Is a technological singularity inevitable?
I've been thinking about ways by which future societies could be engineered so as to halt the development of new technological advances. In the context of The Start of Eternity, Asimov seems to have imagined that it would be possible to lock a galaxy-wide space-faring culture into technological stasis by making use of tools like genetic engineering. In the novel Assignment Nor'Dyren, a science fiction novel by Sydney J. Van Scyoc, all of the inventiveness and creativity of a humanoid species was first genetically engineered in the Qattagon and then it was easy to socially engineer the Qattagon out of society, leaving behind a culture that was totally devoid of inventiveness and began to fall back into reliance on primitive survival strategies.
While thinking about Subterrestrials I realized that there is another way to engineer a human-like species so as to limit the development of new technologies. In The Voyage Home, humpback whales are depicted as being under the protection of a space-faring species with advanced technology, but it is never explained how that came about. Could the "alien probe" actually be the result of an Earthly species that was long ago taken off of Earth and allowed to develop a space-faring culture?
For Subterrestrials, I'm imagining that an effort was made to return some humans to a "de-evolved" state by genetically engineering a species of quadrupeds with human-like intelligence. Why would anyone do this? In the context of the Rules of Intervention the critical issue is what is expected of Genesaunts. One possibility is that as soon as Earth humans develop space travel technology then they can head out from Earth and start interacting with all the Genesaunts. I'm thinking that it might be best to use a different approach for Subterrestrials. Maybe the rule for Genesaunts says that they must pull back and let Earth humans take over any bases and worlds that had previously been built and colonized by Genesaunts. If so, then the Sauroks might be a species that was specifically engineered to have human-like intelligence in the body of a quadruped. The goal of that genetic engineering project could have been the creation of a "native" species for the planet Osiris IV, a species that would not be as technologically advanced as Earth humans and therefor exempt from the rule that would otherwise require the Sauroks to depart from Osiris IV before Earth humans arrive.
However, the plan goes wrong and the Sauroks "mutate" and become aggressively self-defensive, leading to all sorts of drama when humans arrive from Earth. The remaining issue is if the "mutation" should be spontaneous or planned.