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

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Wed Oct 25 16:36:11 UTC 2006

On Wed, Oct 25, 2006 at 11:44:25AM -0400, Robert Bradbury wrote:

>    Sure, and I'm just now noticing that we don't have Amish, or Quakers
>    or Shakers (or other groups which reject "state-of-the-art"
>    technology) all over the surface of the planet.  The problem that you

We have plants and animals all over the surface of this planet.
Almost soon as a new volcanic island pops over the surface of the
of the sea the pioneer successon starts.

Perhaps my language makes you think I'm talking pond scum, suddenly
taking a leap to the stars. Not so. All pioneers must originate in
a culture which is reasonably hi-tech by our means (self-rep machinery,
interplanetary travel). As far as we know astrochicken who feed
on crunchy carbonaceous chondrites don't arise spontaneously.

>    have with technology moving quickly is that by the time you get
>    "there", those who left behind you (in the planes rather than the
>    ships) get there before you.  When technology is moving quickly you

Yes, speed of travel and short replication is key to succeeding the pioneer niche.

>    can't afford to remain primitive or go off on colonizing "adventures"
>    when you can be leap frogged.  It is *only* when technology has been
>    pushed to the limit *and* you can justify the mass and energy costs of
>    supporting some of the interstellar transport projects you have
>    proposed that colonization is even thinkable.  Then, if you, Eugen,

If you have time, and there's stuff growing (fusion metabolism) in
Oort and Kuiper contamination will happen spontaneously, even if
you don't have the genome for a plasma thruster. 

This is how it starts. After that, it's Darwin all over MLYr and GLYrs.

>    decide to take your share of the solar system resources and head out
>    for Star xyzzy, you still have the problem that Anders and I will not
>    be looking over your shoulder and take our share of the solar system
>    resources (2x yours) and get there before you do.  You have to "claim"

Yes, if you arrive there before me, you will beget a faster breed of pioneers.
And so on.

>    ownership of the development rights for Star xyzzy and get *everyone*

Who arrives in the wilderness first, has all the rights to use the
resources and settle, before moving on.

>    who can must more resources than you to recognize these rights and
>    *then* hope the hell that someone beyond our light horizon with
>    greater resources hasn't already started relocating Star xyzzy into
>    their globular cluster development project.  Your effort will appear
>    fairly humorous 500 years from now when this weak message arrives back
>    from your colonizing probe, "oops, I missed".

The nice thing about relativistic travellers is that you don't
see them coming. By the time half of the sky starts turning infrared,
they're past here already.
>    This argument only holds for something like intergalactic colonization
>    (really only for very distant galaxies).  Within our galaxy we will be

The argument applies to all darwinian machines who're stochastically
sampling the behaviour space. Some of them are Darwin Award winners.
Some of them are just big winners, period.

>    able to *see* everything.  We will have simulation capabilities and
>    know within a certain probability of error -- those systems which will
>    never develop life (or ATCs), those where the ATCs currently exist (
>    e.g. globular clusters or orbiting the galaxy) and those which are
>    like us on the verge of the singularity.  But the crystal ball will be
>    quite fuzzy in this area beyond say 500 light years distance.  All of
>    the solar systems within say 500 light years which could have evolved
>    life, ATCs and allow rapid transitions throught The Singularity (as
>    ours does) will have made the transition to MBrains and be essentially
>    undetectable at our stage of development.  I would also argue that

You can't miss redistribution of predispersed material which will
substitute each star with a blackbody lighthours wide very soon.

>    until Pan-STARRs is fully functional our chances of identifying
>    systems under development near us is relatively low.  It is also true

If they're infected, you can't miss it. Especially aggregated, they'd
be visible across the entire visible universe.

>    that there is a low probability of systems in our neighborhood being
>    in development -- the development time (a few thousand years) vs. the
>    development window time (billions of years) makes it much more likely
>    that they are pre-development or post-development.  The real problem
>    isn't the lack of pre-development systems to develop it is knowing
>    what the post-development civilizations are doing with them.
>    The problem with near-relativistic colonization travel speeds isn't
>    how long it takes to get there -- it is the energy required for course
>    corrections when you discover where you want to go may not be where
>    you are headed.

If the stuff has grown legs, you're an animal at sea.

Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a> http://leitl.org
ICBM: 48.07100, 11.36820            http://www.ativel.com
8B29F6BE: 099D 78BA 2FD3 B014 B08A  7779 75B0 2443 8B29 F6BE
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