At 12:58 PM 3/11/99 -0600, Billy wrote:
>civilization that converts all available matter into useful artifacts gains
>a strong competitive advantage over one that does not, whether their
>competition is economic or military or both.
>Why [...] should we expect that very advanced
>technology will cause society to suddenly collapse into a
I'd be inclined to use the second point against the first.
It's hard to guess what Final Technology/ies will be able to do, or what outcomes economic imperatives would lead to. Impossible, in fact, *unless* there is, logically and overwhelmingly, "one-best-way-to-do-everything" that every culture must converge toward.
Right now, *we* have the option of slash-and-burning our habitat, of monocropping and strip-mining and polluting in an uncontrolled and short-term-profit fashion. We don't, by and large, and we better resist the temptation the more technically advanced we are. I don't think that's just because wealthy cultures are sooky and mollycoddled and wimpish, allowing themselves sentimental indulgence of traits encoded genetically for other purposes and now culturally hypertrophied. (But that could be true, so SIs'd recycle the Mona Lisa for the useable computronium. Ugh.)
ET SIs or just plain Is might not be intelligible, but if they are they won't necessarily be >Homer Simpson faced by a Donut the size of a galaxy.