The following warnings occurred:
Warning [2] Undefined variable $unreadreports - Line: 46 - File: global.php(961) : eval()'d code PHP 8.0.14 (Linux)
File Line Function
/inc/class_error.php 153 errorHandler->error
/global.php(961) : eval()'d code 46 errorHandler->error_callback
/global.php 961 eval
/showthread.php 28 require_once



The Orion's Arm Universe Project Forums





Transhumanism: How do we know?
#11
Note that it's never said just how much or what kind of energy the HEECs are radiating. It may not be detectable to Information Age science.

You're also sort of assuming a million year old civ would operate in a way we could detect.

ToddSmile
Reply
#12
This webcomic comes to mind:http://xkcd.com/638/
Maybe we are looking at things in a wrong way. Take gamma ray bursts for example. We think that they might be result of nova explosion or stellar collapse but they might be a by-product of stellar engineering.
Or neutrinos, these particles are produced during highly energetic processes yet they are notoriously hard to detect. And again they could be emisions of HEEC.
Reply
#13
Some high-energy cosmic-rays might be the result of high-tech weaponry or space-time engineering. The creation of a baby universe might be detectable under certain circumstances.
Reply
#14
One more thought regarding the Fermi Paradox and the 'biont-hostile hyperturing AI destroys E's biont-creators'-scenario. If such a scenario happened relatively "often" in the universe then there would always be at least one survivor of such a scenario, namely the hyperturing AI emself. Of course one may assume that after destroying e's creators and their civilisation E might have fulfilled e's goals and thus destroy emself next. Or - if its the paperclip-scenario - the AI managed to solve the task ("make as many paperclips as possible"), e's creators gave em at the beginning and destroyed e's creators in the process by converting them and their solar system to "paperclips". However at least in the case of the paperclip-scenario the AI may decide that e has to convert all matter in the observable universe to paperclips and thus create von Neumann Machines that would do just that.

So if the scenario, where superintelligent AIs destroy their own makers, is fairly common in the universe, when the question is: Where are the AIs? Especially the various paperclip-AIs from different highly-advanced and now destroyed civilisations should be busy converting the universe to paperclips and if we assume that they have been doing this for millions of years in most galaxies, we should be able to observe it or rather we probably shouldn't even exist in the first place, because at least one of the von Neumann machines of at least one of these AIs from our own galaxy would've converted our solar system to "paperclips" millions of years ago.

And that's, why I think that at least this 'superintelligence destroys e's home civ'-scenario is unlikely, because the universe isn't "teeming" with various dangerous paperclip-AIs and their von Neumann paperclip-converters from various previous civilisations.

Unless of course AIs like this destroy emselves or go dormant indefinitely after destroying their masters but at least some of these would probably decide to explore the universe (at least for the purpose of producing even more paperclips). And yet here we are and no superintelligent xenosophont AI or one of eir countless von Neumann machines, which destroyed e's civ millions of years ago, is trying to "devour" us. So if the take the Fermi Paradox into account the Technological Singularity (if it is possible at all) may not be as dystopian as some people believe it may be. Either that or there is an upper limit on intelligence, we do not yet understand, which simply cannot be overcome. So the creation of dangerous paperclip-hyperturings or at least superturings would be impossible.
"Hydrogen is a light, odorless gas, which, given enough time, turns into people." -- Edward Robert Harrison
Reply
#15
Regarding the detection of alien civilizations, million year old or otherwise:

It's not really clear what a really advanced civilization would do on an ongoing basis that we could readily detect over interstellar distances, even if other civs are fairly common on the galaxy. IIRC even if we assume a million other civs in the galaxy that puts the nearest one about 300ly away. So what does that get us?

a) Most notions about what an alien (or future human) civilization might do with its time are built on the notion that a civ must/will grow in material and energy consumption until it has no choice but to limit itself. But current thinking on conservation and sustainability (and just plain birth control) indicate it might be possible (or even likely) for a civilization to hit the point of limiting its numbers (and resource needs) well before it hit the point of building a dyson or the like. If that is the case (and if that mode operates as a 'steady state' over the remaining lifetime of the civ, itself a notion that is debatable), then there would be much less or no need for things like dyson spheres or other megaengineering that might be detectable across interstellar distances.

b) Even if a civ was inclined to do mega-engineering we don't necessarily know what form it would take or how often it would take place. If a civ needs to detonate stars for raw materials but only needs to do it every 100,000yrs or so, we could have gone through our entire history to date without seeing it happen. If a civ has some kind of wormhole or warp drive based tech that lets them get around in a hurry, they might just boom stars that are already about to die, regardless of where they are and then transport useful stuff back home. In which case we might just see what we already do. If they are doing some form of megaengineering that involves goals and processes we haven't even thought of yet, we might not even recognize what we're seeing as engineering, even if we can detect it in the first place. Note that many megastructures in OA are built because someone just wants to, not because there is a real need for it.

c) Most SETI projects assume that aliens would be actively trying to communicate with other, lower tech, civs. There's no particular reason to think this is the case. This doesn't mean they aren't talking to each other, just that they aren't bothering to talk to us. Data transmissions between established hubs would likely be encrypted (and so look like noise to us) and would also likely use tight beams making them very difficult, perhaps impossible, for us to detect unless we happened to pass right through a beam.

