[ExI] Silence in the sky—but why?

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Mon Aug 26 17:28:39 UTC 2013

On 2013-08-26 16:25, BillK wrote:
> So we don't even need a civ capable of relativistic travel. Just fire 
> off some probes to spam the galaxy. 10 million years is tiny compared 
> with the billions of years existence of the galaxy. There should be a 
> traffic jam of probes flying past the solar system. Unless 
> 'intelligence' decides that is a silly thing to do........

And our paper shows that you need to consider a few million or billion 
more galaxies if relativistic travel is feasible.

To quote from an earlier presentation I did:

The silence in the sky is pretty talkative… it is just hard to guess 
what it is saying:

  * Either a low technology ceiling (transhumanists are overly optimistic)
  * Or high existential risk (bad news, we need to figure it out… but it
    might not help!)
  * Or strong convergence (Is this something we want? Is it moral
  * Or one dominant old species (we better figure out the rules)
  * Or we are simulations (we better be interesting)
  * Or we are indeed alone (BIG responsibility to safeguard life and

And if the intergalactic expansion argument works then existential risk, 
convergence, the power of old civs or our isolation needs to be many 
orders of magnitude stronger than the normal assumption. Reality is weird.

Dr Anders Sandberg
Future of Humanity Institute
Oxford Martin School
Oxford University

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