Are we too advanced for colonization?

It’s an argument put forward by researchers at the University of Washington, that humans will never live among the stars because of the vast gulf between them, and because of our expertise with computer systems.

Effectively, they are making the assumption that useful computerized probes will exist much earlier in human history than the power outputs necessary to move humanity to a nearby star in a single lifetime. Even including suspended animation, I should add. Now, while it is almost certain that computerized probes will arrive first at any area in space that humans explore, I believe it is fairly unlikely that humans will not follow themselves.

This has very little to do with the state of technology at the time, but rather with human nature itself. Many of the colonies that became the United States of America were founded because of religious, personal, or ethical reasons (effectively, flight from oppression). Making the assumption that disaffected humans will stop attempting to move beyond the reach of the reason for their disaffection is assuming that humankind itself will change, and I find that distinctly unlikely. Likewise, the stars hold an appeal to at least a subset of humanity, and often those with the means to get there (Branson, Bezos, Musk, etc.).

Coming full circle and returning to the paper, I believe that the assumptions regarding the order of technology are correct. After all, we are much closer to quantum computing than we appear to be to any form of propulsion that can traverse the light-years. And yet regardless of that, sooner or later, humans, their thin-skinned bodies along with them, will attempt to cross the long dark.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *