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The case for Autointerdiction.
(01-18-2017, 12:33 PM)Drashner1 Wrote:
(01-18-2017, 06:33 AM)Bear Wrote: All of these things are missing the main point.

I disagree. All of these things are addressing your main point in various ways. I would also point out that you aren't arguing against the points I've raised, but have instead simply dismissed them - which really isn't answering them or providing countervailing data or arguments. Anyway.

It's really hard for me to see how these points you believe you're making are relevant. I'm sorry if you think I haven't addressed them, but I don't know what addressing them would consist of when they have so little to do with what I was talking about.

I shall attempt to explain in painful detail what's wrong with this most recent crop. I apologize in advance.

(01-18-2017, 12:33 PM)Drashner1 Wrote: I see some flaws in your logic:

a) You are ignoring the fact that humans do not simply assess risk in a vacuum, nor do they assess any and all risk as being an existential or infinite one without any counterbalancing benefits. Or to put it another way: You are ignoring the benefit side of the cost-benefit analysis. Presumably anyone considering sending out colonies, either to other planets or other stars, will be doing so because they feel there is a net positive to be gained by this.

Yes. The question is not what people who believe there is a net positive to be gained would do. The question is whether anyone will believe that there is a net positive to be gained. This isn't 'dismissing' your argument. This is simply pointing out the logic that your argument implies. People will consider benefits. But if they consider the risk to be greater, they will not see a net benefit, and the colony effort will never exist.

(01-18-2017, 12:33 PM)Drashner1 Wrote: That there is the potential for future negative 'costs' may be considered, but if they see the benefits as being near term and/or concrete and the potential hazard as being distant and hypothetical then they are just as likely to go with the benefit and let the potential cost take care of itself - especially when that potential cost is hundreds or thousands of years in the future and is not a sure thing.

I can scarcely conceive of a colonization effort having a near-term, low-risk, concrete benefit. Colonization efforts take decades or a century of very high levels of commitment and investment, and run very high risks to the investment before they potentially become profitable. The markets they would serve are by no means guaranteed to still exist when they finally become productive. And I don't think that 'political independence' is a thing that can reliably be made to take much longer than that to manifest, so the window of effective productivity to the investors before the colonists quit sending stuff back is also a huge risk.

The potential hazard on the other hand goes hand-in-hand with that risk of political independence and the difficulty of reliably extending the period of productivity before it happens. If a lot of effort goes into preserving the investment's value - ie, preventing the kind of political independence where the colonists stop sending you return-on-investment - then the struggle is likely to turn violent. And getting into a violent struggle while you're at the bottom of a large gravity well, with people who are not, is a losing proposition with enormous downside. Whereas spending less effort to preserve the investment's value amounts to abandoning the investment as a near-total loss.

All of this looks very very risky for the investors. The governments involved are going to see that the people whose welfare they exist to serve are living at the bottom of that gravity well right along with the investors who may be spending too much effort to preserve the value of their investment and thus provoking people at the top of that gravity well. So it looks like a very bad risk for the governments as well.

These risks are not "thousands of years in the future." These risks are within the lifetime of the people making the decisions.

(01-18-2017, 12:33 PM)Drashner1 Wrote: b) There are various historical precedents to support the idea that the creation of potential rivals or threats will not prevent 'bean counters' from going ahead and doing something. For a major example, consider the various colonial powers of yesteryear, in particular the British Empire. By the same argument you are making here, none of these powers should have ever risked colonizing the new world. But they did it anyway because they saw a benefit(s) in it that presumably outweight the cost(s).

I believe that the situation is not at all similar. In the first place those governments did not exist at the bottom of a gravity well where they would be instantly destroyed by the simplest and easiest means the colonists could use to assert their independence. The colonists would have had to build an enormous investment in ships and weapons before they could even begin to engage the navies of those nations, and posed absolutely no credible threat to the colonial powers for the first century after the colonies were formed. Imagine the reactions of those governments to the notion that, despite their armies and navies, that first colony overseas could turn around and destroy them utterly with a modicum of effort, using only the barest minimum of infrastructure (a mass driver) that will have to be built anyway and absolutely without the need for even one soldier per thousand they'd be destroying. Imagine them realizing that creating any kind of deterrent or counterattack would cost them enormous amounts, and that the vast majority of their military power simply could not be brought to bear - and that the colonists knew perfectly well that it could not be brought to bear.

