Re: Is SETI dangerous?

From: Vladimir Nesov (
Date: Wed Sep 26 2007 - 10:49:29 MDT

I can't see why 'observe the natural phenomenon' choice should be
interesting for post-AGI civilization. From its POV, natural phenomena are
just computational processes that happen to be running on the same physical
substrate. If they are capable of simulating similar processes is more
time/energy-efficient manner, expected utility of ordinary matter should be
less than that of whatever virtual substrate they can explore. So priority
of exploring virtual worlds of their own design should be higher; the only
interest they can take in natural world is information they can obtain
within relatively low cost, like stumbling upon something interesting by
casual observation of their surroundings. And what they can find is just
that - information - and as it's arbitrary, they don't have any reason to
want to perceive it precisely, so they can just take a snapshot of whatever
natural life they find and explore it further within a virtual simulation.

On the other hand, existence of life in real-world-neighborhood has
potentially lethal consequences, as physical world isn't designed to have
impenetrable firewalls in it, and minimally intelligent AGI should be able
to harvest enough mass to break whatever it likes, with its power in the
universe growing exponentially. This process can only be opposed by
preemptive seizure of power, that is expansion of replicators throughout the
universe. And as explained in previous paragraph, this force has no
incentive to leave anything alive.

Vladimir Nesov                  

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