Extropy +11: When Civilizations Meet
Monday, July 26, 2010
(FROM THE PHYSICS ARXIV BLOG –> here.)
The Fermi Paradox, Phase Changes and Intergalactic Colonisation
A new model shows how the spread of ET civilisations can undergo phase changes, providing deeper insights into the Fermi Paradox
In 1950, the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi raised the question that now bears his name. If there are intelligent civilisations elsewhere in the Universe with technologies that far surpass our own, why do we see no sign of them?
Since then, the so-called Fermi Paradox has puzzled astronomers and science fiction writers alike. And although there are no shortage of ways to approach the problem, nobody has come up with a convincing explanation.
Now there is another take on the problem thanks to a new approach by Igor Bezsudnov and Andrey Snarskii at the National Technical University of Ukraine.
Their approach is to imagine that civilisations form at a certain rate, grow to fill a certain volume of space and then collapse and die. They even go as far as to suggest that civilisations have a characteristic life time, which limits how big they can become.
In certain circumstances, however, when civilisations are close enough together in time and space, they can come into contact and when this happens the cross-fertilisation of ideas and cultures allows them both to flourish in a way that increases their combined lifespan.
Bezsudnov and Snarskii point out that this process of spreading into space can be easily modelled using a cellular automaton. And they’ve gone ahead and created their own universe using a 10,000 x 10,000 cell automaton running over 320,000 steps.
Continue Reading __ here.