[extropy-chat] The Drake Equation and Spatial Proximity.

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Wed Oct 25 14:50:04 UTC 2006

On Wed, Oct 25, 2006 at 09:57:35AM -0400, Robert Bradbury wrote:

>    First, until all of the dark matter and/or dark energy is explained I
>    question the assertion "we don't see a hint of it".  The best you can
>    assert is that "what we see isn't what an anthropocentric perspective
>    would lead one to expect to see"-- e.g. stellar colonization.  Say for
>    example that it is possible to imprint or transfer ATCs onto dark
>    matter/energy -- then they *aren't going to waste their time

I have the following two objections to this: there is currently no evidence
that dark matter/energy is good for information processing. Secondly, 
evolutionary systems never abandon a niche they occupied when they
colonize another. If transcension is possible, the original nucleation
point and the wave of the immanent critters still goes on expanding.

>    colonizing stars -- they are going to dedicate their resources to
>    evolving into/onto a better substrate.

Critters are never completely rational. A population of semirational
beings never does some some fancy dance steps in perfect unison. 
There must be cosmic villages full of intergalactic idiots. Where
are they?

>    The thing which *always* gets left out of the colonization perspective
>    is the lack of bandwidth and communications between the stars.

Take a magnification glass, and look at a meadow. Each individual
organism doesn't have to be able to ping New Zealand. Their overlapping
interaction spheres are all local. Long-distance interaction only happen
by iteration of local interactions.

>    1. If you colonize you can only take a very, very, very small fraction
>    of your knowledge with you.  Sure the Library of Congress looks huge

Pioneers are a primitive niche.

>    to us now but it isn't even a speck of dust to an ATC.  It would be
>    like the Pilgrims having to leave behind cloth making, crop growing,
>    weapons manufacture, cooking, etc. knowledge bases on their voyage of
>    colonization.  They would get to America and they would be lucky if
>    they could still walk and talk.  [1]

According to that theory, we should never have left Africa. Yet we
have colonized the entire world, using primitive tools and ridiculous
motivations, in nick of a time, geologically speaking.

>    2. Yes you could colonize, and yes you could communicate across those
>    distances, but the information content of the communication is
>    effectively so low that it would be difficult to justify the mass or
>    energy it would require.  Given how long the communication takes and

You sometimes find animals far out at sea, where they are certain to 
perish. Many seafarers set out to sea, expending the then-equivalents
of today's space travel, and perished. But some of them did not, and
this is why you're able to read this message.

>    how limited its information content would be (relative to what is
>    available on either end) what good is it?  It would be like a cave man
>    sending us instructions on how to make a spear point.  We can figure
>    out how to make a spear point ourselves in a day or two.  If the
>    singularity transition takes only 10-50 years everything beyond that
>    distance in light-years is "beyond knowing".  By the time you "know"
>    them they would be completely different.  You can only know what they
>    *used* to be.  Interstellar communication consists entirely of
>    historical docudramas.

We don't have those (with the possible exception of the Wow! signal).

>    Robert.
>    1. I don't know how to create a good metaphor losing 20 or 30 orders
>    of magnitude of ones knowledge base -- the U.S. population *still*
>    depended upon Europe for many years for a vast set of resources -- but

Most of human colonization was driven by very small bands of people,
which were completely self-sufficient.

>    that knowledge set was transferred in dozens or thousands of humans --
>    not 10^25.

Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a> http://leitl.org
ICBM: 48.07100, 11.36820            http://www.ativel.com
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