An author I was reading just made the seemingly profound point that Star Trek is predicated on the continuation of human idiocy. There is no cure for human idiocy in the future. It's been tried and many types of insanity (bloodthirstiness, psychosis, psychopathy, narcissism, child abuse) amply represented in America have been eradicated, but idiocy per se lives on.
Yet this seemingly profound statement is trivial since it follows directly from the observations that: 1) humanity is defined by its idiocy, and that is its biggest problem by far, and 2) SETI and scifi types think humans are privileged and all creation will be just like us, because God says so! These are the genuinely profound statements, although they only become profound with complete characterizations of human idiocy and feelings of self-privilege. Without that, they remain trivial.
Nonetheless, whether profound or trivial, it is obviously true that Star Trek is predicated on human idiocy. There are ample examples in Star Trek of mindless idiotic human prejudices writ large across the entire United Federation of Planets.
Firstly, all AI are evil. NOMAD, Landru. And if they're not evil then they're inimical: V'Ger, the whale Probe. Barclay-as-the-computer is obviously evil since nobody bats at eyelash at the "need" to lobotomize him.
Secondly, genetic engineering is evil. Nobody bats an eye at someone going to prison for genetically engineering a child. Nobody would ever consider the notion that every caring parent has a moral obligation to genetically engineer their child. That's just heresy!
Thirdly, collectives are evil. When Borg attain individuality then suddenly everyone thinks they've stopped being evil. Only Picard knows better and bothers to check whether individual Borg are okay with mind-rape. Janeway in particular mind-rapes a Borg drone in order to force her to be an individual, and nobody bats an eyelash.
Fourthly, clones are evil and can be killed at the will of the "original". O'Brien kills a clone of his without blinking. Riker kills a clone of his. Everyone accepts that clones are inferior to "natural" people without considering that genetic engineering would wipe out any so-called "cloning errors" actually making them superior.
Fifthly, it's obvious that transporters have been specifically and carefully engineered to prevent copies from happening. Transporters are purely analog even though this must have been difficult to achieve with fundamentally digital technology. Why don't Starfleet officers make copies to ensure their survival? Why doesn't anybody adapt transporter technology to do so? It must be illegal.
And that's without going into the warfare, war crimes, disease, mortality, religious fundamentalists, nutters creating biological weapons, a "scientific establishment" for Noonian Soong to rail at, and yes even poverty. And yes we know from Data's creator's name that he is evil, or at least was meant to be. All things that can only exist through sheer idiocy.
There is a solution to human idiocy. It is not obvious even to those few who can understand it. and unfortunately only a few percentage points of the population have the cognitive capacity to understand it at all.
Lloyd deMause made a theory of the history of childrearing which predicts 6 and only 6 types of psyches. There can be subtypes but there can be no more types than these 6. The last type, the Helping type, is reached when child abuse and neglect have been eradicated and good childrearing prevails.
Fortunately for us, Julian Jaynes made a theory of the prehistory of childrearing which predicts at least 3 additional types of psyches which all occur previous to the 6. (They are all bizarre beyond casual description.) Though deMause's theory doesn't draw any distinction between the first of his 6 and Jaynes' 3, Jaynes' theory does draw a sharp demarcation line at the acquisition of consciousness.
Based on this and other knowledge, including Kazimierz Dabrowski's theory, it is possible to predict the existence of 3 types of psyches in post-human history. They are
- 7 - cultivated humans - the dominance of analytic-synthetic people in civilization.
- 8 - enhanced humans - the advance of neuro-cybernetic implants.
- 9 - post-humans - a continuity of minds achieved by AI or Borg hive-mind.
The 7th type can be achieved by any of AI-assisted childrearing, eugenics, genetic engineering, or neurosurgery. Society will be radically different when the 5 or so percent of analytic-synthetic people actually achieve their potential. It will again be radically different when analytic-synthetic AI (or cultivated humans) come to dominate civilization.
One way or the other, a bright shining future without human idiocy awaits us. Even if idiot humans don't die out, as Dresden Codak points out in The Kimiko Singularity, they will be rendered irrelevant.
Those who don't keep up will fall behind. This is not a happy message for those who worship stagnation and sameness. A group which includes all casual Star Trek fans. For those of us who care for progress though, it is a very uplifting message.
The future cannot give you relevance. You have to make yourself relevant by keeping up with it. So those humans who are satisfied being what they are will become irrelevant. And that includes all those who think they are magically privileged just by virtue of being human.