One of the settings I'm in the very early stages of working on is based on the idea that, if humans had somehow developed faster-than-light travel in the mid 2000s, the development of machine learning technology would have progressed significantly more slowly.
Two reasons are given for why this happened: Firstly, the rush of new space exploration and subsequent colonisation facilitated by faster-than-light travel would take finite resources away from the development of improved computer technology; Secondly, humankind being spread across the stars due to faster-than-light colonisation would fragment the internet and therefore make big data less practical, reducing the amount of material available to train machine learning algorithms.
- This setting has Earth-like alien life but no alien sapience, meaning that exoplanets are often much like Earth wilderness
- The device used to allow spaceships to travel faster than light cannot be used as an FTL radio; All faster-than-light communications must be carried by a spaceship
- Whilst travel much faster than light is possible, even the fastest spaceships take days to travel a single parsec
With the above in mind, within the scope of the reasons given, is the development of faster-than-light travel slowing the development of machine learning technology sufficiently reasonable not to break suspension of disbelief?