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What if the answer to the Fermi Paradox is that at some point in development alien civilizations tend to plug themselves into simulated realities? What if humans will end up this way just like in The Matrix. So what if we found an alien planet filled with aliens all plugged into simulations. They would have no idea we were walking around on their own world because they would all be oblivious living in their simulated and then that begs the question, would you unplug them and set them free and have to explain the real world and who humans are and what happened to them or would you just keep the bluepilled and leave them in their dreamworld? I think that would be a really good movie.

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4 hours ago, awsumguy76801 said:

What if the answer to the Fermi Paradox is that at some point in development alien civilizations tend to plug themselves into simulated realities? What if humans will end up this way just like in The Matrix. So what if we found an alien planet filled with aliens all plugged into simulations. They would have no idea we were walking around on their own world because they would all be oblivious living in their simulated and then that begs the question, would you unplug them and set them free and have to explain the real world and who humans are and what happened to them or would you just keep the bluepilled and leave them in their dreamworld? I think that would be a really good movie.

This idea isn't new. Some people have quipped that the holodeck would be humanity's last invention. Related,

Also,

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A far more interesting version is that aliens are prone towards creating ancestral simulations - not for entertainment, at least originally, but for research and prognostication. But those simulated aliens would in turn also tend to create ancestral simulations... and because computing power is constrained even when one has Matryoshka Brains to throw around, at some point in this recursive chain, someone will start Ctrl-Alt-Del universes or pieces thereof.

Thus one of the possible corollaries of the simulation theory is that you need to conserve your creator's computing power... by destroying every other civilization.

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Considering the propensities of humanity throughout the ages and assuming that these aliens would not be entirely different (if they were, the probably wouldn't evolve/develop along a similar path as us), my guess would be that if you approached such a planet, you would instantly be nuked into oblivion by automated systems, without warning. I'm pretty sure there was a Star Trek episode along those lines :)

Alternatively, part or all of the simulation could be augmented reality where the people in the simulation would be able to respond to external events - perhaps through an augmented reality layer, so they might not be fully aware that they're repelling an invading alien force, in their 'reality' they might be playing an important sports match or game.

In any case I'm pretty sure no civilization would go that route unless they had some pretty sturdy defense (and probably stealth) technology in place to prevent any accidental or intentional stepping on by some alien boot. Let's not forget the example you name (The Matrix) is run by a civilization that is arguably more powerful than humans. I also don't think any civilization would go that way if they were still restricted to a single planet, this is a plan that begs for some redundancy :)

As an aside, we quite likely already live in what is effectively a simulated reality, the one created by one of the most powerful computers known to mankind, the human brain. People commonly like to think that our senses detect "reality as it is", however to the best of our current knowledge, detecting reality is not in any way, shape or form part of the theory of evolution. What we detect is fitness, not reality, and simulations where creatures that detect reality are matched against creatures that detect fitness in a competitive environment invariably end up with the extinction of the creatures that detect "reality as it is" (see "the interface theory of perception" by Hoffman, Singh & Prakash).

 

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9 hours ago, awsumguy76801 said:

What if the answer to the Fermi Paradox is that at some point in development alien civilizations tend to plug themselves into simulated realities? What if humans will end up this way just like in The Matrix. So what if we found an alien planet filled with aliens all plugged into simulations. They would have no idea we were walking around on their own world because they would all be oblivious living in their simulated and then that begs the question, would you unplug them and set them free and have to explain the real world and who humans are and what happened to them or would you just keep the bluepilled and leave them in their dreamworld? I think that would be a really good movie.

I'm a little skeptical. It is certainly something that could happen, but as a solution to the Fermi paradox it presents some problems-

1. All aliens have to evolve to be lazy and self-centered, yet strive enough to survive long enough to be capable of creating a simulation.

2. If they reach this level of technology anyways, why don't they actually solve their society's problems and go interstellar, or at least completely colonize their own solar system?

I think sociological theories regarding the Fermi paradox, and perhaps extraterrestrial intelligence in general, too, are mostly flawed because they consist of projecting human logic and behavior too much or entirely.

If it is unlikely extraterrestrials would bear any resemblance to humans, it is even more unlikely they would share the same destructive thought process that leads to "I just want to sit on the beach with a drink for all eternity even if it isn't real"-type mentality.

