If you’ve been wondering, I’m afraid we don’t make it to the stars. Sorry. We never solve the problems of poverty, environment and food supply that keep our species to such a meager proportion of the earths surface and with a population dwarfed by more successful species such as cockroaches.
In fact, you and I (assuming you’re reading this in the near future, before the cataclysm, since I don’t suppose my blog postings will be among the rare pieces of knowledge passed down) are it. We’re there, at the top. The human race has struggled and achieved remarkable things, amazing expansions in technology, and population, but it will all soon fade away.
The statistical evidence is strong (and adapted from an argument I read recently in a New Scientist). If you imagine everyone who has ever lived – a huge mass of people, and select one at random for you to be, what are the chances that you’d end up living now? Fairly good, since we have a massive population now compared to the past.
Unfortunately, that argument also tells us about the shape of likely futures. Imagine a future where the human race colonizes other worlds and out-lives the burning out of the sun in 5 billion years time. Now, assuming the future turns out that way, imagine all the people who ever exist. It’s a lot. In fact, it’s massive, and the population at the height of humanities spread will dwarf our current population into insignificance. Select a person at random to be out of that huge mass of humans for all time. What is the probability that you’re someone alive now? Tiny. In fact, you’re much more likely to be alive when the human population is at its greatest than now.
So, either we are astonishingly unlikely freaks of statistics, or there is no such future.
By far the most likely scenario is that the population stabilizes for a bit and then declines, making now, of all the times available, one of the more likely times to be alive.
The Golden Age is now. Make the most of it while you can.