Just to clarify, when I say indigenous people I mean the uncontacted tribes
Just to clarify, when I say indigenous people I mean the uncontacted tribes
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If some secluded indigenous population was actively trying to communicate with the rest of human society, I don't think we would isolate it.
Good point. But what if it’s in our best interest if we stay isolated?
"The universe is a dark forest. Every civilization is an armed hunter stalking through the trees like a ghost, gently pushing aside branches that block the path and trying to tread without sound. Even breathing is done with care.
The hunter has to be careful, because everywhere in the forest are stealthy hunters like him. If he finds another life—another hunter, angel, or a demon, a delicate infant to tottering old man, a fairy or demigod—there’s only one thing he can do: open fire and eliminate them."
For anyone who is interested in the above quote, it's from The Three Body Problem series by Cixin Liu. The whole trilogy is top notch sci fi.
Back this comment hard. The recently released updates with new cover art a an absolute delight and theres also a film that's meant to be in the works but was postponed.
But then theres the Humans, who shout "ANYONE HERE!?" at the top of their lungs and shoot stuff into the sky with pictures of what they look like.
And everyone else thinks theyre crazy and ignore them.
How would we comprehend that though? We would likely claim otherwise once we find out.
By the time said aliens felt we were ready, I imagine we'd also be ready to accept that truth as well
Ah, the Prime Directive in action.
The subject of dozens of sci fi short stories.
I came here expecting to see Meat, for those that haven't read it: http://www.terrybisson.com/page6/page6.html
Another take on it - The Crystal Spheres.
There's also The Fermi Paradox Is Our Business Model - though that's not a preservationist approach.
Since we're collecting these things, I like Iain M. Banks' take on it in "The State of the Art".
Decided to look it up on Wikipedia and I liked this:
'Also while I'd been away, the ship had sent a request on a postcard to the BBC's World Service, asking for 'Mr David Bowie's "Space Oddity" for the good ship Arbitrary and all who sail in her.' (This from a machine that could have swamped Earth's entire electro-magnetic spectrum with whatever the hell it wanted from somewhere beyond Betelgeuse.) It didn't get the request played. The ship thought this was hilarious.'
Holy shit the Fermis paradox is our business model story is fucking hilarious. Great read.
Had never read that. Thanks!
as well as the StarTrek Prime Directive
Hah, cmon. All they did was go around breaking it
According to one article, of all the stars and planets that have and will form throughout the universe's lifetime we are at about 8% of the total progress. There are still billions of years in which stars and planets will continue to form.
It’d be wild if by some miracle we ended up being the Ancient precursor race
Aliens in the future: "the elders were powerful, wise, perfect beyond our understanding. We may take eons to understand their cryptic writings but when we do, it is heralded that our consciousness will be opened to the very nature of reality itself"
Cryptic writings: "Excuse me whom'st'd've the fuck?"
It's going to take them centuries to figure out all the uses of the word fuck
Until they realize it's a catch all term for everything, and eventually call us fucks similar to smurfs.
Seems possible. Modern humans have been around 200k years and we split into some distinct physical features. Imagine groups start heading to remote galaxies around the universe then add a million years.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, let's break off into different parts of the Galaxy and diverge into different species and be our own friends.
You feel long an old yet geographically distant friend already. Thank you for being part of the universe.
Wow, what an unexpectedly sweet comment. Thank you for making my day a little brighter, Atomically Similar Structure. <3
Just think, you may have already met as stardust.
It makes sense that most of the elements in our solar system came from the same supernova. Maybe we were all part of the same star. That's some deep thought there.
I have no idea what's going on and that scares me. I declare war.
"sir the humans from the green sector declared war on the humans of the purple and yellow sector"
"Nonsense! Their declaration of war against anyone but us is offensive. I declare war!"
"Uh sir this is a democr-"
Entire council "we declare war!"
And thanks for being so long.
Imagine how English will change between those two friends? It's would be so interesting sort of how PIE took roots in so many modern languages because of the distances
Well according to Orson Scott Card apparently the language of space is going to be Portuguese for some fucking reason.
Finalmente! Português #1 caralhoooo
Yeah well according to Red Dwarf it's going to be English and Esperanto.
Wasn’t the common language in that Universe called Stark, and was actually English? People spoke Portuguese on that colony because it was founded by Portuguese speakers.