(01-18-2017, 12:33 PM)Drashner1 Wrote: c) In my first point, I mentioned 'sure things'. Humans have a long history of doing all kinds of things that all the available data says has a high probability of being bad for them, either because they find the 'benefit' to outweigh the potential cost or because they think the odds will work out in their favor or for some similar reason. Whether this could be classified as 'foolishness' or 'hope', humans (including bean counters) demonstrate it all the time and have all through their history.

It does in fact happen. But it very rarely gets a very large amount of resources invested in it. Leif Ericson headed off into the wild western sea with a pair of longboats is entirely believable; two dozen people of that culture could build a longboat from raw timber in about a week. The Spanish Government backed a venture by an Italian sailor, but they did it with three ships that had already been built and spent a lifetime in service, as an alternative to scrapping those boats, and that only after the Italian sailor had taken some non-specified extraordinary measures to convince the queen. And repeating that for emphasis, THE queen. At that time the king could make decisions, all by himself, about investment of ships and money by the crown. There was only one person who had to be convinced, and the queen, suitably inveigled, was able to convince him.

Colombus managed quite the confidence man's hype game too; rumors about El Dorado were circling before he ever set sail, and who had the motive to start those up? Of course, THAT part of the situation is exactly analogous. Any modern venture is going to be similarly supported by hype and disinformation campaigns by people who want to make it happen. But it really isn't the case that a single person persuaded can make the decision any more, and I don't imagine modern hype games are drastically more persuasive than the ones Colombus played.

(01-18-2017, 12:33 PM)Drashner1 Wrote: d) Even in cases where there is absolute recorded proof of how much of a risk something can be, humans will often go ahead and do it anyway. 9/11 demonstrated how commercial jets can destroy entire buildings and kill thousands of people.

Worthy of note, those buildings were specifically designed to be able to take the impact of a 747 flown directly into them without collapsing. They did in fact consider that risk, and those buildings did in fact stand up to that impact with the loss of only a few floors worth of offices. The fact that they did not consider the effects of a full load of jet fuel on fire and melting the structural members was an oversight. That risk was not 'known and recorded.' It was a flat-out mistake, and realizing how vulnerable they were to that attack caused an entire security infrastructure to be redesigned badly. But aside from the comedy of airport security, they are also taking effective measures. Buildings of that size are now built with an updated specification for impact resistance, because it's a mistake they fully intend not to make again.

By comparison, with a colony we're not talking about a risk that nobody will notice until it's too late. We're talking about a risk related to questions that will emerge in the early planning stages of any such project.

(01-18-2017, 12:33 PM)Drashner1 Wrote: e) Finally, you mention bean counters not caring about anyone not of their nation. The simple answer to that, at least for interplanetary colonies is to consider their inhabitants to be members of the nation that founded them, with all the rights thereof. As such, the bean counters would (by your own logic) care about them as they do their own citizens.

This is absurd. The risk is specifically the risk of a colony in rebellion. A colony in rebellion is a hostile power, by definition, or there would not be wars of independence. The bean-counters do not love the citizens of a hostile power as they do their own people. Did I really need to explain that?

Messages In This Thread
The case for Autointerdiction. - by Bear - 01-17-2017, 07:01 AM
RE: The case for Autointerdiction. - by Drashner1 - 01-17-2017, 07:50 AM
RE: The case for Autointerdiction. - by Bear - 01-17-2017, 02:36 PM
RE: The case for Autointerdiction. - by Drashner1 - 01-17-2017, 03:26 PM
RE: The case for Autointerdiction. - by Bear - 01-18-2017, 06:33 AM
RE: The case for Autointerdiction. - by Drashner1 - 01-18-2017, 12:33 PM
RE: The case for Autointerdiction. - by Bear - 01-22-2017, 05:30 AM
RE: The case for Autointerdiction. - by Drashner1 - 01-22-2017, 07:42 AM
RE: The case for Autointerdiction. - by Bear - 01-18-2017, 06:42 AM
RE: The case for Autointerdiction. - by Drashner1 - 01-22-2017, 02:36 AM
RE: The case for Autointerdiction. - by selden - 01-22-2017, 07:19 AM
RE: The case for Autointerdiction. - by Drashner1 - 01-22-2017, 12:56 PM
RE: The case for Autointerdiction. - by Bear - 01-22-2017, 05:04 PM
RE: The case for Autointerdiction. - by Drashner1 - 01-23-2017, 07:31 AM

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