Advanced technologies

Suppose this conclusion is wrong. Suppose human intelligence has evolved on at least one other planet in the universe. Will it have produced a technologically advanced civilisation whose activities generate radio wave emissions? This inference is often supposed inevitable, but in truth it is farfetched. Indeed, it is almost certainly false. The technologically advanced civilisation of our modern world is a consequence of the socio-economic system that emerged in western Europe after the 16th century, and particularly after the factory-based industrialisation of the 19th century. No comparable development had occurred during the previous hundred millenia or so of our species history, or in the previous 5,000 years of civilisation. It was a product of particular cultural conditions, not of biology, still less of physics. It was in no way predetermined or predictable. It was a product of very specific historical circumstances in just one culture. So it is astronomically unlikely to have been replicated in any other species with human intelligence.

An obvious retort to the conjecture "A species with human intelligence will become technologically advanced" is to ask "Why should it?" This is simply unanswerable.

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