[Question] Space colonization: what can we definitely do and how do we know that?

Ar­gu­ments for the value of the long-term fu­ture tend to make the as­sump­tion that we will colonize space. What can we definitely ac­com­plish in terms of space coloniza­tion? Why think that we can definitely do those things?

The FHI pa­per, Eter­nity in Six Hours, is very op­ti­mistic about what can be done:

In this pa­per, we ex­tend the Fermi para­dox to not only life in this galaxy, but to other galax­ies as well. We do this by demon­strat­ing that trav­el­ing be­tween galax­ies – in­deed even launch­ing a colon­i­sa­tion pro­ject for the en­tire reach­able uni­verse – is a rel­a­tively sim­ple task for a star-span­ning civ­i­liza­tion, re­quiring mod­est amounts of en­ergy and re­sources. We start by demon­strat­ing that hu­man­ity it­self could likely ac­com­plish such a colon­i­sa­tion pro­ject in the fore­see­able fu­ture, should we want to, and then demon­strate that there are mil­lions of galax­ies that could have reached us by now, us­ing similar meth­ods.

Is this pa­per rea­son­able? Which parts of its as­ser­tions are most likely to be mis­taken?

This ques­tion was in­spired by a con­ver­sa­tion with Nick Beck­stead.

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