A Netlogo simulation of the Dark Forest Hypothesis
There’s been a bit of discussion lately of the Dark Forest Hypothesis (DFH), which is one of the proposed answers to the Fermi Paradox. The Fermi Paradox asks why we can’t see any other civilizations out there in the universe, even though it is statistically extremely unlikely that we are alone.
The early part of a run, when there are still plenty of civs. The difference in power between killers and killed is going up sharply, as expected, and in this case, the killers are staying less visible than the killed, and developing a lower detection threshold.
Later in a run, when there are few civs left. In this case, visibility doesn't seem to matter much to the killers, and they have evolved a very low detection threshold compared to their victims. The colour of the civs (the bubbles) denotes their traits. The red component is power, the green component is visibility, and the blue component is detection threshold. That large red civ at the bottom of the map is looking very dangerous. It has very little green component, so it will be hard for others to see, and very little blue component, which means it has a low detection threshold and can likely see anyone else it encounters.
Just for fun, I let one run go to two million time steps. There are only 5 civs left, and encounters are very infrequent. In fact, it is entirely possible that this run could continue indefinitely without any further encounters, and the civs could evolve and drift any of their traits in any direction without consequences.
It's possible that we're in a late process like this one, and that we are very unlikely to encounter anyone else, even though the universe was teeming with civs a few billion years ago, for example. It's also possible that we are earlier in the process, but in one of the large gaps left by a killed civ that was destroyed by another one at the other end of it's range (relative to us). In that case, we are just waiting for the next contact, and it may take a while, maybe many millions of years.