One of my favorite explanations is that there are other ET out there but they are two engrossed with their own entertainment to "give a fuck" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_paradox#They_tend_to_iso...). I find it amusing and ironic while also seriously consider it a possibility.
It may also be that intelligent alien life develop an "increasing disinterest" in their outside world. Possibly any sufficiently advanced society will develop highly engaging media and entertainment well before the capacity for advanced space travel, and that the rate of appeal of these social contrivances is destined, because of their inherent reduced complexity, to overtake any desire for complex, expensive endeavors such as space exploration and communication. Once any sufficiently advanced civilization becomes able to master its environment, and most of its physical needs are met through technology, various "social and entertainment technologies", including virtual reality, are postulated to become the primary drivers and motivations of that civilization.
aka Star Trek holodeck.... the best drug in the future.
"Lets say we have an ant hill in the middle of the forest. And right next to the ant hill, they're building a ten-lane super-highway. And the question is 'Would the ants be able to understand what a ten-lane super-highway is? Would the ants be able to understand the technology and the intentions of the beings building the highway next to them?"
So it's not that we can't pick up the signals from other worlds using our technology, it's that we can't even comprehend what the beings from Planet X are or what they're trying to do. It's so beyond us that even if they really wanted to enlighten us, it would be like trying to teach ants about the internet."
If there are structured radio signals being emitted, it matters not whether or not we understand what the aliens are up to, if it hits a sweetspot between noise and simplicity we can tell it's a signal. And no, "radio waves" aren't the equivalent of "smoke signals", if there are better ways to communicate across space, that would change a lot our understanding of physics. This isn't to say that our understanding is complete, but the default assumption should be that it's very unlikely that there is a better way to communicate long distance.
Compression is an issue in that respect, but that's a different argument.
But I think we might be discussing semantics. When you say "intelligent", you probably have something specific in mind. Which probably boils down to "can do math". But a different intelligence could also grasp the laws of physics at an intuitive level, in the same way a dog can catch a frisbee. Perhaps they can "get" turbulence or higher dimensions,understand a trees as a whole, something we completely fail at.
So to me it's a stretch to think that we can find them by looking at error correcting codes. But then again, I have no better proposal.
Why should there be? Earth itself is getting quieter. Our electronics are more sensitive, for the applications that still use radion. For a lot of things, we are using plain boring fiber-optic (and copper) connections.
Not only are there more lights, we are getting more efficient at producing energy to power them.
I'm not a physicist, but my understanding is that all EM frequencies -- visible light, radio, infrared, etc -- travel away from earth at the same speed (c). Since space has (almost) nothing to slow them down, then they'll just keep going forever. Thus, "strength" (however you want to measure it) is largely irrelevant so long as the signal it produces is detectable apart from all the other outgoing information. So the "light" broadcast from a TV tower is the same as the light from a spotlight at a shopping mall, in terms of its ability to travel through space and get noticed by aliens.
The only exception I can think of would be our atmospheric interference. Some light may penetrate our own cloud layers better than others. So all light may not be created equal, in that sense.
What if the super-advanced aliens are us?
Its quite likely the beings from planet X understand omnidirectional broadcast electromagnetic waves as an interstellar communications network technology about as well as your average software developer understands arcnet or 10base5 ethernet or flint-knapping.
We've got questions to answer before we make these analogies. What does intelligence mean, in the context of ability to understand such things? Is it a hurdle that we are over or a continuous scale from slug to alien? From our (admittedly biased) perspective, it seems to be.
Following from that, all these analogies about advanced civilizations destroying themselves, their planets, living in cerebra-utopian VR. These are all analogies to us, the only "intelligent" creatures we know. They're also based on a very brief period of civilization where we have been able to even conceive of our impact on the planet. Until people went to the moon, how strongly lodged in people's minds was the idea that we are on a planet?
We are not even good about extrapolating 100 years into our own future. People thought factories and technologies would lead to 2 hour workdays and a pleasure society now. How good could we be at making analogies to creatures we don't know exist.
Radio SETI is the most popular, but searches have been done in a wide variety of ways. For instance, A search for a complete Dyson swarm can be done by looking for "stars" which only emit radiation in the far infrared. Partial Dyson swarms can be detected by comparing the mag of a star at two different wavelengths. Megastructures are potentially detectable via the tranit method. And searches have been done to look for signs of galactic engineering.
