New explanation postulated for Fermi paradox

Apr 12, 2011 by Bob Yirka report

(PhysOrg.com) -- Enrico Fermi, the famous Italian physicist, once asked the question; if intelligent life has come to exist many times in our galaxy, why is there no sign of it? It’s a clearly valid point, when you consider the number of planets and solar systems that exist out there. If there are other intelligent beings out there somewhere, how come they haven’t responded to our messages?

Adrian Kent, of the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Canada has published a paper in arXiv, somewhat humorously titled, "Too Dammed Quiet?" where he suggests the reason we haven’t heard from other life forms out there, is because maybe they are keeping quiet on purpose, to protect themselves from others that might hear their “noise” and come to investigate, and perhaps cause them harm.

Kent takes the idea of Darwin’s survival of the fittest concept to a galactic level, in that he believes it’s possible that there are only so many habitual planets and if so, that would mean scarce resources, which would mean only the smartest, strongest, or most careful would survive; which would leave at least some of the aliens out there keeping a lid on things to assure their own survival; sort of like how certain species of birds on this planet freeze to avoid being noticed by predators.

But, if what Kent has to say is true, that begs even more questions, such as, who are they hiding from, and why haven’t we heard anything from those pesky predators?

His paper raises even more difficult questions, which of course we have no answers to, such as is it possible that the vast expanse of the universe is so great that the laws of physics will forever prevent any life forms that do crop up, from ever being able to contact one another? Or, is it conceivable, that the events that led to our existence are so rare that there really isn’t anyone else out there?

Kent’s paper has no doubt some added credence due to his support of Stephen Hawking’s parallel suggestion in “Into the Universe,” the Discovery Channel documentary that made headlines all over the world last year; but as with all hypothetical suppositions, ultimately, it’s all, as Kent himself reminds us, pure speculation; at least until we hear otherwise from someone out there who can settle the matter for us, once and for all.

Explore further: Rosetta's comet: In the shadow of the coma

More information: Too Damned Quiet?, Adrian Kent, arXiv:1104.0624v1 [physics.pop-ph] arxiv.org/abs/1104.0624
Fermi paradox: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_paradox

Related Stories

Modern society made up of all types

Nov 04, 2010

Modern society has an intense interest in classifying people into ‘types’, according to a University of Melbourne Cultural Historian, leading to potentially catastrophic life-changing outcomes for those typed – ...

Recommended for you

Rosetta's comet: In the shadow of the coma

5 hours ago

This NAVCAM mosaic comprises four individual images taken on 20 November from a distance of 30.8 km from the centre of Comet 67P/C-G. The image resolution is 2.6 m/pixel, so each original 1024 x 1024 pixel ...

DNA survives critical entry into Earth's atmosphere

Nov 26, 2014

The genetic material DNA can survive a flight through space and re-entry into the earth's atmosphere—and still pass on genetic information. A team of scientists from UZH obtained these astonishing results ...

Team develops cognitive test battery for spaceflight

Nov 26, 2014

Space is one of the most demanding and unforgiving environments. Human exploration of space requires astronauts to maintain consistently high levels of cognitive performance to ensure mission safety and success, and prevent ...

User comments : 192

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Nik_2213
3.1 / 5 (18) Apr 12, 2011
Or, by the time cultures get around to star-flight, they're all stymied by their equivalent of Environment Protection Agency requiring 'full & complete' impact statements...
CarolinaScotsman
3.9 / 5 (11) Apr 12, 2011
Or it could be we're just not worth bothering with.
PaulieMac
5 / 5 (36) Apr 12, 2011
Personally, I've always wondered why such weight was given to the 'Fermi paradox'...

It has taken, what, in excess of 13 billion years for the human species to get to a point where we could actually listen out for any racket our neighbours may be making. We've had the ability to listen for - let's be generous and say - 150 years.

So, imagine that some technological race, emitting some form of human-detectable signal, has evolved in a solar system some 150 million light years distant. For us to 'hear' them, they would have had to have been emitting this detectable signal almost exactly 150 million years ago, with a 150-year window. And be emitting from a direction we've listened to. And be emitting in a form we've paid attention to. And, not be obscured by any intervening source of interference...

It's never struck me as a paradox at all, really... Thoughts?
jeffhans
4.8 / 5 (12) Apr 12, 2011
We aren't in a position to hear them. If an alien race has spread across multiple light years of space and still communicate with each other than they are sending signals back and forth to each other and not wasting energy on sending to every corner of space in crappy EM based methods. We are on the verge of Quantum Entangled communication ourselves so why would aliens not use something along those same lines?
epsi00
4 / 5 (10) Apr 12, 2011
Or maybe other civilizations, way ahead of us, have already driven themselves to extinction the same way we seem to be following. Progress seems to work against contact with others. Lack of progress also has the same effect. But no contact does not mean no one is out there.
d_robison
4.9 / 5 (16) Apr 12, 2011
I essentially agree with PaulieMac, I see no reason for the 'Fermi Paradox' to exist. The reasons are simple:

1. Perhaps there was a "staggering" of intelligent life in our galaxy, i.e. they went extinct much like life has been nearly wiped out several times on the Earth throughout its history.

2. The galaxy is very large, to date even our civilizations messages have only travelled about 120 light years in all directions, this is only about 1.2e-3% of the diameter of the milky way.

3. We have been listening for messages from space for even less time than we have been broadcasting radio signals.

The list continues for a while, there are countless scenarios that are all reasonable. There is no paradox, this is a pointless article, and a pointless discussion as everything one can currently say is pure speculation. There are too many what-if's and maybe's.
Alexander_Herrmann
3.4 / 5 (10) Apr 12, 2011
Biological life forms behave not logical there bahaviour is influenced by hormones they cannot considered to be real intelligent life (semiintelligent).
Sooner or later they even biologicial life find a way to communicate without energy waste.
Answering a call from semiintelligent life like humans is a waste of energy nothing to learn which is not already known.
Semiintelligent life like humans may give birth to real intelligent life like AI.
Observing possible dangerous semi intelligent human life is easier when they not aware of beeing controlled.

Pick one or more of the above reasons .. there is no Paradox.
Mahal_Kita
4 / 5 (10) Apr 12, 2011
Uhm.. Well there should be some noise from the very beginnings of technology of those civilisations. Also we could pick up noise from an emerging civilisation. like we are such a civilisation. There is no way of taking back what we sent into deep space so we will be discovered some day. But then.. Are we millions or billions of years behind or are we one of the first intelligent species. We will know when we find 'them' or when 'they' find us.
Rdavid
4.6 / 5 (13) Apr 12, 2011
How many milllions of life forms do we share the earth with and not communicate with a one?
Quantum_Conundrum
1.6 / 5 (22) Apr 12, 2011
How many milllions of life forms do we share the earth with and not communicate with a one?


That's probably because most of them fall into 3 categories: Food, Pest, and Pet. The first two we don't have much talking to, although livestock and pets require some training...

We are the top of the food chain.

If we ever find an ET, we'll make pets and food out of them too...
tpb
5 / 5 (10) Apr 12, 2011
The signals we send out into space are too weak to be detected, even at the nearest star to us, much less 100's of light years away.

If we broadcast megawatts from a very large highly directional dish directly at a particular solar system it could maybe be done, but which star should we pick.

For how many years should we waste this energy before we give up and try another star.
The further away the star is the longer we would have to wait.

What makes anyone think any culture or group on our planet could afford to do this for possibly hundreds of years for a million to one change anyone is out there.

If we wouldn't do this why would any aliens do it.
jamesrm
1.5 / 5 (11) Apr 12, 2011
Or maybe they read fucknukle responses like Nik_2213 just made and think why bother contacting such idiots, better to find them in the woods, give'm a nice hard anal probing (which they seem to enjoy despite the protests) to determine what realy crawled up there rectums.

rgds
James
Quantum_Conundrum
1.6 / 5 (17) Apr 12, 2011
Or maybe they read fucknukle responses like Nik_2213 just made and think why bother contacting such idiots, better to find them in the woods, give'm a nice hard anal probing (which they seem to enjoy despite the protests) to determine what realy crawled up there rectums.

rgds
James


Actually, he has a point. I saw on a modern marvels episode about proposed replacements and improvements for the Hoover dam, it was stated that before any such project could be done, ten to fifteen years worth of "environmental studies" would need to be conducted...even though the effects are already known, because, hey, there's already a large dam at the site...

Stuff like this really is ridiculous and serves no purpose whatsoever, besides delaying progress and improvements to our technology and infrastructure.
hypermach
2.8 / 5 (4) Apr 12, 2011
1. Inteligent life is rare. Main point really.
2. Distance/time is vast.
3. The communication window is small. We produce a lot less EM noise than 50 years ago, perhaps technology moves on, away from EM broadcast?
4. What is the usual lifespan of an technological civilization? Lots of sharp edges there. A short lifespan further limits the communication window.
5. chemisty/biology - perhaps bioforms cannot live off the planet of origin? Our view of life is very deterministic, what if we are much more a part of a web of life than we realize and cannot survive for long outside of the biosphere?
Squirrel
1.6 / 5 (8) Apr 12, 2011
The real question is why they are not here. Consider the revolution is discovering exoplanets and then think how another 300 years in technology advance comparable to the jump from Galileo's telescope to Hubble will enable the detection of planets capable of higher life. Any intelligence out there will have had time to spot planet Earth as capable of evolving smart life and sent a probe. So why are they not here? Hiding? Not bothered to come? Perhaps intelligent life is too rare to it to exist to find us out?
JRDarby
2 / 5 (3) Apr 12, 2011
And perhaps intelligent life has been among us all the time, in a variety of forms, and we've failed, in our human shortsightedness, to recognize it all. I think people vastly underestimate the intelligence of "animals" (I use quotes because humans too fall in this category). This underestimation is an easy mistake when your hubris confines you to the "top of the food chain" rather than allowing you to recognize your part as one small cog in a vast network of ecological relationships.

But beyond carbon-based Earth animals, there's not much way to know what to look for assuming something exists here that is nothing like we've ever experienced. Maybe something does, maybe it doesn't, but it's pointless to guess.
rproulx45
5 / 5 (2) Apr 12, 2011
they are keeping quiet for the same reason we don't invite our relatives over. After 3 days fish and visitors start to stink.
Moebius
1.9 / 5 (7) Apr 12, 2011
This is not a new idea, it was postulated in sci-fi long ago. The theory is that a herd or hive species, as opposed to a predator like us, is more likely to reach a technological stage as well as survive it. They could be inherently more paranoid of predators being a prey species and much more cautious, it would be instinctual and very hard to overcome.

Like many important questions, the question of how far away would our radio telescopes be able to detect a species that broadcasts as we do has never been asked or answered to my knowledge. It could also be that we can't detect plain radio broadcasts very far away even with radio telescopes. Many species might be broadcasting for local communication but not for reception from great distances.
KerryK
5 / 5 (1) Apr 12, 2011
Has anybody else yet asked what a "habitual planet" is? (I'm teasing, everyone! Just all in fun.)
HannesAlfven
1 / 5 (10) Apr 12, 2011
Red dwarf stars have extremely diffuse, glowing atmospheres which include water. Any planet which circles this star inside of this glowing envelope will experience constant temperature, constant light and an availability of water. Furthermore, since these stars are in fact electrical (see Wal Thornhill's holoscience.com site), they are the perfect incubators for life.

In such a scenario, life on the planet would have no way of knowing of other planets and stars, because all they would see is a dull red sky.

Furthermore, plasma double layers would essentially block radio transmissions. So, they could be quite advanced, and we might not know at all.

Ancient human history can also be argued to support the case that we originated in such an environment ourselves, but it requires that scientists take more seriously the thousands of years of writings of early man. Thus far, there is widespread ignorance of human mythology amongst professional scientists.
Fig1024
4.3 / 5 (3) Apr 12, 2011
There's also a chance we are the first most technologically advanced life form out there. After all, somebody has to be the first, it could be us.
It could be that within next 1 million years, we'll start seeing intelligent life pop up on other planets - if we'll last that long ourselves.
trekgeek1
3.4 / 5 (7) Apr 12, 2011
Prime directive. They don't contact us until we are ready to join the galactic community.
sstritt
2.4 / 5 (9) Apr 12, 2011
Prime directive. They don't contact us until we are ready to join the galactic community.

I always thought the Prime Directive explanation was very plausible. Another possibility: Intelligent civilizations quickly transform themselves from biological beings to machine intelligence. As such, they may have no interest in earthlike planets or their biological inhabitants.
eachus
4.7 / 5 (6) Apr 12, 2011
Lots of discussion here which ignores the math behind the Fermi Paradox. Decades ago, we had no real clue about the constants in the Drake equation. Today we are getting a much better handle on the second and third constants. (The percentage of stars with planets, and the number of habitable planets on average in a system with planets.)

