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AusME2
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Slylandro missing in real life? Why?
« on: September 27, 2018, 09:25:30 am »

Lets make a few assumptions,
1) AI similar enough to human life can exist
2) Technology can be advanced to the point that interstellar travel is possible within reasonable time frames
3) Aliens exist and in plentiful quantities (see Fermat's paradox)
Then
Why haven't we (humanity) seen more probes like the Slylandro? Even within our star system?
Given enough aliens with enough technology, and AI then it becomes almost certain that an interstellar virus like the Slylandro seems inevitable.

(Feel free to doubt assumptions [I for one doubt 1])
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Zanthius
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Re: Slylandro missing in real life? Why?
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2018, 09:39:27 am »

Biological organisms are adapted to live in specific environments. It is actually quite common with extinction events when environments change drastically.  For example, if the concentration of oxygen increased or decreased significantly, we might go extinct since we are adapted to inhale about 21% oxygen.

I think it is possible that once a species discovers technology, they start to change their environment faster and faster until eventually biological and cultural evolution cannot keep up with the technological changes, and things go haywire.  If this is the case, maybe all species go extinct once they discover sophisticated technology.  It seems more and more like this is a likely scenario for humanity, however, we don't know anything about how species on other planets might evolve, since we don't have any data about that.

Bret Weinstein talks a bit about this here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a66PZpSrWMQ
« Last Edit: September 27, 2018, 09:57:51 am by Zanthius » Logged
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Re: Slylandro missing in real life? Why?
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2018, 10:05:23 am »

Actually, we Humans can survive with 12% oxygen.
It is very useful for fire-fighting.
(Reduce oxygen levels to 12-15%, where most fires cannot exist anymore, but Human can still safely breath. This is called inerting. Usually done with Nitrogen.)

From 18% to 22,5% we can deliver peak performance. At 23,5% oxygen content we start to get oxygen poisoning. (IF you're healthy and your blood oxygen intake is normal.)

All at standard Earth sea level pressures (about 1013 hPa).

So, oxygen variation won't be much of an issue for us, nor our livestock.

BUT variations in CO2-levels influence us much more. A rise in that, and we get issues getting it out of our system, which blocks the intake of Oxygen. Then we'll need higher oxygen values too. But actually, the more Carbondioxyde is in the air, the more Oxygen (and water vapour) has been removed from atmosphere.
Interrelations are complex, but Oxygen value by itself is the least of our concerns.
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Zanthius
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Re: Slylandro missing in real life? Why?
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2018, 10:09:17 am »

Actually, we Humans can survive with 12% oxygen.
It is very useful for fire-fighting.

Short-term exposure is not the same as long-term exposure. Just because you might survive short-term exposure to 12%, it doesn't necessarily mean you would survive it permanently.

Quote
Not Enough Oxygen: Side Effects
Serious side effects can occur if the oxygen levels drop outside the safe zone. When oxygen concentrations drop from 19.5 to 16 percent, and you engage in physical activity, your cells fail to receive the oxygen needed to function correctly. Mental functions become impaired and respiration intermittent at oxygen concentrations that drop from 10 to 14 percent; at these levels with any amount of physical activity, the body becomes exhausted. Humans won't survive with levels at 6 percent or lower.

Too Much Oxygen: Side Effects

Higher-than-normal oxygen levels aren't as harmful to life, but there is an increased change of fire or explosion risk. With extremely high concentrations of oxygen in the air, humans can experience harmful side effects. Very high levels of oxygen cause oxidizing free radicals to form. These free radicals attack the tissues and cells of the body and cause muscle twitching. The effects from short exposure can most likely be reversed, but lengthy exposure can cause death.


https://sciencing.com/minimum-oxygen-concentration-human-breathing-15546.html
« Last Edit: September 27, 2018, 10:33:11 am by Zanthius » Logged
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Re: Slylandro missing in real life? Why?
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2018, 10:18:25 am »

BUT variations in CO2-levels influence us much more.

