[ExI] Meat v. Machine

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Thu Dec 30 14:00:41 UTC 2010

On Thu, Dec 30, 2010 at 01:15:52PM +0000, BillK wrote:

> I see all advanced civilizations as *non-darwinian*.

It is not sufficient to postulate something, you need
to show how the system population 1) strips the 
darwinian regime (you're soaking in it) 
2) sustainably 3) every time.
> Darwinian is evolution by reproduction of the fittest (for the
> currently applicable niche) and non-reproduction (and dying out) of
> the weakest.

Any self-replicating system in this universe is limited-resource,
and imperfectly replicating.

This means Darwin is the default.

> Advanced cultures *choose*.

In sexual selection the partners choose. It is still
a Darwinian system.

> Ref. the dropping below replacement birthrate of first world nations at present.

Ah, but you're looking at total birth rate, and not
birth rate of subpopulations.


> So population pressure doesn't exist for advanced civs.

Yes, it does.
> 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

I would be actually making a statistical argument.

> can. That's what being an advanced culture means'.

This is another argument by assertion. Please show me a mechanism
by which a system that is out of control will stop to be out of
> 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

I believe I keep mentioning why Fermi's paradoxon isn't about
twice or thrice per year.

> older than our young star.
> You have to fall back on either:
> 1) They are on the way and might arrive in 2012, or

We're outside of their lightcone.

> 2) They are already here and we don't notice them.

Does not work for darwinian systems.

> Unfortunately, both options have no supporting evidence.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence? Herr Ockham
sez: I will cut you.
> 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.

The terminating factors are already selected away with the
expansivity. We currently cannot detect nonexpansive cultures
(which would be limited to single planets, and hence short-lived), 
so we don't look for them.
> As Samantha suggests the fear is that no culture survives its singularity.

Not every time. As soon as sustainable self-rep is out of a particular
gravity well the cat is irreversibly, irrecallably out of the bag.

This is why we're not stuck at autocatalytic set. And moved beyond

> 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

According to what we know there are no non-physical paths.
Every computation is embodied.

> such happiness for the whole population that nobody wants to change
> much, or leave their home base.

Which is why we've remained in Africa.

> 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.

The opposite. You're at a constant population pressure, because your
organisms can reproduce in ~ms, while your substrate base doubles in
~hour range.
The result is an exponential runaway, until reaching the steady
state (the limits given by amounts of atoms and Joules available).

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

The problem will all these examples (you should consider that I've
spent considerable time thinking about this) do not hold water.

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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