Speculating, is something I love to do. Given the varied topics I discuss on my site speculating is very fun and always intriguing.
Recently I interviewed Jill Tarter of SETI and she said a few things that I have been talking about on this blog. It is always cool when an expert more or less confirms some of your ideas. In that interview we talked about life out in the cosmos and how a civilization might evolve on an alien planet. During the interview she said something that I have thought about, although not directly said. She says that for a civilization to become technologically advanced they will need to master the environment on their home planet. I think what she meant by that is that a civilization must reach technological advancement without destroying their planet, which totally makes sense. Reaching this point is fine and great, but in the process if the planet is destroyed and no longer able to sustain life, then the civilization is doomed.
I think we are slowly approaching this point in our civilization. I do not think we are on the verge of destroying the planet, but I think in the next 100-200 years this conundrum will come into play and decisions will need to be made. Even as advanced as we are, or think we are, we are still very much at the mercy of the planet and mother nature. If the environment were to change rapidly, like say the global temperature were to rise, then we would be at the mercy of whatever happens. Jill Tarter is saying that any civilization that will achieve interstellar travel, given that it is possible, will have certainly mastered the environment on their home planet and perhaps other planets as well. Which is no small feat on many different levels.
I agree with her, and I don’t want to put words in her mouth, but I think there is another piece to this idea that is not mentioned, but I think should go hand in hand with this. To some extent I think that any technologically advanced super civilization will not only have mastered their environment, but I also think they will have come together as a species. What I mean is that the entire species will have the same goal and work together to achieve it. It is easy to say that we are far, very far, from achieving this goal, but regardless I think both of these ideas kind of go hand in hand. I think there is a very low probability of humans, or any civilization for that matter, mastering our/their environment without coming together as a species. I am not saying it cannot happen I am just saying that there is an almost 0% chance of it happening.
This theory of mine may seem silly but, Dr. Mae Jemison seems to believe something similar. From the article-
“People of different races, religions, and beliefs can barely exist in the same room with each other,” Jemison says. How could we possibly travel to outer space together? Humanity already produces far more food than the global population needs to survive — about one and a half times more. The problem is waste. Americans alone throw away about 40% of our food. We have the means to solve global hunger, but we just don’t behave in a way that allows that to happen. “It’s an issue about sharing,” she says. “But it’s really how we see each other. How do we commit to long-term projects? How do we invest in a future that we may not see? Look at how big this planet is,” Jemison says. Total cooperation is a monumental task. “So if you look at a starship, we’d have to think about those things and how do we move them forward.”
This is exactly what I have been talking about. As I stated in my questions to Jill Tarter, a civilization that is very aggressive and warlike, will probably not live to become technologically advanced. I would think that they would destroy themselves far before that time. There are just too many obstacles outside of fighting with each other to become an interstellar traveling civilization. If they cannot get along then there is no hope to achieve the latter.
I am not one to be all doom and gloom, and I think the jury is still out on the human race, we have not sealed our fate one way or the other. With that being said I think the in the next 100 to 200 years is when some of these decisions will need to be made, and perhaps during this time period is when we as a species will be heading toward technological greatness or the destruction of our race. I am also not saying we have to change overnight, as that is not possible. But I think there will be a time when we will have to come together to achieve greatness.
Can you imagine a super technological civilization capable of interstellar travel having a terrorist organization on their home planet hell bent on destruction and beheading those that did not agree with them, I don’t think so. I also do not think said civilization will have other organizations exploiting labor for money, I would argue that this civilization would have no use for money or an economic system. This could be possible because of AI. AI could take over the day to day jobs that humans now do and the ones necessary for sustaining our infrastructure. If AI could do this without a fuss, then I think to some extent money would become obsolete and there would be enough food, water, energy, clothing, what have you, around for everyone. Capitalism, which I do not think is bad in any way, would be dead. A robot could work nonstop around the clock exponentially increasing GDP in a matter of months. Profits would be high at first, but then the demand for things would decrease and I would imagine there would be a massive surplus of goods and services. If I have plenty of food that is either free or cost basically nothing, all other living expenses are either free of cost basically nothing, why do I need money? Maybe for retirement? Seems pointless again, what would a million in the bank do for me? My healthcare is free I go see the Medic Bot for free. I have no living expenses, everything is done by robots or AI to make society more or less free.
You see what I am getting at, at least I hope so. This could be a wildly bizarre world that may seem like something out of a dystopian science fiction novel, but perhaps this is the step humanity will have to take to reach super technological advancement. Maybe AI is the key to all this, maybe AI is the key to every civilization in the universe becoming super advanced. I kind of hope I live long enough for a robot to take my job, because I think once that happens we will be very close to the next step of our evolution.