[ExI] Silence in the sky-but why?

Stephen Van Sickle sjv2006 at gmail.com
Tue Aug 27 22:00:35 UTC 2013

On Tue, Aug 27, 2013 at 2:18 PM, Anders Sandberg <anders at aleph.se> wrote:

> A more worrying possibility is strong convergence: all civs somehow become
> quiet and do not litter the universe; as I have argued this is deeply
> problematic - why are there no defectors?

I think there are three possibilities that I don't think get quite enough

1.  We are not overrun by intelligences for the same reason we are not
overrun by E. coli or kudzu:  predation.  In a universe red in tooth and
claw, there is strong incentive to hide, and defectors from this principle
are quickly eaten.

2.  There are more interesting places to go that are far easier to reach
than it is to travel between the stars.  Alternate realities?  Parallel
universes?  Basement universes?  This does not solve the defector problem,
unless, as in #1, they are hiding as well.

3.  The time-like version of #2:  this is an uninteresting time.  Perhaps
the universe will, in the future, undergo a phase change that improves
computation, or, once you've solved all of physics, you get bored and want
to see your predictions play out. Or the future sends a message, and you
are impatient to get there.  So, civilizations are sleeping until a better
time.  Still no solution to the defector question, unless sleeping is how
you hide as well.

Likely, a combination of all three.  Reality is teaming with intelligence,
all of which are either hungry predators or hiding from them.  Once an
intelligence develops, it either quickly dies horribly, or soon figures
things out and either escapes this universe to hide or, if a predator, to
stalk and ambush the unsuspecting. Or, a new civilization sleeps until
better times, deeply hidden, in, for example, a deep ocean.

I call this the Lovecraft Solution to the Fermi Paradox.

> When being simulated or subject to alien police devices are the nice
> options, then things are weird.

And perhaps things are not just weird, but horrifically, mind bendingly

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