The concentration of CO2 is much lower than the concentration of Oxygen in the atmosphere. Sure, if we got like 1% CO2 in the atmosphere, it would probably be harmful. but there is only about 400 PPM CO2 in the atmosphere. There has been 7000 PPM (0.7%) CO2 in the past. Animals seemed to thrive then.



According to this source, we would start to get problems if atmospheric CO2 got higher than 1000 PPM. We might survive up to 5000 PPM.

Quote
250-350ppmNormal background concentration in outdoor ambient air
350-1,000ppm Concentrations typical of occupied indoor spaces with good air exchange
1,000-2,000ppm Complaints of drowsiness and poor air.
2,000-5,000 ppm Headaches, sleepiness and stagnant, stale, stuffy air. Poor concentration, loss of attention, increased heart rate and slight nausea may also be present.
5,000 Workplace exposure limit (as 8-hour TWA) in most jurisdictions.
>40,000 ppm Exposure may lead to serious oxygen deprivation resulting in permanent brain damage, coma, even death.

https://www.kane.co.uk/knowledge-centre/what-are-safe-levels-of-co-and-co2-in-rooms
« Last Edit: September 27, 2018, 10:36:06 am by Zanthius » Logged
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Re: Slylandro missing in real life? Why?
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2018, 11:49:48 am »

Anyhow. I don't think it is going to be either a change in Oxygen or a change in CO2 that wipes out mankind. It is going to be the advancements in weapon technology.  We already have nuclear weapons. Soon we will have killer robots.

Here is a video by Kurzgesagt about this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjtOGPJ0URM
« Last Edit: September 27, 2018, 12:04:56 pm by Zanthius » Logged
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Re: Slylandro missing in real life? Why?
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2018, 02:34:47 pm »

Lets make a few assumptions,
1) AI similar enough to human life can exist
2) Technology can be advanced to the point that interstellar travel is possible within reasonable time frames
3) Aliens exist and in plentiful quantities (see Fermat's paradox)
Then
Why haven't we (humanity) seen more probes like the Slylandro? Even within our star system?
Given enough aliens with enough technology, and AI then it becomes almost certain that an interstellar virus like the Slylandro seems inevitable.

(Feel free to doubt assumptions [I for one doubt 1])

Nitpick - Fermi, not Fermat. Fermat's the number theorist most famous for something proven 400 years later by Prof. Wiles. Fermi was a nuclear physicist.

The whole post could be retitled "Fermi's Paradox" which is, where are they?

Now. AI could definitely exist, but where would it come from? In order to be artificial, it would have to be made by someone else. So we're basically back down to biological life being very infrequent in the universe, or it usually not developing to sapience, or something predictably coming along and wiping out sapient civilizations. More-diligent Eternal Ones would be an instance of this last, or nuclear war, or sheer impracticality of interstellar travel combined with local resource exhaustion on timescales short enough that we wouldn't see alien civilizations before they used their systems up, or any of a wide variety of things.

Also see: the Great Filter
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Re: Slylandro missing in real life? Why?
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2018, 03:54:55 pm »

3) Aliens exist and in plentiful quantities (see Fermat's paradox)

You may want to check out Isaac Arthur's series on this topic.
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Re: Slylandro missing in real life? Why?
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2018, 03:19:54 pm »

This isn't quite reddit, but I'd upvote each of you (and thanks for the nitpick, good point).

Biological organisms are adapted to live in specific environments. It is actually quite common with extinction events when environments change drastically.  For example, if the concentration of oxygen increased or decreased significantly, we might go extinct since we are adapted to inhale about 21% oxygen.

I think it is possible that once a species discovers technology, they start to change their environment faster and faster until eventually biological and cultural evolution cannot keep up with the technological changes, and things go haywire.  If this is the case, maybe all species go extinct once they discover sophisticated technology.  It seems more and more like this is a likely scenario for humanity, however, we don't know anything about how species on other planets might evolve, since we don't have any data about that.