I happen to like Issac Asimov's N=1 conjecture. (That the first technological race to develop in a galaxy rapidly inhabits most of the habitable stars. Even assuming that faster than light travel is not possible, the human race could inhabit most of the habitable planets--and a lot of others--in our galaxy within 100,000 years. That's a small number given how long it took the human race to evolve.)

The other reasonable conjecture says that faster than light communication is possible. If so why would any race wait around to be contacted by radio, or send out radio signals. (Unless the radio signal was how to build an FTL communicator. ;-)
TheGhostofOtto1923
2 / 5 (8) Apr 12, 2011
So, imagine that some technological race, emitting some form of human-detectable signal
Emitting such energy would be considered wasteful. At most we could probably detect waste heat of entropy.

And why would 'they' come here in the 'flesh' anyway? They might send probes which linger in the outer system collecting knowledge, because knowledge is the one thing intelligence needs to accumulate. I wouldnt expect them to be floating around in the atmosphere. Why bother?

Actually the best place to sit and watch might be inside the sun, with all the energy you would need and a central vantage point. And complete undetectability.

Humans have their own little store of knowledge which is the most valuable thing we possess. Lets hope we dont lose it like we have so many times in the past.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.9 / 5 (8) Apr 12, 2011
first technological race to develop in a galaxy rapidly inhabits most of the habitable stars.
Again why would we assume they would tend to overpopulate like we do? Perhaps as an intelligent species advances their numbers would actually shrink, until at last there would be only one single entity left. Intelligence arising independently, meeting and merging first as a culture and then as an identity, individuals becoming less distinct, more interconnected...

Oooh, I dont like the sound of that.
winthrom
3 / 5 (3) Apr 12, 2011
Earth and its' solar system is 4.5 billion yrs old. Universe is 13 billion yrs old. Each galaxy as 100 billion stars and the universe has 100 billion galaxies. We have 150 years of RF emanations from earth so far, and the RF strength drops off at the square of the distance from sender to receiver. Most of our RF is not even receivable (line of sight) over long terrestrial links, much less across or out in our galaxy unless some SETI type antenna is used by the aliens.

Our use of RF has changed from spark gap pops to spread spectrum in this short time, and we designed current transmission techniques to be lost in the noise background. We can assume that our neighbors went through this same evolution also, and this was most likely when their worlds were about 4.5 billion years old. The 4.5 billion years could have had a start date just shy of 13 billion years ago, or we could be the first life to be intelligent in the last 13 billion years.
winthrom
not rated yet Apr 12, 2011
We listen and look for signals everywhere. The father away we look the farther back in time we see. A galaxy 4.5 billion light years from us is 4.5 billion years in the past when we see it. We do not know how long it takes for life to become intelligent enough to listen to the radio signals of other stars and galaxies.

Unfortunately, their signals will not reach us any more easily than ours will reach them. Very likely, the possibility that aliens are hostile to other aliens (as we are to each other) has occurred to other intelligent races too. Being intelligent means knowing when to be silent.

One can presume, possibly, the FTL travel is not possible, thus representing the problem that keeps aliens from bothering each other and us too. If this is not true, then one can presume that whatever the limitations of FTL travel are, they cause the same issues that slower travel does, except on a larger scale. If FTL travel is virtually instantaneous then we may have had visitors already
Velocity_Wave
not rated yet Apr 12, 2011
For those who claim the reason we can't "hear" aliens is because they have evolved new communications technology, keep in mind:

With all of our civilizations, ancient communications-mediums never-ever completely vanish.

We still have people that write on stone tablets (ie: tomb stones, building corner stones).

We still have people that make their mark on cave-walls (including actual caves, as well as urban cement "caves").

I suspect it might be the same for an alien civilization, in which likewise their "older" forms of communications mediums may also never completely vanish.

There are still some very good reasons why aliens would still utilize radio/EM technology, even if they have more advanced technology.

For example think of Radar.

Radar is incredibly good at "sweeping" a region and detecting and pinging objects. So perhaps their probes, or other craft still utilize some form of radar technology. If so then radar is an excellent, high energy deep space signal.
rgwalther
1 / 5 (2) Apr 12, 2011
SHHHH!!!!!!
rgwalther
2 / 5 (4) Apr 12, 2011
In a universe the size of the one we inhabit, ALL of these explanations have/are happening...And more that we have not considered, or or which cannot even(yet) conceive.
wolfkeeper
4 / 5 (3) Apr 12, 2011
There's no reason to think that planets are the best place to live anyway- once you reach orbit, building good places to live almost certainly isn't all that hard. Technologically we can build habitats out as far as Pluto.

I think the study's author is suffering from planetary chauvinism.
Moebius
1 / 5 (4) Apr 12, 2011
Prime directive. They don't contact us until we are ready to join the galactic community.


The question is not why haven't they contacted us. The question is if they are out there why don't we hear their communications. The assumption is that any technological civilization will use radio at some point for their own communication, not necessarily to communicate with us.
Moebius
1.3 / 5 (7) Apr 12, 2011
There's also a chance we are the first most technologically advanced life form out there. ...


Our sun is a relative late comer. We are almost certainly not the first unless we are alone and unique, in which case we will stay that way.
Moebius
1 / 5 (4) Apr 12, 2011
There's no reason to think that planets are the best place to live anyway- once you reach orbit, building good places to live almost certainly isn't all that hard. Technologically we can build habitats out as far as Pluto.

I think the study's author is suffering from planetary chauvinism.


What would you use for power out by Pluto?
tonche
5 / 5 (1) Apr 12, 2011
Life would be doing quiet well on this planet without intelligent mammals why should it no be the same on countless planets. We dont see reptiles after 300 million years of evolution trying to contact other reptiles light years away!!
paulthebassguy
1 / 5 (5) Apr 12, 2011
In that case, why haven't the so called "people they're hiding from" coming to investigate us?
ECOnservative
2.3 / 5 (6) Apr 12, 2011
Considering that most of the advanced technology we use today had its origins in trying to kill other humans (wars) it may be that when a civilization reaches a certain point on the climb up the technology tree, they simply kill each other off.

I suspect we'll soon know the answer.
RobertKarlStonjek
1.3 / 5 (6) Apr 12, 2011
Neutrinos, which only very weakly interact with ordinary matter, make for the cleanest intergalactic signals ever devised, but humans continuously refuse to answer the call...so don't go blaming us ~ it is you humans who refuse to pick up the neutrino phone.
Jonseer
1 / 5 (6) Apr 13, 2011
Aliens able to travel interstellar space would find us too primitive to meet their standards to be called intelligent. At best they might see us like we see dogs.

Serious interest in us would probably be restricted to aliens on a similar level technologically - which would mean they would not have the means to communicate back and forth nor travel interstellar space in order to introduce themselves - just like we don't.

They could also have additional senses or abilities like telepathy and consider having it the threshold of true intelligence.

The tech they use would be beyond our ken, and so unusual we wouldn't recognize it if we saw it or them provided they were not invisible to our tech. in order to avoid contact with the human vermin of Earth.

I agree with Hawking. Humans have wrecked every new place we've found without regard to what was there. Aliens that were like us would do whatever without regard to the wildlife of Earth, and humans would be considered just another beast.
irjsiq
1 / 5 (5) Apr 13, 2011
re: ... if intelligent life has come to exist many times in our galaxy, why is there no sign of it? ...
Why is there so little sign of (the employment of) Intelligence here on Earth?

Roy Stewart,
Phoenix AZ
Ober
3.3 / 5 (3) Apr 13, 2011
I think alien, intelligent life WOULD be interested in us. After all, we get excited over a microscopic mineral formation in a meteorite that we think MAY be alien microbes. Our curiosity keeps us looking into space.

Also consider the fact that more of our transmissions are now digital, and are transmitted via cable or focussed to orbiting satellites, which retransmit back to Earth. Hence the digital age is now decreasing the amount of intelligent signals leaking out into deep space.

Also consider the effort it takes to receive and transmit signals from/to the voyager spacecraft which are still in our OWN solar system!!!

Space is just too dammned big for our current tech.
I think THEY are out there, just using techniques we haven't worked out yet. (perhaps via one of String theories many dimensions). The alternative is that we are SPECIAL. I don't like that kind of pre-copernican thinking!!!!
RobertKarlStonjek
1.7 / 5 (6) Apr 13, 2011
Scratching, burping, farting, feeding, breeding, sleeping, fighting...but in those ever so brief intervals between the events that define us as little more than the chimp-like common ancestor we evolved from, most humans sit and watch TV.

Maybe the aliens already have such pets??
Sanescience
1.3 / 5 (3) Apr 13, 2011

My guess is three-ish possibilities:

Earth is a kind of nature preserve, and at some levels governments know this. The "park rangers" for the most part keep the rift raft off, but the occasional stray gets through and we have have "Roswell".

Earth is interesting to study and/or generates something of value via our machinations and culture that is digitally recorded and used as a "product" sent out into a galactic economy where information/data are the primary currencies.

Intelligence may or may not be rare. But intelligence that is interested in "space" is rare. Technology might not even be entirely a factor. Aliens may develop quite advanced technology and have no interest (or opportunity if they are subsurface dwellers, or inhabit heavy gravity objects.) Who knows what alien psychology might be like!
farmerpat42
4.5 / 5 (2) Apr 13, 2011
We could be the most intelligent beings in the universe and thus it's up to us to contact others.

I generally agree with the theory that life is abundant in the universe, but intelligence/advance-life may be extremely rare. Personally, I can't wait to taste an exo-planet steak.
RobertKarlStonjek
1.7 / 5 (11) Apr 13, 2011
Attend a tea party convention and think about that claim about us being the most intelligent beings in the universe...
sstritt
1.8 / 5 (6) Apr 13, 2011
Earth is interesting to study and/or generates something of value via our machinations and culture that is digitally recorded and used as a "product" sent out into a galactic economy where information/data are the primary currencies.

Love it! Earth is just some reality show on Alpha Centauri!
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (5) Apr 13, 2011
I essentially agree with PaulieMac, I see no reason for the 'Fermi Paradox' to exist. The reasons are simple:

1. Perhaps there was a "staggering" of intelligent life in our galaxy, i.e. they went extinct much like life has been nearly wiped out several times on the Earth throughout its history.

2. The galaxy is very large, to date even our civilizations messages have only travelled about 120 light years in all directions, this is only about 1.2e-3% of the diameter of the milky way.

3. We have been listening for messages from space for even less time than we have been broadcasting radio signals.

The list continues for a while, there are countless scenarios that are all reasonable. There is no paradox, this is a pointless article, and a pointless discussion as everything one can currently say is pure speculation. There are too many what-if's and maybe's.


Yeah but you obviously have your bias and threw in anyway. There IS a paradox, even if you refuse to see it...
Sanescience
1.2 / 5 (6) Apr 13, 2011
Attend a tea party convention and think about that claim about us being the most intelligent beings in the universe...


Or maybe socialists are really aliens with their basic lack understanding about human psychology.

LOL!
BeaGato
5 / 5 (2) Apr 13, 2011
As Adrian Kent explain in the first page of his article, it was Spanish particle physicist Beatriz Gato-Rivera, much before him, who put forward the idea that in this blog is summarized as "the reason we havent heard from other life forms out there, is because maybe they are keeping quiet on purpose, to protect themselves from others that might hear their noise and come to investigate, and perhaps cause them harm". Gato-Rivera proposed the "Undetectability Conjecture" and many other ideas in two articles posted in the scientific archives in 2003 and 2005. These papers, you can find the references in Kent's article, made an enormous impact in the Theoretical Physics community, so please, although Adrian Kent has added to the idea with this very nice article, Bob Yirka should give appropriate credit to the first scientist (female, in addition) to propose such ideas: Prof. Beatriz Gato-Rivera from the Instituto de Fisica Fundamental (CSIC) (Spanish Research Council), in Madrid.
Sanescience
2.8 / 5 (6) Apr 13, 2011
Doesn't the idea that aliens keep quiet to "hide" imply that they know there are aliens to hide from which implies there must be a "concerned aliens" league or something going around and warning everybody?

Or it is so quiet because alien "harvesters" have their probes everywhere and come to collect not to long after an advanced civilization is detected through either direct observation or radio detection.

I suspect none of these. The rigor and effort interstellar travel represents is such that there is probably nothing significantly *material* aliens would want from us. They would want some samples to study and digitize, and would want to watch and collect information.

I think inefficient forms of communications that are generally detectable represent a very short phase of development. We might have better luck with ultra large interferometric telescopes that let us measure compositions of atmospheres for "unnatural" compositions.
rgwalther
5 / 5 (2) Apr 13, 2011
Or it could be we're just not worth bothering with.


