This Changes Everything

16 01 2009

Been wading through the latest iteration of the annual question over at the Edge.org. Always a worthwhile way to spend an afternoon.

This year’s question is ‘what changes everything’, and besides the usual ebullient predictions of medical breakthroughs, new applications for old technology – and a disappointing amount of rhetoric from some very smart people about how artificial intelligence will solve all our problems – there are a few mentions of the thing that I think will change everything.

I’d love to say it was something philosophical, or that our burgeoning understanding of psychology will radically change the way humanity looks at itself, but it’s not. It’s simple:

The discovery of life outside the Earth.

That changes everything. For better or worse, who can say. But the implications of life elsewhere in the universe will shake us to our very roots. And that shake up may be closer than we think.

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One response

19 01 2009
Diversity

I also looked through the edge.com stuff. Almost all of it reminded me of science fiction that I had read twenty years and more ago. What was new seemed quarter-baked.

That said, there are those of us who have had life in other parts of the universe in mind as a hypothesis (without evidence) for a long time. Finding strong evidence in favour of the hypothesis will not change much.

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