The idea of von Neumann machines and SRPs seems like a logical means for any ultra advanced species to search the cosmos for the raw materials needed to sustain the life such a civilization must be accustom to. Assuming one such race of beings exists, what would be the probability that another similar race exists also searching for similar resources. Would the two compete for the resources? Would such competition spark intergalactic warfare? Is searching for evidence of such galactic battles a means to search for life? Interesting!
In line with the Fermi Paradox, the why haven't we had an encounter question, how would we look to detect the communication between SRPs and their command?
I think you explore the topic of von Nueman machines very well and explore the implications of these machines on a galactic level. The most interesting aspect to me is if they would propagate so fast through the galaxy, why don't we see or encounter any of them. I found your response that they could be limited as not too reproduce too extensively to be a good answer. If I could make a recommendation, it would be explaining what a Dyson sphere is and why a galactic civilization would like to create one.
Hey there Alyssa, overall this was a great read and really interesting. You included a lot of great potential benefits of SRP's such as them serving as Bracewell probes and since i don't have a strong background knowledge in astrobiology i'm glad to know now that there is a term for that concept.
I'm not sure if i follow what you mean exactly by the "Berserker probes". While reading that part I imagined it would be something as your suggested Police probes. when you mention exterminating intelligence " due to design or an evolved error." are you referring to things such as illnesses and viruses or something closer to the idea that well since this one species needs blank chemical to survive and will cause the depletion of said chemical than that species should be eliminated instead?
I clicked to find out what a Von Neumann machine was. I like them. You explored the idea pretty thoroughly, even t the point of why we don't see them. These would be a great way for humans to explore the galaxy. They could go to new planets, collect data, if there is not much to find they could use whatever resources are available to make new machines and outposts for stopping points for humans. If hey don't exist we should make them exist.