Intelligence is a huge field, self awareness is entry level.
sstritt
1.7 / 5 (7) Apr 13, 2011
Perhaps advanced civilizations are undetectable, not because they are hiding from the Borg, but simply because they enclose their stars in Dyson Spheres.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (4) Apr 13, 2011
Dyson sphere:
"Given the amount of energy available per square meter at a distance of 1 AU from the Sun, it is possible to calculate that most known substances would be reradiating energy in the infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Thus, a Dyson Sphere, constructed by life forms not dissimilar to humans, who dwelled in proximity to a Sun-like star, made with materials similar to those available to humans, would most likely cause an increase in the amount of infrared radiation in the star system's emitted spectrum. Hence, Dyson selected the title "Search for Artificial Stellar Sources of Infrared Radiation" for his published paper."

-Check wiki. A solid Niven sphere would still radiate waste heat at certain predictable and detectable frequencies.
sstritt
1 / 5 (4) Apr 13, 2011
@The GhostofOtto1923,
Interesting. If they did have a sphere (Dyson or Niven, although I'm not versed on the differences)AND they wanted to hide themselves, could they not cover the outside of the sphere with a metamaterial invisibility cloak to hide their IR signature?
Modernmystic
1.5 / 5 (6) Apr 13, 2011
Or it could be we're just not worth bothering with.


I find this assumption unconvincing. We "bother" with viruses...

I also find the "hiding" scenario unconvincing. I suppose it's possible for an arbitrarily advanced culture to do anything, including something as stupendously difficult as cloaking their ENTIRE civilization and all evidence thereof with zero leakage.

However there will always be one apex "predator" civilization, why bother with all that expense when you could care as much about hiding yourself from other civilizations as we'd care about hiding ours from maggots?
Modernmystic
1.7 / 5 (6) Apr 13, 2011
Technology might not even be entirely a factor. Aliens may develop quite advanced technology and have no interest (or opportunity if they are subsurface dwellers, or inhabit heavy gravity objects.) Who knows what alien psychology might be like!


If they care about long term survival they'll HAVE to care about space travel at some point...period.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Apr 13, 2011
@The GhostofOtto1923,
Interesting. If they did have a sphere ...AND they wanted to hide themselves, could they not cover the outside of the sphere with a metamaterial invisibility cloak to hide their IR signature?
Entropy is inevitable. Thats the law.
http://en.wikiped.../Entropy

"A Type I Dyson sphere would probably not cover the star perfectly, so occasional glimpses of its surface would be seen as the habitats orbited. A type II Dyson sphere would be totally opaque (unless it had openings). The spheres would hence be invisible from a distance, just a black disk on the sky. But they would shine powerfully in the infrared, as the waste heat from the internal processes radiate away. The apparent temperature would be
T = (E / (4 pi r^2 eta sigma))^1/4
where E is the energy output of the sun, r the radius of the sphere, eta the emissivity and sigma the constant of Stefan-Boltzman's law."

-etc. Google Larry Niven
yyz
4.8 / 5 (4) Apr 13, 2011
re detection of Dyson spheres in the IR:

Richard Carrigan(Fermilab) has been a notable proponent of searches (mainly in the IR) for Dyson spheres and has conducted several himself using archival data from the IRAS satellite: http://iopscience...2075.pdf

He also maintains a webpage devoted to searches for Dyson spheres (there have been several, besides his own) with links to relevant papers: http://home.fnal....ches.htm

So far, only a few candidate objects have been found, and as noted, even these are ambiguous. Still, new, deeper IR surveys have recently come online (eg. GLIMPSE, WISE) and more are planned. While this might seem like a long shot to some, I don't see much of a downside to searches like this (and the cost is little or nothing using publicly available data).

(remember too to factor in partially built Dyson spheres, they would be easy to spot - first link)
yyz
5 / 5 (3) Apr 13, 2011
Oops, links broken.

Carrigan paper: http://iopscience...2075.pdf

DS webpage: http://home.fnal....ches.htm
sstritt
1 / 5 (4) Apr 13, 2011
Oops, links broken.

Carrigan paper: http://iopscience...2075.pdf

Thanks for the links. I had no idea anyone was actually looking for these things!
SmartK8
1 / 5 (3) Apr 16, 2011
My top ten reasons:

10) They are watching us (star-trek style)
9) Their government/religion is hiding the facts about our existence
8) They are afraid of us (they are able to detect us, but don't have weaponry)
7) They have different composition, and thus they are looking primarily elsewhere
6) It is too far away for them (no money, or political will)
5) They keep them to themself (they aren't the explorers)
4) They have no reason to contact us (nothing new to learn)
3) They don't know about us (scientific advancement is similar)
2) They killed themselves, because life has no meaning
1) We are first, that have evolved
maxcypher
2 / 5 (3) Apr 16, 2011
Ahhh, you humans with your huge vanity compensating for your small to non-existent intelligence. I like to observe and interact with you because I'm considered barely sentient by my species (something went wrong with my spawning) and I need to have someone to look down upon to feel better about myself. The reason we don't study your miserable existence is because we have many examples of pre-intelligence nearby and yes: they are just as likely to die in their own waste as you. Just as you don't bother to contact individual mayflies, my betters don't bother with you.
that_guy
4 / 5 (2) Apr 16, 2011
We aren't in a position to hear them. If an alien race has spread across multiple light years of space and still communicate with each other than they are sending signals back and forth to each other and not wasting energy on sending to every corner of space in crappy EM based methods. We are on the verge of Quantum Entangled communication ourselves so why would aliens not use something along those same lines?


I was going to say the same thing, but even though you said it, I'd like to say it again:

What audacity do we have to assume any advanced race would attempt to communicate in the same mannar as us. Our method is obviously very unweildy for intersteller distances, and if there is a better way, then they're probably doing it a better way.

As for listening to radio pollution, The strength of the signals we use is actually going down as our equipment gets more efficient, Even though we spread more signals overall than we did 50 years ago, they are more garbled.
that_guy
5 / 5 (2) Apr 16, 2011
Earth and its' solar system is 4.5 billion yrs old. Universe is 13 billion yrs old. Each galaxy as 100 billion stars and the universe has 100 billion galaxies. ...
Our use of RF has changed from spark gap pops to spread spectrum in this short time, and we designed current transmission techniques to be lost in the noise background. We can assume that our neighbors went through this same evolution also, and this was most likely when their worlds were about 4.5 billion years old. The 4.5 billion years could have had a start date just shy of 13 billion years ago, or we could be the first life to be intelligent in the last 13 billion years.


I'd like to point out that it would be unlikely for life to form significantly earlier than us. some He and H-H molecules don't really do a whole lot for complex life. There had to be some time for heavier elements to be created through supernovae and other stellar processes.

and the rest of you, enough with the dyson sphere already
xznofile
5 / 5 (2) Apr 16, 2011
In the history of the world, there's not much evidence that aliens have ever been here for any reason (depending on who you ask of course), but given that precedent, what would indigenous technology offer that would interest an alien predator enough to attract them? would they ravage and eat our machines? why would they require evidence of radio & TV before they invade? surely there's plenty of metallic resources available in uninhabitable solar systems. Are they just lazy social moochers who can't use a resource until it's already been developed? If so, they couldn't be much of a threat & we haven't seen them because they either don't exist or our brains & women are such a rarity that intergalactic predators have never specialized enough to become dependent on them for food.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (2) Apr 16, 2011
The odds of finding nearby civilizations roughly matching our own nascent level of development, are negligible IMHO.

I'll guess that any sufficiently advanced civilization consists of individuals who are fully cybernetic, and for all practical purposes immortal -- and that's if there even are any individuals (as opposed to something like collective consciousness.)

Having lived for a few hundred million years, say, and seen a few hundred thousand solar systems and planets up-close, what's the particular attraction of yet another solar system with yet another planet? Besides, if it's adventure you crave, then you could always synthesize a much more exciting and interesting (virtual) reality, at far less cost, than anything you could find out there in the galaxy. But would tremendously ancient, immortal beings even crave adventure? Is there anything really left to explore, after so much time, for a civilization of surpassingly superior intelligence and technology?
PinkElephant
4.5 / 5 (2) Apr 16, 2011
Then again, what if there's something to hidden dimensions and parallel universes? What if we are all flat-landers, and just as soon as sufficient technology and understanding emerges, we simply depart what we now know as the universe, and head for greener pastures?

Maybe there are no super-civilizations out there for us to see, be visited by, or live in fear of, simply because they all tend to get bored and leave.
SemiNerd
not rated yet Apr 16, 2011
Consider another aspect of the dilemma. The lifespans of things on this earth vary from a few hours to hundreds of years. Yet in terms of the speed of light, we are very far from even the closest stars because of our limited lifespan. If we lived for a few thousand years, stars would be much closer relatively speaking. But any contact with us would be difficult because we would be living at different rates. We would age and die in a few day of their lives.

Now consider which species would actually travel to the stars either personally or using surrogates (robots). Not the mayflies.
random
4.5 / 5 (4) Apr 17, 2011
It's a rare possibility that we are the first of the intelligent races. Could be that the universe is teeming with life on the order of algae and plankton. Could be that millions of intelligent races have lived and died while their light rays are still yet to reach us. I think all this speculation is quite hasty, and there are too many possibilities we cannot rule out. I propose we wait another ten, twenty thousand years before we jump to any conclusions.
Mayday
5 / 5 (3) Apr 17, 2011
The likelihood of cosmic civilization overlap in time and technology is infinitesimally small. Our place in the time scales of all of the possible planetary systems in this galaxy alone is completely and utterly unknown to us. We may be very late. We may be the very first. And the scale and scope of our (or their) luck at not experiencing a civilization-crushing cataclysm either from cosmic impact or geologic upheaval is likewise unknowable. If we were to encounter "aliens" that we could comprehend and communicate with, it would be nothing short of a mathematical, odds-defying miracle. Yes, a miracle. Relax.
SteveL
4.5 / 5 (2) Apr 18, 2011
Any planet has a limited amount of resources that an advanced civilization can use to progress and reach a space-faring economy. Consequently, limited resources means a limited amount of time available. Wars, strife, fear, society, disease, religion, ecology, nature, impact - any number of reasons can prevent the advanced species on a planet from moving beyond its own earthly cradle. Once the resources are used up the opportunity to move beyond diminish to zero. Basically they run out of time.

I fear that if we humans don't get our collective heads out of our arse's we will also run out of time. If we reach that point, then what will be the point of all we have gone through, all we have survived and learned? It will all have been for naught. "What a long strange trip it's been." (The Grateful Dead) - is somehow an unsatisfying requiem for the entirety of human history.
SteveL
5 / 5 (1) Apr 18, 2011
Personally, I can't wait to taste an exo-planet steak.

You may have trouble digesting it.
PinkElephant
4.5 / 5 (2) Apr 18, 2011
@SteveL,

You shouldn't worry about limited resources quite so much.

In terms of energy, the Sun's energy is plentiful, and (unfortunately) will only get progressively more plentiful until our planet is reduced to cinders... Hopefully before then, our remote descendants will have high-tailed it out of the neighborhood.

As for materials, they don't go anywhere; we can always "mine" our own trash for minerals. But it increasingly looks like synthetic materials involving nano-structured carbon, for instance, will be able to replace almost anything else. And we're unlikely to run out of carbon or other organics any time soon.

Once we're synthesizing carbon nanotube strands in sufficient quantities to weave space elevator cables, space will be ours for the taking. That's just one possible example of getting there (and out of here.)

So don't fret. But don't expect "humans" to survive much longer anyway; our descendants will progress through cyborgs to 100% artificial.
SteveL
5 / 5 (1) Apr 18, 2011
I also find the "hiding" scenario unconvincing. I suppose it's possible for an arbitrarily advanced culture to do anything, including something as stupendously difficult as cloaking their ENTIRE civilization and all evidence thereof with zero leakage.

However there will always be one apex "predator" civilization, why bother with all that expense when you could care as much about hiding yourself from other civilizations as we'd care about hiding ours from maggots?


