[extropy-chat] Doomsday argument

Robert Bradbury robert.bradbury at gmail.com
Fri Oct 13 13:04:26 UTC 2006

On 10/12/06, Russell Wallace <russell.wallace at gmail.com> quoting Nick
Bostrom wrote:

> "For instance, it turns out that if there are many extraterrestrial
> civilizations and you interpret the self-sampling assumption as applying
> equally to all intelligent beings and not exclusively to humans, then
> another probability shift occurs that exactly counterbalances and cancels
> the probability shift that the Doomsday argument implies."

I believe that the "probability shift" is due to the fact that if there are
many extraterrestrial civilizations then the cubicles are all "full".  The
argument has lots of problems, not the least of which range from (1) since
the transition from humankind to posthumankind (with a variety of AIs, IAs,
normo-humans, being present simultaneously is significantly greater than
zero) the definition for "doomsday" is extremely soft; (2) doomsday could
occur for all the cubicles if all of the protons decay (but that is in the
very far future); (3) a significant fraction of the possible doomsdays may
already be behind us (if you look at the relative abundance of solar systems
which could probably not support life and the number of mass extinctions on
this planet already behind us then there may not be many coin tosses left


1. A recent glance at Robin's pages suggestes that he may be working on a
paper discussing this fact.  This derives from the variety of reasons
suggesting that it would be really difficult to eliminate humanity or its
knowledge base at this point.  (How would one take out *all* of the
libraries, all of the search engine server farms, etc.)
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