If English ends up maintaining its position as the lingua franca of Earth and eventually becomes everyone's first language, it'll probably still be changed beyond comprehension for modern English speakers to the point that you could probably only call English the root language (or even just one of many root languages) for the eventual Earther common language. Words will be exchanged between cultures with greater and greater frequency, especially as the Spanish-, Arabic- and Chinese-speaking worlds start to interact with Anglophones more.
Most of these will be new nouns, like how English has incorporated the likes of paparazzi, karaoke, angst, kaput etc. and an absolute tonne of culinary terms within the last century, but we'll probably also start seeing new meanings attached to existing words and loanwords, and new grammar entering the language too.
That's an idea a lot of people never express, and I don't understand why. Everyone assumes we're some primitive species and there are countless, more advanced societies out there that. However, it's also entirely plausible WE'RE the first and currently only intelligent civilization and we may be the ones who lead other species that have yet to make the jump (like perhaps dolphins or primitive life on other planets).
I don't doubt that other life exists in the universe. But the question is how prevelant is complex life, and out of the complex life, how prevelant are intelligent, advanced species? Not high I imagine.
It is expressed quite a lot, pretty much the fermi paradox is summarized as 'Either we're rare, we're first, or we're fucked'
But even if the chance for intelligence is really, really incredibly low, there are 100 billion stars in the Milky Way alone and there are 100s of billions of galaxies. It's unlikely that we're the only ones.
Due to the size of the universe chances of intelligent life finding each other is also slim. Adding on top of that probability so it's even slimmer
it's because I think a lot of us really want to believe in a "higher power" so to speak, a psychological void that mostly used to be filled by religion. Now that the rise of science is marginalizing religion, aliens start to fill the psychological void that the divine used to. Advanced aliens become surrogate gods for a lot of people, to the point where some people believe that ancient gods WERE aliens.
About to come here and say, we might be an infant version of the Eldar, or Old Ones.
This is honestly my view. We seem young next to ~13B years but next to the 1,000,000,000T100 years the universe actually has before heat death, we're a race that came into being during the Dawn Age of the universe. The Big Bang hasn't even had time to dissipate, a remarkable fact that physicists of the younger races will envy. We may not be the only intelligent, civilized life in the universe but we're certainly in the 1st Generation and likely the 1st to arise in our galaxy.
Hopefully you are right AND we don't kill ourselves before we can control the galaxy.
Nah, as a proper elder race, you place weird artifacts on random planets and misteriously appear out of nowhere and send other races cryptic messages. Depending on our taste we have to decide if we want to look like cheesy space angels or something that makes observers go mad if they look at us.
Isn't that already what we do in the middle east?
We need to be sure to build lots of maze-filled temples full of improbably powerful melee weapons so that future heroes have something to do.
Probably end up being more like the Vorlons or the Shadows. Choose your agency; Paragon / Renegade.
Given the scale of space and the limited speed of our travel & communication, it's entirely reasonable that the transition to interstellar existence would see us diversify in to many different groups over time.
If the fastest you can send a message is lightspeed, and human groups are separated by even a single light-year, imagine how out-of-sync those groups would become in just five or ten years.
Now imagine if some groups are 100 or 1000 light years apart. Imagine the effect this would have over the course of 20 or 50 years of separation. Especially consider how rapidly human technology, ideology, etc are changing right now. If one group takes even a slightly different approach to the ethics of gene editing, to the rights of a certain minority group, the differences 50 years down the line could be insane.
You could be talking about the difference between vanilla humans and archetypal cyborgs. Between cortical stacks/downloaded consciousness collective and a crazy anarchic gene edited "mutant" diaspora.
Dude wild description and yet totally possible.
Hey, tell the cyborgs-humans they suck ass. I’ll be dead by the time they get this
Be careful, they might bring you back to get their revenge.
Fast forward a few decades, and people get new genetics for modified organs and limbs like we download an app. How crazy can the world get?
I see this as inevitable. If there really is no way to travel faster than light, we will eventually come to the point where different settlements are so far apart we will drift apart in culture, ethics, etc.
Once a particular settlement is self sufficient, the need to even communicate with other planetary settlements may dwindle. Why even try communicating if it takes years to send a message and get a reply
I have a feeling it will happen even just colonizing Mars. A Mars colony might just be a repeat of the 13 British colonies that became America.
There's an asimov story like this where two ships meet and they don't even realize the other is human because of how much they've changed with distance.