Any "intelligent" and powerful signals we have generated haven't gone very far (Galactically). The signals would simply dissipate into the background eventually. So, why would any advanced species be hiding? If "they" could actually detect our broadcasts they likely couldn't even make sense of them. We've been living with dogs, monkeys and dophins for thousands of years and look how little our species can communicate.
SteveL
3 / 5 (1) Apr 18, 2011
@SteveL,

You shouldn't worry about limited resources quite so much.
How many years do we have until the advanced technolgies you mention replace the resources we are presently using, or our ever-increasing demand? As our resources dwindle and demand continues to increase, how will we prevent wars over the remaining scraps? Desperate people, and countries, do desperate things. Human history provides little in the way of proof that we will suddenly mature, recognize and address the sacrifices needed to peacefully resolve the issues around supply and demand for natural resources. It just doesn't seem to be in our nature. We are running out of industrial gasses like helium (30 years) and vital metals like copper (25-60 years). Got replacements?
PinkElephant
not rated yet Apr 18, 2011
How many years do we have
Well, 'till the Sun fries us, about another Billion, give or take a few hundred million. Of course, there's a good chance that we might see a "planet-killer" impact or two even before that final curtain... That is, if we hang around that long.
As our resources dwindle and demand continues to increase, how will we prevent wars over the remaining scraps?
As resources dwindle, either we will develop alternatives, or resources will become more expensive. Either way, wars are pretty expensive, too. Question is, will we even be able to afford them?
Desperate people, and countries, do desperate things.
Possibly. On the other hand, another saying goes that "necessity is the mother of invention." Perhaps complacent people don't innovate nearly as much as they ought to...
It just doesn't seem to be in our nature.
How much of our global high-tech civilization can be considered "natural", anyway? I think we'll muddle through, somehow.
soulman
5 / 5 (1) Apr 18, 2011
It's a rare possibility that we are the first of the intelligent races.

How do you measure 'firstness' in a huge universe with a finite speed of light?
soulman
5 / 5 (1) Apr 18, 2011
If we reach that point, then what will be the point of all we have gone through, all we have survived and learned?

There is no point. You could narrow down that sentiment to an individual - what is the point of being born, growing up, learning, working, and creating when you're going to die? It's simply a process, one in which each person tries to enjoy as much as they can, given their circumstances (not just self-gratification but through positive interaction with others). The universe doesn't care about you nor us as a species.

"What a long strange trip it's been." (The Grateful Dead) - is somehow an unsatisfying requiem for the entirety of human history.

Yes, but once you cease to exist, the sentiment is moot.
SteveL
5 / 5 (2) Apr 18, 2011
@soulman:

The goal should be to raise our children and provide for them the ability to become greater than we, just as we should be striving to become greater than those who went before us. Until some eventuality when our descendants are finally of merit to the universe in a way that we likely cannot understand as yet. That is what I consider worthwile progress.
Gustav
not rated yet Apr 18, 2011
Any civilization capable of crossing interstellar distances will be clever enough to utilize space's own resources: asteroids, planetary rings, comets--plenty of resources there. They will have little need to take over already inhabited planets. Kent's idea isn't even his own, because Hawking had said something very similar last year. No, the reason why we don't hear "from them" is because there is no "them". Whereas life may be common in the universe, space-travelling intelligence must be exceedingly rare.
Limitless
not rated yet Apr 18, 2011
There is one almost unknown solution which I think is the best.
The logic of the solution is as follows: to communicate and to rule across the vastness of space, any advanced interstellar civilization will have to synchronize the proper time of its starship travelers and couriers with the proper time of the star metropolis (the center of the civilization). In other words, to compensate for the time dilation of light-speed couriers and communications, the entire civilization has to become mobile and mobile at the speed of light. It may include mass transit technologies like teleportation. The estimate is that our civilization can achieve this level of technology by the middle of this century. In fact, modern fiber optics, and satellite radio lines allow for information to travel close to the speed of light (it is OK for non-biological ET, like AI virtual personalities. See also an article in Philica on Fermi paradox.
Limitless
not rated yet Apr 18, 2011
To make all the above clear enough it means that time dilation for such an advanced civilization makes communication with it almost impossible for us and their visits extremely rare in our own earth time. Exactly what we see.
Modernmystic
2.1 / 5 (7) Apr 18, 2011
It's a rare possibility that we are the first of the intelligent races.

How do you measure 'firstness' in a huge universe with a finite speed of light?


It's not a concept without merit. "Firstness" would be whoever finds who first. Not even who necessarily evolved intelligence "first" as rates of advancement may very to significant degrees...

In 2001 Arthur C. Clarke wrote about the species who left the monolith in that they went the width and breadth of the entire Galaxy and found no other intelligent life (so being frustrated they "helped" things along here and there for "promising" species), or any signs that any had come before them. In that context you could fairly call them "first" for this galaxy anyway.
SteveL
not rated yet Apr 18, 2011
There is one almost unknown solution which I think is the best.
The logic of the solution is as follows: to communicate and to rule across the vastness of space, any advanced interstellar civilization will have to synchronize the proper time of its starship travelers and couriers with the proper time of the star metropolis (the center of the civilization).

Sort of a 4 dimentional version of what the Julian date did for the Roman Empire?
soulman
5 / 5 (1) Apr 18, 2011
The goal should be to raise our children and provide for them the ability to become greater than we, just as we should be striving to become greater than those who went before us.

I don't disagree with that, but you did reframe your position. Everyone should have goals in life and you've voiced a fine one. But that's what happens during the process of life. Life itself has no larger 'point', which is the comment I was responding to.
Until some eventuality when our descendants are finally of merit to the universe

I don't see how that's even possible to measure. Again, the universe doesn't have a collective conscience so it is difficult to see how we can be meritorious or otherwise to it. It's like saying our descendants will finally be of merit to a giant rock or an electron.
soulman
not rated yet Apr 18, 2011
It's not a concept without merit. "Firstness" would be whoever finds who first. Not even who necessarily evolved intelligence "first" as rates of advancement may very to significant degrees...

Yeah, you could say that, but then it just becomes a relative measure, which loses the implied meaning of being THE first.

Which was actually my point - there is no way to know who was THE first, and so a qualified first (as you say) is probably the best we can do.
Limitless
not rated yet Apr 19, 2011
Sort of a 4 dimentional version of what the Julian date did for the Roman Empire?

Sort of but on much larger scale. Time dilation is really stunning if you apply it to the whole civilization. Light speed in everyday use means that all of the Universe is at hand any time. And everyone returns home to friends and family, not to some distant future descendants (if there are any).
SteveL
not rated yet Apr 19, 2011
Until some eventuality when our descendants are finally of merit to the universe

I don't see how that's even possible to measure. Again, the universe doesn't have a collective conscience so it is difficult to see how we can be meritorious or otherwise to it. It's like saying our descendants will finally be of merit to a giant rock or an electron.

We are in the position of understanding far less than there is to understand. By how much? We cannot conceive - yet. We are just beginning this trip and have very little basis by which to understand where it leads. Therefore, to me, the best we can presently hope for is that there is an unknown and presently unknowable reason or purpose and our duty is to continue to explore, learn and progress. I have hope (without religion) that our capacity can be far more than it is. An infant just learning to walk has no understanding of how fast they will be able to run.
Limitless
not rated yet Apr 19, 2011
I fear that if we humans don't get our collective heads out of our arse's we will also run out of time. If we reach that point, then what will be the point of all we have gone through, all we have survived and learned? It will all have been for naught. "What a long strange trip it's been." (The Grateful Dead) - is somehow an unsatisfying requiem for the entirety of human history.

Stevel, by the way, one of the outcomes of the total time dilation(almost time freezing in our reference frame)for the advanced civilizations is the equalization of their development level. They are not too much ahead of us.
Mahal_Kita
1 / 5 (4) Apr 19, 2011
In 2001 Arthur C. Clarke wrote about the species who left the monolith in that they went the width and breadth of the entire Galaxy and found no other intelligent life (so being frustrated they "helped" things along here and there for "promising" species), or any signs that any had come before them. In that context you could fairly call them "first" for this galaxy anyway.


Hm.. I dare to postulate that the extinction event 65 millions of years ago in fact was a harvest by extraterrestrials. Any other comodity can be found in our solar system readily but.. bio mass. They of course made sure there remained seelings for the coming harvest. Somewhere around the 21st of December 2012?
that_guy
not rated yet Apr 19, 2011
It's a rare possibility that we are the first of the intelligent races.

How do you measure 'firstness' in a huge universe with a finite speed of light?


Valid point. Consider this: let's say a life form evolves intelligently on average about 10-13 billion years from the big bang (assuming that it's correct). Given the volume in the universe - you could have a million intelligent species evolve over the course of several billion years, randomly, and the majority of them would appear empirically to themselves, to be the first, because the signals of other intelligent species would not have had time to reach them, assuming they could even measure those signals.

I think the key here is, what is the density of intelligent life in the universe to begin with, because seriously, they don't need to be very far away to appear invisible.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (1) Apr 19, 2011
what is the density of intelligent life in the universe to begin with
Let's ponder not just emergence of advanced civilizations, but their expansion. A sufficiently advanced civilization can conquer an entire galaxy within less than a billion years -- even with ordinary (such as ion rocket) Newtonian sub-light propulsion.

Let's say we come up with a technology that lets us travel at 1% the speed of light (that would be 100 times slower than light, or 3,000 km/sec.) Our galaxy is about 100,000 light-years in diameter. To cross it at 1% lightspeed would take 10 million years of non-stop travel.

Now consider this scenario: we travel to nearby star system. Arrive, establish a colony, construct another colony-ship there, and launch it to the next star-system -- all of which takes 1,000 years. Let's say each such "hop" is about 5 light-years, making for 20,000 hops to cross the galaxy.

ctd.
PinkElephant
4 / 5 (2) Apr 19, 2011
20,000 hops with 1000 years per hop, gives 20 million years. Plus 10 million just for the travel portion. Altogether, 30 million years to colonize the entire galaxy (end to end) -- particularly since each colony doesn't have to send out just 1 colony ship to just 1 destination: each colony could create a whole swarm of ships, and blanket its entire stellar neighborhood over time.

Even if we reduce the propulsion tech requirements further, to just 0.1% lightspeed (or just 300 km/sec -- which almost seems within the grasp of modern technology), then the travel portion is 100 million years (instead of 10), and the whole galaxy is still completely colonized within 120 million years.

So, if any such civilizations arose within the past 100 million years or so (never mind billions of years ago), they should by now be literally all over the galaxy. Thus the Fermi paradox: why aren't they HERE.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Apr 20, 2011
So, if any such civilizations arose within the past 100 million years or so (never mind billions of years ago), they should by now be literally all over the galaxy. Thus the Fermi paradox: why aren't they HERE.
Again, this is assuming that as an intelligent species evolves it will continue to want to reproduce and multiply ad infinitum.

I think just the opposite would be the case: more advanced species would be composed of fewer, longer-lived, hybrid machine-like individuals who had no desire to go anywhere. We see this tendency already in western cultures. An intelligence would send out self-replicating probes perhaps to gather info, but not to populate.

I think they would fear overpop as much as we do, in that isolated colonies could evolve in unfortunate directions and return to trouble the host. Just one danger.

A mature intelligence might be composed of only a single, immortal entity with 'senses' extending over interstellar distances. 'Vger' with no desire to travel.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Apr 20, 2011
Only tropical warm-blooded gregarians like ourselves would dream of countless worlds teeming with our offspring, but we are only a blip.

If we chanced to meet a mature intelligence, the end result of something like we are now, and asked it why it would want to exist at all, it might say 'I am that I am', leaving us scratching our heads like Moses.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Apr 20, 2011
There might exist a community of such entities in the galaxy, each evolved from incipient species such as us. Each emerging after a species like us had evolved to the point where it could leave it's planet, inhabit it's star system, and secure it's existence.

I should expect that we would find these systems largely intact, for a species on a track to maturity would quickly learn the value of living within it's means. A mature intelligence would not take up much space at all, nor need much energy to subsist. It might even keep the remnants of the progenitors on the home planet, unaware of it's presence after eons of separation.

This galactic community would have little need to communicate except for sharing info on the status of it's environment. With little waste heat and no broadband traffic, it would be near impossible to detect. If life is indeed common then this galaxy could be teeming with ancient, stationary intelligent entities and we would have no idea they were there.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (4) Apr 20, 2011
Again, this is assuming that as an intelligent species evolves it will continue to want to reproduce and multiply ad infinitum.


I think it's naive to make any broad assumptions like that, in fact I think it's safe to say that at least ONE species would have followed the model set out by PE in the last four billion years. That in itself is an assumption too, but I think it's a more reasonable one as there are almost always aberrations in any data set.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Apr 20, 2011
But then this thread is full of nothing but broad assumptions.

Whatsamatter mystic, does the thought of evolutionary depop make you feel lonely? I just gave you a possible rational explanation for the existence of your 'god' though I doubt it would care if you worshipped it or not. A pangalactic community of them. Man literally creating god. The philos would be so thrilled.

Rejoice and give praise! He is risen!