I'm still willing to entertain the idea that Kaku is correct, but it mostly just seems like wishful thinking to me.
The evidence thus far suggests that even if life is everywhere in the universe, technological life may not be.
When one considers an infinitely and exponentially increasing intelligence that can quickly bypass the point of easily answering the questions that currently most perplex us in all fields, then it is reasonable to believe that intelligence would arrive at a level of considering (and solving) problems that we cannot even imagine, let alone understand.
Given that Elon Musk has spoken about has concern over AI, it would be interesting to hear how he integrates that with his belief that our intelligence is sufficient to understand anything.
No. To make that leap, I must assume the conclusion. I cannot know that I'll be able to observe what it does, because I don't know what it will do (or whether I can even perceive the dimension in which it does it for that matter).
Secondly, the word "understand" is subjective. I assume that Musk meant the word in the sense that there is sufficient depth of understanding as to actually be meaningful, else his statement itself would be meaningless (i.e. so obvious as not to be required).
That said, ignoring the Elon Musk bit, even if a superintelligent A.I. figures out how to communicate in some other dimension, surely there's plenty of work it will do that fits within the bounds of the physics we know, and we can observe what it does that we do understand, and we can observe what it does that we don't understand. And given time we can figure out how to understand that which we can observe. And more generally, even if it manages to jump straight to communicating in some other dimension without letting us see its intermediate work, it seems very likely that whatever it is doing will have observable effects within the realm of the physics we understand and can observe (even if it's just EM radiation). At the very least, we can tell that it's there and that it's doing something and start figuring out what it is doing.
This is in contrast to the ants of Michio Kaku, who don't even know anything is going on. The point isn't that the ants don't understand how to build their own 10-lane superhighway, it's that they don't even know that this is a thing built by another species or for what purpose it was built. sixQuarks's point (regardless of whether what he said about Elon Musk is true), summed up in his analogy about complex mathematics, is that we should still be able to observe aliens and comprehend that they're doing something, even if we don't necessarily understand how to do that thing ourselves.
And here is the actual paragraph:
"One topic I disagreed with him on is the nature of consciousness. I think of consciousness as a smooth spectrum. To me, what we experience as consciousness is just what it feels like to be human-level intelligent. We’re smarter, and “more conscious” than an ape, who is more conscious than a chicken, etc. And an alien much smarter than us would be to us as we are to an ape (or an ant) in every way. We talked about this, and Musk seemed convinced that human-level consciousness is a black-and-white thing—that it’s like a switch that flips on at some point in the evolutionary process and that no other animals share. He doesn’t buy the “ants : humans :: humans : [a much smarter extra-terrestrial]” thing, believing that humans are weak computers and that something smarter than humans would just be a stronger computer, not something so beyond us we couldn’t even fathom its existence."
Because, your parent seems to be saying the former (that we could comprehend that it exists, but wouldn't understand its motives, etc.).
But that's a non-statement. I don't think there's much question that we'd be able to perceive anything that our senses can detect. And, an ant can grasp that an object exists (and, for instance, that it needs to traverse it), even if it understands nothing about its purpose, who built it, etc.
So, it would seem that the only sensible intent in this statement by Musk (and the interpretation that you, but not your parent, seem to support) is that we would have a better understanding of this alien super-intelligence than an ant would of us, simply because we'd crossed some imaginary and arbitrary intelligence threshold, defined by Musk.
It's a comforting (and very human-centric) thought, but I don't think it's true. Considering "infinite intelligence", there is some point along the continuum wherein our relative intelligence to a super-intelligence is akin to an ant's to ours. So, I don't see any reason why we'd better understand the motives, etc. of such a super-intelligence than an ant would ours. To make that statement is to define the bounds of the super-intelligence based on ourselves and our own boundaries, which is to say that it involves completely circular reasoning.
>surely there's plenty of work it will do that fits within the bounds of the physics we know
Simply to say some work would itself be a huge assumption, but plenty? That assumes far too much about our current state of knowledge, and it places artificial limitations on the capacity of a super-intelligence.
The flaw in your thinking is your very reliance on our own knowledge as your frame of reference. You're extrapolating from that because you can't imagine anything else. But, that's the point: we don't know what we don't know (or what a super-intelligence might know).