Reminds me of forever war. If you haven't read it I'd be surprised as this is one of the main premises of the book.
Pretty close to Revelation Space as well. You've got humans on planets who are in a perpetual planetside war at our level or a little more advanced, a planet in a different system picking up the pieces following the collapse of a second belle epoch, planets where humans are back to primative seaside shanty towns with no tech to get off planet, a group of xenoarchiologists colonizing a previously inhabited planet, and then the humans who have chosen to stay in space: traders going from one system to another selling wares and performing extreme biological changes to rachet up how extreme of conditions they can survive, and a group of posthumans who have networked their minds together.
Food for thought: Think about how young the Universe is compared to how old it can get.
We're one of the earliest civilizations. Hell, there's even a small chance that we're the first.
Well at least we set a low bar for the other species
Yes, we are
definitely very probably in the early stages of the Universe. But considering the time spans, countless civilizations could have come and gone before we came around, and countless more we come and go after. Unfortunately, the chance that we're advanced at the same time and in close proximity are pretty small. Probably.
It's actually one of the good theories like Fermi that makes the case that maybe (who the fuck knows) we actually developed early on the universal scale and there aren't little green telepathic men sending us wormhole instructions from Vega just yet, but we could expect it eventually.
Ugh that's so exhausting. I was really hoping aliens could show up and solve humanities problems, but you're telling me we could be the oldest child in this situation? Damnit.
Personally I would rather not be at the mercy of ancient, inscrutable aliens whose motivations could be anything and likely don't align with our own human concepts of what's "good."
Maybe we are supposed to figure it out and let the rest of the universe know. We aren't getting anything done waiting here on Reddit for them to contact us.
We are not ready yet. We shouldn't begin researching interstellar travel before we figured out the perfect meme to share with the rest of the universe.
So we're the adults of the universe? Uh oh
What I'm hearing is we need to get cracking on that space military before some young up-and-comer dethrones us.
It seems more likely to me that the issue is simply that society building organisms are rare, perhaps extremely. We see this on our planet, there are thousands and thousands and thousands of species, trillions of organisms, that we share this planet with and none, but us, carry a lasting multi-generational record of knowledge of any obvious consequence. Human beings have gone beyond being biological organisms and become the cells of an informational organism. A human being left in the woods from birth to death, kept separate and alive would be nothing more than an ape, but when that same animal meets the memetic, infectious organism that is language... that is history, that is society, that's when a human being is born. We envision hive minds in our science fiction as something very alien to us, but isn't it that very nature that makes us alien to other living things? This whole interaction, this very thing you're experiencing right now where a completely seperate member of your species who you have no physical contact with and no knowledge of is creating abstract ideas in your own mind through the clicking of fingers to make symbols, phonemes and words, is immensely weird on the scale of a context that doesn't simply declare anything human normal by default. We can do this because we are connected, not by blood or skin, but by the shared infection of a common language, the grand web of information that is the most immortal part of each of us.
That's not something that has to happen to life, that's not somehow the endpoint of evolution in any meaningful way, and humanity was nearly wiped off the face of the earth several times over before we got to that point. I wouldn't be surprised if billions of planets have developed life that is exactly like the life on earth, sans humanity, creatures that live and die without language and leave no records, no benefit of experience, no trace.
I like this description of us:
We are the only superpredator known to exist. Our best friends are apex predators we allow to live in our homes and treat like children, and we are sufficiently skilled at predation that we have allowed them to give up hunting for survival.
We accidentally killed enough of the biomass on the planet that we are now in the Anthropocene era, an era of earths history that marks post-humanity in geological terms. We are an extinction event significant enough that we will be measurable in millions of years even if we all died tomorrow.
We are the only creature known that engages in group play fighting. Other animals play fight, but not in teams. This allowed us to develop tactics, strategy, and so on, and was instrumental in hunting and eventually war.
We are sufficiently deadly that in order for something to pose a credible threat to us, we have to make it up and give it powers that don't exist in reality. And even then, most of the time, we still win.
(Perspective of animals.)
"They can kill at a distance. They can control fire. They can camouflage themselves. They can mimic our noises. They can track you, can chase you for days until you drop down dead, can sometimes survive lethal doses of poison to come back again later. They have warped, hyperintelligent, fanatically loyal, physically deformed versions of us as their battle thralls, and often those thralls harbor an intense hatred of their original species. They move around in metal beasts that can crush you without slowing down, and if one of us happens to somehow kill one of them anyway? That's when the rest get real interested."
