archive: Re: SETI FW: An alien perspective - [acc-list] OctoMarx

Re: SETI FW: An alien perspective - [acc-list] OctoMarx

Andy Wallace ( )
Sat, 03 Oct 1998 09:51:53 -0500


I did not mean to sound too negative--I think we are evolving our social
institutions, as well as our science, in a positive direction at an
ever-increasing rate. My point, not very clearly made, is that we might
expect one day to encounter civilizations far, far more advanced than
we, not only in science but in social conventions. In the cosmic scheme
of things, a 1000 years is an eye blink. The odds of encountering
civilizations similar to ours are far smaller I think than encountering
one far ahead of us in both science and social institutions.

Where will Moore's law, to cite one small example, take us in a 1000
years? I don't think we can even imagine. When people like Jega fret
over the limitations of current radio technology, to me it is comparable
to one speculating 1000 years ago over where candle technology was
headed. The evolutionary imperative driving science is the continual
asking of the question-why?-and the continual curiosity as to what is
over the next hill. SETI is on the right tack even though it is certain
to make many detours along the way.

I am in the camp that when asked to speculate on what amazing
scientific answers will be attained over the next 100( much less the
next 1000) years, I would respond that I don't think we even know the
right questions to ask. I think, for example, the thrust of genetic
engineering is going to change humankind in a very fundamental way over
the next 100 years. This is one genie that cannot be stuffed back in the


Chris Boyce wrote:
> Andy,
> Social behaviour in animals evolves like anything else. War, slavery,
> agriculture and a whole host of other social behaviours are to be found
> amongst many eusocial creatures. If ETI have societies, which seems
> reasonable, we can expect the same from them. Why should the ETI be less
> screwed up than anyone else?