[ExI] Meat v. Machine

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Thu Dec 30 13:15:52 UTC 2010

On Thu, Dec 30, 2010 at 11:49 AM, Eugen Leitl  wrote:
> Any darwinian system would be expansive. Any darwinian system with
> started with interstellar travel capability will select for fastest
> expansion over kiloyears, kilolightyears, megayears and megalightyears
> of cosmic substrate.
> Pretty soon, each expansive culture would expand riding hard
> just behind its lightcone, reckoned from when expansion started. This means
> that observability (just before one half of the sky turns FIR-dark)
> and the first pioneers land is very short.

That is the crucial point.
I see all advanced civilizations as *non-darwinian*.

Darwinian is evolution by reproduction of the fittest (for the
currently applicable niche) and non-reproduction (and dying out) of
the weakest.
Advanced cultures *choose*.
Ref. the dropping below replacement birthrate of first world nations at present.
So population pressure doesn't exist for advanced civs.

You reply, 'But it only takes one advanced culture to sweep through
the galaxy! They can't *all* decide to stay home'. I reply, 'Yes they
can. That's what being an advanced culture means'.

The obvious reply to your view of cultures sweeping through the galaxy
is Fermi's old question 'Where are they?'. Much of the universe is way
older than our young star.
You have to fall back on either:
1) They are on the way and might arrive in 2012, or,
2) They are already here and we don't notice them.
Unfortunately, both options have no supporting evidence.

There is obviously still much room for discussion for the exact path
that our culture (and all advancing cultures) might take. The crunch
point that stops a culture from sweeping through the galaxy might well
be different for every culture. I suspect that there are many possible
terminators, depending on which branch of the development tree the
culture chooses. And, not one, but a series of possible terminators
for each development path.

As Samantha suggests the fear is that no culture survives its singularity.

Not to be wholly pessimistic, I don't use 'terminator' in the sense of
the culture species dying out. Though that might happen in some cases.
I mean to use it in the sense of development ceasing, or moving into
non-physical paths. So the culture might 'terminate' in a scenario of
such happiness for the whole population that nobody wants to change
much, or leave their home base.
For example, if your culture is living in a substrate that enables
processing a million times faster than reality, then for all practical
purposes, the real world freezes to a standstill. So interacting with
the real world ceases.

That is just one example. You can probably think of many other possibilities.


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