Listen now (26 mins) | Welcome back. The Breaking Smart newsletter and podcast is starting up again after a very refreshing 6-week break. I want to kick off the post-break programming with a podcast on a big question: if we are headed at least partially towards a post-scarcity world, as we seem to be, does it look more like the Star Trek universe, or the universe in Iain M. Banks Culture novels? Both are varieties of something I call
Great to have you back and sharing your energising wisdom VGR!
Oh, this was a very refreshing break indeed! Excited to see Breaking Smart alive and kicking again :)
Loved this! The Culture books actually have a line very similar to Brand's.
In Look to Windward, the Mind of Masaq Orbital says:
" We are close to gods, and on the far side. ‘We are quicker; we live faster and more completely than you do, with so many more senses, such a greater store of memories and at such a fine level of detail. We die more slowly, and we die more completely, too."
And related to the discussion of interference and asking forgiveness. In the novella The State of the Art, Diziet Sma asks the ship Arbitrary: "How certain do we have to be? How long must we wait? How long must we make them wait (where them is us Earth humans)? Who elected us God?", to which it replies:
"Diziet... that question is being asked all the time, and put in as many different ways as we have the wits to devise (...) and the moral equation is being re-assessed every nanosecond of every day of every year, and every time we find some place like Earth -- no matter what way the decision goes -- we come closer to knowing the truth. But we can never be absolutely certain ... I'm the smartest thing for a hundred light years radius, and by a factor of about a million (...) but even I can't predict where a snooker ball's going to end up after more than six collisions".