The Great Filter Theory

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Lance Kennedy
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The Great Filter Theory

Postby Lance Kennedy » Wed May 17, 2017 1:02 am

https://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimf ... _it_scary/

This is a theory related to the Fermi Paradox, and also related to the potential growth and development of humanity. One explanation for why there is no sign of other intelligent life in our galaxy is that it was all 'filtered out'. The Great Filter is described as a stage in the development of any intelligent species, when it encounters a barrier that either destroys them, or prevents further development. For example, if we built a large enough collider, like the LHC, and it accidentally formed a previously unknown state of matter that consumed the Earth and all that is in it. Extinction!

What do you think of this idea? Is it crap, or plausible?

Personally, I doubt it. My view is related to the diversity of life on Earth, and hence the requisite greater diversity of life in our galaxy.

Here on Earth we have a variety of living things that have a reasonable degree of intelligence, ranging from squid, elephants, parrots, crows, dolphins, great apes, and various carnivorous mammals. Now think of the galaxy. With 100 billion star systems, and possibly a trillion planets. If one in a million planets developed life, and one in 100 of those developed intelligent life, there would be 10,000 different intelligent species. Is it possible each and every one of those species all fell into the same booby trap?

Personally, I doubt it. If there are, indeed, 10,000 different intelligent species, all having come from a totally different, independent evolutionary process, they will be seriously different from each other, including mental differences. They will all think very differently from each other. Falling into the same trap appears unlikely.

What do you think?

If the Great Filter theory is correct, it bodes not well for humanity.

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Re: The Great Filter Theory

Postby Nobrot » Wed May 17, 2017 1:42 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:https://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfive/comments/31ojr8/eli5_the_great_filter_theory_and_why_is_it_scary/

This is a theory related to the Fermi Paradox, and also related to the potential growth and development of humanity. One explanation for why there is no sign of other intelligent life in our galaxy is that it was all 'filtered out'. The Great Filter is described as a stage in the development of any intelligent species, when it encounters a barrier that either destroys them, or prevents further development. For example, if we built a large enough collider, like the LHC, and it accidentally formed a previously unknown state of matter that consumed the Earth and all that is in it. Extinction!

What do you think of this idea? Is it crap, or plausible?

Personally, I doubt it. My view is related to the diversity of life on Earth, and hence the requisite greater diversity of life in our galaxy.

Here on Earth we have a variety of living things that have a reasonable degree of intelligence, ranging from squid, elephants, parrots, crows, dolphins, great apes, and various carnivorous mammals. Now think of the galaxy. With 100 billion star systems, and possibly a trillion planets. If one in a million planets developed life, and one in 100 of those developed intelligent life, there would be 10,000 different intelligent species. Is it possible each and every one of those species all fell into the same booby trap?

Personally, I doubt it. If there are, indeed, 10,000 different intelligent species, all having come from a totally different, independent evolutionary process, they will be seriously different from each other, including mental differences. They will all think very differently from each other. Falling into the same trap appears unlikely.

What do you think?

If the Great Filter theory is correct, it bodes not well for humanity.

I've been fascinated for years with the great filter theory, and I’ve looked at it from various perspectives and if true, then as you suggest, it doesn’t bode well for hom sap. I do have a quibble with the highlighted part of your analysis. What are these 'unknown state of matter' you refer to? The scenario you describe is impossible. To create such energies we would need to build a collider the diameter of the solar system.

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Re: The Great Filter Theory

Postby Lance Kennedy » Wed May 17, 2017 2:24 am

Nobrot

Quibble all you like. That was a f'rinstance, and I regard it as low probability. The fact is that, if such a booby trap exists, we have no idea what it is, and pulling an example like that out of thin air is as likely or unlikely as anything else. If we knew what the booby trap was, we could avoid it.

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Re: The Great Filter Theory

Postby ElectricMonk » Wed May 17, 2017 3:42 am

As is often the case with future prediction, the false assumption is made that things should continue more or less the way they always have.
That is why people come up with these number about how long, in theory, it should take a space-faring civilization to take over the galaxy.
But progress of complex systems is only predictable in the short interval when a new emergent property is reached and is fully exploited. These are like glass transitions in physics, when the properties of the material change.

So it is entirely possible that something must happens to highly advanced civilizations before they can advance even further, something that makes them opaque to detection by less develop species.

But more likely is that, as in any system based on evolution, a specie just doesn't make the 1billion year mark, no matter how clever or adapted.
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
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Re: The Great Filter Theory

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed May 17, 2017 3:56 am

I think its most likely to be true.

My premise is that life evolves in Darwinian manner no matter where it got started. We carry those primitive drives with us until our technology kills us.

We are doing it NOW to ourselves. Just look.
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Re: The Great Filter Theory

Postby ElectricMonk » Wed May 17, 2017 4:01 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:I think its most likely to be true.

My premise is that life evolves in Darwinian manner no matter where it got started. We carry those primitive drives with us until our technology kills us.

We are doing it NOW to ourselves. Just look.


technology has never been so safe as today.
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
- Douglas Adams

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Re: The Great Filter Theory

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed May 17, 2017 4:05 am

EM: safe as far as consumer use? But at it all up. lance has posted he thinks more complex technologies/societies are more stable, I think thats true "in a way" and not true in other ways. Which way happens is the trick BUT the telling point is that when any society crippling/ending way occurs "once", then thats all she wrote.