Bret Weinstein talks a bit about this here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a66PZpSrWMQ

It sounds like you're defining technology as the tools that allow extended adaptation from their natural environment. If so, and if 1) then shouldn't some species develop technology that can adapt to harsher environments (such as, say space)?
Then if so, aren't we back at my question? Why haven't we seen Slyandro like technologies?
Even if the original creators are not around because "things go haywire"?
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Re: Slylandro missing in real life? Why?
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2018, 07:47:23 am »

I'm not sure what you mean by reasonable time frames for interstellar travel, but unless we assume that faster than light travel is possible...

The Milky Way is approximately 100,000 light years across. Let's say you develop the means to travel at half the speed of light and live 25,000 light years from Earth. That's 50,000 years that it will take for your probe to reach Earth.

The Milky Way is estimated to contain 150 to 250 billion stars. If we divide those numbers by four that's about 38 to 63 billion stars. This is not necessarily the number of stars within 25,000 light years from Earth, but we're definitely talking about a number in the tens of billions.

Of course, not all star systems would support life and presumably such a civilization could narrow down the number further by using equipment to look closely enough at expoplanets to determine if they could support life or not. Nevertheless, that's still a huge number of solar systems to individually search. Estimates put the number of Earth-sized planets orbiting the habitable zones of their suns throughout the whole galaxy at 40 billion. Again, not all would contain life, but then not planets that contain life need to be Earth-sized, so the number of planets that an alien civilization might want to search out within a 25,000 light year range could be quite high if life is prevalent. (Although, the number of planets that support life is higher than the number of planets that support intelligent life, so that also would lower the number further.)

We now have to consider what resources this civilization has available to them. Unless energy to matter convertor tech is real (and available to them), it would take time to collect resources and put them to use building these probes, even with every part of the process automated. That means it would take considerable time and effort to make thousands or millions of probes to check out all the planets they want to within this 25,000 light year range. If they're like us, they're going to send out probes to the planets closest to them because they will want this effort to benefit them in some way. They're also going to need time before they can both travel at half the speed of light and design probes that can last 50,000 years. Another issue is that even if the technology can remain functional for all that time, that doesn't necessarily mean the probes will make it as a lot can go wrong, so they will have to send X probes to planets with X being a higher number the further the destination is to ensure at least one gets there. Thus, even if they can limit the number of planets they need to search to the lower ends of the spectrum, they still may need to build a ton of these probes (reusing probes to hop between solar systems is unlikely due to how much energy would be required to get to half the speed of light, slow down, and then speed up again).

That means it could take this civilization millions of years before being able to send a probe on a 50,000 year journey. Would they even survive that long as a civilization or as a species? And when in Earth's history would this probe come by and for how long would it remain? Having the capability to slowdown from such high speeds would be an amazing feat, so maybe it zips past our solar system without stopping. If it can slow down enough to orbit a planet, it's probably not going to be able to speed up again, so it will likely stay in place, beaming data back. How long, though, can it do that for?  I don't know what materials/technology would be used to keep this probe operational for 50,000 years even, but eventually it will stop working. It will then either become space debris that is floating around and undetectable to a civilization with humanity's current level of technology, it will burn up in an atmosphere/sun (maybe intentionally), or pieces will crash land on a planet and be eaten away further by that planet's environment.

Earth has had life on it for 3.5 billion years. If an alien civilization detected life on this planet and sent a probe here, that probe's viability in this solar system would have lasted for what is essentially a blink of the eye in the grand scheme of things. And this is assuming that a probe would even stop here and not collect data as it zipped past, which would dramatically cut down on the number of probes (and thus resources) expended on this project, but also make it less likely that they'd be observed. Similarly, this assumes that the types of probes that would be sent out would look and operate like existing human built probes. One current idea is to build micro probes and send them to nearby solar systems by firing lasers at them: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/100-million-plan-will-send-probes-to-the-nearest-star1/ It's much cheaper and easier than the process I described above on the assumption that these alien probes are akin to the Sylandro probe, but they can't stop on their own, so they would only take snapshots of a solar system while passing by at high speeds.

