Re: Ray Kurzweil & Empty Universe

From: Dale Johnstone (
Date: Sat Mar 24 2001 - 09:29:54 MST

Spudboy wrote:
>I have noticed after reading the precis' by Ray Kurzweil's "The Singularity
>Is Near", that the end result has a feature similar to Frank Tipler's view
>that the observable cosmos is likely, void of technological civilizations.

I thought this was a rather dubious conclusion for him to make, and rather ironic considering he went to great lengths to illustrate just how advanced we will become. How would he, a pre-singularity creature, know what a post-singularity civilization looks like?

We don't yet even have a full grasp all the laws governing the Universe (or where 90% of it is), so any speculation about what form SIs take, is premature. For all we know they can pull energy directly out of the vacuum and don't need to move stars around. That is of course assuming they're still hanging around in our Universe.

The idea that SETI has done a 'thorough' survey of half the Universe is also open to debate.

He recognizes that "Any civilization sophisticated enough to make the trip here would have long since passed the point of merging with their technology and would not need to send such physically bulky organisms and equipment."

So what makes him think we'll be able to detect such technology at all? I find it more plausible that they simply don't need stellar engineering over the highly unlikely idea that we're the first intelligent creatures in the entire Universe.

Stellar engineering sounds to me like one of those old science fiction ideas that may well prove to be utterly naive as our understanding grows. I'd rather take the lack of visible stellar engineering as evidence it's not needed. Surely if it was, we wouldn't exist.

A more interesting question to my mind is why, if they exist, have they not uplifted us? Even if their Singularity has an attractor other than Friendliness, it will in some form have a sub-goal to ensure their existence. At the very least they would want to make sure we don't turn into a replicator explosion.

I can't believe we're the first, there must be more to the puzzle than we can see right now.

Dale Johnstone.

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