I used to think that humans had no real natural defense or offense besides our brain power, and struggled to figure out how we survived long enough to build some of the fundamental technologies that got us away from strictly hunter/gatherer lifestyles. Then I learned about endurance hunters that track prey for dozens of miles, sometimes over a period of days, and realized "Oh shit, we maxed stamina and became Terminators."
We're some scary mother fuckers.
A lot of theories of our evolution from ape to human included the ability to precisely and powerfully throw.
a bunch of screaming, hungry, mf's who never get tired and constantly barrage you with rocks sounds like the worst enemy to have.
Yeah, we tend to think of apes as so much stronger than us, and many are, but the biomechanics that allow us to throw give a HUGE advantage. Doesn't matter if a gorilla could rip your arm out of your socket if you can get it in the chest with a spear from 20 or 30 feet away.
Don't underestimate the power of language either. The fact that we are able to coordinate ourselves in groups, and use not just our senses but our brains to track prey, makes us extremely lethal.
That one is a bit of a given though. It's also related to the brain power advantage I mentioned before, where as I was talking more about what physical attributes allowed us to succeed enough for that brain power advantage to have a chance.
Language, and by extension culture, is what ultimately led to our current position. Technology doesn't do anything if you don't have the language to pass on the knowledge of how to use it and build it.
In certain ways language was the original technology.
That's how humans used to hunt. Some still do. A physically fit human can just jog after an animal long enough that the animal is physically unable to continue on, and bash it over the head with a rock.
Now, obviously trapping is way easier.
At least in places like the US, most hunting is done via trapping, tracking, or from hunting blinds. It's just not intuitive that this would be a great hunting method from our culture, which is why I just assumed that we were far behind most other big animals in all physical traits. Once I learned that we weren't, and that much of it is due to the power of sweat, it really shifted the perspective on how we came to be so dominant.
Now, obviously trapping is way easier.
Picking up my chicken pre sliced from the supermarket is way easier.
the scary part is we have become smart enough to steer our own evolution and improve on the original design, the fact AI will be even better than us at this is why we are (and should) be so scared of it.
if it were a competing organism, were fucked, hopefully it won't want to compete....
"hopefully it won't want to compete...."
The last thing humans said EVER.
That made me feel badass until I realized I probably couldn't do most of those things because I don't hunt. Hell, I'm not even great at team sports. At least I'm okay at owning a dog.
Well you live in a world where you can own a gun, you have the destructive potential to kill hundreds regardless of your physical state.
Meanwhile somewhere in Africa a guy is running from a hippo.
I often just sit in public and look around at how insane it is that we've developed the society and life that we have
I also think about how crazy it is that we're on a chunk of rock spinning on its axis and orbiting a huge ball of flaming gas, as well as the astronomical odds of all of this happening
Dude same here. I sit in traffic thinking how amazing it is that I can drive to work, all the research and innovation that led to the vehicle I drive, the insane trust we have that the thousands of other people going ridiculously fast won't kill me, all of the people that had to build the car correctly, process the raw resources, inspect it and maintain it. Multiply that by every vehicle I encounter and its amazing that no one's breaks fail and kill me. All the technology that went into the gas in my tank that I payed a tiny fraction of my income for (the thought of money itself and all the other technology that goes into it) the trust I have that whoever made the gas that's currently in my tank didn't accidently contaminate it with something that will blow my car up. Our driving system and the complex industry we have to teach and explain the rules of the road. The people that maintain the roads and the city politics that regulate it. The electricity that powers the traffic lights and all of the engineers keeping our power grid running and the linesmen that keep it supplied to the lights after a storm. All of this insane ridiculous complexity that could fail at any stage due to a careless act from any of the simple humans involved that somehow just works. And then to think that all of this could end suddenly. Someone might accidently press the nuke button and then everyone would follow, a giant asteroid could hit us, sun could have a solar flare that takes out all electronics. And yet when someone cuts me off I'll still honk my horn and give them the finger.
That last line is hilarious. We truly are an interesting bunch.
What's funny to me is that the systems you pointed out as "just working", do in fact fail all the fucking time. Millions of people have died to accidents caused by neglect or mechanical failure. That's often how our technology improves: one mangled/burned/crushed/electrocuted corpse at a time.
