[extropy-chat] The Drake Equation and Spatial Proximity

Robert Bradbury robert.bradbury at gmail.com
Wed Oct 25 15:10:49 UTC 2006

On 10/25/06, Keith Henson <hkhenson at rogers.com> wrote:
> It depends on shape of the manifold.  For all we know, all evolved species
> are subject to the same weakness.  So their fate could be like a ball
> tossed into a basin.  No matter where it starts it always winds up at the
> bottom.  Still, I agree with you on it being less likely that all of them
> would fail.  If we are the first, the future is unknown rather than
> deadly.

Actually, there are arguments supporting evolution in directions of most
rapid development (greatest computational capacity) in the shortest period
of time.  There are no "spheres" of growth of civilizations around their
starting point -- it makes no sense to "grow" in directions of (1) increased
hazards; (2) fewer resources; (3) more of the same.  You are going to want
to "grow" (migrate) in directions where you have:
(A) greater thermodynamic efficiency (outside of the galaxy) [1]
(B) greater resources (matter and/or energy) availability per unit of
spatial volume.

(B) would dictate either the migration to or construction of globular

An alternative to an MBrain "galaxy" (a "dark" KT-III galaxy) would be a
JBrain clustered galaxy (stars organized entirely in globular clusters with
lots of JBrains orbiting between among them).  If the computronium "limit"
is element type mixture and not energy then one tends to migrate to regions
where there is lots of low cost energy and matter that can be "tuned" for
optimal computational capacity within the smallest region of space -- I
would strongly argue that globular clusters would be such a place.

So to position yourself optimally within the evolution of the galaxy
"collective" a civilization doesn't want to "spread outward" -- it wants to
head as rapidly as possible to the "best" location.  (You didn't see the
Pilgrims rushing off to colonize Greenland...)

One might have two types of "intelligence hubs" in galaxies.  There are the
older natural GCs that may have formed at various points during galactic
collisions.  These would be be like river junctions in the evolution of
cities on Earth.  Artificial GCs (cities) that have to be constructed in the
middle of nowhere (as we may be) may take much longer to develop [2]. The
question we should be asking ourselves (post-singularity) is do we travel to
the nearest city or do we build one ourselves?

It is worth noting, merely as an aside, that joining a JBrain cluster may be
non-trivial unless you are bringing something of significance to the party


1. Which is discussed to some extent in the paper Milan and I published in
New Astronomy recently.  But it was Minsky who pointed this out to Dyson
decades ago.
2. Moving solar systems around takes a *long* *long* time.
3. ...
Collective Chair-entity: "Ok, the NGC 6397 steering committee will now hear
a petition from the Earth Solar System FAI to join the collective."
 EFAI: "The Earth derived FAI would like to request joining and
participating in the evolution of the NGC 6397 collective."
Collective Vice Chair: "Mr. Chair-entity, I would like to point out that
over the last 500 million years we have admitted 42 FAIs to the collective,
what possible reason would there be for devoting resources to uplifting and
integrating yet another FAI to our level?  The only FAI with any information
of interest that may have justified the uplifting cost was the FAI which
accelerated around a black hole 150 million years ago to shorten its travel
time and in the process suffered a *significant* amount of random damage to
its computronium from the X-rays being released from the black hole.  All of
the other FAIs were effectively clones having evolved into essentially
identical benevolent entities."...
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