Robin Hanson first proposed the idea of a “Great Filter” that has stopped any species from colonizing the galaxy. I’ve mostly heard it thought of as either something that prevents planets from reaching civilization levels close to ours (the leap to multicellular life is extremely improbable? too many planet-killer asteroids?), or disasters that destroy civilizations like ours before they’ve had a chance to expand past their home solar system (global nuclear war?).
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