The thing you said could go off accidentally - nukes - are, thank goodness, quite failsafe. If nuclear war ever breaks out, it will be deliberate.
Another interesting quirk of humans, when something fails we don't go "oh well time to avoid that" we go "okay how do we keep doing this but not die?". Other animals will learn over generations to avoid certain poisonous foods, humans will keep trying different ways to eat it until one works.
humans will keep trying different ways to eat it until one works.
Reminds me of the mushroom books we have in Sweden. "This one tastes great, but if you don't cook it you'll get poisoned!"
Sometimes when I'm driving I think about how a car works. It's basically hundreds to thousands of precisely-controlled explosions. which translates to turning the wheels on my car real good.
And when someone goes wrong with that engine, we get mad at it. Like, how dare that incredibly complicated piece of equipment slightly inject too little fuel for the explosions to be powerful enough. What a piece of shit car for having ultimately a slight malfunction rendering the whole thing useless.
You just made the simple act of me reading your Reddit comment feel extraordinary
Millions of years of evolution have led to this moment, this comment
And millions of years of evolution have led to this moment, my urge to go the restroom and really, really pee.
I’ve been holding it for everyone.
Followed. Well said.
This may be already in the thread, but I often wonder if we’re the first sentient self-conscious world building species in the Milky Way Galaxy. It’s not far fetched to imagine we are the first born. As you so eloquently put it, the Universe is a dangerous place, and planets even more so. The incredible series of events and environmental circumstances that allowed mammals to claim dominion over Earth is almost unbelievable. Not to mention how important and unlikely it is to have such a (relatively) large moon to stabilize Earth climate. Long History is a favorite topic of mine and I really enjoyed your contribution.
It's equally un-farfetched we are not the first civilization of intelligent, world building species.
It's truly amazing to attempt to contemplate all of the possibilities.
I love how single cells first start working together, creating an organism, whom also start working together. Life needs life and is an endless cycle that can be destroyed with one single comet
And what if we a civilization as a living thing? The collection of knowledge we have, in books, computers and our heads is the DNA. Each human and each machine we've build is but a single cell together forming this organism we know as civilization. It also can mutate, grow, die, fight and spawn new child civilizations.
What a remarkably well-written comment this is. Articulate and equally thought provoking.
Something similar (in thought) goes through my mind every once in a while.
When I get bored working at my desk for long hours, I go into this weird thought spiral where I can feel the entire weight of the evolution falling on my shoulders. Like I can see how I came to be at my desk after BigBang. It’s a scary and humbling experience. It lasts for about fifteen minutes or so and almost feels therapeutic in some weird way. Definitely you all should try it. Like meditation. And through it all I can feel how it is all connected.
Perhaps it’s rubbish. But it feels very real.
To add to this a species that is capable of societal cooperation at the level of humanity while also not being eventually self-destructive may be even more rare. We don't know if we will eliminate ourselves yet, though we seem to jeep trying too. It is entirely possible that there have existed other sentient societies who ultimately destroyed themselves prior to obtaining the ability to reach across the stars, or alternately prior to our ability to hear them.
It is entirely possible that there have existed other sentient societies
Just fyi sentient just means conscious, aware and able to perceive, which describes other animals as well as us. You're probably thinking of "sapient".
Thank you! I hate when people mix them up. Most life is sentient to some degree. Sapience is limited to Great apes and dolphins/whales.
Interestingly sapiance isn't necessary for civilization as hive insects prove. Ants are the closest thing to us sociologically but at an individual level they're about as intelligent as a mushroom.
Ants are the closest thing to us sociologically but at an individual level they’re about as intelligent as a mushroom.
But wouldn’t that be a similar argument (on a grater scale of course) for what the OP said about a human left alone is merely an ape?
It is in a very real way. One of the aspects of humanity is emergent behavior - something which happens regardless of what we're actively trying to do because of how we all interact with each other.
It's interesting because there's direct parallels in other organisms, such as ants, bees, wasps, and even bacteria. Ants/bees are sometimes considered intelligent because of this emergent behavior even though individually they are pretty dumb.
Humans have a terrible problem of only thinking short term that makes us so destructive
It also makes us adaptive.
If all we focused on the long term we would be unprepared to make immediate changes and be flexible when plans change.
As with most of Humanity's issues, they tend to be rooted in self preservation habits. In one context they are vile habits, in others they may have been the habits that kept us alive. A part of maturing as a species is learning when and how to curb those negative habits.
