The quiet death of sci-fi and freedom of speech.

In the pre-Trump era, I would have felt comfortable saying the following, but now words get so twisted around. You know: Thoughtless retweets, faked stories, quotes out of context, equating "no evidence to support the claim" and "no reason not to support the claim." And it's not just Trump&Co. It's technology, social media, growing pains of internationalism, and trends in social morality. It all seriously makes me hesitate to speak my mind.

...And yet, how dare we so easily give up freedom of speech.

So. . . anyways. . . I think manned space exploration is ridiculous. Why should we spend all this time and resources to send and support living, breathing 70kg beings prone to human era and human failings on trips through space? I would think that in a few years at most, AI would be a cost-effective and more reliable replacement. Is it just that we don't want to be replaced by computers? Is it a collective sense of romance? (Come on! No one loves a good sci-fi drama more than me, I understand that—with the possible exception of Opportunity—people don't tend to get emotional about robots lost in space, but that doesn't make the 1950s concept of space travel pragmatic!) With VR technology, it will be just like we're there, in space, but without all that zero-G clumsiness and soft fleshy liability.

When we do voyage to other stars, I think it will be as ghosts sans shell.

But I am afraid to say so. After all, manned space travel has become symbolic of the American dream, an ideal both conservatives and liberals can get behind, a stronghold of science in a populist society, and it seems worthwhile if only to hasten the demise of flat-earth conspiracy. But sending people to Mars to promote scientific literacy is as nonsensical a platform as believing the world is flat. Why do we do it?


Disclosure: As a physics-person, I have a preference for augmented perception over tangible artifacts and visual-spectrum images, and a penchant for multi-billion dollar particle colliders.

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