[ExI] The Great Silence again

John Grigg possiblepaths2050 at gmail.com
Sun Apr 24 21:08:50 UTC 2011

BillK wrote:
Michael Anissimov at Accelerating Future has just posted a comment
that appeals to me.

Another point I’ve made in the past is that as everyone becomes
uploads and accelerates their thinking speeds, space will begin to
seem very far away. Right now, Luna is 3-4 days away. To beings whose
brains are made up of molecular computers with 100 GHz switching
speeds, Luna is about 3,000,000,000 days away. That’s about eight
million years. An eight million year trip to go to an empty wasteland
without any art, culture, or much Kolmogorov complexity to speak of
beyond geological and mineral patterns?
The near-term future of humanity is to convert the Earth into a
“computronium globe” with a web of trillions of simulated worlds
within it. In several subjective millennia, we may consume the Moon,
but it will be subjective millions of years beyond that until we
colonize Mars. In many billions of years, we may be fortunate enough
to consume the Sun.

I think I've mentioned in the past that The Fermi problem is probably
because advanced civs don't go out into space.
For many possible reasons, including those mentioned by Michael above.
Sometimes called the retreat into virtual worlds of computronium.

Richard Loosemore replied:
I hear the argument, but I don't feel compelled to buy it.
For this (main) reason.  If we had the power to speed up our consciousness
to such an extent that one day RealTime became a million days VirtualTime,
we would run the risk of becoming bored if we simply spent all that VT as a
continuous consciousness.  Much more likely, we would choose to establish a
system of periodic rebirths, involving the archival storage of the current
set of life experiences and the beginning of a new life in which we could
experience everything as if for the first time.
In that case, the million days VT would probably consist of several
Moreover, people would not necessarily want to experience all of their
lifetimes at VT speed, but would sometimes want to come back down to normal
speed.  And in fact, the lifetimes could, of course, be interleaved, so that
several lives were being experienced at once, all at different speeds, but
in packets.
And (finally) one aspect of this would be the possibility to set up
interstellar trips in which the consciousness was suspended for the
duration.  Or, where many different lives were led during the trip, but all
within computronium VWorlds.  That way, a community could go to the stars,
arrive there with the subjective experience of having only just left, and
then explore the remote worlds before going on to the next star.
Some of us, I have got to say, would *still* be interested in what Nature,
by herself, decided to do at all of those other star systems, and would not
want to simply sit at home pretending to live in imagined worlds!

Conclusion:  I don't see any *necessary* force to to the argument that this
is an explanation for the Fermi Paradox.

Richard, very well said!!!  I am so tired of the "humanity uploading and
retreating into virtual worlds/forgetting about space exploration and
colonization" argument.  You did an excellent job of dismantling it.

John  : )
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