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6 hours ago, SunlitZelkova said:

I'm a little skeptical. It is certainly something that could happen, but as a solution to the Fermi paradox it presents some problems-

1. All aliens have to evolve to be lazy and self-centered, yet strive enough to survive long enough to be capable of creating a simulation.

2. If they reach this level of technology anyways, why don't they actually solve their society's problems and go interstellar, or at least completely colonize their own solar system?

I think sociological theories regarding the Fermi paradox, and perhaps extraterrestrial intelligence in general, too, are mostly flawed because they consist of projecting human logic and behavior too much or entirely.

If it is unlikely extraterrestrials would bear any resemblance to humans, it is even more unlikely they would share the same destructive thought process that leads to "I just want to sit on the beach with a drink for all eternity even if it isn't real"-type mentality.

Also I find it dubious that this mindset would afflict all humans as well. Refer to Fukuyama's Last Men striving to undo the End of History.

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20 hours ago, awsumguy76801 said:

What if the answer to the Fermi Paradox

A solution to the Fermi Paradox ("Where is everybody?") has two parts:

  1. One or more reasons why a given civilization might not go interstellar
  2. An explanation for why these reasons must apply to all civilizations that have ever existed in our galaxy, because if even one of them develops along a different path, then that civilization either hits some other barrier or colonizes the galaxy
20 hours ago, awsumguy76801 said:

is that at some point in development alien civilizations tend to ...

This is just #1. Any thoughts on #2? Seems like there's plenty of leeway for civilizations to decide, "Nah, VR makes me nauseous, let's stay in the real world and build some generation ships."

Anyway, here's Isaac Arthur's Fermi Paradox episode about the simulation hypothesis:

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On 2/20/2022 at 6:14 AM, SunlitZelkova said:

I'm a little skeptical. It is certainly something that could happen, but as a solution to the Fermi paradox it presents some problems-

1. All aliens have to evolve to be lazy and self-centered, yet strive enough to survive long enough to be capable of creating a simulation.

2. If they reach this level of technology anyways, why don't they actually solve their society's problems and go interstellar, or at least completely colonize their own solar system?

I think sociological theories regarding the Fermi paradox, and perhaps extraterrestrial intelligence in general, too, are mostly flawed because they consist of projecting human logic and behavior too much or entirely.

If it is unlikely extraterrestrials would bear any resemblance to humans, it is even more unlikely they would share the same destructive thought process that leads to "I just want to sit on the beach with a drink for all eternity even if it isn't real"-type mentality.

 

1. I don't think its laziness or self-centering is required to consider the simulation hypothesis. Lets say these aliens, smart as they may be, find traveling among the stars to be difficult/impossible. At the same time, their virtualization and computation capabilities are advanced enough "entering the matrix" is a sensible alternative. Something as simple as living on a "super Earth" would make getting into orbit hilariously difficult, never mind trying to get enough up into orbit to travel to another system.

2. This assumes their society has problems. 

 

I consider 2 primary axioms when referring to any solution to the Fermi Paradox. 

1. All possible answers require aliens (if there are any) to be logical thinkers

2. All logical thinkers can be identified by a reasonable human.

 

As long as those 2 hold, I think its possible to at least find a reasonable answer to the Fermi paradox. I can see multiple variants of "The Simulation hypothesis" to be valid solutions to the Fermi paradox. I personally feel like its "too easy" though, in that stuffing everyone into The Matrix leaves a number of plot holes. Like who's running the lights? What about reproduction? What about dissenters, etc etc. Some variants of the theory like everyone is asleep waiting for a cooler period of the universe to execute more significant computation, or transcended into another plane of existence where we can't detect them (the real matrix :O), all could be sensible spins on the general idea of the hypothesis. 

All of the variants boil down to the simple idea "colonizing space is for suckers", and some form of virtualization is the actual final frontier. 

 

Its also possible to combine multiple Fermi paradox solutions together, If these aliens are logical thinkers, who's to say its logical to noticeable expand a galactic empire among the stars? These are logical thinkers, so they would be aware of the Dark Forrest theory and thus might expand their empire while staying hidden within their virtual words, relying on staying silent within their virtualization. 

 

I usually put the virtualization theory up there in possible solutions to the Fermi paradox. Not so much because "humans are lazy, so aliens must be lazy", but because I do believe the actual universe might not be as cracked up to be, especially if your an advanced civilization. Plus the it also integrates another possible explanation of the universe itself, the simulation theory.

