Why We Haven't Met Any Aliens

According to this article it’s apparently because the aliens and we are all too busy playing computer games. Seriously, that’s what this psychology professor claims. We succumb to the Great Temptation of entertainment that’s just too good to pass up.

Shades of “Infinite Jest”, the novel which describes a videotape containing the ultimate entertainment – content which is so engrossing that anyone who watches it becomes a blithering idiot who can only enjoy watching the tape over and over for the rest of their lives. Maybe that’s what’ll happen when the sequel to Oblivion contains toilets and realistic bartering.

Old news. Back in the 1960s, the German sci-fi serial Perry Rhodan introduced the first aliens encountered by humanity as technologically ultra-advanced but completely ineffective since they were consuming virtual reality entertainment nonstop. And the general subject of drowing in a virtual reality has been covered from Solaris to The Matrix.

I’m not sure this would preclude space exploration, though. Wandering a virtual world is very similar to communicating with a remote-controlled probe while the body is kept alive by machines, so I guess that’s what’s going to happen. There has been a short story on that subject, too, but I can’t recall its name – I think it was also by a German writer, possibly from the Perry Rhodan crew.

On the other hand, those Gaia puritans the author talks about probably won’t ever make interstellar journeys for the simple reason that their rejection of virtual reality cuts them off from too much information and technology.

Isn’t that the reason that the Star Trek TNG Holodeck is utter bunk?
Had it been real the inventor would be found as a dried up husk, strange sticky residue would be everywhere and his last words would be: “Wait Angelina, I’ll be with you next…”

Yeah, I’m thinking people have been saying for centuries that “This society will completely bog down – look at all the peasants wasting time with their moonshine/gambling/comic books/video games/etc”.

This part of the article is my favorite:

[INDENT]The few young people with the self-control to pursue the meritocratic path often get distracted at the last minute. Take, for example, the MIT graduates who apply to do computer game design for Electronics Arts, rather than rocket science for NASA.

[/INDENT]Not the first time I’ve heard someone imply that smart people are, you know, obligated to advance the frontiers of science for the benefit of humanity.

Older than that, even. Olaf Stapledon had a race of wireheads in Star Maker, which was published in 1937.

Or more recently, Dilbert.

“Is Dilbert available?”
“He’s been in the holodeck since March.”

Because PSH, making computer games ain’t rocket science, you know!

To be fair, TNG did at least tackle the concept of holodeck addiction, in that episode where Reg Barclay spent all his time in there as a swashbuckling swordsman, bitch-slapping Picard and Riker and banging Deanna Troi all the time. Which frankly is probably what I would be doing too.

I doubt I would waste time sword fighting, but yeah.

I would, it would be like some ultra realistic game of Oblivion where I get to have sex with Vulcans. Or empathic vulcan look alikes as the case may be.

C’mon, you know its all about the blue Orion chicks.

vulcan love slave ii: the revenge

anyway, spending all day doing fun stuff sounds better than the alternative proposed by one new “outer limits” ep: all alien life blew themselves up after they discovered cold fusion could be done with a few dollars worth of plentiful material. crazy? want to blow up a city? got five bucks and ten minutes?

You clearly aren’t famliar with the kind of swordfighting I’d be doing in Deanna Troi… oh… wait…