Re: Existential Risk and Fermi's Paradox

From: Toby Weston (
Date: Wed Jun 20 2007 - 11:35:49 MDT

Firstly I myself do not feel that life is pointless,
apart from all the other wonders I enjoy, I have two
boys and they would be meaning enough for me on their
I was not trying to make a nihilist point:

>I don't find this depressing at all... the universe
doesn't come with
> an inherent point, it simply is. We bring the
meaning, we invent
>the reasons, we create the point.

I don't find this universe depressing either, but then
I am riddled with behaviours bestowed upon me by
evolution designed to keep me fit and happy enough to
have grand children. These are my hard wired meanings.

>Your desire for a point is as pointless as your
desire for survival.
>Nihilism is not a moral philosophy which leads to
suicide, it is a
>philosophy without moral direction at all. Minds are
>and machines do not need a purpose in order to

Yes they are both arbitrary evolutionary hangovers. So
why would some hard core post singularity AI choose
either as a reason to live?
I do it for the beauty of the world and for my kids.
But this AI who can edit vis own mind and choose any
arbitrary configuration of "noise" (by this I mean the
idiosyncratic, irrational, *human* quirks that give
life meaning) must choose some set over another... So
which will ve choose?
None is not an option because even survival is an
arbitrary goal.
Hedonism: will lead to a self stimulating wire head
civilisation. I grant this is possible... but equally
depressing (and undetectable).

Exploration, expansion: We can conceive of an AI /
civilisation that understands the fundamental laws of
physics. All permutations of these laws might still be
hidden due to chaos, but still, even the most
beautiful complex life forms or wonders of geology
would be like random rude phrases spat out of a random
sentence generator. A child would eventually get bored
of the latter and I maintain a god like AI would
quickly get bored of the former. So why explore? I
stress again I am not bored of these inspiring,
fascinating flukes, but I am a relatively simple

My point is these are all arbitrary, all of our most
fundamental drives are just almost vestigial relics
from our evolutionary upbringing. Of course this AI
could choose to be enthralled by anything, but why
would it, if it knew it was all built on sand?

>Either way, if the above is true, one thing is for
certain. If we don't
>project the meaning we *can* find into our collective
future, then it
>will be smothered still-born in the womb.
>The Fermi paradox isn't an outcome. It is a
challenge to be >remedied.

I totally agree with this. I hope we can find a
satisfactory purpose.
But back to the original point, for them to be visible
to us in the universe this meaning would have to be
fascinating enough to keep a civilisation going for
millions of years. That is one hell of a hobby :)


On 19 Jun 2007, at 22:50, Christopher Healey wrote:
-Chris Healey

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