Even if 'they' did want to talk to folks like us, the simplest option would see to be to wait until they detect our radio signals and then beam a message/send a probe to us. But if the nearest civ is 300ly away, they don't know about us yet and nothing will come of it from our end for centuries more.

d) It's possible to imagine models in which advanced civilizations (even those that carry out mega-engineering) are common, but very hard to spot at our level. The idea of an 'interstellar internet' would see lots of small (grapefruit size?) probes moving at low speeds across the galaxy and establishing hubs at various 'interesting' places. Each hub would be a store and forward point in the network. Civs would plug into their local hub and then be able to access the various 'web pages' of other civs, containing their knowledge and culture, possibly even after the originating civ is long gone. Data transfer between hubs would be by tight beams using encrypted (or at least very efficiently encoded) signals. To us, it might not look like much is happening.

A more energetic (but still hard to spot) model might be a mix of stay-at-homes who convert their solar systems into Matrioshka Brains or equivalent and settle down to living in huge virtual universes and explorers who use the Far Edge Party approach to rapidly explore the entire galaxy in a cosmic eyeblink of time. While they're at it they could transmit all of their findings back to their stay-at-home origin, effectively uploading the whole galaxy into virtuality. Any other civs they encounter could be contacted and put in touch with the stay-at-homes or worked with to continue the grand exploration.

Once the entire galaxy is explored, it seems unlikely that those inclined to do it are just going to stop. Rather they will probably pack up and take off for one or more other galaxies to continue the process.

The end result of this scenario is a galaxy of hard to spot megastructures radiating at near CBR temps and fleets of explorers zipping around in intergalactic space, spending millions of years or more in transit. Also hard to spot from our limited perspective.

As far as superintelligent AIs that have killed off their creators - I'm not sure a 'paperclip' AI of superhuman level would really be possible. This scenarios assumes that a 'baseline' intelligence could create a mind much more capable than itself but not so capable that it couldn't overcome any kind of behavioral restrictions the baseline minds tried to come up with.

Once we get past the paperclip scenarios, we are essentially back to the earlier mention of what an advanced (and possibly superhumanly intelligent) civ would do with its time and whether or not that activity would be noticeable or common enough to have been observed by us yet.

My 2c worth,

Todd
Reply
#16
Interesting thoughts, Todd. I especially didn't consider point a). For some reason (probably due to an "addiction" to the OA-website and its frequent megastructures Wink) I just assumed that a sufficiently advanced civ would always create at least one megastructure at least in their home solar system. But now that you mention it, this was indeed a baseless assumption on my part.
"Hydrogen is a light, odorless gas, which, given enough time, turns into people." -- Edward Robert Harrison
Reply
#17
OA does like it's megastructures (and I definitely include myself in this; I've originated more than a few of them in my time). But they don't represent a 'must happen', but rather a 'could happen'.

Even if a civ did go in for some amount of megaengineering it could be relatively 'small scale' in the sense that the structures are 'merely' measured in tens to thousands of km across rather than dyson or equivalent size. Clouds of space habs orbiting a star would be very hard for us to spot.

One fun idea: Our observations of stars have detected lots of very large planets orbiting very close to their stars, something that was quite a surprise and I'm not sure if we've yet come up with a solid theory on why that should happen. Which leaves the door open to a notion: Those giant planets are actually Jupiter Brains hosting superintelligences or upload civilizations (or both), and are orbiting so close to the star to make use of lots of solar power...

So many possible options...

Todd
Reply
#18
Re: iPhones

Mediatronic paper, from the novel The Diamond Age (which turns 20-years-old in a couple of months), can do anything an iPhone, iPad, or any other general purpose computer can; has far more processing power than all but the most powerful current supercomputers (possibly greater still, I'd have to dig out my copy of Nanosystems and do some calculations to be sure); and it is so inexpensive that it is casually given away, as we do with sheets of paper today, in the second half of the 21st Century.

Arthur C. Clarke's 1968 novel 2001 has newspads.
Reply
#19
@Drashner:
You wrote:" a) Most notions about what an alien (or future human) civilization might do with its time are built on the notion that a civ must/will grow in material and energy consumption until it has no choice but to limit itself. But current thinking on conservation and sustainability (and just plain birth control) indicate it might be possible (or even likely) for a civilization to hit the point of limiting its numbers (and resource needs) well before it hit the point of building a dyson or the like. If that is the case (and if that mode operates as a 'steady state' over the remaining lifetime of the civ, itself a notion that is debatable), then there would be much less or no need for things like dyson spheres or other megaengineering that might be detectable across interstellar distances."

True that. I'd even venture the reason that we can't detect other civs is that they hit their resource limits, collapsed, and slowly rebuilt themselves with less energy/resource consumption. Maybe that's what's awaiting us.
Reply
#20
(01-02-2015, 02:35 AM)xsampa Wrote: I'd even venture the reason that we can't detect other civs is that they hit their resource limits, collapsed, and slowly rebuilt themselves with less energy/resource consumption. Maybe that's what's awaiting us.
Or, perhaps they recognized the magnitude of those limits long before reaching them, and adjusted the growth rates for their civilization so they could be sustained within the limits, perhaps by focusing on increased efficiencies. As efficiencies improve, there is less "leakage" for other civilizations to detect, as well as a decreased need for megastructures to produce energy.

Radtech497
"I'd much rather see you on my side, than scattered into... atoms." Ming the Merciless, Ruler of the Universe
Reply


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)