[ExI] SETI for Post Singularity Civs

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Thu Jan 29 11:15:27 UTC 2015

Bryan Bishop <kanzure at gmail.com> , 26/1/2015 9:03 PM:

On Mon, Jan 26, 2015 at 1:48 PM, BillK <pharos at gmail.com> wrote:

It would only take a few million years to spread Neumann probes
 throughout our galaxy. So advanced ET either hasn't appeared in our

I saw math somewhere about relative speed-ups and head-starts by just having a single year of a head start, versus 10 years, and versus 100 years. So in the absence of having a working von Neumann probe, perhaps using literally anything else secures victory, especially if it will take you millions of years to make anything better. (Hopefully, kinematic self-replication will not take us more than 100 years to figure out.)

Over long distances speed tends to win over start time.

If you start at time t, at time T you will have reached distance D=v(T-t). So dD/dv = (T-t), dD/dt = -v. D = D0 + (T-t)*dv - v*dt+.... So if  the delay in making faster probes is less than (T-t)/v they are worth it. Now, if T is small you might want to rush with whatever you have. But if T is billions of years, then waiting may be rational. 

For Stuart's and mine intergalactic spamming paper we found that million-year waits for making super ultrarelativistic probes would be worth it. 

If you are worried about pre-emption the situation changes; it introduces a penalty term for larger t, giving some optimum time to wait and develop the tech. 

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