[ExI] Silence in the sky-but why?

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Sun Sep 1 15:51:11 UTC 2013

On Sun, Sep 1, 2013 at 3:44 PM, spike wrote:
> We must recognize that as mind boggling as the thought may be, it is a
> possible explanation for the silent sky: we really are the first ones here.
> If true, this generates a line of thought even more astonishing.  If we are
> the first tech enabled species in the galaxy, then this whole thing is ours,
> all of it, but there is a catch.  We need to hurry.  Reasoning: we model
> intelligence as an ever upward climb towards more and better, but it is not
> necessarily so.  Humanity is accumulating knowledge at a high rate, but our
> collective intelligence may or may not increase in the long run.  I can
> easily imagine mechanisms which would cause average intelligence to
> decrease.
> We may be at, or nearing, or possibly even past, the peak average
> intelligence of our species, depending on how it is measured, and that last
> phrase is very important.  I know we have these IQ tests and performance is
> going up.  But we may be fooling ourselves.
> We tend to wait around for nano-santa to show up, but he may not.  Robust
> nanotech might happen and not kill us, but it is speculative.  We have a
> number of technologies we conceive, as a class could be called PS^2B^2, for
> Pie in the Sky in the Sweet By and By.  But if we really ponder, we have a
> technology I call P^2DN^2 for Potatoes on the Plate in the Dirty Now and
> Now.   An example of the latter would be the primitive MBrain nodes I
> sketched in a post a few days ago.

That is another alternative to the fate of intelligent civilizations.

1) They might keep going upwards and decide to do something else than
spam the galaxy.

2) They might get control of their pleasure centres and exit to nirvana.

3) Intelligence might peak and then dwindle away as it ceased to be an
evolutionary factor.

Your suggestion 3) has support in that people are delegating more
intelligence to their devices nowadays than ever before. One article
commented that we used to casually remember dozens of phone numbers,
but we have lost that ability as our phones do the remembering. We
used to do mental arithmetic to add up bills, calculate percentages,
etc., but not now. We used to read maps and plan journeys, but now we
just key into the GPS system. And so on....

People think spending hours updating their status and reading and
commenting on their friend's status is a significant activity.

Actually, in some ways it might be. I note that Obama thinks that
because hundreds of terrorists have tweeted and posted Youtube videos
claiming the Assad military gassed civilians, that constitutes real
Can a few thousand 'likes' really start a war? What a strange world we live in.


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