Ethics is the Best Measure of Civilization

We often wonder what will happen when humanity makes contact with aliens or creates real artificial intelligence. Our imagination creates accounts of intelligent machines destroying human civilization or advanced but hostile aliens doing the same thing. Neither of these is likely.

The processes of intelligent thinking, scientific reasoning, and ethical analysis all involve some form of prediction of future pathways based on current circumstances. In order for a civilization to advance smoothly, all of these forms of analytical thinking need to advance in concert. A civilization that advances science and technology but not ethics can easily destroy itself. A civilization that advances ethics but not science and technology may be harmonious and stable but can remain primitive.

Good ethical analysis requires some consideration of intelligence sources and prediction techniques. As such it would seem to ensure equal advances in other areas at some point. Flawed or bad ethics can produce obscuring factors or lack of vision that can slow down advancement of science and technology. Ethics seems to be the greatest limiting factor and therefore a bottleneck.

Ethics is the best measure of the advancement of a civilization.

The Length of a Civilization
The Evolution of Civilization
Ethical Cascade Singularity
Ethics and the Singularity

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