[ExI] SETI for Post Singularity Civs

Stuart LaForge avant at sollegro.com
Thu Jan 15 06:49:55 UTC 2015

If we take the assumption that the most extant civilizations in the galaxy are going to post-singularity types, then it seems to me that we might be searching for them in completely the wrong way.

The lack of visible mega-engineering structures could be due to the faulty assumption that post-biologicals would want to go big. But big structures are inherently inefficient resource-wise. This inefficiency is evident in earth's biosphere where large organisms are vastly outnumbered by small ones.

The majority of the total biomass of our planet is represented by organisms that are insect size and smaller. Similar constraints would affect engineered structures. Take for example the heat-dissipation issues involved. Heat generation in any structure would scale by the cube of its linear dimension (volume) while heat transfer would scale by the square (surface area).

Large structures are therefore thermodynamically inefficient. And considering that our state of the art telescopes are only barely capable of find earth-sized exoplanets under ideal conditions, it is very likely any reasonable structures such as dyson swarms or M-brains would escape our notice. Perhaps simply causing their parent stars to appear as a cooler spectral class.

This would lead to "inhabited" yellow dwarf systems being misclassified as red dwarves. Not to mention the huge number of undetected brown dwarfs hypothesized to exist.

Then considering radio-based SETI, again we might be listening for the wrong things. Take the miniaturized high speed post singularity ET hypothesis and current SETI efforts are like listening for FM radio stations using an AM radio. You would probably occasionally hear something but it would appear to be noise instead of signal.

SETI's current strategy seems to focusing on sampling a large number of narrow bands around the hydrogen spectrum. But superfast minds would talk fast too. So they would, because the bitrate of a communication channel is limited by the Shannon-Hartley Law, choose very wide bands to communicate on and their long-winded introductions would sound like broad spectrum pulses or chirps to us slow pokes.

So to summarize, the methods we are using to find ET are weak and heavily biased toward meat-civilizations.

Stuart LaForge

Sent from my phone.

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