EDIT: I could attempt to use hypothetical scenarios here to convey how your assumptions might be wrong (e.g. what if this intelligence could jump dimensions such that our laws of physics no longer hold?). However, to do that would be to commit the same error that you're committing: it extrapolates back from our own limited language and understanding. By definition, if we can explain it, then it doesn't meet the test of the type of intelligence that I'm referencing./EDIT
Your statement is also a pretty big tell that you're working from an assumption of only marginally increased intelligence, which is where I think our disconnect really enters. To appreciate the degree of intelligence I'm referencing, see .
It's long, but a good read in its own right. Specifically regarding this discussion, towards the middle of the page there are two graphs, labeled "Our Distorted View of Intelligence" and "Reality" which might help illustrate the scale of what I'm trying to communicate. Here also is an attendant quote:
>In our world, smart means a 130 IQ and stupid means an 85 IQ—we don’t have a word for an IQ of 12,952
See what I mean? When intelligence reaches such a scale beyond our own, it destroys key assumptions. The idea that we can comprehend that the intelligence is doing something is not guaranteed. Further, even if perceived, that perception itself is potentially only incrementally more representative of true understanding than not perceiving it at all. So, for any meaningful purpose, our understanding would be much more closely aligned to that of the ants WRT the 10-lane superhighway.
Another way to look at this is to imagine an infinitely expanding intelligence scale. At some zoom-level, we are pushed so much closer to the ants that the difference is virtually indiscernible.
All maths done till ~1600 AD could have been done in 50 years, if you see it from perspective of a civilization which has a stable existence. And forgetting all abstractions, stability of surrounding civilizations is basically a random phenomenon.
And I'm sure maths done in physics departments is beyond understanding of 80% people outside it, let alone any civilization which started 400 years before us.
1. Knowledge that is potentially within our understanding, as humans, even if it takes a few centuries.
2. Knowledge that would require a few millions of years, because we'd need to evolve beyond our current level of intelligence, similar to what chimps, as a species, would need to do if they were to really understand theoretical physics (that is, assuming chimps would in fact evolve to higher intelligence, if there were, say no humans around).
A reasonable interpretation of Elon Musk's claim would be mainly arguing against the existence of a barrier like the type 2 knowledge. But I could be entirely wrong, I haven't read his reasoning behind this claim.
Being a philosopher is not an extraordinary designation, such that it puts them beyond the mental abilities of someone of Elon's obvious mental aptitude.
Yet humans clearly fail to understand things like radioactivity (and the risks involved, for good or bad). I'm not sure what Musk thinks is reliable at all in this matter.
I think as far as we know, ant's don't even ask themselves the question "what is this ant hill". Human cosmologists, on the other hand, seek an explanation for everything that they see in the cosmos. The only way some alien phenomena would be ignored would be if it seemed to have the qualities of some apparently easily explained phenomena. This is certainly possible but it seems unlikely it would happen by accident - cosmology's models for ordinary, unexceptional stars, nebula and galaxies are all fairly detailed.
Now factor in a lack of FTL travel. If it takes thousands of years to go exploring, how many explorers are there likely to be, and how likely are they to stop and setup colonies instead?
Size, and time of the Universe. Most probably species do not last beyond a couple of million years no matter what, and there may be very little overlap between periods of intelligence even if they were in relatively close area of space.
Maybe they'll just wait for the ants to start to build roads. Maybe what we think are roads (Electromagnetic waves) are to the beings as scent trails are to ants.
I think there may be many "Great Filters" to explain the Fermi paradox, and the rise of metazoans may be one of those filters. But I'm not necessarily convinced that complex life requires, for instance, a large moon to stablize the tilt of the planet. Evolution seems a little more robust to me.
I do not know if they mention this in the book or not, but I am afraid that the transition to land may be infrequent (many worlds may not even have land above sea level). Even if dolphins or whales were as intelligent as people want to believe, they are unlikely to ever develop space travel or even radio communication.
I'm equally on the fence about the mediocrity principle. Maybe complex life takes a long, long time and Earth somehow got lucky. We are already freaks because we orbit a G-type star. Most stars are M-type (red dwarfs). They are very long lived and have plenty of time for life to form and evolve on planets around them. Put another way, maybe somehow we are just "first".
That's only something you can say with n size=1 (human civilization). We have no idea if intelligent species out there with similar capacities as humans would actually think in the same way or not. Let's not assume every intelligence out there is just like ours.
