Escape

For all of its faults, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal often tackles the topic of AI and the future, and inevitably produces something worth reading. That is especially true of this notably bleak one, offering a perfectly plausible explanation as to why there has been no sustained radio signals from other solar systems, and (as far as I can tell) only that ‘Wow!’ signal in 1977 to be teased by.

The only real question is who would retreat into the machine. If it removed a significant number of the brightest and most accomplished people from the species (the likely early adopters), there’s no reason to think that the result would be anything less than a catastrophic brain-drain, as those who can escape do. Pleasure without limit is a temptation to the productive: it’s why the affluent use mind-bending substances. What is left collapses into primordial chaos, and either ends in extermination or the cycle repeats.

Technology truly is the Great Filter, but it is a seducer whispering in the ears of its victims rather than an axe-wielding maniac smashing the door. Rejection of technology means the home planet is the limit, embrace means being absorbed.

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