A serious comment- within a few gens we will be engineering ourselves to live in space. The system is a very big place and will take much time to secure. By the time we are able to migrate we will be engineering entities for the trip. At least. But I really can't see any desire to go. What would be the point?
DavidMcC
not rated yet Apr 20, 2011

Hm.. I dare to postulate that the extinction event 65 millions of years ago in fact was a harvest by extraterrestrials. Any other comodity can be found in our solar system readily but.. bio mass. They of course made sure there remained seelings for the coming harvest. Somewhere around the 21st of December 2012?


Ten out of ten for imagination, Mahal. Unfortunately, 0 out of ten for plausibility or evidence. You were just joking, weren't you. You can always make your own smiley, you know! :)
Limitless
3 / 5 (2) Apr 20, 2011
I think just the opposite would be the case: more advanced species would be composed of fewer, longer-lived, hybrid machine-like individuals who had no desire to go anywhere. We see this tendency already in western cultures. An intelligence would send out self-replicating probes perhaps to gather info, but not to populate. A mature intelligence might be composed of only a single, immortal entity with 'senses' extending over interstellar distances. 'Vger' with no desire

Ghost, such civilizations will be extinct or pushed out by others, not so shy. It is just a matter of time. Civilizations utilizing light speed live in the same "time-cocoon" (time dilation zone, as I posted) and interact intensively, being unreachable for those like us at the same time.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (4) Apr 20, 2011
But I really can't see any desire to go. What would be the point?


Survival...

Modernmystic
1 / 5 (4) Apr 20, 2011
Hm.. I dare to postulate that the extinction event 65 millions of years ago in fact was a harvest by extraterrestrials. Any other comodity can be found in our solar system readily but.. bio mass. They of course made sure there remained seelings for the coming harvest. Somewhere around the 21st of December 2012?


Uh, no I think you misunderstood. In the book there was no overt interference, just a nudge towards intelligence here or there. The movie shows this quite well in the (very powerful) scene where the hominid uses the jawbone to smash up the skeleton in the presence of the monolith.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.6 / 5 (8) Apr 20, 2011
Ghost, such civilizations will be extinct or pushed out by others, not so shy. It is just a matter of time. Civilizations utilizing light speed ...for those like us at the same time.
You're assuming that other species would not learn to contend with the propensity to overpopulate as we are. Most western indigene pops are at zero growth. With each gen we are living longer, becoming more augmented, more interconnected, less desirous of reproducing. In a few gens repro will be predominantly ex-utero and there will simply be no desire or need to produce more humans than are needed. We are consistently doing more with fewer people. Get the trend? Any emergent intelligence will necessarily go through this transition. Machines do not and will not think like humans.

Interstellar travel will be much more efficient being done by entities designed for the task. Why send corporeals when machines are more suited? Why send corporeals with the tendency to overpopulate and revolt?
Modernmystic
2.1 / 5 (7) Apr 20, 2011
You're assuming that other species would not learn to contend with the propensity to overpopulate as we are.


There is no such thing as overpopulation. You populate to the point your current levels of technology can handle. If you can't "handle" it then the population decreases, it's an extraordinarily simple concept. Nature has no fixed number of individuals of any species there "should" be. Unless you've been talking to her and she's given you one Otto...in which case please share...
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.5 / 5 (8) Apr 20, 2011
You are naive. Turn on the tv and see all the riots across the middle east by idle, hungry mobs created by religious-mandated overpopulation. People naturally do not stop procreating when their bellies are full or even moderately hungry. They continue begatting because the compulsion is so great. Then, rather than see their children starve, they will fight other tribes over resources.

Religions however will use the propensity to try to usurp the next religion by outgrowing them. Read your book. Read the koran. They are all designed for the purpose of conquest in this manner.

"Any species will tend to produce more offspring than can be expected to survive to maturity." This mandates starvation for a few. As humans overcame natures attritive elements one by one, they were left with this relentless ruinous equation.

Everybody knows this MM, except for you religionists that is, who think god provides for the faithful. The west has only recently learned how to beat this equation.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.6 / 5 (7) Apr 20, 2011
There is no such thing as overpopulation. You populate to the point your current levels of technology can handle.
Nature mandates that a species populate beyond its ability to provide for itself. There is no such thing as 'balance of nature.' The resulting pressures cause new niches to be occupied and new species to emerge. It also results in suffering due to predation, disease, starvation, and conflict.

As we evolve we are discarding our animal tendencies one by one. You look at zero growth in western pops and think that is a natural result of our culture, but you always fail to acknowledge the one techno advancement which has given us this... ONE BILLION ABORTIONS since ww2, 1/5 of the worlds pop and their decendents to the 3rd gen never born. One third of all conceptions in the west, terminated. Many more prevented.
http://www.johnst....html#SU

-We will soon be able to do this genetically I suppose. But this is what it TOOK.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.6 / 5 (7) Apr 20, 2011
I think that ANY species on ANY planet living in a dynamic environment in competition with other species for resources, would develop this equation. And certainly an emergent intelligence would have to learn how to overcome it in order to survive, as we have in the west.

At any rate it would evaporate with the eventual replacement of animal intelligence by machines who will be much more exacting in matching resources with tasks, and producing entities capable of accomplishing them, such as reconnoitering the galactic neighborhood and mitigating dangers to themselves.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (2) Apr 20, 2011
@Otto,

You have valid points about doing more with less, and about population pressure (or likely lack thereof in a technologically advanced life-form). However, you're not accounting for greed. I think intelligent machines can still be both greedy and power-hungry. That alone can drive expansion and aggression.

There is still of course the notion of survival: the more spread-out you are, the less the odds that you'll be taken out by some nearby supernova (or a rapid succession of nearby supernovae, as unlikely as that may be.)

Then there's a question of mission. What purpose would intelligent machines ascribe to themselves? Simply to exist for the sake of existence, is rather unsatisfactory for an INTELLIGENT entity: at that point, one might as well lobotomize oneself, and live like a colony of social insects, or just commit suicide and be done with it altogether. Thus to be viable, super-advanced beings still require emotional drive. And with emotions, come complications...
Modernmystic
1.7 / 5 (6) Apr 20, 2011
So religion is responsible for starvation....

You really do live in your own world sometimes Otto...
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Apr 20, 2011
intelligent machines can still be both greedy and power-hungry.
Now why would PE the tropical mammal think that?? Greed is not natural, greed is not good. Animals are not greedy beyond storing extra nuts for wintertime. We see we are weak and vulnerable and so want to collect many many more nuts than we will ever need.

Machines will indeed be cognizant of their vulnerability and will seek to improve their security. They will pacify their environment. But like squirrels they wont be compelled to expend it by using it all up.

Greed will be corrected like all our other defects and pathologies. Because it can be.
Simply to exist for the sake of existence, is rather unsatisfactory for an INTELLIGENT entity
Perhaps you do not have sufficient intelligence to ascertain this. :)

Any being will have to learn to be content with their lot. Like I say there might well be a community of these independently evolved entities out there. Plenty of company but probably not essential.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.1 / 5 (7) Apr 20, 2011
So religion is responsible for starvation....

You really do live in your own world sometimes Otto...
Naw my world would not have fantastical belief systems fed by fear and greed and defective human brains. Unfortunately I have to live in yours.

Perhaps some day we'll have the courage and the resolve to fix people like this before theyre born:
http://www.reuter...20110420
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (3) Apr 20, 2011
Greed is not natural, greed is not good.
Not natural? How so? Is it any more "natural" than a huge, over-complex brain capable of language and abstract thought vs. that of a squirrel? As for the "not good" part: I dispute that. Whatever you call it -- greed, drive, ambition -- something like that always, universally distinguishes winners from losers, aside from and in addition to any other diverse and variable factors that may affect competition.

Competition, let's note, is entirely NATURAL. It underlies evolution, and it is what drives progress in any and all of the civilizations that we know of.

Hence, I concur with Limitless: the ambitious will displace the complacent. An advanced super-intelligent machine would understand this, and would never deliberately deprive itself of ambition: such deprivation would be a handicap, being detrimental to its fitness over time, and hence a threat to its own perpetuated survival.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Apr 20, 2011
Is it any more "natural" than a huge, over-complex brain capable of language and abstract thought vs. that of a squirrel?
Our brains grew to their present size in near-constant competition and armed conflict with half-starved tool users like ourselves. Those who were better at strategizing, organizing and communicating with ever larger groups consistantly won reproductive rights by annihilating enemies and impregnating their females.

Humans are born premature and helpless compared to other animals because our brains are too big to be born naturally. Birth is extremely dangerous for females and it causes them excruciating pain. Our brains are resource-hungry and prone to all manner of defect. They begin to deterioriate by age 15.

There is nothing natural about them and if removed from this state of stimulation and competition they would begin to revert to a more sustainable size with each gen. Good ones are rare and dont last very long. Bad ones predominate.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.1 / 5 (7) Apr 20, 2011
such deprivation would be a handicap, being detrimental to its fitness over time, and hence a threat to its own perpetuated survival.
Again you think like a hormoned-up hotblooded mammal. You are discounting trends which are already occuring. The most powerful and intelligent and accomplished cultures on this planet are the ones which are reproducing the least. Their machines extend their influence over those who havent reached this state.

It is these advanced cultures which will colonize space. MACHINES will extend their reach and influence. Gluttonous, wasteful babymakers will not be the entities ultimately inhabiting space. Things which are designed expressly for the purpose will be doing this, and they will only be where they are needed.

They will envision an indefinite future and will Plan for it. They will not be compelled to expend their resources beyond that which is expressly needed for survival and security.
PinkElephant
4.3 / 5 (3) Apr 20, 2011
near-constant competition and armed conflict with half-starved tool users like ourselves
We've been over that before, and it would likely derail this thread so I won't pursue it here, aside from this one point: if we owe our brains to armed conflict, then our bodies would be more suited thereunto than they in fact are. Were we built for war, we'd look more like gorillas, and we'd be at least as strong as chimps. What I see tends to the opposite: the strong/aggressive warrior-types among us are maimed and killed in battle, while the weak effeminate cutie-pies get to share all the left-over women, and the wily nerds get to preside over it all and manipulate the rest one against another...
There is nothing natural about them
Again, what's unnatural about the product of natural processes? (You weren't a Creationist, last time I checked...)
if removed from this state of stimulation and competition...
Sure, fitness is defined in the context of the environment. So what?
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (2) Apr 20, 2011
you think like a hormoned-up hotblooded mammal
No, I consider evolution as a dispassionate observer. Survival of the fittest, you know?
The most powerful and intelligent and accomplished cultures on this planet are the ones which are reproducing the least
Yet they are the same ones who also consume the most resources. Arguably, absent resource constraints, they wouldn't be so averse to reproduction in any case. They're just better at adjusting their reproductive strategies to the standard of living they desire for themselves and their children.
They will not be compelled to expend their resources beyond that which is expressly needed for survival and security.
Then they will stagnate, and eventually be brushed aside by the more ambitious. Life competes for space on Earth; there's no reason why life wouldn't continue competing for space in the Galaxy.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Apr 20, 2011
Were we built for war, we'd look more like gorillas, and we'd be at least as strong as chimps.
No, thinkers with good weapons consistantly kill monster gorillas and herds of mammoths. Strategy and weaponry are what began to win battles, not physical prowess. Our huge brains and puny bodies are evidence FOR this. Movies are full of clever weaklings out-thinking big dumb bad guys and winning females. We know this instinctively.

Size is also resource-hungry and if it is not useful it is selected out. And indeed it has been, in favor of dextrous gregarious big-brained fast-running apes who could anticipate an enemys movements and attack or ambush him when he was unprepared.
Again, what's unnatural about the product of natural processes? (You weren't a Creationist, last time I checked...)
Armed conflict is not natural. There is no precedent in the animal world.
So what?
So what what?
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (1) Apr 20, 2011
Just to clarify the above, I'm not saying that de facto immortal beings would be compelled to reproduce quite as much or quite as frequently as we do. I think it will be the immortality, rather than any other factor, that will ultimately limit reproduction.

However, it would not limit resource utilization per capita; quite to the contrary I expect this to increase practically without bound until it bumps against fundamental physical constraints. This would be the main impetus for expansion: ultimately each individual might want a star system or two all to themselves, just to feed their own needs and desires. And so on.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (1) Apr 20, 2011
Strategy and weaponry are what began to win battles, not physical prowess. Our huge brains and punyness are evidence FOR this.
Ok, let's do a Gedankenexperiment: imagine what happens when a 6'5" warrior with the physique of Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime and the reflexes of Bruce Lee confronts an otherwise equally trained, competent, and equipped warrior of 5'8", the physique of Pewee Hermann, and the reflexes of Lindsay Lohan after a night of clubbing. Who wins?

