The Best of Creative Computing Volume 1 (published 1976)

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Where Are We Going? (Goals for the human race)

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Where Are We Going?

	One evening last July, I was lying on my back on the esplanade next to the
Charles River. The strains of a Mozart piano concerto by the Boston Pops filled
the air. The night was particularly clear and the stars in the moonless sky were
glittering like diamonds on a piece of black velvet. Counting the stars that
could be seen with the naked eye in even one small sector of the sky would have
been an absolute impossibility.

	The entire vista recalled to mind a statement from the Project Cyclops* report.
It stated that scores of other intelligent races are radiating communication
signals that can be received on Earth. This should come as no surprise. Given
the incredibly vast numbers of galaxy clusters, galaxies, stars and solar
systems, the probability of other races of superior intelligence or in a
considerably advanced evolutionary state to humans is literally astronomical.

	Entering the realm of speculation, it is quite possible that we on Earth have
been observed by another race and ignored much as you or I might view a slug or
an ant. The number of cells in the brain of a slug indicate that it has
virtually no intelligence whatsoever and who in their right mind would want to
communicate with such a hideous, slimy creature anyway? Is there any reason to
believe that we humans haven't been examined by some extraterrestrial race (the
Bermuda Triangle disappearances?) and then been discarded as too barbaric and
dumb to communicate with and too revolting and ugly to worry about anyway?

	Consider the human species for a moment. Over the some odd thousand years of
recorded history, the human race has made enormous gains in technology. No
question about that. It's curious, however, that there have been virtually no
corresponding gains in interpersonal relationships. Nations still war with one
another as do states, neighbors, and husbands and wives. 
	To an extraterrestrial, our advanced technology probably looks like cute little
toys for the human ants to play with. But fundamentally, all the technology of
the past 2000 years hasn't altered the native intelligence and conduct of the
species one iota. We still war with one another and lash out at those closest to
us. Will computers help? What can we expect from our association with these
logical companions? I have to believe that computers give us more potential to
extend our intellect than we've ever had before. However, if we take history
into account, I can't be overly sanguine about the outcome.

	If there's a message in all of this l guess it's got to be: "STOP and THINK for
a minute. What are the goals of the human race? Where should we be going as a
species? Are you, you personally, contributing to that goal? In the 24 hours
just past, what percentage of the time were you really using your intelligence
to the fullest and what percentage were you a human ant responding to the myriad
pressures of job, family, school, or society? Why not take 10 minutes a week
(one-tenth of one percent of the time in a week) to ponder humankind on a
galactic scale? You might be surprised at the outcome!"

David Ahl
*Project Cyclops was an intensive 3-month study at Stanford to recommend an
approach to search for extraterrestrial life.

An aluminum plate was placed aboard the spacecraft “Pioneer 10” launched in
March 1972. On it is etched a message designed to tell any interstellar finder
that there is intelligent life on this planet. Pioneer 10 is destined to fly-by
Jupiter and continue into outer space. Earth scientists are hoping, this will
bring some response one day


AAH FORGET IT... THE LAST ONE SAID "I'm a prisoner in a fortune cookie factory"

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