[ExI] Extraterrestrial liberty and colonising the universe

Dennis May dennislmay at yahoo.com
Sat Jun 22 22:53:19 UTC 2013

On 21/06/2013 15:29, I wrote:

"Why aren't we a thousand miles deep in grasshoppers?
A: disease, parasites, predators, cannibalism, resources to survive/replicate."

On 22/06/2013 11:45, Anders Sandberg wrote:
"This applies if you have a system where evolution applies. The standard 
interstellar replicator scenarios tend to use multiple local hops, 
allowing many generations between the start and end point. Plenty of 
chance for evolutionary drift or divergence, although artificial probes 
can be equipped with error correction making any accidental diversity as 
negligible as you want. Stuarts and mine scenario has two generations: 
the end-state will not have had much chance to evolve (and, again, error 
correction can prevent it).

The assumption that given time parasites will evolve is based on the 
image that the system
 is free to evolve. But non-evolving replicators 
getting there first can also prevent the appearance of evolving 
replicators. If the first seeders didn't want to allow them, they could 
do it. We might *like* the concept of evolving replicators a great deal 
more than those boring non-evolving, but the latter can win against the 
rest if they are programmed to be [thorough]."

There seem to be a few assumptions implicit in your statements.  You seem
to assume some kind of central planner control of probe launches into
the universe - which implies economic and technology control over individuals.
Otherwise anyone wealthy enough can do their own probe launches.  If I
were interested in such probe launches and replicating systems I would
recognize that evolution can happen in both software and hardware such
that a single probe going out can create entire ecosystems of predator-prey-
parasites and do its own launches at any point in time later.  A single AI
which can replicate and spread in free space is enough to populate every
scenario including war-gaming against its own creations to evolve impossibly
efficient predators.  Before the first centrally-planned probe reaches
another galaxy, independently evolved probes could have sent out a trillion
competing probes ahead of it.

On 22/06/2013 11:45, Anders Sandberg wrote:

"...the only way to be truly certain nobody else can invade is to turn 
everything into your kind of replicator. Hence the "deadly probe 
scenario" is not a likely answer to the Fermi question."

It always takes less energy and resources to destroy than to create.
This is part of the reason why offensive WoMD are so much more effective 
than defenses against them.  The greater the energy involved the more 
effective offense becomes.

The smallest technological footprint for AI to replicate is presently unknown.
There is the time footprint, the resources footprint, the signals generated
by replication footprint, the trails left in both traveling and replication,
and the thermodynamic footprints both in matter and radiation.

Ideally replication would take place in high noise environments to minimize
detection.  High noise environments are only available in limited regions
and what qualifies as high noise is technology dependent.

There are many assumptions inherent in what replicating AI systems are
going to do.  I assume they will use wide band impulse communications which
appear as white noise [SETI detection won't work].  I assume they will leave
as little footprint as possible to keep from being tracked [military 101],
I assume they will stay on the move, disperse themselves, and act in
a stealthy manner to avoid WoMD.  In space stealth also means small footprint
in every way possible.

So the Fermi Paradox is not hard to understand.  If a single civilization
allows AI - not controlled by central-planners - military strategy for AI that
can replicate will quickly lead to quiet well dispersed mobile AI with small
footprints we will never see.  The predators among the AI replicators will
also hunt other predators.  The Earth may be nothing more than a loud baby
animal drawing in predators while other predators watch and wait.  There
are too many possible scenarios to calculate.

Dennis May
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