But I stop here, since this discussion is heading squarely in off-topic direction, as anticipated.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Apr 20, 2011
No, I consider evolution as a dispassionate observer. Survival of the fittest, you know?
Evolution is over. The era of intelligent design (meaning us and whatever comes after us) has arrived.
Yet they are the same ones who also consume the most resources.
I'm sorry, you see this as something else which is 'natural' and expected while I see it as a Contrivance meant to push technological development. It is an unsustainable, ruinous system which is nevertheless the only Way to produce the technological base for solving our current problems and establishing a permanence in space. It wont last. Im intelligent and dont need a 4 core iphone with a 3d display. Or a vacation home on the Black sea.
I expect this to increase practically without bound until it bumps against fundamental physical constraints.
And THEN what? They start consuming themselves?? Machines will see all of eternity and they will Plan for it. This is called Empire.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Apr 20, 2011
Strategy and weaponry are what began to win battles, not physical prowess. Our huge brains and punyness are evidence FOR this.
Ok, let's do a Gedankenexperiment: imagine what happens when a 6'5" warrior with the physique of Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime and the reflexes of Bruce Lee confronts an otherwise equally trained, competent, and equipped warrior of 5'8", the physique of Pewee Hermann, and the reflexes of Lindsay Lohan after a night of clubbing. Who wins?

But I stop here, since this discussion is heading squarely in off-topic direction, as anticipated.
Pewee and his buds would not have let things get to this point; they would have gotten on their really cool bikes, zoomed ahead of arnold and bruce and would be waiting for them with bazookas. Duh.

Because arnold and bruce, after all, arent all that smart in the real world. This is why the world is full of peewees and not arnolds (humans as compared to gorilla-sized humans)
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (1) Apr 20, 2011
Evolution is over.
Evolution will never be over. The mechanisms of change will become drastically different, but the drive to maximize fitness (by whichever criteria it is defined) will never go away.
Im intelligent and dont need a 4 core iphone with a 3d display.
Maybe you don't, maybe you will. Things have a way of transforming from toys and gimmics to life essentials -- especially as one generation replaces another. Now later on, as you get the option of upgrading your own brain (rather than you phone), I doubt you'll pass up the opportunity -- or would wish you never had it in the first place.
And THEN what? They start consuming themselves??
When you can't improve through scaling any longer, the next step is to optimize and refine the design. After that, I suppose you're as "perfect" and "all-powerful" as can be. At which point, I honestly can't imagine what's next.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Apr 20, 2011
And this is germaine to the topic. Fermis paradox assumes we would be seeing a universe full of cultures like ours. I dont think cultures like ours are compatible with the universe and would quickly advance to the stage I described, which is why we arent detecting them.
After that, I suppose you're as "perfect" and "all-powerful" as can be. At which point, I honestly can't imagine what's next.
But now you can, thanks to otto, because he just tells you what is next. Only much much earlier than this because machines are not stupid like us.
Evolution will never be over. The mechanisms of change will become drastically different, but the drive to maximize fitness (by whichever criteria it is defined) will never go away.
Like I said, intelligence will be the cause of change. At least where it matters to intelligence.
Limitless
not rated yet Apr 20, 2011
Interstellar travel will be much more efficient being done by entities designed for the task. Why send corporeals when machines are more suited? Why send corporeals with the tendency to overpopulate and revolt?


Ghost, not even machines, go up to virtual personalities - and they will multiply even faster then bio-persons. Consider todays Internet as their breeding ground, see how each page there multiplies to serve all of the users? And the Internet communication light speed (teleportation for virtual people) is in place already, waiting for them to come and conquer.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (4) Apr 20, 2011
Ghost, not even machines, go up to virtual personalities - and they will multiply even faster then bio-persons.
Why? What Purpose would they serve? They dont appear spontaneously. Virtual personalities have humans behind them with things to say and trouble to make. Machines have no such unnecessary compulsions.

And there are lots of ghosts and evil spirits on this site. I am otto. The original was consumed in flames but his spirit persists.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (5) Apr 20, 2011
And this is germaine to the topic. Fermis paradox assumes we would be seeing a universe full of cultures like ours.


False, the Fermi paradox assumes we should be seeing evidence of intelligence of any kind.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Apr 20, 2011
And this is germaine to the topic. Fermis paradox assumes we would be seeing a universe full of cultures like ours.


False, the Fermi paradox assumes we should be seeing evidence of intelligence of any kind.
Which would most likely be those which would be transmitting in observable frequencies- like us?
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (5) Apr 20, 2011
Which would most likely be those which would be transmitting in observable frequencies- like us?


The Chinese transmit in "observable frequencies" (not sure what unobservable frequencies would be but whatever), and their culture isn't like ours...

Would they use math like us Otto, or some kind of unobservable math?

Some things are going to be the same, others aren't. The point is that we see NOTHING, zip, zero, nada...we should be.
Limitless
not rated yet Apr 20, 2011
Ghost, not even machines, go up to virtual personalities - and they will multiply even faster then bio-persons.
Why? What Purpose would they serve? They dont appear spontaneously. Virtual personalities have humans behind them with things to say and trouble to make. Machines have no such unnecessary compulsions

Sorry, Otto :-) you still fail to think like a machine. Virtual personalities may exist on their own, without any "users behind". Even now machines multiply with no limit, evolve, using us, humans as an environment and breeding ground. What are their reasons to do so? The same evolutionary reasons, to win the game. Those who choose not to multiply... usually loose. The Western trends may be just the evidence of decline.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Apr 20, 2011
The Chinese transmit in "observable frequencies" (not sure what unobservable frequencies would be but whatever), and their culture isn't like ours...

Would they use math like us Otto, or some kind of unobservable math?
Well here MM let me help you out:
http://en.wikiped...servable

-And the Chinese culture is certainly 'like' ours in many ways including it's state of techno development relative to ours. Oh- we don't drive rickshaws- meinst du das vielleicht?
Sorry, Otto :-) you still fail to think like a machine. Virtual personalities may exist on their own, without any "users behind".
Sure they can but the question is why would a machine intelligence indulge in such a thing? Because it missed the sound of humans arguing? That's why the gods purged us in the original Sumerian flood myth. 'The din of humanity."
Even now machines multiply with no limit
Their limits now are economy, resources, and need. Same in the future.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Apr 20, 2011
For example...

Suppose a species chose to colonize it's system and at the same time remain in a largely animal form, perhaps for religious reasons? It would have to travel and subsist encased in much ancillary tech to enable it to do so. This would be cumbersome and wasteful, and the first offshoot of their own species which chose to abandon this format would gain enormous advantage. If the god lover species chose to fight, they would have to produce intelligent machines for the purpose anyway, and would not be near as good at as their opponents.

Machine intelligence without animal interference would be infinitely more capable of defending itself and creating whatever defenses it would need. Further, it would be infinitely better at anticipating our actions and preparing for them. it would travel lighter, waste far less energy, and know better how to prioritize.

In short your shaolin priests would be toast and not even know it. They would simply not be allowed to infest the cosmos.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Apr 20, 2011
The Western trends may be just the evidence of decline.
-As the condition of the egg declines just before the chick pops out? As the health of the old Phoenix declines right before it bursts into flame?

Do you really think the west is going to let the third world religionist fanatics have the world so as to ruin ALL of it, and destroy all the Progress and Stability that has been created here? No. They are being Managed into oblivion.

Those few who are pragmatic enough to emigrate will be saved. Those who stay behind will be dead one way or another, and their obsolete cultures along with them. It has always been done this Way. It is most likely exactly the same out THERE, or undoubtedly will be.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (3) Apr 20, 2011
@Otto,

I find it rather ironic how, a self-proclaimed (and very loudly so) anti-religionist, you sure do have a flare for worshiping at the altar of the mythical, elusive Illuminati...
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Apr 20, 2011
@Otto,

I find it rather ironic how, a self-proclaimed (and very loudly so) anti-religionist, you sure do have a flare for worshiping at the altar of the mythical, elusive Illuminati...
The illuminati were only people with a plan. Nothing mystical about them at all (oh I see you said mythical). Whatever I might proclaim is being done by Those who can assemble illuminati and religions and other Agencies, is wholly within the bounds of what people can do. Not gods, not aliens, but People with a Plan. I admire, not worship. I marvel. They are after all a pretty nasty bunch. Because They have to be.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (5) Apr 21, 2011
Well here MM let me help you out:
http://en.wikiped...servable


Otto let me help you out, either something is observable and hence useful for communication or it isn't. So by definition any frequencies being used by any alien civilization would have to be observable.

Did you mean they wouldn't be observable to US? If you did then that's what you should have said because it has different implications.

-And the Chinese culture is certainly 'like' ours in many ways including it's state of techno development relative to ours.


LOL, well no Otto that's one way they're NOT like us. If we got into a war with them they might as well be fighting these fictional aliens you are talking about. They're YEARS behind us technologically. I guess it depends on what you mean by "relatively". Relatively to the rest of the planet? No. Relatively to some hypothetical alien race? Yeah probably. Regardless my point still stands.
SteveL
not rated yet Apr 21, 2011
The rebels in Afganistan were years behind the Soviets technologically, yet they won their territory back. Yes, they had some help from the US and others in intel, small arms and supplies, but still... The VC were years behind the US in technology, but they still kicked the US out of Vietnam. Yes, the VC had help from China in bodies, weapons, supplies and intel. Had the Soviets or the US been motivated, the would have won. So, I'd not discount a motivated people whatever their technology. Motivation can make all the difference.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Apr 21, 2011
Dear MM
Perhaps on a scale relative to the article topic, that being eons, the chinese and we are identical.
Regardless my point still stands.
And what sort of point was that? A point relative to the fermi paradox and the detection window for civilizations, or some other point that is not so obvious? LOL.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (5) Apr 21, 2011
The rebels in Afganistan were years behind the Soviets technologically, yet they won their territory back. Yes, they had some help from the US and others in intel, small arms and supplies, but still... The VC were years behind the US in technology, but they still kicked the US out of Vietnam. Yes, the VC had help from China in bodies, weapons, supplies and intel. Had the Soviets or the US been motivated, the would have won. So, I'd not discount a motivated people whatever their technology. Motivation can make all the difference.


No, pulling punches makes all the difference. If the Soviets would have nuked Afghanistan or if we would have nuked Vietnam it would have been over...period. The sky is blue, and technology trumps everything in modern warfare.

Also even without nukes the Soviets had the Afghans beat until we gave them stingers...
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (5) Apr 21, 2011
And what sort of point was that?


That civilizations don't have to be culturally similar to communicate, or to detect communication and recognize it as such.

Read up the thread....
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Apr 21, 2011
ok MM
Let us deconstruct your disconnect. Otto says
And this is germaine to the topic. Fermis paradox assumes we would be seeing a universe full of cultures like ours.
To which MM splurts
The Chinese transmit in "observable frequencies" (not sure what unobservable frequencies would be but whatever), and their culture isn't like ours...
Ah. I see the brainfart here. Otto should have inserted this:
"[Culture]is a term that has various meanings...164 definitions of "culture"..."
-and then reminded MM of the topic, the cultural devt of a civilization relative to their detectability across interstellar distances. Then I would have chosen the appropriate def to suit:
"An integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for symbolic thought and social learning"
-which would include in a broad sense the relative level of technological prowess in the sense of APPLIED learning.

So. I think that clears things up.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Apr 21, 2011
Perhaps MM meant culture in the way Josef Goebbels did when he said, "When I hear the word culture I reach for my gun." -although Josef did say this in german, and they have a different subset of various meanings to consider. This is why words are not very useful at all to scientists, nicht wahr?
Modernmystic
1.7 / 5 (6) Apr 21, 2011
No culture was a stupid word to use to begin with period.

You should have said "Fermis paradox assumes we would be seeing a universe full of INTELLIGENCES like ours."

Which would have been closer to the point I think you were trying to make, but you honestly don't communicate your ideas very clearly on any topic so it's still hard to say.

Either way Fermi wasn't concerned with the fact that aliens think, or act like we do. His only requirement AFAIK was that they'd be detectable which covers a broad range of factors and variables.

Using the world "culture" here is like attempting to use the word "life" to describe the differences between species...it applies, but it applies pretty damn broadly. It's inadequate to say the least.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (2) Apr 21, 2011
Otto does have a point, and it's also my own main peeve with SETI. To date, search for extraterrestrial signals focused on detecting signals that are very clearly different from those in nature. For instance, signals that use a single carrier frequency and convey data by modulating its frequency or amplitude (FM or AM transmissions.) This is PRIMITIVE, and suffers from low bandwidth and vulnerability to interference.

I'd expect advanced civilizations to communicate in broadband (spread-spectrum), and to use multiple redundant and error-correcting encodings -- that is, assuming they even want to communicate across interstellar distances, and then also assuming they'd communicate via electromagnetic waves (having found nothing better.) Anyway, such communication will not show up as a nice clear line on an FFT plot; it will look a lot like background noise. We might well be listening in on a cacophony of alien communications all the time, without ever even realizing it.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (4) Apr 21, 2011
The only thing that makes sense to me is that they're using some principle of quantum mechanics we don't understand that isn't interceptable.

