[ExI] Meat v. Machine

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Thu Dec 30 17:58:10 UTC 2010

On Thu, Dec 30, 2010 at 05:33:21PM +0100, Anders Sandberg wrote:

> This was my previous position too, and it furnished a pretty good  
> argument that there were either no aliens about, or they had  
> "transcended our plane of existence". However, in a discussion with  
> Milan Circovic I realized that letting stars shine only lose you ~1% of  
> their mass-energy. If you are really advanced and long-term, you will  
> burn the matter in black holes achieving ~50% efficiency in a very cold  

The question is how much long-term planning an out-of-control
culture can at all do. Also, you have a current situation where 
the star dumps ~MT/s into the cosmic microwave background, and
there is about enough matter present in our solar system to 
make full use of it. It's a problem of use it, or lose it.
It's a bit like current PV system operators have, which are
producing surplus. If you can't store, or sell it, you can
as well use it, even in a bit of an extravagant fashion.

And clearly if you're clocking 10^6..10^9 seconds each second
there's a lot of unreal estate for an effective eternity,
world without end, etc. available. So we're the wasteful
species, because we let it all go to waste, because we can't
use it up yet.

So the universe out there doesn't make at all sense, unless
it's really empty, and up for taking, or it's all cage #9.

> future where every Joule is worth many more bits. So if stopping stars  
> takes a significant effort (which seems likely, you have to star lift  
> them and then redistribute sizeable chunks of matter), then it might not  
> be worth it.

It's not obvious how you would contain the volatiles, once out
of the gravitational well.

> I guess I should do a proper economic analysis of this. But it seems  
> that if you have a huge time horizon then the current waste might not  
> matter much, unless it least to a lot of lost gas.
> The reason to wait is the Brillouin inequality: you get 1/kTln(2) bits  
> of information out of a Joule of energy, so if you wait until the  
> universe is twice as cold you get twice as much computation. Eventually  

Evolutionary systems are not much into delayed gratification.
Arguably, they'll run into peak matter as soon as they figure out
how to convert it to energy catalytically (I've thought microsingularities
would be useful, but anything hot enough is small enough to
produce enough photonic pressure to starve itself into further
black (or, rather, bright) hole bulimia.

> (if current cosmological models are right) the temperature will reach a  
> steady level of ~10^-19 K due to de Sitter horizon radiation and there  
> is no point in waiting any more. But that means matter gets 10^19 times  
> more valuable if you wait!
> It seems likely that Jupiter brains will have a pretty good theory of  
> the universe after a mere million years or so. It is not clear to me  
> that there is any reason to think that they will get a huge physics  
> surprise if they spend another billion years on the problem. Instead  
> they might decide to spend their calculations on whatever they consider  
> valuable and not just instrumentally useful.

This ecosystem doesn't do particular calculations, so I don't see why
a diverse postecosystem doesn't do the same, only a more of it, and
a lot faster. It's not that the dominant species has a lot of leverage
to change it, and they'd be probably ethically compelled not to, even
if they could.

Not that we're representative, or anything, but most people don't
deliberately destroy stuff, even though they do wind up with it.
I chalk it up to our immaturity, since we definitely can't continue
that way, even if we would and could do it. 

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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