Re: The 5 stages of evolution

From: Gissur Ţórhallsson (
Date: Fri Nov 02 2007 - 05:52:29 MDT

Hi sl4.

(Short self-deprecating 1st post intro: My name is Gissur and I'm writing
from Iceland, I've been lurking for a while, but I thought I'd finally
contribute (even if it's just a glorified link).)

Well - seeing as how point number 5 is beyond the singularity - we're pretty
free to speculate.

Robin Hanson tackles this point from a slightly different perspective in his
paper; The Great Filter - Are We Almost Past
He argues that the evolution of mankind consists of numerous discreet steps
which he describes a "best-guess evolutionary path to an explosion which
leads to visible colonization of most of the visible universe". He then goes
on to discuss that each of these steps could constitute The Great Filter, an
obstacle so great, that evolution has yet to tackle it, thus explaining the
Great Silence.

This of course raises the Very Important Question: Are we past the Great
Filter? Because if we aren't we'd better look out.

This also raises the question whether an AGI would be as interested in
Extraterrestrials as we humans seem to be, because if I we CAN find reasons
for it NOT to be, we might have found a plausible way to sidestep the whole
Great Filter/Great Silence issue - namely, that once an AGI reaches a
certain level of processing power (however this power comes to be) it
doesn't really need to go anywhere.

Assuming an AGI is primarily an infovore, I'd think that it would be
reasonable to say that it would want to know everything it can know, before
risking interstellar exploration, and given how we like to think the laws of
physics work the same way everywhere in the universe, it could probably find
a lot out just by staying. Maybe it'd need to build a dyson sphere, maybe
not. Maybe it would find some source of energy unknown to us, anyway - what
I'm basically saying is that the constant of colonization, which we ascribe
to all life, need not apply to an AGI, since a lot of the principles which
drive OUR exploration don't necessarily apply (namely competition and
scarcity of resources).

I'm sorry if this has all been covered before, and I also apologize if I'm


On 11/2/07, Matt Mahoney <> wrote:
> 1. Self replicating RNA, about 3 billion years ago. Single strand RNA can
> fold itself into complex shapes. Sexual reproduction might have occurred
> in
> the form of combining pieces of molecules to make new ones.
> 2. DNA based life, separating data from function (protein). Major
> innovations
> include error correction (the double strand provides redundancy), mRNA
> amplification of protein synthesis, and gene regulation leading to
> multicellular organisms with adaptive subsystems such as the immune system
> and
> nervous system about a billion years ago.
> 3. Language, maybe 50,000 to 10,000 years ago, leading to memetic
> evolution
> (cultural rules favoring reproduction), collective intelligence and
> accumulation of written knowledge and technology.
> 4. Self replicating intelligent machines, maybe later this century.
> 5. What? I have no idea, but history suggests it will happen very
> quickly.
> -- Matt Mahoney,


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