[ExI] Meat v. Machine

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Fri Dec 31 14:30:51 UTC 2010

On 2010-12-30 18:58, Eugen Leitl wrote:
> The question is how much long-term planning an out-of-control
> culture can at all do.

It is all a matter of whether singletons are the way, and whether 
cultures that do not develop singletons before they start spreading 
continue spreading. Even if the rule is that non-singleton cultures meet 
a sticky end with a high probability, if they can produce more than one 
daughter-culture on average there will be spreading fireworks. My model 
assumes some form of effective singleton, which is of course just an 

  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.

This might be a good reason to make an M-brain or two. But it is not 
clear that it is a good enough reason to convert all stars to M-brains. 
I guess a key question is what constitutes "effort" for a 

> 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.

Yup. As Pascal said, "The eternal silence of these infinite spaces fills 
me with dread".

(hmm, now I have a total urge to listen to "The Terrible Secret of 
Space"... incidentally a great song about Friendly AI)

>> 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.

Funnel it with magnetic tubes? But it seems to me that there would be 
sizeable losses. And if those losses are bigger than what is saved by 
just waiting, then it would be wasteful. Maybe the point to start 
working is during the red giant stage - lots of mass loss anyway, and 
plenty of luminosity to work with.

Do we have any modern estimates of starlifting efficiencies, or any 
studies at all? Criswell can't be the last word.

Anders Sandberg
Future of Humanity Institute
Oxford University

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