In reply to a seperate blog post, one of the important uses for the discussion of artificial intelligence in science fiction is to reflect upon aspects of our own humanity from a more external perspective.
Ulak, in reply to your response, (4/3/4) :
Nicely phrased. I agree with you on evolution, although it should be noted that charisma, good looks, and credit ratings now govern survival of the fittest, allowing not-so-nice genes to spread.
A trek towards universal maturity (or the greatly feared opposite) might depend on how strongly members of tech-friendly societies can stave off overdoses of hedonism. There are now far more means of escape than sex and drugs by which one can house the self in stunted personal growth, walled by socially acceptable addictions, and roofed by poverty. One should look beyond enculturation as looking beyond the self. We can start that trek when great teachers are idolized over great singers, and individuals choose/create/produce their communities rather than vice versa. Abilities that supposedly seperate humans from beasts should seperate communities and organizations from amoebae and destructive parasites.
Now, I must ask: what is your vision of enlightenment as a species ?