Smashing Kardashev

For a thousand years, things were exponential. Slower than the insane increases in information processing — a factor of a quadrillion (fifteen zeroes) in a mere century — but more inexorable, our energy use grew.

But by the end of the 30s, we had bootstrapped femtotech from nanotech from biotech. You can’t keep a thing like that contained. Then we were omnipotent. One man, bored on a Sunday afternoon, wrote 300 lines of computer code that disassembled Mercury. Mercury the planet. Someone else came up with a program to reform it into a Dyson sphere. Yottawatts of power to play with, suddenly.

Ridiculous: We still had diseases, illiteracy, wars over formerly-trivial-but-now-utterly-irrelevant issues. Historical inertia? I’ll say.

People came around, of course. For every potential weaponization of our new abilities (and there were many), there were 100 peaceful uses. Life became utopian. What is the point of fighting if we can all have everything we want?

For that matter, what is the point of anything?

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