Going back to the larger probe model: One might like the idea that it could self-replicate on the way and/or once reaching its target destination, thereby creating an indefinite presence of an alien probe in a foreign solar systems, but without that energy to matter convertor, the amount of industry that it would need to carry with it to turn base materials into all of its varied components would be tremendous.

Obviously, this is problematic because if a probe is simply sent to get a look at life containing planets, there's a high probability that its brief flyby/time in orbit will not coincide with when a sapient lifeform is there. A sapient organism didn't evolve on Earth until almost 3.5 billion years had gone by, there's no telling that we will be around for much longer, and even if we are, chances are a sapient animal will never evolve on most planets where life exists. The low end of the Drake equation posits that only 20 aliens exist in the whole galaxy capable of communicating with each at this point in time. If that (or a lower number) is the case, a 25,000 light year distance between humanity and not just the nearest alien, but the nearest alien with the technology we've been talking about is certainly possible. And in the latter case, quite plausible: There could, for example, be 10 aliens between 500 an 1000 light years from Earth, all with a similar level of technology, and Earth wouldn't know about them nor would they know about Earth (human radio waves are only about 100 light years out at this point).

That creates another problem, which is why then would an alien species be sending probes to far out habitable worlds in the first place? If they're not planning to colonize them and there's a high probability of only finding lower life forms on planets that probes go to/pass by, why not just wait for evidence of sapient life to emerge? If a probe is sent to Earth at just the right time, an alien species that lives 25,000 light years away and can launch probes that travel half the speed of light will learn about humans in 75,000 years (50k in the probe's travel time, 25k to send info back). It's another 25,000 years to send a signal to humans/the probe and 25,000 more years to wait for a response for a total time of 125,000 years. Remember, we're also talking about millions of years in resource development and civilization building to even get to the point to be able to send out probes to every planet that may have life on it within 25,000 light years and this random method is not the best way to find intelligent life. Imagine how much easier it would be to just wait the 25,000 years it would take to be able to detect human activity. These aliens could then send a message and wait for a response. That's a 75,000 total wait time for this method. If they want to and are able to send a probe they can do that too and they wouldn't have to build all the many others that I talked about in the previous model. Further, they could  just ask the other civilization to send the data that the probe would have collected. If the other party is interested in sharing they're likely to get everything short of information about the other's military, which wouldn't do much good anyway since it would take 75,000 years to get that data from a probe and knowing about one's military doesn't matter much at that much distance.

It's also important to consider that there's no guarantee that a civilization with the capacity to send so many probes out even exists yet. The universe is 13.8 billion years old. Earth is 4.6 billion. Life on Earth is 3.5 billion. The gap between the age of the Earth and the universe is not extra time for an intelligent alien to evolve; not entirely anyway. The Earth exists and is capable of supporting life because the Milky Way is more mature today than in its past. I'm not going to go a lot into this, but one can google younger galaxies and see how they're populated with different types of stars that are believed to be less likely to support habitable planets. One can also look into how the dust cloud that joined together to become the objects in our solar system is believed to have come from at least one, maybe two supernovas. When the universe was in its infancy the primary elements in existence were helium and hydrogen. These elements formed to make the first stars and then those stars produced heavier elements (carbon, oxygen, etc.). Stars that went supernova released those heavier elements, which came together to form younger stars, but also planets rich in elements that could potentially support not just life, but civilizations as well. It's possible that what happened on Earth happened to a nearby planet a billion years earlier, down to the evolution of sapient life, but it's also possible that Earth is ahead of the curve in this region of space.