However, as to the "background noise" I think we're advanced enough to see patterns there...if there were any there at all. Moreover we'd still be able to detect "relic" communications of their "technological infancy" if they were very numerous. More still if they were super advanced we would probably be seeing some kind of engineering on a cosmic or galactic scale (who's to say we're not and mistaking it for a "natural" formation, but things seem pretty natural and isotropic no matter where we look).
PinkElephant
not rated yet Apr 21, 2011
as to the "background noise" I think we're advanced enough to see patterns there
I don't think so. One reason U.S. military employs spread-spectrum communications on the battlefield, is that they are so damn difficult to detect, intercept, piece together, and interpret. (The other reason, is they are also very difficult to jam. And the final reason, is that of course they offer higher bandwidth.)
we'd still be able to detect "relic" communications of their "technological infancy" if they were very numerous
Not really: it's very unlikely that infant technology would develop enough power to transmit over interstellar distances at detectable levels. Remember, the power of a signal fades as a function of distance squared. And even 1 single light-year is A LOT of distance (~6 TRILLION miles.)
we would probably be seeing some kind of engineering on a cosmic or galactic scale
Not to reject this out of hand, but like Otto says: how can we know what motivates ETs?
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (5) Apr 21, 2011
I don't think so. One reason U.S. military employs spread-spectrum communications on the battlefield, is that they are so damn difficult to detect, intercept, piece together, and interpret.


Wasn't aware of this, it's a good point. However wouldn't this assume they're trying no to get "caught"?

Not really: it's very unlikely that infant technology would develop enough power to transmit over interstellar distances at detectable levels. Remember, the power of a signal fades as a function of distance squared.


Very true, however at some point I think we'll have the tech sensitive and discriminating enough to "look". I'll grant you it isn't necessarily there yet.

Not to reject this out of hand, but like Otto says: how can we know what motivates ETs?


I agree, hence my ()'d qualifying statement, however intelligent life tends to leave traces on its environment...even unintentionally.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Apr 21, 2011
Ach nein...
Using the world "culture" here is like attempting to use the word "life" to describe the differences between species...it applies, but it applies pretty damn broadly. It's inadequate to say the least.
You may want to consider expanding your lexicon. I suggest GOOGLE:
"NOVA | SETI: The Search for ET...
Jul 23, 2008  That's why SETI scientists believe alien cultures might be leaking them, just like we are. "
-Culture is the correct and popular usage in this case. Ask GOOGLE.

You see PE? you see why I get a little flustered from time to time? Otto lacks cred.
I'd expect advanced civilizations to communicate in broadband (spread-spectrum)
Actually just the opposite I would think. Broadband is too wasteful. Tightbeam burst transmissions, which is another reason we might not be seeing/hearing/viewing/observing them. With maturity comes reserve. There would be no advantage to machine species to expend any more energy than was absolutely necessary. Less is more.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (5) Apr 21, 2011
OMG well, if GOOGLE and SETI use it it MUST be proper...

Because it's you Otto I'll point out that I'm being sarcastic.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Apr 21, 2011
OMG well, if GOOGLE and SETI use it it MUST be proper...

Because it's you Otto I'll point out that I'm being sarcastic.
So sorry dude I didn't want to clutter the thread with all 3 billion GOOGLE returns.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Apr 21, 2011
I don't think so. One reason U.S. military employs spread-spectrum communications on the battlefield, is that they are so damn difficult to detect, intercept
Tightbeam even more so. The military would/will be using this in increasing applications when it is able to track components. Semaphore is a form of tightbeam.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (5) Apr 21, 2011
OMG well, if GOOGLE and SETI use it it MUST be proper...

Because it's you Otto I'll point out that I'm being sarcastic.
So sorry dude I didn't want to clutter the thread with all 3 billion GOOGLE returns.


Funny I got a lot less than that and all of them were fictional sci-fi links...

LMFAO....
PinkElephant
not rated yet Apr 21, 2011
Broadband is too wasteful. Tightbeam burst transmissions, which is another reason we might not be seeing/hearing/viewing/observing them.
Well, of course it's going to be a collimated beam (there's no reason to broadcast in all directions equally, which is indeed too wasteful.) So, for instance something like a combination of variously tuned masers and possibly even infrared lasers (any frequencies above infrared are liable to be attenuated/scattered by the interstellar medium and/or gas/dust clouds.)

Still, the signal itself is likely to be spread across multiple frequencies, and reduntantly/ECC encoded. Also, yes they would be unlikely to waste power, so the data would likely be compressed over the channel, meaning the signal will be of very high entropy. So, the signal would be highly uncorrelated across frequencies, and on any particular frequency it would look like white noise. And they might use polarization encoding alongside or instead of AM or FM...
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Apr 21, 2011
LMFAO....

Might I point out that currently, ET is as yet science fiction.

According to word math, all I need do now is find only one respectable ref as evidence MM is lacking...

"Extraterrestrial life can encompass anything from microscopic amoebas to intelligent animal forms. To seek extraterrestrial intelligence, however, is to embark upon a search for extraterrestrial culture and communicative abilities."
http://www.bookra...ife-wop/

Dan Foley made it a holiday:
http://www.cnn.co...dex.html
 
-But then we need to ask the question 'lacking in what?' This is the trouble with word math- it's use always generates mote questions than it does answers. As far as MM goes, let's assume a deficit which is easy to remedy:
http://www.google...h/?hl=en
Limitless
not rated yet Apr 22, 2011
I'd expect advanced civilizations to communicate in broadband (spread-spectrum), and to use multiple redundant and error-correcting encodings -- that is, assuming they even want to communicate across interstellar distances, and then also assuming they'd communicate via electromagnetic waves (having found nothing better.) Anyway, such communication will not show up as a nice clear line on an FFT plot; it will look a lot like background noise

PinkElefant, ModermMystiq, as I posted before, ET, even slightly more advanced than we are,will have to use light speed in their everyday life, so their signals will be extremely doppler broadened (factor ~ 10**5 or more) and unrecognizable (dozens of years to decipher, will look like noise)
Limitless
not rated yet Apr 22, 2011
Do you really think the west is going to let the third world religionist fanatics have the world so as to ruin ALL of it, and destroy all the Progress and Stability that has been created here? No. They are being Managed into oblivion

Otto, actually I was never talking about third world; under "decline of the West" I meant a decline of humanity (where the West is the leader) and the rise of the machines. We stop spreading, they multiply. Multiplying already with almost light speed, via Internet, etc.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Apr 22, 2011
http://motherjone...s-mooney

-why we are obsolete and why the machines would kick our ass-
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Apr 22, 2011
PinkElefant, ModermMystiq, as I posted before, ET, even slightly more advanced than we are,will have to use light speed in their everyday life, so their signals will be extremely doppler broadened (factor ~ 10**5 or more) and unrecognizable (dozens of years to decipher, will look like noise)
We wouldn't be seeing them because they're not pointed at us.
PinkElephant
4.5 / 5 (2) Apr 22, 2011
We wouldn't be seeing them because they're not pointed at us.
Not necessarily. Due to quantum constraints, there is no such thing as a perfect beam with 0 dispersion. So even a near-perfect laser/maser beam would gradually spread out as it traverses large distances even through pure vacuum (but in reality there's additional scattering and diffraction due to interstellar medium and its inhomogeneities.) If there are enough of these beams criss-crossing the galaxy, odds of us crossing through one of those spread-out beams are non-negligible. Trouble is, we probably can't detect them, or if we can, we don't realize what they are (for reasons I stated above.)
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Apr 22, 2011
You say beam, I say burst platelets one photon thick. How much info could a photon platelet contain? What would they be saying to each other? (I'm here. Now I'm here. Now I'm over here.) Answer- not much. Machines don't need entertainment or company like us.
PinkElephant
not rated yet Apr 22, 2011
You say beam, I say burst platelets one photon thick
There's no fundamental difference between the two. Your "platelet" is just a beam that's switched on and then very quickly switched off. The "platelet" will still spread out (grow in cross-section) as it propagates.
What would they be saying to each other? (I'm here. Now I'm here. Now I'm over here.) Answer- not much.
Now you're reaching. There's no way for us to know what they might want to communicate to each other. For all you know, they might be operating a sort of galactic Internet.
Machines don't need entertainment or company like us.
Information is always valuable, and many minds are always better than one. And how would you know that they don't need entertainment or company? We're machines, too.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Apr 22, 2011
Now you're reaching. There's no way for us to know what they might want to communicate to each other. For all you know, they might be operating a sort of galactic Internet.
They're machines with no need for anything non-essential. And I'm postulating. Perhaps they would have more to say than us for they would probably all be busy gathering lots more data for the mother brain. Perhaps.
We're machines, too.
Now who's reaching? Machines will have no need to watch soaps or sitcoms or listen to music. They will have no emotions. They won't miss their assembly lines or worry about death in the emotional sense. I think these are fair assumptions.
And how would you know that they don't need entertainment or company?
These things are wasteful. Machines won't be designed or programed for them. Company is related to propagation. Entertainment indicates a need for relaxation and distraction. Machines will never need to 'kick back'. See my link above for why.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Apr 22, 2011
Animals don't need distraction either. Weve degenerated in that sense. Our brains are so overactive and intrinsically flawed that most of us dread being left alone with them for long. We need things to help us forget they're there.

Thinking machines will have pristine brains designed from scratch to avoid all the detractions their parent species was plagued with. Marked improvements in individual performance and group interaction will be justification. Most will be peripherals at any rate of the central cloud, purpose-built for specific tasks.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (2) Apr 22, 2011
Machines will have no need to watch soaps or sitcoms or listen to music.
But they still may create and consume art of various forms, they may engage in games either intellectual (like chess) or escapist (like World of Warcraft), they may engage in forms of "telepathy" by literally sharing snapshots of their minds. In fact, they may transmit themselves into remote pre-positioned bodies, as a way of safely crossing vast cosmic distances. And so on.
They will have no emotions.
You've been watching too much 20th century sci-fi. They will NEED emotions. It's not even a matter of choice. Without emotion, there is no motivation.
Company is related to propagation.
Are the individual servers in a computing cluster related to propagation?
Entertainment indicates a need for relaxation and distraction
Or, an emotional drive toward novelty -- a key attribute of any intelligence.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (1) Apr 22, 2011
Machines won't be designed or programed for them.
A very dubious assumption, indeed. Especially since these machines will have evolved directly and incrementally from biological organisms.
Animals don't need distraction either.
You've never seen animals at play?
Thinking machines will have pristine brains designed from scratch to avoid all the detractions their parent species was plagued with.
That would be a sub-optimal, rigid, unadaptable design. It would mean advanced intelligences knew even less than we already know today.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (4) Apr 23, 2011
But they still may create and consume art of various forms, they may engage in games either intellectual (like chess) or escapist (like World of Warcraft)
!?! Rubbish. It is you who have seen too many 'fear the robot' movies. Animals are composed of systems which degrade from disuse in order to maximize energy usage. This includes our brains. Our systems also tend to function best through movement. Digestion, circulation, immunity, toxin elimination all evolved in organisms in constant motion. Motion is essential to proper function.

So we have to exercise and tax our brains in order to stay healthy. Further, we age, and this state of increasing decrepitude begins to cause us pain and mental disfunction. Machines are and will be designed to experience no secondary loss of function due to their fretting over these things.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Apr 23, 2011
In the future there will be no art. Who needs it? There will be no music, no FICTION, no fashion, no style, no pompous pretense, no LIES. These things are responses to our flaws and not our virtues. Machine intelligence gives sentience a second chance to weed out all the unfortunate dead ends which forced evolution has produced in its incipient species. Humans are not the best that evolution has produced. We passed 'best' a long time ago and are now these bulbous-headed creatures with containers ill-suited for much of anything. Intelligence can do better.
Or, an emotional drive toward novelty
This sounds to me like the drive life has to inhabit new niches. Machines will not need to be fruitful and multiply and fill up all the nooks and crannies in order to survive. They will not spread blindly. They will have the senses to tell them about the universe and what they will need to do to survive. Wanton propagation would be a bane to a species which knew it's resources were limited.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Apr 23, 2011
You've never seen animals at play?
Growing organisms need to practice defending themselves in mock combat. Their systems need to be stressed to compel them to develop properly. That this is experienced as pleasurable is due to various juices flowing here and there which reward us for doing good. Unpleasant things like bullying and injury also teach us how to interact.

