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For you and me to become citizens of the Universe seems like a new idea but it’s not. Some of the Classic Greeks and Romans spoke of themselves not as being Greeks or Romans but as Citizens of the Universe. Diogenes the Cynic (412 B.C.-323 B.C.) was an early proponent of that grander citizenship for advanced intellectual and spiritual humans. The Roman Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 B.C.-65 A.D.), a Stoicalso wrote of himself as being a citizen of the whole world, and of the whole Universe. Seneca was Nero‘s chief advisor and administrator for the first five years of that Roman Emperor’s rule when Nero was age eighteen to twenty-three. Seneca was a very well-informed human being.

At the time that those people lived, the Universe was only the Earth and the Sky as they saw it with their eyes. So what they were asserting was that they were part of that whole. It may have been a theory of a few astronomers that the fixed stars were other sun-like things, but even that wasn’t generally accepted. But even at its most expansive their definition of the Universe would include only the visible individual stars that are in the closest part of our Milky Way galaxy. There are about a hundred billion galaxies in the Universe as has been estimated by the Hubble Ultra Deep Field photo. Thus they were undervaluing their conception of the universe by something like 1 x 10^22, including the individual stars. Most of those stars are now known to have planets.

My stated goal in some recent posts is to assert that we, you and me, are not only citizens of the Universe but for us to become active participants in the whole Universe, not just within our arms’ reach. For us to do that we must be thinking of our lives and influences as spanning billions of years. With our biological life expectancy of only a hundred years, we must move on to a robot-based life form and physically move off our planet to distant stars, planets, interstellar space, and eventually to intergalactic space. And we must think of our communication cycles in terms of billions of years and not in seconds. For us fleshy humans that is absurd, but for robots, it can probably become a sustainable reality.

As strange as making these kinds of robots sounds it is probably more easily done than creating organic life from scratch. People I have met, such as David Deamer and Craig Venter, are attempting to do just that. The process for making a self-sustaining silicon-based society is relatively straightforward because all the steps for the operations can already be done. At present these operations do require people but those operations can almost certainly be designed to be done automatically by currently creatable robots.

Our becoming participating citizens of the Universe can be done by our evolving into what we now call robots.