Once we develop the capacity to live off-planet, however, it might be best for us to break off into separate groups and head in different directions—even if it means forever losing contact with each other. It’s an idea I call Distributed Humanity.
Finding ways for us to live away from Earth should be one of our biggest priorities, but our thinking needs to be much grander than that. We also need to develop an interstellar mindset—possibly even an intergalactic mindset—should we want our civilization to hang in there until the final days of the cosmos…
Assuming we’ll find ways to live off the planet, a state of Distributed Humanity would help us to avoid collective mass destruction, whether through natural or self-inflicted causes. Spreading ourselves across the Milky Way would prevent all of us from getting killed in a self-inflicted apocalypse, for example, or prevent the widespread proliferation of existentially dangerous pathogens. Also, if one group were to be destroyed, either by some natural calamity (such as a nearby star going supernova or by its own hands), other groups would live on.
A downside of Distributed Humanity is the potential for convergent risks.