Hugh Pickens writes: "Geoffrey Miller has an interesting hypothesis in Seed Magazine that explains Fermi's Paradox — why 40 years of intensive searching for extraterrestrial intelligence have yielded nothing: no radio signals, no credible spacecraft sightings, no close encounters of any kind — all the aliens are busy playing computer games. The aliens "forget to send radio signals or colonize space because they’re too busy with runaway consumerism and virtual-reality narcissism," writes Miller. "They don’t need Sentinels to enslave them in a Matrix; they do it to themselves, just as we are doing today." Miller says the fundamental problem is that an evolved mind must pay attention to indirect cues of biological fitness, rather than tracking fitness itself and that although evolution favors brains that tend to maximize fitness (as measured by numbers of great-grandkids), no brain has capacity enough to do so under every possible circumstance. "The result is that we don’t seek reproductive success directly; we seek tasty foods that have tended to promote survival, and luscious mates who have tended to produce bright, healthy babies. The modern result? Fast food and pornography," writes Miller. "Once they turn inwards to chase their shiny pennies of pleasure, they lose the cosmic plot." Miller adds that most bright alien species probably go extinct gradually, allocating more time and resources to their pleasures, and less to their children until they eventually die out when the game behind all games—the Game of Life—says “Game Over; you are out of lives and you forgot to reproduce.”"
PL/I -- "the fatal disease" -- belongs more to the problem set than to the
-- Edsger W. Dijkstra, SIGPLAN Notices, Volume 17, Number 5