Re: Another Take on the Fermi Paradox

From: Brian Atkins (
Date: Mon Dec 23 2002 - 20:50:56 MST

Robert Reining wrote:
> The essence is that assumption 2 doesn't hold, even if we assume 1 is still
> valid: that the stay-at-homes have such great advantages relative to travelers
> that no (or very few) entity ever wants to travel. The idea is that entities
> with more computing power have an overwhelming developmental advantage over
> entities with less computing power. And that the mass and relativistic time
> dilation constraints of near-light-speed space travel drastically reduce the
> relative computing power of the travelers. Time dilation is a relative
> disadvantage because computation amongst travelers proceeds more slowly than
> amongst stay-at-homes.
> I think the potential reality of such developmental relativism is likely more
> apparent to the readers of this list than to others, and of particular interest
> to this list it potentially opens up a little window into post-singularity
> life. It implies that development proceeds for a long time after a given
> civilization's singularity. If post singularity development ever plateaus, then
> you'd expect to see a bloom of star travel, since travelers then wouldn't lose
> too much developmental advantage relative to homebodies. It also implies that
> post singularity entities "care" a lot that they don't fall behind their peers.
> This could mean that post-singularity entities continue to compete amongst
> themselves, or it could mean that they greatly desire to continue to be able to
> comprehend each other. Alternately, it could also mean that post-singularity
> entities become one giant entity and the prospect of splitting into
> developmentally divergent entities is abhorent to such an entity.

I've brought up my complaint about this answer to the FP previously:
Your answer does not explain why I will not, about 5 seconds after the
Singularity, design/test/launch a self-replicating probe "manned" by
some sort of mind (either sentient or not, depends on what I decide
then) that will go off and scour the whole reachable Universe for
sentients that need help. Note that I do not have to go with the probe,
and it only takes a few seconds of realtime to accomplish which probably
isn't enough to completely destroy my livelihood in the post-Singularity
rat race.

Your whole answer seems predicated on the idea that post-Singularity
life would have to actually journey around the Universe in person, which
seems silly.

Brian Atkins
Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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