To summarize the earlier bit: Unless two concurrent alien civilizations are close enough that one is sending probes to the other's solar system to scout out worlds for themselves or  evidence of one sapient species has reached the other, it's unlikely that alien probes would be encountered. The resources and time involved to send probes out specifically looking for far off sapient life is too large and the method too inefficient for anyone to do it en mass unless far out Sci Fi technology turns out to be possible. If finding sapient life was a secondary goal and the primary goal was to get glimpses of lower life forms on as many planets as possible, that would be a different matter, but that seems an unlikely motivator. Hell, finding sapient life so far away wouldn't necessarily motivate a species all that much. Once you have already encountered one or two nearby civilizations, it might be interesting to know that yet another civilization exists 25,000 light years away, but since all you can do is communicate with them once every 25,000 years you're not going to have much of a relationship and you're unlikely to obtain useful scientific knowledge if you're the only one of the two who can build a probe with a 50,000 operational year lifespan.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2018, 09:12:36 pm by ArilouSkuff » Logged
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Re: Slylandro missing in real life? Why?
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2018, 09:05:45 am »

Another question with sending probes everywhere is whether the sending civilization can actually afford this strain on their economy, and how long they would be willing to accept this financial strain.
In democracies the question of why, and if the money could be spent elsewhere better, will arise.
In autocracies, the money would likely be funneled elsewhere anyway.

Imagine how expensive sending one sattellite to orbit is for us.
We do it, because we expect a return.

Think of how expensive our research probes within our solar system are.
We do it out of curiosity, and within rather strict financial limits, and we expect a lot of information in return, that broadens our knowledge.

But sending probes out of the system will be even more expensive, and no expected return of information for the next X generations.

How can you sell this to the public that you'll burn their money?

Maybe you can get the finances for one or two.
But definitely not for hundreds.
(at least I cannot imagine Humans ever getting enlightened enough to see the long-term need for such a spending)

(has anyone here read Michael McCollum's "Life Probe"?  In this story an alien AI-Probe does visit Earth. And the aliens are thinking on a timescale of thousands of years, and are in dire need to find a fresh view of scientific ideas, as they keep running into the lightspeed barrier (despite having sufficient proof that theories allowing FTL are right - they just seem to miss a detail). They are even willing to share most of their own tech in return for all of your knowledge and theories. - Actually, the probe must do so, as it relies on the found civilization to refuel and repair it, and for that the host civilization will need to upgrade its industrial capacity and abilities tremendously ...)[edit]The prologue in the kindle web-reader link[/edit]
« Last Edit: October 01, 2018, 09:13:08 am by Krulle » Logged
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Re: Slylandro missing in real life? Why?
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2018, 11:53:18 pm »

Once you have the capability to send one self-reproducing probe to another system, you have unlimited industrial capacity within-system anyway, so…
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Re: Slylandro missing in real life? Why?
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2018, 08:29:19 am »

But self-replication in a different system also means that that probe has to create an industrial basis in that new system (taking a lot of time), or it has to haul the whole industrial machinery along, which means a tremendously larger mass to accelerate and decelerate.

In McCollum's book, the probes rely on a civilisation they can uplift and rely on for their industry, and pays with knowledge.
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Re: Slylandro missing in real life? Why?
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2018, 01:29:57 pm »

But self-replication in a different system also means that that probe has to create an industrial basis in that new system (taking a lot of time), or it has to haul the whole industrial machinery along, which means a tremendously larger mass to accelerate and decelerate.

You mean like the enzymes used to replicate the DNA of a bacteria? Yeah. That is going to be a tremendously larger mass to accelerate and decelerate. Would be much easier to accelerate bacteria without those enzymes.
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Re: Slylandro missing in real life? Why?
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2018, 02:22:26 pm »

Once again, I do not understand your comment, Zanthius.

You do need machinery to build/rebuild a probe, or you'll need technology for which currently no example exists, that it can replicate itself on the necessary scale.

You need some kind of tools to haul along, with which you build the larger, more sophisticated tools which you actually need to refuel/rebuild/repair your "self-replicating" drone.
Right now I know of no machinery, that uses enzymes to rebuild metal parts which may have been scratched/bent/destroyed through impacts.

Yes, the programming for that machinery won't take much space, or weight.
But sending of a program storage device with a program processing unit will not allow the probe to actually run that self-replication program, and repair or refuel, or even replicate itself.


