Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fermi Paradox: The solution set is stable

Any discussion of the Fermi Paradox has to be presented with a wink and a chuckle. Even if, behind the wink, there's a haunted look in the eyes.

Today's io9 version is no exception, but it contains two of my personal faves (wink, chuckle, give me a drink) ....
11 of the Weirdest Solutions to the Fermi Paradox 
...5. The Simulation Hypothesis 
...We haven’t been visited by anyone because we’re living inside a computer simulation — and the simulation isn’t generating any extraterrestrial companions for us.
If true, this could imply one of three things. First, the bastards — I mean Gods — running the simulation have rigged it such that we’re the only civilization in the entire Galaxy (or even the Universe)...
... the simulation is being run by a posthuman civilization in search of an answer to the Fermi Paradox, or some other scientific question. Maybe, in an attempt to entertain various hypotheses (perhaps even preemptively in consideration of some proposed action), they’re running a billion different ancestor simulations to determine how many of them produce spacefaring civilizations, or even post-Singularity stage civilizations like themselves... 
... 7. All Aliens Are Homebodies 
... An advanced ETI, upon graduating to a Kardashev II scale civilization, could lose all galactic-scale ambitions. Once a Dyson sphere or Matrioshka Brain is set up, an alien civilization would have more action and adventure in its local area than it knows what to do with. Massive supercomputers would be able to simulate universes within universes, and lifetimes within lifetimes — and at speeds and variations far removed from what’s exhibited in the tired old analog world. By comparison, the rest of the galaxy would seem like a boring and desolate place. Space could very much be in the rear view mirror...
The list omits the Theist Hypothesis -- that God(s) created Man to be Alone. This is, of course, simply a variant of the Simulation Hyopthesis.

I reinvented the Homebody Theory around 2000, but I later learned it goes back decades. The basic idea is that every civilization either dies or goes 'singular', and post-singular they are invariable disinterested in childish pursuits like interstellar travel.

The 'Phase Transition Hypothesis' doesn't really belong on the list; it's really just a term in the Drake Equation (technological life has been rare, etc).

The io9 post is a nice reference even if there's nothing new in the list; the set has been stable for at least seven years.

See also:

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