Similar to the original entertainment idea is to imagine though a super intelligence that understands almost everything. What goals would it have? What would it do? Its hard to imagine anything motivating other than perhaps itself. But to your point who knows however its still fun to think about.
Let's remember that Castro was begging the Soviets for a nuclear strike against the US and Khrushchev had to fight off a Politburo that wanted nuclear war during the crisis.
I can't see any reason why this wouldn't happen. Bigger guns means bigger consquences and eventually you'll have a war with the biggest guns - nukes or biological or grey goo or whatever and life will end. Funny how the most obvious answer is almost the most horrifying, thus all the silly suggestions about aliens becoming VR addicts or trans-dimensional supermen or whatever.
Let's say that life on another planet 150 million billion miles away wanted to send us a message. So that's 25,000 light years away. They send us one single 1 minute duration message at t=0 and that message travels at the speed of light as an example. And let's just say t=25000 happens to be today. Does that mean that we have a one minute window to intercept part of the message otherwise it's lost?
If so, let's say the life on that planet was persistent and continued to send messages continuously directly to us and no other planets for 500 years. Then I would assume we have a 500 year period to play with. If they started sending signals let's say 10,000 years ago, it seems we have absolutely no chance to receive the message unless this program is operational for the next 15,000 years or so. But our odds of receiving an intelligent signal is vastly higher simply due to the number of planets in our galaxy. Is my understanding remotely correct?
Even for intentional messages, it's certainly conceivable that another civilization with sufficient power simply transmits the message in all direction continuously.
I think that scenario would imply a relative scarcity of intelligent life: after all, if a space-faring civilization needs to transmit powerful, omnidirectional signals in the blind, it must be pretty lonely. Maybe, just maybe, the fact that we're not seeing much is actually indicative of a fairly rich sea of life in the galaxy, communicating point-to-point with each other. Not so much to randomly overhear in that world.
I am a big fan of science and science fiction, do not get me wrong. I do feel that technology evolves and will surprise even the most tech savvy, but to violate faster than light travel seems more far fetched than any theory out there to me.
At the same time, space travel technology will also have been advanced, allowing for self-sustaining spacecraft that offer protection against the harsh environment of outer space.
At that point, you can imagine that a hearty band of explorers will undertake a mission of leaving our solar system and exploring way beyond our world. Who knows how far they could get.
These are the sorts of advances I can imagine becoming real many generations from now. I wouldn't underestimate our capacity to make it happen.
That doesn't address what happens to the visitees, but if that kind of slow-scale exploration becomes the default, then any civilizations on a similar level to the robot explorers would have technology and societal structures in place to support meaningful contact of that nature.
Both our bodies and minds need to hardened to endure deep space.
10,000 years between stars is a long time to be playing solitaire. The voyagers may need to sleep, hibernate, slow down their metabolism, alter their perception of time, or something, to make the journey bearable.
That's assuming our space ships resemble a Saturn V or the Space Shuttle. Why limit ourselves to that? How about a colony ship the size of New York City, built in orbit, housing millions of people? At that point we don't even need to live thousands of years; we'd have a generational ship.
At least someone in the universe would be living out my space opera fantasies!
L = 20 * log10(4 * pi * d / λ)
If I'm doing the math right, this says that the path loss over 1 lightyear for an 80MHz transmission (which seems to be in the analog TV range?) is something like 330 decibels. Now I'm not sure how strong TV transmissions are, but I'm guessing it's not that strong.
Darn. Seems Futurama and every other piece of mass media that claims that aliens are watching our TV from 80 years ago is wrong.
 Which is to say, if I'm typing it into Wolfram Alpha correctly.
Except for the small question of how those many civilizations would have found each other in the first place.
It's not very likely though. Occam's Razor alone suggests that the reason for loneliness is that there aren't a plethora of civilizations all talking to each other over narrowband channels. And we'd be very unlikely to pick up the omnidirectional beacon of a lonely civilization way out here anyway.
The Lunar X Prize might have been that project but it doesn't seem to be making progress:
A carrier costs roughly $12 billion, and costs about $1.5 billion per year in operational costs.
People really have no concept of how much NASA costs. They think NASA gets an insane amount of money. We'd have moon bases and maybe even a Mars base if NASA got the funding people think they get.
1. Tech development: It requires changes in thinking, tools, procedures etc. Perhaps harder than tech itself is to acquire the required mindset.
