Re: the end of fermi's paradox?

From: Philip Goetz (
Date: Thu Jan 04 2007 - 13:58:40 MST

On 1/4/07, John K Clark <> wrote:
> "Philip Goetz" <>
> > An ET with a tech equivalent to Earth 200 years from now [.]
> 200 years? That's just an instant, why not 200 million years, or 2 billion,
> the universe is a very old place.

Because I am making a point, and I don't need to go beyond 200 years
to make my point. Which makes my point stronger.

> If energy is so valuable why does ET let the energy from billions of suns in
> our galaxy radiate uselessly into empty space?

To further explain:
Someone considering an investment has a discounting rate for future
returns. The key factor here is that ET can do a lot more in a lot
less time than us. This may lead to an interest rate of, say, 100%
per day. There is also the posthuman equivalent of discounting for
death. In our society, if you show someone that the earth is headed
for environmental collapse, but it won't happen until after they die,
they are less interested. A posthuman society will have the concept
of "death" replaced by a continuous function describing the
correlation between their present self and their future self. Instead
of a "death", they may have a "half-life", meaning the time after
which that resemblance halves. This also provides a discounting
factor for future investment.

If you do the math, you may find that the payoff from harvesting a
sun's energy, is not high enough to justify the energy investment for
a space probe, due to the very high discounting rate. If it takes 20
years to harvest that sun, and your expected return has to equal 200%
per day after 20 years to make it worthwhile, you need a return of
10E2200 times your original investment. A sun is simply not enough
energy to be worth going after.

That is not my definite opinion. It's an idea that I'm throwing out there.

> But we do not see an engineered Galaxy; I think I have a pretty good
> idea why and I don't think you do.
> John K Clark

Maybe, but at least I'm not rude.

It is unwise to speak definitively when one is speaking speculatively.

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