Civilizations in Time or Space

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250 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is it better to be stretched, as a civilization, to the extremes of time or space before becoming extinct? This is the idea explored in a recent article on Overcoming Bias that ties in Battlestar Galactica to the questions of cultural reach physically and temporally.

Consider two possible civilizations, stretched either across time or space:

  • Time: A mere hundred thousand people live sustainably for a billion generations before finally going extinct.
  • Space: A trillion people spread across a thousand planets live for only a hundred generations, then go extinct.

Even though both civilizations support the same total number of lives, most observers probably find the time-stretched civilization more admirable and morally worthy.

Read more of the article on Overcoming Bias and also check out a followup piece. Both of these raise some interesting issues that are definitely worth pondering.

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