[ExI] DNA India: The transhumanity timeline

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Sat Jun 22 01:56:28 UTC 2013

On Fri, Jun 21, 2013 at 12:24 PM,  Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org> wrote:

> On Fri, Jun 21, 2013 at 09:02:44AM -0700, Keith Henson wrote:
>> If you are trying to talk to a Jupiter brain, the top level coherent
>> process is what you would be talking to.  At least I think that's the
>> case.
> I'm not sure there can be a hierarchical assembly that can
> act coherently.

Then what's the point of such a thing existing if it can't act coherently?

> How would you talk to a planet full of 7 GPeople?

Certainly you don't have a conversation with 7 billion.  It's hard
enough talking to more than one.

> Large top-scale processes can relate to other large top-scale
> processes, for plans that can take arbitrary amounts of time
> to execute.
> By why would a whale talk to an amoeba? The don't share
> the same time scale, they don't share the concepts. There
> is really no common base for communication at all.

If one of these "Jupiter Brains" was talking to another, the
conversation would be painfully slow even to a human.

>> >> If you want to do a lot of thinking, small dimensions, lots of power
>> >> and plenty of cold water are needed.
>> >>
>> >> http://hplusmagazine.com/2012/04/12/transhumanism-and-the-human-expansion-into-space-a-conflict-with-physics/
>> >
>> > Too many assumptions there. "Twenty million subjective years to get an answer back is just ridiculous." --
>> > you're thinking like a human here.
>> I agree with you.  Unfortunately I don't know how to think other than
>> like a human.  Any advice?
> I would just look at which behaviour constraints are available
> for systems of all scales of complexity, including very small
> nonsentient systems and dauer spores, up to very large scale
> systems and supersystems in the context of Darwinian evolution.

That doesn't help, at least not me.

> It seems that the only constraints there are that of metabolism
> and relativistic travel. Motivation differs across scales, and
> we definitely can't assume any human motivators apply.
> We already have thousands of volunteers applying for a one-way
> essential suicide mission. Extreme environments like Mt. Everest
> have plenty of dead bodies to be used as landmarks. Even people
> do things which they apparently shouldn't be doing.

Great.  A world full of powerful beings even more irrational than humans.

>> > "Due to this line of thinking, I no longer think it?s practical to surround a star with computronium." --
>> > why, obviously Amerigo Vespucci and Cristobal Colon never set sail, so the colonization never happened,
>> > so Keith Henson never happened. Since you're obviously there, there seems to be a problem with your
>> > line of reasoning. It obviously has to do with the need to communicate with everyone else within
>> > a given minimal time, which is a bogus requirement. Back then, the opposite site of the Earth
>> > was as remote as the next star in terms of communication latency. Yet it still got settled.
>> By the time of Magellan, it only took 3 years sail around the Earth.
> Yes, 3 years is basically interstellar distances. I can now send
> ping any node on the Internet in less than a second. They didn't
> have telecommunications back then, messages took many years hitching
> rides on ships and travelers, and yet people expanded in increments
> just fine. People just sailed into the seas without having a good
> story that they will ever return, and countless perished. Yet we're
> all descendants from these survivors, and the wanderlust is in
> our DNA. We don't contract, we expand. We would have expanded into
> space a long time ago, if we could.

I was involved with this for a considerable time.


I came to my current view of humanity's future reluctantly.  I would
greatly prefer that humanity left for the stars, but now suspect that
they will not even get off the planet in self sustaining numbers, with
the majority of them uploading into fast hardware that makes the stars
and even other planets seem impossibly far away.

In spite of that, I still work on things, SBSP, that could result in
at least a small human presence in space.

>> Point accepted that the Earth got settled, or rather conquered since
>> the entire planet had been settled long before Europeans started
> Yes, precisely, the planet was already settled by people with
> much more primitive tools and even no concept of global communication
> at all -- the language bareer alone would make such a thing nonsensical.
>> exploring.  But that's not the point.  Is the best substrate for
>> thinking beings a fog of computronium around a star?  I don't think so
> We know that computronium is the best substrate for computation,
> by definition. Everything else is about how much power you can
> dissipate. You'll need enough 4 K background visible to dump
> your heat into, and you'll expand into utilizing all available
> energy flux, so it means that you have a halo of nodes around
> the star. Whether the nodes are thin, or fat is not really that
> important, other that they've spread across space lighthours
> across, and other such sphere are across other stars lightyears
> away, and so on.

Computronium at 1 Au can only collect a kW/m^2 and dissipate the same
amount.  Given a kW per brain, the inhabitants will be spaced a meter
apart.  or about a million per square km.  Compare that with a deep
ocean where the inhabitants can be spaced at 10 cm and powered by 2 kW
per inhabitant.  The ones in space will have 100 times smaller
communities for the same clock rate and latency.  OK, people might
inhabit space this way, but it's not the prestigious location of cold
deep ocean with half a GW to power it.

>> for engineering reasons of waste heat and latency.  It's a question
>> akin to where people live today, i.e., a desert supports only a small
>> fraction of those in lush surroundings.  For the uploaded who want to
> Lush surroundings = lots of solar flux, and atoms to make use of it.
> Deserts = interstellar space with no flux, and even no fusion fuel.
>> think fast, plenty of power, lots of cold water and a compact
>> community are what you need.  By comparison, a disbursed cloud of
>> computronium would be like a bleak desert.
> No, because the cloud is immaterial, just what's in the node
> is important. Whether a node is cm^3, m^3 or even larger, it's
> not important. The point is that that there are many nodes like
> that (about Avogadro number of human equivalents in just this
> solar system alone). They're not all in one location, because
> you couldn't compute that way without suffering the corium or
> plasma cloud as failure modes. I don't think you can compute
> warmer than 700 K, and arguably it could be useful to go lower,
> perhaps a lot lower.

You mentioned evolution up post.  I see speeding up as an arms race
where the goal of being smarter than your neighbors pushes the clock
rates up to the limits of hardware or cooling.

Out in space or in the deep cold ocean, people running at high rates
of thinking are going to find travel tedious.

I suspect that if intelligent life evolved elsewhere in our light
cone, that's what happened to them.

When Drexler first figured out nanotechnology he went looking through
a catalog of unusual galaxies for ones that looked like Cookie Monster
had taken a bite out of them, the result of an expanding front of
civilization that was dimming the stars behind the front.  Had he
found one, he would have had someone take a look in the infrared

He didn't find any.  Options that fit the observations:  They figure
out uploading and never leave their home planet, they make
computronium around their star, but don't go beyond it, there are
none, i.e., we are the first, some disaster eats them, but makes no
subsequent visible mark on the universe.

Or it could be that 50 million years of subjective experience (which
could happen to us by the end of this century) changes us and aliens
beyond comprehension.  Or perhaps simulated environments are enough to
sate the desire to explore.

Stick around and you can find out.


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list