2. Legal: Space law is fun but complex once it goes into the details. US laws like ITAR (now a bit milder than before) haunt us. Plus plenty of other laws.
3. Funding: It's hard to make business cases for a (literal) moonshot. Sponsorship and payload are the main revenue sources, but most teams don't succeed. Their story (or presentation) is not exciting or convincing, their team is not adequate (skills, mentality, manpower), so they don't get sponsors, investors, or customers. Or they're just in a country where risk is not rewarded or capital is absent.
4. Launch: Finding the right rocket is important; it influences spacecraft design. Then negotiating a contract and sticking to it. Many hurdles. And it's expensive before the launch. Launch is the biggest cost center.
5. Politics: XPRIZE Foundation is a US org, so US law and politics determine much of what you (not) do, e.g. avoid tech or people from blacklisted countries. Or when geopolitics kicks in and the rocket in another country suddenly or potentially becomes unavailable.
And much more. So we're making progress. But it's not something we talk about much.
I just realize that I wrote the five points above in a kind of negative tone. They're not. E.g. once you have the required mindset, you're filled with nearly unshakable certainty about what you do and why. Laws are solved problems--or when they work on them, they make open problems pretty clear. The pressure to find business cases makes you think hard about what is possible and economical at what time, you start to see a roadmap of doable things until you reach your goal; after all to kickstart private space is one of the GLXP's intentions. The launch sector is a funny business, you meet interesting people and it gives you insights into one of the greatest filters that still stops humanity from going into space at large scales. Politics is not always a burden, it can also be a source of support and goodwill; e.g. if you align interests and avoid stepping on the wrong toes, it can be very helpful.
So, yeah, space is hard. But we're getting there.
The imaging and spectroscopy of exoplanets has proceeded quickly  and in a not-too-distant future we may be able to roughly analyze the composition of the atmospheres of exoplanets.
Now, given that microbial life formed on earth pretty much right after the young planet had cooled down, it may not be too far fetched to hope to find a planet with oxygen in its atmosphere, signaling the presence of at least microbial life.
Now that would be something.
You could potentially replace fission with fusion and speed things up. And yes they were high level designs because of the supposedly immense expense.
It's cool to hear that people are podcasting about it. I'm glad you were able to plug them on HN.
By comparison private wealth in all of Europe is about $60 to $65 trillion. 
But if we could somehow find that motivation, it would be far more productive to work together -- we'd have a lot more manpower and a higher budget that way.
Voyager 1 and 2 both carry with them a 12-inch golden phonograph record
that contains pictures and sounds of Earth along with symbolic directions
on the cover for playing the record and data detailing the location of
our planet. The record is intended as a combination of a time capsule
and an interstellar message to any civilization, alien or far-future
human that may recover either of the Voyager craft. The contents of this
record were selected by a committee that included Timothy Ferris and
was chaired by Carl Sagan.
Voyager has on board antennas and a sufficiently intelligent civilization would be quite interested in intercepting a spacecraft which seems to be on a mission to somewhere carrying <creator>-knows-what.
I'm not a physicist, but I assume there isn't any detectable, unique signature of an explosion that can be detected from space. Stories I've read about test-ban treaties and non-proliferation efforts give the main mechanism for detecting tests are the seismic effects they have.
So let's say that by examining the petabytes of data that's received from the telescopes, at some point a signal is detected.
Let's say that somehow all the competing scientests and skeptics, religious and opinion leaders magically and peacefully agree: the signal is from an inteligent life form.
Somewhere close, just a couple of hundred light years away ...
Then what ?
Do we build rockets to travel there ? Do we 'tune-in' and decipher the signal ? Do we send them our own signals in the hope that they are listening ?
In fact, a much harder task would be to prove that life absolutely doesn't exist anywhere else in the Universe.
So we instinctively believe, but we still want proof. So would the SETI thing provide that definite proof ?
In many ways this is similar to 'does life exist after death'. Either way you stand, it's impossible to absolutely prove it, but some day everyone will definetely find out ;).
Edit: Does anyone know the current thinking of the odds that information could be able to travel faster than light, ie a wormhole? As far as I know they are very slim.
An Einstein-Rosen Bridge is purely theoretical, and mostly a way to understand the equation of general relativity better. The equation requires you to set a few parameters that we have no way of determining currently, and that describe the structure of the universe. By setting those parameters just right, we can imagine really strange things, such as time travel or a wormhole.
