[ExI] Drake Equation Musings

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Mon May 16 01:02:02 UTC 2016

On Monday, 16 May 2016, BillK <pharos at gmail.com> wrote:

> On 15 May 2016 at 10:06, Anders Sandberg  wrote:
> > It is IMHO not a very impressive paper. Basically their argument is
> "Look,
> > the probability per star needed to get an empty universe is really low,
> so a
> > priori we should expect it to be higher." My own upcoming paper shows
> that
> > if you do the probabilities right you can easily get empty universes
> given
> > what we know.
> >
> > (The quick of it: people assume some key Drake equation parameters must
> lie
> > in a far smaller range than they are allowed to by our actual knowledge,
> and
> > this produces over-optimistic estimates. When you update on the empty
> sky,
> > it makes the past great filter more likely than a future great filter.)
> >
> So your paper intends to show that it is quite likely humans are the
> only intelligent species in the universe? The universe is ours for the
> taking! Yippee! Though that could be the definition of maximum hubris.
> But you are facing very big odds. The universe is quite big, you know.  ;)

The universe is perhaps infinite, but the observable universe is finite.
Set a low enough probability of life arising and it is no surprise that we
don't and will never see alien civilisations, even though the universe may
be filled with them.

> Even if your calculations allow for a few intelligent species, you
> still face the problem that none of them can be exponential species
> that have colonised their galaxy, as we see no signs of them. So the
> suggestion of nano-tech and resource optimised species could apply to
> one or millions of species, all undetectable by each other.
> This is more optimistic than saying that *all* technological
> civilisations go extinct before expanding through the galaxy.
> BillK
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Stathis Papaioannou
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