Right. So we truly require discipline. That is being able to choose when to follow motivation for short term goals and when to seek long term ones.
It wasn't always that way,
The Neanderthals and other hominids branched apart, but came back and interbred - at one point there were different species with histories, but we mated with them into oblivion
Since the dawn of life on this planet there has been an unbroken chain of life for each of us, each generation of organism reproducing and passing on the genetic material that finally culminated in each one of us.
If you do not have kids, you are the first of your direct lineage to do so, a genetic thread 3.5 billion long, cut for all time.
I guess that means I will finally accomplish something none of my ancestors ever did. :)
Halfway through this I got concerned it was a shittymorph post.
That's one of the perspectives you gain by looking at the history of life on Earth. It is extremely serendipitous. Change things just a little and the big asteroid impact that got rid of 60-70% of species including the (non-bird) dinosaurs might not have happened. That would profoundly change what happened to life, and it is only one event. Life might be really common because of the basic ingredients being readily available, but intelligence took a really long and windy route before eventually showing up here. In the ~4.5 billion year history of Earth, and ~4 billion years of life history on it, it took 3.5 out of those 4 billion to get anything much more sophisticated than a jellyfish. Most of the history of life on Earth is a story of bacteria and algae. That may be the "norm" for life-bearing planets. After that it still took a few hundred million years before intelligent life appeared. A few billions or hundreds of millions of years are small numbers on the scale of the whole universe, but we really don't know how likely it is for life to organize into a creature with a big enough brain to start thinking the way we do. It is inevitable? Is it rare? Maybe there are other ways to do it too, but on Earth you could have had plenty of extinctions before primates showed up and a few of them did something weird enough to start looking up at the stars and wondering what was out there. At any time you could have had a mass extinction event that might have pressed the "reset" button. We could be a really special "goldilocks" case that persisted to this point.
It is really hard to tell with 1 sample, but any way you slice it, intelligent life is a different equation from life in general given how much life occurred on Earth before getting to that point.
Key difference is we are actively looking for other life and reaching out. If our isolated indigenous people were doing the same thing, I don’t think we would be hiding from them.
That would be a good explanation if we we're talking about a few civilizations. But with the shear number of stars in the milky way alone this explanation makes this very unlikely. You might convince some species not to contact us but not EVERY species. Our Galaxy alone contains 250 billion stars and has been around for billions of years. Civilizations could have risen and fallen many times over, leaving evidence of their existence orditing stars, or radio signals randamoly floating in space. And what about the innumerable factions in each society? It would only take one individual or group that did not agree with it's government, for a message to get out.
This is the "Femi Paradox." So where are all the ship to ship signal or dyson structures orbiting stars or flashes of light from great space battles? A solution to the Fermi Paradox can't just explain away a few dozen alien species. It has to explain away millions of civilizations and billions upon billions of groups each with there own alien motivation.
The Fermi Paradox postulates that intelligent life is like a rapidly expanding fire, spreading through interstellar spade to rapidly to engulf everything around it. Maybe interstellar colonization requires an enormous expenditure of resources and usually fails for any number of reasons. It's more like lighting a match in a hurricane, it usually just goes out. The universe could be teaming with civilizations and we would never know it. SETI has only told us that nobody nearby has gone to great expense to contact us. We could not detect a civilization equal to our own on Alpha Centauri with current technology.
you are correct, we could not detect a civilization equal to our own on alpha century. The Fermi Paradox is not talking about why we don't see a civilization equal to our own near us. The Fermi Paradox asks why all the civilizations over ALL time have not left ANY evidence for us to see. This would include radio artifacts from millions of long dead civilizations far from our local stars.
Intelligent life could be so rare that you only find one civilized species per galaxy or even one per galaxy cluster, and they only pop up every couple of billions of years.
Yeah I’m of the opinion that life is relatively common, intelligent life is rare, and intelligent language and tool using life is even rarer still.
I completely agree. Totally see us finding algae, fish, flying animals, etc if we travel. Another space faring sprecise? Low probability
Low probability at the scale of the universe ends up being high probability.
I feel the issue for meeting intergalactic specie is simple as the vast distances. For the low probability to develop the capability to space travel, that leaves a huge amount of universe and distance to never see each other. Much like if you were tasked to find a one off bacteria somewhere in Siberia.... how do you even start going about that.
