Listening to a radio programme the other day about future-proofing the human race it would seem that our destiny is in the stars.
The future of humanity lies in the colonisation of other planets.
In the programme there were two schools of thought about these other planets.
The first was that everything around us in space is a natural wonder and should be treated as such. We should do our utmost not to contaminate other worlds with our own Earth's ecology, biology and so on. Only when we are certain that our germs, bacteria and microbes are safely contained within a sealed enclosure on another planet should we attempt to colonise it. Terra-forming was a definite no-no and we should embrace and safeguard the newness of virgin worlds.
The second school of thought put forward was that everything outside of the Earth: all the planets and their natural resources are there for the taking, rather like industrial processes on our own world at the moment. This form of space colonisation is linked to the idea of ownership and exploitation. The argument ran something like: there is so much out there that there is enough to go round and rules of demarcation are irrelevant. All the space-travelling nations of our future Earth will find sufficient resources out there to keep them happy and away from any other nations' claims. A bit like the Wild West I suppose [and Heaven forbid, maybe even Project SWORD!]
Reflecting on the programme and the current limited state of space travel I began to think of another virgin space that has been colonised, the World Wide Web.
If the analogy holds water then we know that after the initial euphoria of a democratised web, given to us by an altruistic inventor free of charge and free to use, the creep of commercialisation began with the first flush of pay-for ISP's and email companies, which has inexorably led to the emergence of internet giants like Google and Facebook straddling it like Fiefdoms growing ever fatter and more controlling!
Maybe I've just had a tiring week and I'm in need of a cold beer. What would Captain Kirk and Spock made of it all?
What do you think readers?