Re: the end of fermi's paradox?

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Thu Jan 04 2007 - 15:54:35 MST

Philip Goetz wrote:
> If you do the math, you may find that the payoff from harvesting a
> sun's energy, is not high enough to justify the energy investment for
> a space probe, due to the very high discounting rate. If it takes 20
> years to harvest that sun, and your expected return has to equal 200%
> per day after 20 years to make it worthwhile, you need a return of
> 10E2200 times your original investment. A sun is simply not enough
> energy to be worth going after.

Until you've used up your current sun, which, if your discount rate is
that high, you're going to do damned fast, quite possibly less than 200
years. A solar system's resources are finite and at some point, it's
going to make sense to throw out that one little probe - unless you're
suggesting that their discount rate is high enough to provoke literal
suicide because they'd rather think one last thought today.

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky                
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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