Plan Earth's Defense! [3 Body Problem]

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Plan Earth's Defense! [3 Body Problem]

Postby The Grim Squeaker » 2016-12-14 04:45am

I'm stealing this from Cixiun Liu's "Three Body problem" and "The Dark Forest".
For those who've read the books: You're appointed a Wallfacer, at the start of the second book. What would your plan be?
(You have no special in-universe knowledge.)


For those who haven't read the books:

[SPOILERS for the "Three Body problem" and the first half of "The Dark Forest" follow!]






Background (for those who haven't read the books): Modern Day Earth. Aliens from Alpha Centauri discover the Earth. Their home system is highly unstable, and they decide on a mass exodus to Earth, with plans on wiping out humanity once they arrive. Their invasion fleet of 1,000 ships will take 400 years to arrive, with a number of automated probes arriving within 200 years.
They announce their plans to humanity, and the entire planet knows that this is happening and is not a hoax.
Their level of technology is not known beyond the following:
    * The speed of their fleet/invasion force is limited to a few percentage points of C.
    * Their rate of technological development is slow and static, while humanity's accelerated. Given humanity's present rate of technological advancement, Humanity 4 centuries from now would be able to effortlessly crush the invading fleet.
    * To prevent the above, they completely lock down humanity's ability to advance in fundamental physics and science using Sophons.
    * Sophons are subatomic AI built using 1.5D photons. They can travel at the speed of light, allow instantaneous FTL transmission of information between Earth and the alien homeworld via entanglement, and can alter the effects of any reactions of experiment on the submolecular level. This can't be used for offensive purposes, but it does means that they can sabotage the result of any experiment on the submolecular/subatomic level. That means that humanity cannot advance in fundamental physics, quantum physics (that means no jump beyond Moore's law or quantum computing), no fundamental improvements in basic science, and puts a massive glass cieling on human technology.
    An analogy for why this is so limiting: "You have the shinyest tanks, jet aircraft and brand new maxim machine guns. Good luck fighting an enemy with atomic bombs".
    * The Sophons also allow for near perfect information gathering about humanity. They can cover the whole planet and can't be blocked, and transmit information back instantly (they can also read electronic media to some degree). They allow bidirectional communication. (The aliens understand English and can communicate with us).
    * The Sophons serve to let humanity know about the aliens plan, once they're discovered, by inscribing a message on the retina of every human on earth "You're Bugs".

All humanity bands together to prepare for the invasion, with massive global militarization efforts.
Due to the Sophon's spying on all military activity on Earth, a plan is devised to appoint a number of "Wallfacers". The Sophons cannot extract information from human brains or thoughts, so the idea behind the wallfacers is to create hidden long term 'alternative' plans to prepare for the invasion, in addition to conventional efforts. You have extreme freedom, and do not need to explain the reasons behind your activities and instructions to anyone, though you will need to face oversight by a UN committee. The idea is to use subterfuge and trickery, and to hide your real plan until it's in effect.
You are one of the Wallfacers. You must devise a long term strategem for ensuring the survival of humanity/defeat of the invasion force.
You have access to extreme resources (assume on the order of 1-2 % of global GDP in a fully militarized, integrated global economy, with a level of mobilization sufficient to push back global standards of living by 1-2 centuries). You have access to hibernation technology capable of putting you into stasis as many times as needed, and letting you manage your plan over the centuries.


Added complications:
    *The aliens have almost no concept of trickery, lying or deception. Thus, they are very bad at guessing tricks, schemes, lies and deception (They did not realize that there could be a difference between "knowing something" and "saying it" until Humans described it to them).
    * The Aliens have a number of fanatical human sympathizers on Earth. These are a few thousand people drawn from the Intelligentsia, all fanatically devoted to the destruction of humanity and it's replacement by a superior species. These people also appoint a "WallBreaker" whose role is to constantly study you (with the aid of the Sophons), and to figure out your plan. Thus, your plan should be able to hold up to scrutiny by another human with access to your every activity.
    * Humanity can be assumed to be slightly "Lawful Good" retarded in its adherence to moral rights. If your plan is discovered/guessed and obviously in violation of these rights, you will lose.

What's your plan?
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Re: Plan Earth's Defense! [3 Body Problem]

Postby NecronLord » 2016-12-14 09:53am

I build O'neill cylinders for everyone and let them have Earth. Victory is not possible.
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Re: Plan Earth's Defense! [3 Body Problem]

Postby The Grim Squeaker » 2016-12-14 10:20am

NecronLord wrote:I build O'neill cylinders for everyone and let them have Earth. Victory is not possible.

"Escapism" is also considered a crime against humanity, and how would you do it openly?
PS: Humanity's technology is deadlocked up to a point. It's still got a large area to advance. The rate of progress in the book includes ~ 18,000x improvement in supercomputers within the first 12 years, although it's noted that this is still considered a supercomputer a century later. Multiple space elevators are also built in the first 60 years, with a corresponding space fleet.

The biggest trick is to come up with a plan that has a chance of working, and a way to carry it out that doesn't result in the human wallbreakers guessing it.


