[ExI] 2^57885161-1

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Thu Feb 14 15:22:25 UTC 2013

On 14/02/2013 11:13, BillK wrote:
> Which is why I hold the opinion that civilisations which can control 
> enough resources to seed the universe are also intelligent enough to 
> decide not to do that. 

It only takes one to break that. Or one individual or group within such 
a civilisation. And the technology needed doesn't have to be 
super-advanced, as per the usual galactic colonization arguments. Once 
you get up to nanotech, enough robotics to make a replicating system and 
good coilguns interstellar and likely intergalactic colonization is very 

> Or, alternatively, find themselves driven down a different path. For 
> example, like transcension, or moving to a nano-scale infinite 
> universe, or even self-destruction, any of which does not lead to the 
> seeding of the universe.
Again, these explanations need to work for all civilizations and all 
individuals and groups within them. No alien Amish.

> Obviously, the universe still exists, so by definition all the earlier 
> civilisations haven't yet seeded the universe.

Or, if they did, the first group decided they wanted to keep it looking 
natural and uninhabited. Remember, a mere million years of head start 
means you get to set up the rules as you see fit.

The more I think about the Fermi question, the more I lean towards the 
"they are already here", a somewhat paranoid view. Of course, the they 
that is here is very likely just caretaker automation. However, I also 
recognize that this sounds almost like a transhumanist religion: "Look, 
an universe looking uninhabited is so unlikely given what we know about 
planet formation and the evolution of intelligence. So clearly there has 
to be a guiding hand for it - our space overlords! We must follow their 
will, or they will stomp us." ;-)

(In order for a particular early colonizer to dominate enough of the 
universe so that we will not be able to see any Kardashev level III 
civilizations outside of its sphere of influence likely means it had to 
emerge several billion years ago. But by my and Stuart Armstrong's 
calculations it doesn't have to be super-early: a civilisation starting 
five billion years ago would have been able to colonize such a big 
fraction of the nearby universe - out to a gigaparsec - that we would 
have a hard time seeing any hyperscale engineering.)

Anders Sandberg,
Future of Humanity Institute
Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University

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