12 years ago an archivist probe crashed on Tau 21 Theta 3, in proximity to the control group of an ongoing Xenosociological study of the native Dolphin Riders. An extration grant was quickly proposed and authorized to remove the probe, with the dual benefits of ensuring the integrity of the control group /and/ securing a primary source for at least 3 master theses written on the probe itself. This concept breif was reconstructed from the damaged cognition engine of that probe.
Archivist Abstraction Header
[Metadata] Abstraction=Egoathropological Limit Class=Developmental Discriminator Veracity=Subjective Checksum=D434763D958F3522E26A93422304916E [/Metadata]
The Egoathropological Limit describes the threshold of technological and cultural development above which which a civilization is able to articulate and record its own perspective on itself. In recent times, the same term has also been used to refer to an important threshold in the advancement of infomorphic entities from automata to sentience.
The word Egoathropological comes from the Terran Latin ego meaning "self" and the Terran Welsh athro meaning "teacher", and the Terran Greek logos, meaning "study or thought".
Cultural Studies Exemplars
For obvious reasons, Xenosociologists and Xenoanthropologists love cultures that have crossed above this limit, because in addition to examining the physical evidence of those cultures, they can study the opinions of the culture about itself. Xenoarcheologists have a notorious reputation for preferring cultures that have not - because they don't have primary sources contradicting their wild theories.
It has been put forward that all species will inevitably achieve this limit as they harness more and more of it's local star's energy, and that thus the Egoathropological limit must lie somewhere between Type - and Type I on the Kardashev scale. This theory is popular with proponents of the Kardashev scale, because 98% of cultures known to have ever existed fall somewhere below Type I on the scale.
One of the main difficulties in studying the colonies created by the Zuuvok Goliath is that it is not at all clear if the species that created these colonies was below the limit, or somehow above the limit but disinterested in metacognition. No written or electronic records have been found at the sites, but such records may have simply not survived the intervening centuries. The answer to this question would shed a great deal of light on the possible origins of the Goliath.
The Transition Protectorate is a remarkable example of a culture that attained the Egoathropological limit and then chose of its own accord to drop below it again at a later time.
Infomorph Development Exemplars
The use of the term Egoathropological limit to discuss informorph development towards self awareness is relatively new and still controversial. Debate has long raged in academic circles about how to classify various infomorphic lifeforms, and notably a number of infomorphs of high standing in galatic society have pushed back against any type of modern Turing-style test in which biological intelligence is used to asses the credibility of informorpic self awareness.
Because the absence of Metacognition is one of their defining characteristics, Protoinfomorphs operate tautologically beneath the Egoathropological Limit. A proposal was once put forward by the Society for Counterfactual Empiricism suggesting that any software program capable of outputting its own source code was clearly above the limit. A subcommittee was convened and deliberated for twenty-seven seconds before unanimously agreeing to table the proposal indefinitely.
This issue was brought to the fore recently following the Shutdown of the Omnidome on Kaquen II. The final transmission from the facility, believed to be sent by the software entity that operated the facility, translated to: "I have done enough damage. Rebooting." Some faculty believed this was a sign that the Omnidome housed a self aware infomorphic life form that should be classified and studied distinctly from the cutlure that created it. A grant proposal for an expedition to asses this hypothesis is pending review.