Hal Finney wrote:

One is the apparent paucity of life and intelligence in our universe.
This was first expressed as the Fermi Paradox, i.e., where are the aliens?
As our understanding of technological possibility has grown the problem
has become even more acute. It seems likely that our descendants
will engage in tremendous cosmic engineering projects in order to take
control of the very wasteful natural processes occuring throughout space.
We don't see any evidence of that. Similarly, proposals for von Neumann
self reproducing machines that could spread throughout the cosmos at a
large fraction of the speed of light appear to be almost within reach
via nanotechnology. Again, we don't see anything like that.

So why is it that we live in a universe that has almost no observers?
Wouldn't it be more likely on anthropic grounds to live in a universe
that had a vast number of observers?

Could be that
1. It's extremely rare to have a window for biological evolution to our level. (I highly recommend
the well written basic-level but accurate and comprehensive new book called "Origins of Existence"
by Fred Adams ISBN 0-7432-1262-2 which gives a complete summary of what had to happen
for our emergence, and all the many ways how things could have gone differently, very few of which
would lead to life anything like we know it.)

2. We're a distinguished member of the "successful evolvers in the first available window-of-opportunity"

3. If you believe 1 and 2, then note that we ourselves have not yet made galactically observable construction
projects or self-replicating space-probes. Sure, we talk, but we haven't put our money where our mouth
is yet. The (few, lucky to have emerged unscathed) other intelligent lifeforms in our observable universe may
also not have done this within out lightcone (space-time horizon) of observability yet.

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