EDIT: Oh, and the Aliens make it clear that they will send probes after fleeing ships. The idea of "Escapism" is mentioned prominently in the books. It's infeasible on a large scale if only due to the human element: Who stays, who goes? And if you have a fleet capable of transporting 10 billion people and fighting off the invaders in space, then why would you flee - you might as well defend Earth, where you'll have 400 years worth of built up defenses and ships.

DOUBLE EDIT: Improvements in human technology is still possible. The limitations are for fundamental breakthroughs: Engineering improvements are possible, as are technical and incremental improvements over 400 years. Fusion technology is possible for example, in the form of working reactors and the like.
Last edited by The Grim Squeaker on 2016-12-14 10:26am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Plan Earth's Defense! [3 Body Problem]

Postby NecronLord » 2016-12-14 10:25am

No such plan is conceivable. Anything that does work will do so via author fiat.

You don't defend - you suicide. You build thousands of O'Neill cylinders, move everyone, and signal to the aliens that if they board your cylinders they will self destruct; the aliens have generation ships already and gain nothing by occupying them. Engineer the situation such that the aliens cannot gain anything but satisfaction by harming humans.
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Re: Plan Earth's Defense! [3 Body Problem]

Postby The Grim Squeaker » 2016-12-14 10:31am

NecronLord wrote:No such plan is conceivable. Anything that does work will do so via author fiat.

Why do you think so?
A fleet travelling at ~0.05% the speed of light, with outstanding information implies a set level of technological advancement. But it's not the culture, and you have 400 years of militarized advancement to count on.

Heck, how long would it take, say, the American forces in the second Iraq war to take over the Civil war era USA, if the former had 300 years to dig in, build bunkers, lay mines, and build better iron clads? That's a more extreme technology gap than what's mentioned here :)
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Re: Plan Earth's Defense! [3 Body Problem]

Postby The Grim Squeaker » 2016-12-14 10:32am

NecronLord wrote:No such plan is conceivable. Anything that does work will do so via author fiat.

You don't defend - you suicide. You build thousands of O'Neill cylinders, move everyone, and signal to the aliens that if they board your cylinders they will self destruct; the aliens have generation ships already and gain nothing by occupying them. Engineer the situation such that the aliens cannot gain anything but satisfaction by harming humans.

That's more of a plan :) .
(It's still problematic in that the aliens are likely to send probes after you, and there's no politically feasible way to do this in an intentionally declared, out and out way - as said, no political or social entity on earth would agree to be left behind to die).
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Re: Plan Earth's Defense! [3 Body Problem]

Postby NecronLord » 2016-12-14 10:39am

No one will be. Read O'Neill, you can make colony habitats for everyone inside 400 years with resource to spare with only a few advances.

If you want to be live dangerously and annoy the aliens you can also turn the garden planet Earth into a nuclear minefield with comparative ease or make it uninhabitable with asteroids. But you're at their mercy no matter what.
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Re: Plan Earth's Defense! [3 Body Problem]

Postby The Grim Squeaker » 2016-12-14 10:47am

NecronLord wrote:You don't defend - you suicide.


2 Plans from the books (that were guessed by the Wallbreakers and failed):
[SPOILERS!]
Spoiler
1) Build a large fleet of tiny autonomously controlled drone ships, each armed with multi megaton bombs (as opposed to large space warships constructed by the mainstream defense plans). Stated plan: "mosquito" suicide bombers.
Actual plan: When the aliens arrive, attack and decimate the rest of the human fleet, and then beg the aliens to join them. As the aliens arrive after their long voyage, offer large supplies of gathered H20 from the rest of the solar system to their ships, as an additional 'gift'. Hide a large number of additional bombs in the ice and ships, then once your ships are close enough, detonate them and the hidden bombs right against the enemy fleet.

Plan 1's guessing in the book resulted in it's condemnation and trial of it's author for "planned crimes against humanity". (A bit like failing a civilization game).

2) Plan 2 (My personal favorite):
Stated plan: Construction of many giant bombs. (200-500 megaton bombs, with enhanced blast radii in interstellar space. Due to their effects, they need to be tested outside of Earth's atmosphere. [Based on the description of effects, I think the translation ought to have been more than ~200 Megatons, given that one in Earth's atmosphere was judged capable of disrupting global communications as a side-effect of the EM pulse).
Due to these restrictions, the bombs need to be tested on Mercury. Demand construction of tens of thousands of such bombs.
Actual plan: Bombs are indeed a crappy weapon for interstellar warfare. The real plan is to build such a huge amount of bombs, and detonate them carefully on mercury and some moons. [The next part is stated to have been unlikely due to the number of bombs needed, but possible]. The bomb-making potential would have been enough to start a chain reaction that ends with jarring solar planetary bodies/moon of course into the sun, with the resulting solar ejecta being enough to kill all life on Earth. Wire all the bombs to a dead man switch, and Use this as a threat to force the invading aliens to peace.
In book (due to authorial fiat): the plan's inference results in the lynching of it's author for his "Evil evil plan to hold the life of everyone on the planet hostage".
I.E authorial fiat and stupidity.


A variant of Plan 2 would have been my approach, except for the part where:
Spoiler
Humanity in book and real life, not being happy with "kill everyone on earth with giant bombs" as a long term strategy
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