And it is very unlikely that a "living machine" will be able to do that, as the distance, the time spent in near zero, will be far too large to actually survive when used in a "living machine" having the required complexity to actually a) find interesting information; b) evaluate it; c) forward it in a suitable way to us; d) evaluate a good spot for refueling/repairs/replication; e) executing whatever necessary to refuel/repair/replicate.  And sending bacteria in all directions may help in proagating "our" construction of life (the way our genomes is encoded using certain 4 nitrogenous nucleobases, desoxyribosy, a phosphate group, and constructing a double-helix out of it), thus potentially leading to more planets with life which may be compatible with our biological systems, but won't help you in any way collecting information about our galaxy. It will actually destroy much information, and therefore taint future researches (NASA and ESA are spending a lot of money disinfecting every piece of stuff being sent up, to make sure that no Earth bacteria could ever falsify future examinations of Venus' atmosphere, Mars' soil, Enceladus' potential deep seas, Jupiter's atmosphere, ...


@Death: still, you need ressources for your own economy. And seeing how we humans already react to the taxation and spending on certain research programs, how much resistance would you expect when researchers start fiddling with machinery that can self-replicate (and thus make 90% of Humans be without work), and the Human fear of accidentally creating a machinery they cannot control anymore, but is self-replicating without a way to stop it?
In "Blue remembered Earth" (Alastair Reynolds), humans created robots, which are free to replicate themselves, with slight modifications for each reiteration.
For safety reasons, this was done on Mars (so that orbital bombardment could keep the robots under control).
But due to ressource restrictions, the robots in the Evolvarium started to prey on each other.
Luckily for Humankind they actually left a guard in orbit, which shot down several "fleeing" robots.
How do you think Humankind would fare when sharing a system with self-replicating robots, who are free to move, and who depending on the current programming setting, may desire ressources for replication a tad too much?
(In that Evolvarium, humans are lucky that the robots have been cheated by one Human, and that this Human basically implanted an AI that is unwilling to go to full confrontation with Humanity, to keep its own existence a secret.)
And by the time we can make the solar system's ressources "ours", we will actually need them to sustain our economy. Withdrawing the projected amount of ressources from our economies will lead to a severe cut in wealth, which usually leads to population dissatisfaction, which again leads to revolts (non-democracies), or election of different leaders who promise to stop said spending (democracies). Either way, it seems to lead these programs not being viable long enough to actually make a difference.


Therefore I expect, if these probes already exist, they find us not advanced enough yet to pay us a visit, but skip us for a later re-visit in the hope to pass more solar systems in search for signals of a civilization that has actually started to leave the basket (home planet) and colonize the rest of their solar system, or even been going slow-boat beyond their own system.

In a hundred years, Humanity might have become interesting enough to warrant a stop in our system.


Or they have a directive of non-interference, and left us around the Egyptian times, to prevent "cultural contamination".
(And to prevent cultural contamination, the probe that may have been here, may NOT have used our system for replication purposes, to prevent us using simply telescopes to discover any left-over artifacts.)


Anyway, I'm waiting for "greenfly" to happen (Alatair Reynolds again, appears in the "Galactic North" short story, and results in what the ending of the "Revelation Space" series describes - a galaxy that is barely suitable for us Humans anymore). But it's unlikely that I'll actually experience anything of this happening.



Yes, I've read a lot about this, and hand-waving this away with a "technology will be advanced enough" is... cheating. If thechnology gets advenced enough for this, our society will have transformed to a degree, that it'll be unrecognisable for us (more likely: civilization will have collapsed). No more manufacturing needs due to a manufacuring replicator (which may or may not be able to replicate itself)? An AI that can make the necessary decisions without Human guidance?
-=> Humanity is obsolete, and will likely consist of "Savages" (or hippies) that can farm/hunt whatever they need to eat, and those few super-rich who owned sufficient stuff at the beginning of replicators to provide for their families such a replicator.
The rest is out of work, thus out of anything. (Can't imagine politicians being fast enough to force the super-rich to share their economic grip by releasing the technology.)
If the rest can't provide for themselves in the transitioning years, they'll be gone.
And this will happen before self-replicating space machines will become doable.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2018, 02:39:04 pm by Krulle » Logged
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