That and physics. If we realise there are ways to defy light travel limits and fold space etc, maybe we or others could be exploring the universe, but until we know, if we remain held to light speed and actually build machines getti by to that speed just getting to the next star is 4 years away (not including acceleration and deceleration) and nearest galaxy is a 2 million+ year trip.
Even if there was one intelligent life per galaxy, and thetr are billions of galaxies, good luck meeting them.
I dont think intelligent life is rare I think its more like the conditions to be a spacefaring race is really hard unless you live on a planet with very little gravity.
Humans are so extraordinarily lucky with all the events that happened in our star system to allowed us to prosper. Without several time periods on earth like the carboniferous period to give us a shit ton of resources we wouldn't be this advanced yet. We got a nice tilt and a moon that helped society when we got hit with a stray planet. We have jupiter to keep us safe. Our gravity well isn't so hard that we can still manage to escape it.
The biggest threat to us is ourselves at this point.
The Fermi paradox is most likely if the species can even become a spacefaring race if circumstances permit it.
Or we haven’t noticed?
If there’s highway construction next to an anthill, do they know what’s going on?
If they were treating us like we treat natives... We'd be dying from new diseases and then relocated to a crappy moon somewhere...
I like to imagine that humans are early and we are going to be the aggressors like the aliens in movies.
I have no doubt that they could remain unseen if they don’t want us to see them, but if they don’t yet know we’re here we can still have a chance to find them
People always expect giant alien ships. If they were watching us we would just be ringed as a planet by microscopic satellites. It would probably take an intense effort to find one
Why do we want to be found so bad? What if alien life is all like the Klingons and shit. Look at our own history, the outside universe might just be a higher level game of survival of the fittest.
Ha! Ironically Klingons are only Klingons because aliens kept messing with their planet
Basically the prime directive. And I'd be furious. If I knew that I had spent my entire boring life on this rock instead of out gallivanting on a starship because some group wanted to "protect my development" or whatever, I would be absolutely livid.
Now we wait for a missionary from extra-terrestrial Vancouver
And we throw spears at them when they do turn up.
Wouldn't be surprised if the silence is down to radio tech being used for a very short period by advanced races + we're situated in a galactic backwater.
And maybe the galactic consensus is that it's a good thing if the human apes don't start bothering nearby star systems for as long as possible because you know we'd find some way to justify sending in warships and causing all sorts of bother. We only cracked the atom eighty years ago and the first thing we did with it was to mass incinerate other humans.
I wouldn't say backwater. More the galactic suburbs. We're 30,000 ly from the galactic centre, and almost the same to the edge. Bear in mind that the core - the very centre core - of the galaxy couldn't harbour life, as the stars are too close together for planets to effectively form without being ripped out of orbit, radiated or incinerated.
If the galaxy was like a city, I wonder what part would be the equivalent of the posh neighborhoods and where would be the slums. Perhaps globular clusters are gated communities.
It's a great question but it's an unlikely answer for a lot of reasons. But to be fair, we don't really know one way or the other in any case. We just have some guesses.
One of the first points I'd bring up is the fact that our planet is quite young, as is the universe itself. Compared to the amount of time that the universe will exist for, the current age of the universe is like one millisecond out of one year. And the earth has only been around for a bit more than a third of that.
Add onto that the fact that the early universe was rife with terrifying energies, many of which would manifest as gamma ray bursts that would sterilize any nearby system caught in the path of the beam, and it's not hard to see how we might be one of the first, if not THE first, intelligent species in our region.
But considering that's not the case, and assuming that abiogenesis, cellular life, and multicellular life are common in the universe given the right conditions, it's entirely possible that any other species like us out there has already come and gone by the time the light from their star reaches us. Or their species is along the same timescale we're on. We only emerged a couple hundred thousand years ago, and some of the nearest practical candidates for planets like earth are in the thousands of lightyears away ignoring nearby super-earths. Yet it took us only a couple hundred years to go from a fire-based, non-electrical species to one which constantly blasts radio waves into the ether. So it's not inconceivable that any nearby species will have come and gone before we were around, or are around right now but we won't know about it for a few thousand years or so. In other words, the span of time for a intelligent species to be around versus the amount of time it is detectable for might be so disparate that you can't tell the difference between a dying civilization, and the thermal bloom from an asteroid impact at the ranges we're dealing with. And we might just have emerged into the technological age right at the time when our neighbors are either too dumb to have built radios in time for us to see them, or have already bombed themselves out of existence.
