SETI & Technosignatures

Is There A Universal Limit To Technological Development? Evidences From Astrobiology

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
Science Direct
May 27, 2024
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Is There A Universal Limit To Technological Development? Evidences From Astrobiology
A global composite assembled from data acquired in 2016 by the NOAA-NASA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite. This nighttime view of far northern Europe was made possible by the “day-night band” of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite. VIIRS was built to be sensitive enough to measure nighttime light emissions and reflections, to distinguish the intensity of lights, and to observe how they change.– NASA

Considering the vastness of time and space, if one civilization — ours — has been able to advance technologically to the point of leaving its own planet, why technosignatures from other advanced extraterrestrial civilizations have never been identified?

In this paper, I offer an explanation for that, developing an insight originally presented by Webb and others and using insights from astrobiology, sustainability and archaeology.

I argue that there exists a universal limit to technological development (ULTD), determined by decreasing technological returns on societal complexity, increasing maintenance costs of existing technology, the eventual untestability of scientific theories due to the high costs involved and the unattainable energy levels needed to test them and civilization-damaging catastrophes.

I also argue, based on the principle of mediocrity, that the ULTD is not much above our current level of technological development. Technology, therefore, will not be able to provide another home to humankind. Such a possibility should be taken into consideration during the decision-making process concerning both the allocation of resources to research or mitigation of technology-induced planetary changes and the definition of goals to space exploration.

Is there a universal limit to technological development? Evidences from astrobiology, Science Direct (open access)

Astrobiology, SETI, Technosignature,

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