[ExI] Interstellar Travel is really hard

spike at rainier66.com spike at rainier66.com
Mon Jan 10 23:13:07 UTC 2022

-----Original Message-----
From: extropy-chat <extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org> On Behalf Of
BillK via extropy-chat
Sent: Monday, January 10, 2022 2:34 PM
To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
Cc: BillK <pharos at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [ExI] Interstellar Travel is really hard

On Mon, 10 Jan 2022 at 22:15, spike jones via extropy-chat
<extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> BillK, it is all about nanotech.  If we can figure out how to create a 
> replicating assembler, we can use standard propulsion technology that 
> we have had for most of a century, go ahead and take a thousand years 
> to get to the nearest star, or ten thousand (keeping in mind we hafta 
> somehow slow back down when we arrive) then if we find stuff there we 
> nanotech ourselves back up to meter scale if we wish.
> The missing tech is how to get ourselves, or the part we care about, 
> down to the micrometer scale, and verify that our sentience is not 
> substrate dependent (I think consciousness is substrate independent, 
> but I can't say I know that for certain.)
> spike
> _______________________________________________

If we can achieve the nanotech capability that you describe........
well, that gives us God-like power to do almost anything!
So, I doubt whether that will be possible.
If it is possible, then reconstructing ourselves and our Solar System will
probably be first on the list.
Interstellar travel will be way down the to-do list, if ever.
Going nano may be too much fun.  :)


BillK, I made a similar argument on this forum 25 yrs ago when we used to
discuss nanotech a lot (that was before we knew how difficult it is to make
a covalent bond without excessive entropy production.)

If we figure out how to tinkerbellize (I think that was our own Eliezer
Yudkowsky who coined that term) then we can downscale several orders of
magnitude, then going elsewhere becomes a lot lower priority.  If we get
that far, we can create so many human-level (or higher) intelligences, that
the theoretical signals from out there somewhere become mostly irrelevant,
as the writings of 17th century theologians are mostly irrelevant to us
today.  Those writings are still around, but no one bothers to read them.  

Likewise, the prospect of going out there becomes less attractive perhaps
(but that part I am less sure about (for a tinkerbellized species might
still want to spread throughout the galaxy.)


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