Its worth mentioning my #1 guess on the answer to the Fermi paradox is simply "there are no aliens near you, because the universe is huge". Life might be common relative to the size of the universe, but the universe is too large that aliens just are too far to be seen/care about. Even with light speed travel, its possible the closest evil galactic empire just could never reach us before the expansion of the universe cuts them off. Thus, the local group might be ours for the taking!

 

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On 2/20/2022 at 3:14 PM, SunlitZelkova said:

I'm a little skeptical. It is certainly something that could happen, but as a solution to the Fermi paradox it presents some problems-

1. All aliens have to evolve to be lazy and self-centered, yet strive enough to survive long enough to be capable of creating a simulation.

2. If they reach this level of technology anyways, why don't they actually solve their society's problems and go interstellar, or at least completely colonize their own solar system?

I think sociological theories regarding the Fermi paradox, and perhaps extraterrestrial intelligence in general, too, are mostly flawed because they consist of projecting human logic and behavior too much or entirely.

If it is unlikely extraterrestrials would bear any resemblance to humans, it is even more unlikely they would share the same destructive thought process that leads to "I just want to sit on the beach with a drink for all eternity even if it isn't real"-type mentality.

More so if say 95% entered the matrix, the left will be selected for to reproduce, in say 10 generations few would want to enter for reasons selected for. 

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10 hours ago, MKI said:

1. I don't think its laziness or self-centering is required to consider the simulation hypothesis. Lets say these aliens, smart as they may be, find traveling among the stars to be difficult/impossible. At the same time, their virtualization and computation capabilities are advanced enough "entering the matrix" is a sensible alternative. Something as simple as living on a "super Earth" would make getting into orbit hilariously difficult, never mind trying to get enough up into orbit to travel to another system.

But this requires every single other planet to ever have intelligent life to be a super earth or lack propulsion technology, or requires every single species to have the exact mindset despite physiological and environmental differences.

It still seems like a very unlikely scenario.

In regards to No. 2, I just assumed every species will have its own "internal" conflicts, and that intelligence will cause them to become more complex, to the point where either no one solves them and they result in the destruction of the species or they get solved: a 100% chance of one likelihood or the other. This is based on how all species have some degree of "infighting", whether it be the males of some species fighting for dominance over each other or a freaking world war. It is indeed speculative however, and perhaps not necessary in discussing the Fermi paradox.

10 hours ago, MKI said:

I usually put the virtualization theory up there in possible solutions to the Fermi paradox. Not so much because "humans are lazy, so aliens must be lazy", but because I do believe the actual universe might not be as cracked up to be, especially if your an advanced civilization. Plus the it also integrates another possible explanation of the universe itself, the simulation theory.

But this concept of something "not being as cracked up to be" (not the slang term, the concept itself) entirely originates with humans. There is no reason to think advanced extraterrestrials would have the same thought processes that would lead to such an idea.

Species generally attempt to "go further", naturally going further to find food and in the process "colonizing" different areas, whether they be humans on a boat crossing the Atlantic or terror birds on their feet crossing the Isthmus of Panama. Only for very specific historical and social reasons does humanity contain some individuals who don't want to engage in the physical world to the point of wanting to just sit in their house. They tend to be in the minority, there is no "real" reason why an intelligent species would completely go virtual beyond fiction.

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12 hours ago, SunlitZelkova said:

But this concept of something "not being as cracked up to be" (not the slang term, the concept itself) entirely originates with humans. There is no reason to think advanced extraterrestrials would have the same thought processes that would lead to such an idea.

Species generally attempt to "go further", naturally going further to find food and in the process "colonizing" different areas, whether they be humans on a boat crossing the Atlantic or terror birds on their feet crossing the Isthmus of Panama. Only for very specific historical and social reasons does humanity contain some individuals who don't want to engage in the physical world to the point of wanting to just sit in their house. They tend to be in the minority, there is no "real" reason why an intelligent species would completely go virtual beyond fiction.

Again, the 2 axioms I usually rely upon assumes the extraterrestrials to be logical thinkers, and that we can understand them.

 

Generally evolution pushes species to expand, and continue to evolve over time to find new places. However, this requires some level of foothold. You can't expect a lion to magically be able to swim the Atlantic to colonize the nearest island. You could expect some type of bird to make the flight eventually. On the same level you can't automatically expect evolution to make species capable of planet hopping. Its possible intelligence could give a select few species the ability to do that, but AFAIK this isn't a given.

