Re: Is SETI dangerous?

From: Rolf Nelson (
Date: Tue Sep 25 2007 - 22:31:53 MDT

On 9/25/07, <> wrote:
> Is SETI dangerous?

Yes, if I thought SETI (active or passive) had a reasonable chance of
success, then I might be concerned. I personally find it extremely unlikely,
so I'm not inclined to burn time on it. Interesting though, I hadn't thought
about passive SETI as an existential risk before.

self replicating is only good reason to send a lot of information in space.

It is one likely scenario, but there are other reasons. It's hard to
speculate how the game theory works out when two colonization (or
harvesting) waves from two different civilizations intersect, but it may be
useful to send radio signals in advance of your first colonization wave to
begin negotiations on who gets what area of space, or to signal your
intentions, or to warn about a flux of dangerous energy coming as a
byproduct of your decelerating colonization wave.

Also: just as some historical civilizations, cultures and people on Earth
have ethical rules regarding (at least some) lower life forms, there is a
small chance that we could massively luck out and be voluntarily spared. So
I don't agree that self-replication is the "only good reason."


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