[ExI] SETI for Post Singularity Civ

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Sat Jan 24 15:09:11 UTC 2015

On Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 2:19 PM, <avant at sollegro.com> wrote:
> It's not the cost of a VN probe, it is the risk and externalities
> involved. Perhaps VN probes are illegal in ET society because dysoning all
> the stars in the galaxy would cause the vacuum to decay to a lower energy
> state, changing the fine structure constant and rendering computation
> impossible. Or maybe it just likes the aesthetics of stars.

### Explaining the Fermi paradox without hypothesizing extreme (and I mean
really extreme) rarity of intelligent life requires you to explain the
absence of self-replicating von Neumann probes. From what I see, such
attempted explanations tend to be implausible because they try to apply
reasoning developed in our limited circumstances (a few billion of very
similar minds on one planet acting in the last few thousand years), to
processes spanning quadrillions of planets and billions of years. Really,
the scope of the universe is such that it makes a mockery of common sense
intuitions. Legal strictures or aesthetic considerations may lessen the
likelihood of some events but they can't stop them from happening from time
to time, especially on a quadrillion planets and over 5 billion years.
Initiation of von Neumann expansion is an event that needs to happen just
once to change the future appearance of the universe.

To explain why von Neumann probes did not settle the universe you have to
come up with something more fundamental, applicable to quadrillions of
planets and over billions of years, something much stricter than legalities
and proclivities - unless you posit the existence of ETs that are invisible
and yet powerful enough to consistently police the whole universe. Do you
find it plausible?

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