Against the Empire

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M.M. Cirkovic (2008), JBIS, 61, 246-254

Refcode: 2008.61.246
Keywords: Extraterrestrial intelligence, SETI, Fermi's paradox, future studies, transhumanism, imperialism, interstellar colonization

It is argued that the “generic” evolutionary pathway of advanced technological civilizations are more likely to be optimization-driven than expansion-driven, in contrast to the prevailing opinions and attitudes in both future studies on one side and astrobiology/SETI studies on the other. Two toy-models of postbiological evolution of advanced technological civilizations are considered and several arguments supporting the optimization-driven, spatially compact model are briefly discussed. In addition, it is pointed out that there is a subtle contradiction in most of the tech-optimist and transhumanist accounts of future human/alien civilizations' motivations in its postbiological stages. This may have important ramifications for both practical SETI projects and the future (of humanity) studies.

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