Add onto the top of ALL of that, the fact that our detection capability for nearby objects is incredibly dull right now, and you have a recipe for the Fermi paradox to take full bloom. The truth is we really don't know right now, and we won't know for a while, not until we can look up close and personal with the nearby systems and see what an average star system looks like. If it turns out most of them look like ours, the Fermi paradox gets worse. But if they turn out to be very different from ours, then it's no surprise we haven't found aliens, because they're probably extremely rare.
The biggest argument for the Fermi paradox, which if you don't know what that is, it's basically a more formal way of describing the question you asked, is that if only one civilization made it past the single-planet and single-system stage and managed to become intergalactic, then it would only take them anywhere from 600,000 to 1,000,000 years to colonize the entire galaxy, and that's assuming they have to use technology along the same level as ours. So given the age of the universe, why hasn't that happened yet?
Which brings us back to my earlier paragraph. The universe seems very old because 14andsomeoddbillionyears is a long time to a human, but on a universal time scale we aren't even in the infant stages yet. On a universal time scale, the universe is still a sperm and egg, waiting to become a fetus. So maybe the reason no one has conquered the galaxy yet is because no one has existed to do so. Which is very exciting for us as a species, because it means we have the possibility to become the ones who do so.
As for the chances of us being watched over by some super advanced alien species, the chances are actually pretty high. With what we already know of physics, it should be possible to build things like Alcubierre drives, which would allow a ship of incredible size to travel between stars in a matter of years that would normally take thousands of years on a conventional ship. At the same time, the Alcubierre drive wouldn't leave behind any noticeable signature, so you could enter a star system with it and nobody would ever even know unless they were looking for your ship. For reference, the current version of the Alcubierre equation allows for a ship the size of an oil tanker to travel to Alpha Centauri using only a kilogram of fuel. The fuel is usually in the form of antimatter, but we know how to make that, and while a kg would be expensive, it's not infeasible, especially if we manage to crack fusion energy. The hard part is the advanced physics involved, which required things like negative energy, but due to spatial compression effects and the Casamir effect, we also know how to do that, too. So it's a matter of research, development, and scaling, and that's just for us dumb monkeys. If someone else is out there and they've been doing this for a hundred or a thousand years already, imagine how easy it must be for them?
And you add to that our miserable detection ability for deep space objects, and it's no surprise that some alien might be out there, even relatively close by, watching us right now. For reference, we've already had a couple near misses, where we didn't detect an asteroid or comet until it was already going to pass between the earth and the moon, mere days or weeks before it did so. We can't even detect a rock the size of New York if it's on a direct intercept course for us until it's a couple decades out, and that's only if a telescope happens to be looking at the right spot when the rock is facing the right way for us to see it. How would we detect a much smaller spacecraft, that may be using active stealth technology?
So there's a lot of unknowns, and your question is completely valid, especially considering our almost total lack of concrete knowledge on this subject. Lots of people in this thread are throwing out catch phrases and parroting what they've heard before, and I'm not doing much better to be honest, but I'm trying to at least explain why to the best of my knowledge. And like I just said, to the best of my knowledge we really don't know the answer, so anyone acting like they do is probably wrong.
It's my favorite solution to the Fermi paradox.
"Of all the worlds in the galaxy why can't we go to that one dad?"
"It's filled with billions of violent primates kiddo, it is not yet time from them to meet everybody else."
What if they haven't contacted us because we are unaware of them, and as soon we have unambiguous proof of intelligent, extraterrestrial life, the rules change and the galactic versions of the ICC, EPA, UN etc come in to bang some heads together.
Hearing about abductions, I don't think it's outside the realm of possibility. It's how humans interact with wild animals aswell. Catch them. Tag them. And release them back into the wild.
Imagine all the fish that have alien abduction stories since catch and release became popular. If trout have a trailer park equivalent, we would be catching fish with Nascar hats.
You know that sentinelese tribe that chooses to remain isolated and (mostly)everyone else knows to leave them alone? And coupled with the fact that most people think if we met aliens we’d attack them or have some sort of aggressive untrusting attitude towards them? I wonder if we’re being given a wide berth because the aliens know we’d fuck shit up somehow
How about the reverse? We're the precursors to a technological Renaissance and all other sentient species are 1k - 10k years behind us?