But even if those parameters allowed a wormhole, having a traversable wormhole requires exotic matter with negative mass, another thing that we have no tangible proof exists.
In other words, general relativity is so general that it allows behaviour that can't exist in the real world. Computing the odds that information could go through a wormhole is like computing the odds that God exists.
There is a galactic consent that nobody will ever be able to actually visit each other.
And of course, this is pure science fiction :)
The scientific name for a wormhole is an Einstein-Rosen Bridge - named after Nathan Rosen and, obviously, Albert Einstein who conceived the idea.
There are other suggestions for "faster than light" travel, but FTL is a bit of a misnomer because the concepts of FTL aren't about having a velocity that's greater than c (the speed of light in a vacuum), it's about warping or cutting through the fabric of space in a way that makes the distances shorter. A wormhole is just one theoretical method of jumping those distances via a shortcut.
The problem is that in science, if you assume things in a naive way ("What goes up must come down." "Planets travel in circles") you're almost certainly wrong - because the details of physical reality are usually counter-intuitive and unexpected.
So what we really know is:
1. Spacetime is a thing. It has bulk properties described by GR.
2. Er - that's it.
We don't know what spacetime is made of, or what you can do with the things it's made of, or what their properties are.
So I'd classify this as "definitely not known due to lack of knowledge" rather than "definitely not proven."
Proposals like Quantum Dynamical Triangulation, Causal Sets, and Loop Quantum Gravity are beginning to ask what spacetime is made of, but they're barely in their infancy.
The one thing they have in common is the idea that there's a network of - something... - and the reality we recognise propagates across the network.
If the elements are discrete - and they almost certainly are, because of the Planck limit - there will be some moment where an element changes state.
How fast does that happen? What's the mechanism? What limits the state changes? (Adjacency? Some other property?)
It's completely mysterious, and I think it's unwise to make definitive statements about it until it stops being a mystery.
It's rich people playing with their toys.
Leave it completely to rich people and companies to waste their money on.
Things will get discovered eventually, by people who are passionate about them.
However, the much more important thing for me is that we'd know we aren't necessarily going to run into some Great Filter . I'd fret a little less about dangerous new technologies if I knew at least one case where a civilization survived.
Lastly, maybe we'd learn something from the signal itself! A new communications protocol, new music, new technologies, insight into how languages work - who knows? Finding out what we have in common with the beings who sent the signal and what we don't would teach us a great deal about what is arbitrary on our world and what's fundamental. It's like growing up in a society with extremely rigid gender roles and then traveling to a country where that's not the case - you get that "Oh I didn't realize women could even have jobs" moment, but potentially with problems that aren't self-imposed.
Just imagine what proof that we're not alone would mean for the world. I'm not positive it would galvanize everyone, but it would surely create new industry and untold number of jobs as we, as a world, decide to try to go and meet them.
Year after year the news reports another big experiement which cost millions to setup, and which claims to "give us answers as to how the universe was created". I just couldn't be less interested. It's rich people (Or taxpayer funded people) playing with their toys.
It must be great fun if space exploration is your hobby, like explorers of days gone by, but for most people it won't have any impact at all on their lives (Apart from wasting their taxes).
Not only is your statement disappointing to hear from anyone presuming to be technically literate, it is objectively wrong.
You would have a similar result if you poured money into alchemy research - lots of side products etc.
 Minus the part about it being a waste of taxes; just because people aren't interested doesn't mean it's not worthwhile, because people can be wrong.
If you can't see how that would be one of the most impactful things in human history, I don't think there's any more to discuss.
On the other hand, if they spent their energy sending ships, they would eventually find us, and they would learn phenomenally about technology, science and their place in the world, even before they reach us.
Why would it be hard to determine that we're intelligent? We've clearly created some sort of apparatus for generating sonar. I would imagine that someone listening in our oceans would be able to tell fairly quickly that we're a technical civilization.
Underwater sounds can come from a wide range of sources, including tectonics, natural events and animals. Those did not create some sort of apparatus. Yet, they can have a similar signature.
It is not even a hypothetical situation. A SETI lab spent a lot of time trying to figure out what a particular signature that their telescope picked up was, only to discover it was caused by their microwave oven: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/seti-the-hunt-for-....
