Scientific progress may accelerate when artificial intelligence (AI) will explore data autonomously, without the blinders imposed by human prejudice.
Mainstream astronomers avoid funding the search for technosignatures, technology from extraterrestrial civilizations, by setting the unreasonable prerequisite: “until extraordinary evidence will suggest it.” The psychology of denial that drives this strategy reinforces its premise: without generously funding the search in the first place, we are less likely to find the evidence. The circular argument about the need for evidence that is not being sought after is a self-fulfilling prophecy. It also represents a strategy to avoid a blow to our ego, which was pampered by a triumphant century in fundamental physics and technological gadgets of our own making.
With a sense of cosmic humility, we could explore space without prejudice and find out whether smarter kids predated us on our cosmic block. Indeed, extraterrestrial equipment in space could deliver a bigger blow to our ego than the Copernican revolution did. The latter merely implied that we are not at the center of the physical Universe but allowed us to maintain the illusion that we are unique in possessing a high level of intelligence and consciousness.
Scientific innovation may accelerate in the future, not because humans will become more virtuous but because artificial intelligence (AI) systems will lead the way. Our psychological blinders will be removed when AI systems will analyze data autonomously, without guidance from humans.
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