The same rules just don't necessarily apply to civilizations and the stars. Currently there is the sample data of 0 for civilizations that can make the trek out to another planet. Why this is, is part of the paradox

 

I just realized its possible the simulation hypothesis can help explain the Fermi paradox, if you want to "drink enough cool-aid" and possibly turn into a raging madman haha.

1. You live in a simulation (the why isn't important)

2. The simulation is designed without competition among the stars, thus explaining the Fermi Paradox by "there really are no aliens".

 

I'm not sure if being in a simulation is better/worse or just different than explaining the Fermi Paradox by having everyone stuffed into their own simulations, but I'd consider it on the table and at least semi-relevant to this thread haha.

 

 

 

 

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On 2/22/2022 at 8:15 AM, MKI said:

Again, the 2 axioms I usually rely upon assumes the extraterrestrials to be logical thinkers, and that we can understand them.

 

Generally evolution pushes species to expand, and continue to evolve over time to find new places. However, this requires some level of foothold. You can't expect a lion to magically be able to swim the Atlantic to colonize the nearest island. You could expect some type of bird to make the flight eventually. On the same level you can't automatically expect evolution to make species capable of planet hopping. Its possible intelligence could give a select few species the ability to do that, but AFAIK this isn't a given.

The same rules just don't necessarily apply to civilizations and the stars. Currently there is the sample data of 0 for civilizations that can make the trek out to another planet. Why this is, is part of the paradox

 

I just realized its possible the simulation hypothesis can help explain the Fermi paradox, if you want to "drink enough cool-aid" and possibly turn into a raging madman haha.

1. You live in a simulation (the why isn't important)

2. The simulation is designed without competition among the stars, thus explaining the Fermi Paradox by "there really are no aliens".

 

I'm not sure if being in a simulation is better/worse or just different than explaining the Fermi Paradox by having everyone stuffed into their own simulations, but I'd consider it on the table and at least semi-relevant to this thread haha.

 

 

 

 

Fair point regarding whether other civilizations would be capable of interstellar flight at all. I just find the likelihood of all civilizations close to the Sun and Milky Way being incapable of it rather unlikely. I haven't looked, but I wonder just how many habitable planets are "normal" (more lenient towards spaceflight) and how many are super earths.

Edited by SunlitZelkova
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7 minutes ago, SunlitZelkova said:

Fair point regarding whether other civilizations would be capable of interstellar flight at all. I just find the likelihood of all civilizations close to the Sun and Milky Way being incapable of it rather unlikely. I haven't looked, but I wonder just how many habitable planets are "normal" (more lenient towards spaceflight) and how many are super earths.

I gave super earths as a single example of a scenario where colonizing space would be impossible/difficult. I didn't give it as the only example.

I'm sure you can think of a few scenarios that would making traveling among the stars at least more difficult. The more difficult it is, the more reasonable "entering the matrix" theory becomes. 

Technically humanity falls into this scale with most humans not actively working on reaching the stars and spending their time in cyberspace.... looks around.

 

Lazy or not it isn't easy traveling among the stars,

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Post industrialization climate change, mass media induced factionalization, and controlling the atom,  seems like a nasty triple threat that we are not entirely past ourselves, and the nature of the three means that most civilizations will have to deal with multiples at once, prior to expanding beyond their ability to wipe themselves out.

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11 hours ago, Rakaydos said:

Post industrialization climate change, mass media induced factionalization, and controlling the atom,  seems like a nasty triple threat that we are not entirely past ourselves, and the nature of the three means that most civilizations will have to deal with multiples at once, prior to expanding beyond their ability to wipe themselves out.

I think the "they all destroyed themselves" hypothesis is likely, but that particular scenario feels iffy. We don't know what extraterrestrial behavior might be like so we can't say whether they would face the same exact problems or not.

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We should realize that the living in any galaxy is the living inside a nuclear reactor.

Just few small places where the organic slime can survive enough long to start thinking. 

So, it just happens rarely, and once a civilization gets enough mature to start making out of silicon the CPU chips instead of the hand-axe chips, probably less than a thousand years passes before they became a post-biological species and join the network civilization of elder ones as new nodes.

So, simultaneously there should exist just one or two human-level civilizations per galaxy cluster, and the silence is an absolutely natural and expectable.

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