That's sounds like exactly the sort of outcome we want, regardless of what else happens.
Aliens probably use Brainfuck , so we need a substantial increase in Brainfuck AI research. Some modern-day Kennedy needs to step up to this challenge.
Maybe the Universe's scale compared to our physical form has a purpose. Maybe it's intended to not be traversed physcally. Maybe that's the most obvious conclusion an intelligent life form might draw from analyzing it's scale ?
Maybe in the future we will understand it just like the aliens we're looking for did a long time ago - that the way to communicate in this Universe does not involve physical travel or physical signals.
Just look up some pictures of Pablo Amaringo - a shaman making drawings of his trips on ayahuasca.
Notice the 'aliens' and the galaxies and the the distant worlds that he is visiting while tripping.
Anyone who has been on powerful psychedelic trips would agree that there is a lot of stuff to explain there, besides just the brain reaction to a chemical. Stuff like traveling through time, out of the Universe, into the microcosmos, before and after life, etc.
People did this for thousands of years - they used terms such as 'spirits', 'beings' and 'gods' to describe who they made contact with.
But what if those substances are more than just intoxicants, what if they really trigger some unknown mind-space-time gateway which we haven't yet tapped scientifically, which makes space and time travel possible.
What if we could approach this scientifically and actually make these trips predictable and repeatable ?
What if the aliens are actually just high tech savages using advanced psychedelic drugs + mind machines to travel and explore time and space, while sitting in a forest around a fire ?
We should start exploring the inner space just like we are exploring the outer space. When will we see $100m invested in that ? :)
We already have: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/04/why-spend-...
And I'm sorry to tell you that I think brain science does a good job at explaining perception when intoxicated without invoking "other stuff out there"
It would be so easy if it were that easy...
And brain science can't explain too much, because it couldn't research these substances, since they're illegal everywhere in the world.
Long story short - take the red pill and you'll see for yourself how little we understand about the mind and the Universe.
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?"
Or maybe, the Creator just said "let me see how far these guys will go?"
I suspect even if this is unsuccessful at finding ET, it will do lots of awesome other things.
And if it is successful in finding ET, then it's probably the most significant possible discovery.
Other general radio astronomy.
If the livestream is overlaid with page elements for you as well, try this URL:
Secondly, although it's hugely unlikely they'll find anything, in the event that they do it'll fundamentally change our perspective of who we are and where our place is in the universe. The outcome, while improbable, is so huge it's still worthwhile trying.
The same can be said about digging holes and filling them afterwards.
Yes, space is vast but once upon a time the ocean was too.
Or would it have to "stand still" out there, which would make it fall back to earth?
Technically, a satellite could be parked in a Lagrange Point. But the signal would have to be very, very convincing because there will be many, many very smart people looking at it.
ATM, a manned mars mission is in the "very hard and expensive" file. Unmanned missions to anywhere in our solar system are doable on smaller budgets. We can use telescopes to look much further. In all cases information is being moved back and forward between earth and space.
But even robotic missions are very limited. We just had our first flyby of Pluto (not an orbiter). Jupiter doesn't get an orbiter until 2016 (Juno). No orbiters around Neptune or Uranus. So, lots still left to explore and observe with probes in our own solar system.
The Dominant Life Form in the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots
“If they were interested in us, we probably wouldn’t be here,” said Schneider. “My gut feeling is their goals and incentives are so different from ours, they’re not going to want to contact us.”
That’s a welcome divergence from Steven Hawking’s claim that advanced aliens might be nomads, looking to strip resources from whatever planets they can, and that all efforts to contact said aliens may end in our own demise.
“I’d have to agree with Susan on them not being interested in us at all,” Shostak said. We're just too simplistic, too irrelevant. “You don’t spend a whole lot of time hanging out reading books with your goldfish. On the other hand, you don’t really want to kill the goldfish, either.”
EDIT - HN discussion for that article, 212 days ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8773778
How is that not interesting?
The idea of SAI is that it progresses at a significantly faster rate than biological processes can. For example, if humans and chimps were on a "staircase of evolution" and were one step apart; SAI would be one step above us a mere hour after it is turned on. After 2 hours it would be multiple steps above us. So the theory goes, anyway.
This means that evil aliens would be unlikely more dangerous than evil SAI.
Not that he's suggesting we announce our presence to aliens, merely look for them.