The New Universe, Destiny of Life, and The Cultural Implications

  • Steven J. Dick
Part of the Cellular Origin and Life in Extreme Habitats and Astrobiology book series (COLE, volume 7)


Cosmic evolution embraces at least three vastly different possibilities for the destiny of life in the universe. The ultimate product of cosmic evolution may be only planets, stars and galaxies—a “physical universe” in which life is extremely rare. By contrast cosmic evolution, through biological evolution, may commonly result in life, mind and intelligence, an outcome that I term the “biological universe.” Taking a long-term view not often discussed, cultural evolution may have already produced artificial intelligence, constituting a “postbiological universe.” Astronomical, biological and cultural evolution are the three components of the Drake Equation, and each component must be taken seriously. Each of the three possible outcomes of cosmic evolution results in a different destiny for life. But the destiny of life is not predictable; where intelligence is involved, the philosophical problem of free will must also play a role.


Cultural Evolution Planetary System Societal Impact Physical Universe Cosmic Evolution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven J. Dick
    • 1
  1. 1.U. S. Naval ObservatoryNW WashingtonUSA

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