BTW....it does take more than highly advanced tech to make yourself known in the Galaxy. We humans don't deal well with the HUGE NUMBERS involved in "space."
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Re: The Great Filter Theory

Postby Flash » Wed May 17, 2017 4:49 am

ElectricMonk wrote:
So it is entirely possible that something must happens to highly advanced civilizations before they can advance even further, something that makes them opaque to detection by less develop species.

There is nothing more opaque to detection than non-existence.
It's obvious that there is in the Universe the Great Killer, a civilization that evolved early enough and is advanced enough to be able to get rid of all the rivals.

They are watching us now and when they realize that we are about to develop a warp drive one day there will be a great boom and the solar system will blow up. :shock:

And then some monkey descendants in some other galaxy will develop telescopes and will be wondering why the Universe is empty of intelligent life and they will go on to develop space ships and ultimately the warp drive until one day there'll be a great boom...well, you know the story.

Yes, the tale is sad but true. :swoon:
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Re: The Great Filter Theory

Postby ElectricMonk » Wed May 17, 2017 5:08 am

I see you read the Three-Body Problem trilogy by Xing Yi Quan, Flash.
Great books!

doesn't make sense of course, but hey - can't have it all.
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
- Douglas Adams

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Re: The Great Filter Theory

Postby Lance Kennedy » Wed May 17, 2017 5:22 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote: We humans don't deal well with the HUGE NUMBERS involved in "space."


Easy.

We cannot envisage anything so massive, but even simple arithmetic can cope. Good math is the answer.

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Re: The Great Filter Theory

Postby ElectricMonk » Wed May 17, 2017 6:48 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:
bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote: We humans don't deal well with the HUGE NUMBERS involved in "space."


Easy.

We cannot envisage anything so massive, but even simple arithmetic can cope. Good math is the answer.



nope.
Space isn't just another environment for evolution to conquer. If it was, every meteorite would be teeming with life.

And what, exactly, are we extrapolating from?
There isn't even a true plan to make another planet/moon in the solar system habitable, let alone one around a different sun. We have exactly one data point for life, and that is Earth. We have nothing to expand our projections to from there.

So until we find or make an example of true expansion of a civilization beyond their homeworld, we have no good reason to assume that other forms of intelligent life can do what we can't.
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
- Douglas Adams

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Re: The Great Filter Theory

Postby Lance Kennedy » Wed May 17, 2017 8:01 am

It is true, EM, that we have no good data base for extrapolation. We cannot judge if there is any other life in the cosmos, let alone intelligent life. But sometimes it is fun imagining, as long as we are realistic enough to accept it is just imagining.

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Re: The Great Filter Theory

Postby OlegTheBatty » Wed May 17, 2017 6:21 pm

Flash wrote:ElectricMonk wrote:
So it is entirely possible that something must happens to highly advanced civilizations before they can advance even further, something that makes them opaque to detection by less develop species.

There is nothing more opaque to detection than non-existence.
It's obvious that there is in the Universe the Great Killer, a civilization that evolved early enough and is advanced enough to be able to get rid of all the rivals.

They are watching us now and when they realize that we are about to develop a warp drive one day there will be a great boom and the solar system will blow up. :shock:

And then some monkey descendants in some other galaxy will develop telescopes and will be wondering why the Universe is empty of intelligent life and they will go on to develop space ships and ultimately the warp drive until one day there'll be a great boom...well, you know the story.

Yes, the tale is sad but true. :swoon:


Don't have to blow up anything. All the Old Ones have to do is introduce money, computers, and neoclassical economics theory. The collapse of that civilization will become inevitable.

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Re: The Great Filter Theory

Postby Flash » Thu May 18, 2017 11:11 pm

Actually if it's true that the entire {!#%@} house is someone's hologram then it is up to the "masters" to either include some holograms of other civilizations or not. Right now it seems they have decided to keep us here alone.
When I feel like exercising, I just lie down until the feeling goes away. Paul Terry

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Re: The Great Filter Theory

Postby ElectricMonk » Fri May 19, 2017 6:02 am

Flash wrote:Actually if it's true that the entire {!#%@} house is someone's hologram then it is up to the "masters" to either include some holograms of other civilizations or not. Right now it seems they have decided to keep us here alone.


Simple question of efficient use of CPU and RAM: if you set the cutoff-distance so that two alien species can't interact, it massively simplifies the necessary computation.

I guess the masters of our Simulation have to save up for an upgrade before we get to meet E.T:.
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
- Douglas Adams

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Re: The Great Filter Theory

Postby Lance Kennedy » Fri May 19, 2017 10:59 pm

There was an article in New Scientist some months back about the hypothesis that the universe is just some kind of computer simulation. I have forgotten most of it, since I regard it as gorgeous type bullsheet. However, I remember that the authors claimed that there were ways to test the idea empirically, and some such tests had already been done and failed. Sorry not to remember the details, but it was moderately esoteric.

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Re: The Great Filter Theory

Postby ElectricMonk » Sat May 20, 2017 3:51 am

Maybe you want to check?

One idea was that, in a simulation, we should get rounding errors in our most precise computations since it a simulation would have a finite grid-size of particles that would be greater than sub-atomic.
Of course, a clever simulator could shift CPU resources to those times when clever scientists try to do something like that...
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
- Douglas Adams

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Re: The Great Filter Theory

Postby Lance Kennedy » Sat May 20, 2017 5:28 am

I would love to check, EM, but not by going back through every issue of a weekly magazine for months.

I admit not being terribly qualified myself to judge this. The esoterica of computing is pretty much a mystery to me. However, greater minds have done some of the work and declared it to be a hypothesis of low probability.


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