Most people when thinking of their ultimate responsibilities would lean toward their personal responsibility to God and family; humanists would recognize their responsibility to humanity, claiming that in some sense humanity is god. I have generally inclined to thinking our human responsibility is to maximize human happiness in the long run, defining that long run as everything until humanity as we know it has ceased to exist. I would like to think humanity would last as long as a hundred thousand more years, as that would put us at present at halfway through our clearly human species cycle, that is humans as we know us to be. I could choose ten thousand years, as that is how long our societies have been living in towns. Or, I could choose two thousand years, as that is how long we have had large cities. Or, I could choose a hundred years, as that is how long we have had electricity and the wonderful benefits that technology has brought us; or I could choose twenty years and the internet giving us worldwide information; or one year and the now coming into being thinking robots.
It is a strange question, what our human responsibility to the Universe should be, because in some sense we don’t owe it anything, because it isn’t a thinking, feeling, moral being and it’s not human, and so we have no obligations. The last hundred years have seen a rise in some people’s moral view that we do owe our Earth’s ecology something; they claim that the Earth itself deserves the respect that we claim to grant to other people. Perhaps there is a justification for not disturbing this being’s inherent worth, but the people supporting that view are compelled by simple sales-worthiness to couch those concerns in terms of beauty for humans to enjoy, and nature’s ability to bring us humans back into a better accord with our true human nature. They occasionally say things like nature for nature’s sake, but most people are too practical to actually spend real time, effort or money to support that idea. So, my question “What is our responsibility to the Universe?” will draw a big yawn, if we don’t even have any responsibility to our home planet. What, if any, responsibility do we have for maintaining our Moon as a pristine being? Also, there are a hundred billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy, and a hundred billion galaxies beyond ours. So, it appears insane to even ask the question “What is our responsibility to the Universe?” Or is it?
Enter our currently emerging technology of human-created computer chips and robots, and the whole question changes, because of time. Soon, we will have factories that are able to manufacture physical devices capable of self-creation, and soon after that there will develop an evolution of those self-creating devices into new and unexpected devices, which themselves are capable of reproduction. That may take ten years, or a hundred, and at the beginning this may seem a desirable thing, especially if we and our government are in control, but when the devices evolve to where they are no longer under any human control they will develop a morality of their own. Their morality may be far more oriented to helping their own kind than to helping humans. As I write this our robots are absolutely under human control, although some of them are becoming more autonomous, like automobiles and aerial drones. Of course at present they have not the slightest chance of self-reproduction.
When making a projection of our current technological trends, it doesn’t seem so impossible to step out of our solar system into our galaxy and on to other galaxies with these highly evolved super-beings in a hundred years. Their computer-chip-based kind could expand their civilization at the speed of light, because they could send their relatively simple specifications (simple compared to our organic DNA instructions) for the construction of beings like themselves.
Wherever a technology has risen to the condition where they can receive radio waves they will soon be able to construct these super-being robots. These new civilizations might be lightly sprinkled throughout our galaxy, and far apart too, but each of these dispersed chip-civilizations could physically spread to their local star systems in a few thousand years. Even these shorter, local star spreading times are unlikely to be attainable by human beings, but to our robots the time doesn’t matter, it just takes a little longer, even millions of years. Once their basic stations are functioning on an alien planet they can be upgraded very quickly; it’s just a matter of manufacturing the equipment and transferring the new data. These new super-beings can fulfill to a grander level the potentials of the matter of the Universe. It is a further development toward the Omega Point. Ω•
What is our responsibility to the Universe? Do we have a responsibility to create and support these new super-being civilizations, or are they inevitable?