC 2010

On Wed, Dec 29, 2010 at 07:23:19PM +0000, BillK wrote:

> Eugen has said that may be because that they are just too far away for
> us to see (outside our light-cone). That is certainly a possibility.

No, we're outside of their light cone, counted after the expansion
started. Imagine tomorrow you'll start seeing half of the night
sky slowly (over the course of months to years) turning dark, and
then suddenly there's serious mayhem across the entire solar

Since we've been around for a while and relativistic
expansion is very quick this means that nucleation density (of
expansive species) is extremely low. 

Or, this is not air you're breathing. But that seems
to fail the Occam's razor. And a bit difficult to validate, too.
> I think the more likely possibility is, as Keith points out, that real
> engineering is very hard. Bit-twiddling on computers is much, much
> easier.

What you see now is absolutely untypical. We've just started with
our adolescence, and our capabilities and activities are extremely
> Even Eugene admits that there is a long road ahead, developing robotic

Long road in terms of development, yes. Long road in terms of the
wall clock, no.

You might notice that I've been gearing up to do lot of hardware, 
networking, virtual environments and parallel (GPGPU) computing 
stuff lately. If I had the cash and space I'd be also doing rapid 
prototyping based tinkering, including microscale and below stuff. 
Access to such capabilities for single individuals and small groups 
is auspicious.

> engineers, cheap entry to space, nano-tech, etc. before large space

Current access to space is good enough, if your payload has a lot
of magic. The longer you wait, the more magic it gets.

> projects become feasible.
> My expectation is that humanity will have so much fun playing with
> electronics, virtual reality, uploading, full-immersion entertainment,
> etc. that the thought of going outside and getting your hands dirty
> will come way down the list. When people can build stuff in virtual

While this is true, there are subpopulations which are actively
resisting to be neilpostmanized. Not everybody will fall into their
navels, and won't be able to get out again. 

> reality almost instantaneously, why join a 20 year project of hard
> work?  Half your working life gone and all that fun missed out on.

Most young people today (in the Old West, he hastened to add)
have serious trouble entering the workplace, while the
the first wave of baby boomers (mostly broke) will start 
landing next month. And will continue to the tune of 10 k/day,
for every day for the next 19 years.

It seems that most people won't be able to afford virtual soma.
> If you can become a god quickly and easily in virtual reality, using
> little more than your own resources, why struggle for years trying to

Because primates need status displays to harry a honest cost.

> drive giant projects involving thousands of people? You can't do the
> real world space thing on your own. It takes nation-scale efforts to
> build a space-faring civ. And nations won't do that without really,
> really good reasons.

Militarization of aerospace, arms race, need to tap extraterrestrial
energy and material resources. Do you think it's a coincidence why
everybody is suddenly targeting the Moon?
> This is another way of saying that advanced civilizations lose
> themselves in virtual reality. The attraction is too strong.

The self-selection across population of inviduals and across
populations of stellar systems makes probability of that very
close to zero.

Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a> http://leitl.org
ICBM: 48.07100, 11.36820 http://www.ativel.com http://postbiota.org
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