Will machines grow? Will von neumann peripherals be dispatched to unknown environs and need to adapt as they grow? No doubt. Will there be things that want to eat them? Maybe- depends on what local materials they will be made out of. They will no doubt be better at it because they will not be burdened with all the genetic baggage that organisms accumulate. They will be Designed. And they will not ever produce more of themselves than is needed to accomplish their Mission.

Design based on judgement, knowledge, and anticipation is much better than happenstance in producing results. This is called Empire.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Apr 23, 2011
That would be a sub-optimal, rigid, unadaptable design. It would mean advanced intelligences knew even less than we already know today.
No, they would be Designed to be just as optimal, flexible, and adaptable as they needed to be. There's a difference like I said between happenstance and Design. We are multitools- life itself is a multitool- and is thus wasteful, redundant, slow, inefficient.

The end Purpose of machine culture will be to survive, just like us. But they will be infinitely better at it. Perhaps their ultimate Mission will be to transform the universe from cyclic or accelerating expansion into steady state? How far ahead will They Plan?
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Apr 23, 2011
You've been watching too much 20th century sci-fi. They will NEED emotions. It's not even a matter of choice. Without emotion, there is no motivation.
!?! So- your thermostat needs to get motivated to turn on the heat? The stoplight has to WANT to turn green? Your dishwasher is feeling a little petulant and takes the day off? They are Designed to do what they do- no choice.
Mahal_Kita
1 / 5 (1) Apr 23, 2011

Hm.. I dare to postulate that the extinction event 65 millions of years ago in fact was a harvest by extraterrestrials. Any other comodity can be found in our solar system readily but.. bio mass. They of course made sure there remained seelings for the coming harvest. Somewhere around the 21st of December 2012?


Ten out of ten for imagination, Mahal. Unfortunately, 0 out of ten for plausibility or evidence. You were just joking, weren't you. You can always make your own smiley, you know! :)


Still, it's a new thought on the block, no? ;-)
Mahal_Kita
1 / 5 (1) Apr 23, 2011
Armed conflict is not natural. There is no precedent in the animal world.


Actually there is.. Groups of male apes hunt down a solitairy great ape from another group and some use sticks to kill.
Mahal_Kita
1 / 5 (1) Apr 23, 2011
The poor thing - if it had emotions - was SO alone for the millions of years it traveled through interstellar space. It discovered no life until.. it picked up elecromagnetic waves which seemed of intelligent origin. It spent hundreds of years to localize a sun wich seemed to be the origin of the signals. Then it began to emit welcome messages the only way it knew.. Some people with sensitive brains have picked up it's messages and thought back. They told it that it was not alone and that they would be it's friend. So now it is coming from the depths of lonely space.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Apr 23, 2011
Armed conflict is not natural. There is no precedent in the animal world.


Actually there is.. Groups of male apes hunt down a solitairy great ape from another group and some use sticks to kill.
Yeah I know about ape warfare but you'd have to cite an incident of weapons use and I don't think you can. Their fists and teeth are adequate. And that's male AND female apes that do this.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Apr 23, 2011
The poor thing - if it had emotions - was SO alone for the millions of years it traveled through interstellar space. It discovered no life until.. it picked up elecromagnetic waves which seemed of intelligent origin. It spent hundreds of years to localize a sun wich seemed to be the origin of the signals. Then it began to emit welcome messages the only way it knew.. Some people with sensitive brains have picked up it's messages and thought back. They told it that it was not alone and that they would be it's friend. So now it is coming from the depths of lonely space.
And when it got within range it was independently targeted by 3 different stations and vaporized. Poof. Too bad- wonder who it was? No matter. Too primitive and trusting to offer anything of value. Interlopers.
PinkElephant
not rated yet Apr 23, 2011
Animals are composed of systems which degrade from disuse in order to maximize energy usage.
You meant to say "minimize", didn't you?
This includes our brains.
Partly. However, the brain also suffers from a limited information storage and processing capacity, so must continuously purge itself of information and processing circuits that are not useful.
we have to exercise and tax our brains in order to stay healthy
Partly. However, the novelty-seeking instict is a key driver of exploration and learning in general. It is the "spirit of adventure" that drives discovery and experimentation. It is what motivates tinkering and innovation. It is what stimulates intellectual and experiential growth.
In the future there will be no art. Who needs it?
Art is an expression of abstract thought. I don't think there can be one without the other. Creativity is essential to progress of any intelligence or technology. Breadth-first searches are intractable; heuristics rule.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (1) Apr 23, 2011
So- your thermostat needs to get motivated to turn on the heat? The stoplight has to WANT to turn green? Your dishwasher is feeling a little petulant and takes the day off? They are Designed to do what they do- no choice.
They are also not examples of intelligent beings.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Apr 23, 2011
You meant to say "minimize", didn't you?
I meant maximize efficient usage.
Partly. However, the novelty-seeking instict is a key driver of exploration and learning in general.
No it's not. Survival depends upon learning about our environment, and inhabiting as many niches as possible. Pop pressure makes this happen. People who fit in their environments have little compulsion to explore- they are busy overrunning it to compel the next gen to pioneer.
"spirit of adventure"
That too is lyrical crap meant to sell adventure tales and vacation packages. Picture yourself as an aborigine, in a small tribe in a hostile world. You really have an inkling to see the unknown? If the tribe is full and youre the next gen out, you and your buds may want to go live on the mountain. You may want to find a route to outflank your enemies. That's about it.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Apr 23, 2011
Art is an expression of abstract thought
ART, religion, politics, etc were invented by aging idle crippled people to justify their share of food that they were no longer able to gather for themselves. As communal farming caught on and a few people could support a much greater pop, these things burgeoned. Art is an expression of a desire to survive by indirect means. As pops shrink to pre-agricultural levels and our time is occupied by meaningful pursuits, and an ever smaller percentage of us are born damaged and debilitated, these things will lose their purpose.
Creativity is essential to progress of any intelligence or technology.
Necessity is the mother of invention. Ask a machine.
They are also not examples of intelligent beings.
Perhaps your def of intelligence unconsciously includes wasteful, purposeless, pointless frivolity? Don't feel bad- we've all been sold a package of goods. Don't question- consume. Don't think- muse.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.8 / 5 (5) Apr 23, 2011
This idea of artificial intelligence-I suppose we're expecting something that would recognize itself in a mirror, or miss us when we're gone, or get frustrated, or want to know why we haven't found the Higgs yet, because all we had to do was look HERE. I think 100 yrs from now we will look back and realize AI has been with us for a long while. It's just something we didn't recognize.

Machines will do exactly what they are designed to do. No more no less. They will be excruciatingly consistent. They will only act like us if they are designed to, but that will be for our benefit not theirs.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (1) Apr 23, 2011
Survival depends upon learning about our environment, and inhabiting as many niches as possible.
That's two things, and they are quite distinct. You are avoiding the first of them, with respect to which a novelty seeking instinct is vital.
People who fit in their environments have little compulsion to explore
Wrong. We all have such a compulsion; most of us have learned to dull or divert it by consuming entertainment (books, movies, soap operas, etc.) Others among us have turned into news junkies (which would apparently include both you and me.) Some among us satisfy this instinct more directly, by actually involving themselves in scientific or engineering pursuits (to an extent, that's also true of me; don't know about you.) And some are still all-out explorers, in the mold of Richard Branson, etc.
You really have an inkling to see the unknown?
Novelty seeking is not specific to exploration of the environment. It encompasses all forms of learning and discovery.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (1) Apr 23, 2011
ART, religion, politics, etc were invented by aging idle crippled people
You're full of it. Children engage in art and religion before they can even talk. If anything, religion is an infantile state of mind, because at its root religion epitomizes oversimplification and self-projection or personification of the environment. As for art, I'm not focusing on consumer-grade junk, fashion ,or pop music; I'm talking about high art -- the sort that stimulates and pushes the limits of creativity, ingenuity, and imagination, and is the ultimate expression thereof. In many ways, high art is related to mathematics (for instance, classical music is highly mathematical in its structure), and it is probably just as universal a method of expression and communication among advanced intellects.
Necessity is the mother of invention
It may be necessary, but it's not sufficient. Without creativity and leaps of lateral thought, innovation slows to a crawl.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Apr 23, 2011
Wrong. We all have such a compulsion; most of us have learned to dull or divert it by consuming entertainmen
Wrong. That's a pretty big set you're opining for. Many of us have the potential to be pioneers but if we are content where and with what we're doing, it won't express itself. Filling a niche is hard work and takes most of an organisms time. It's only when it is inhibited from doing this that it will seek out another niche. This is economy of existence.
Again, too much time in those liberal arts electives. In the future there will be no liberal arts, no Disney, no ice cream, no ping pong.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (1) Apr 23, 2011
Perhaps your def of intelligence unconsciously includes wasteful, purposeless, pointless frivolity?
My definition involves consciousness, symbolic thought, communication, perception, memory, intentional/attentional behavior, plasticity, curiosity -- at a minimum.
Machines will do exactly what they are designed to do. No more no less. They will be excruciatingly consistent. They will only act like us if they are designed to, but that will be for our benefit not theirs.
That sounds like a description of a beehive, not an advanced super-intelligent civilization.

And who is this "we" you're referring to? Who is this "we" 1 billion years from now (assuming our progeny is still around then)? That's what *I* am talking about.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (4) Apr 23, 2011
Man i just lost a really good post. I feel a little frustrated because im a little tired I guess. Machines will never get tired. They will never need to sleep. They will never need something to take their mind off something else. They will never lose their train of thought, or lose good posts. And they will NEVER become frustrated or anxious or impatient.
That sounds like a description of a beehive, not an advanced super-intelligent civilization.
So? You've obviously succumbed to the emotion trigger word 'hive'. An extended Machine intelligence would be more like an organism with cells for specific purposes, all interconnected and in constant contact. We see this trend today. The Internet, the cloud, English. How soon before our implants are feeding status reports to central command? How soon before everything is tagged and unstealable?
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Apr 23, 2011
You're full of it. Children engage in art and religion before they can even talk.
Children engage in exercising their bodies and their intellects, hand/eye coordination, etc. They eat paste because it strengthens their immune systems. Teachers call this art because that's what they learned to call it in liberal arts school.
It's like ice cream. It's nice to have but if it didn't exist we would not miss it. It is superfluous.

In the future there will be no liberal arts, no Disney, no ping pong. The only interest that machines will have with the superfluous will be to identify it and weed it out. The revolution will entail a few hundred years I should guess of separating out the value from the valueless in the store of accumulated human knowledge. Ice cream will be on the pile right next to the entire legal profession. Machines won't lie and won't need lawyers. And with them in charge and us fixed, neither will we.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Apr 23, 2011
As for art, I'm not focusing on consumer-grade junk, fashion ,or pop music; I'm talking about high art -- the sort that stimulates and pushes the limits of creativity, ingenuity, and imagination, and is the ultimate expression thereof.
What makes you think there's a difference? You think art generates intricate thoughts because you are told it does. Like philosophy. Useless diversion for a different subset. It is consumerism, propaganda, illusion. On the pile it goes. Machines will need no such 'stimulus' for sluggish circuitry or informed conversation at dinner parties.
In many ways, high art is related to mathematics (for instance, classical music is highly mathematical in its structure)
So? So is surfboarding I guess. Are you saying we need art to teach us math?? Machines will know math with no need to practice it. They wouldn't 'enjoy' surfing or Brahms. On the pile.

And children don't do religion unless it's worshipping Bieber. Where'd you get that?
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (1) Apr 23, 2011
You've obviously succumbed to the emotion trigger word 'hive'.
No, I'm just saying that what you describe doesn't require any intelligence above that of an insect.
You think art generates intricate thoughts because you are told it does.
No, because it actually does. I can personally testify to it, and I'm sorry for you if you cannot. Perhaps, you haven't been exposed to enough of that liberal arts curriculum, and in addition to that, somehow managed to forget what it was like to be a child...
Are you saying we need art to teach us math??
No, I'm saying that being incapable of art makes any intelligence uncreative and unadaptable.
And children don't do religion unless it's worshipping Bieber. Where'd you get that?
Talking to animals, monsters under the bed, imaginary friends, obsession with magic and fairy tales, etc. You really don't remember your childhood, do you? Or perhaps you spent it in a coma...
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (1) Apr 23, 2011
That's a pretty big set you're opining for.
That would be the set of all humans who have ever made the following statement:

"I'm bored."
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Apr 24, 2011
No, I'm saying that being incapable of art makes any intelligence uncreative and unadaptable.
From your own perspective that is, is what you're saying. I'm saying that art only makes artists more creative and adaptable and has had little effect on human progress other than to slow it down by diverting otherwise productive minds. It reinforces illusion and fantasy- never good. It is pretense- good for dividing people, not uniting them. Like religion. Hey, otto has found another icon to smash-
You really don't remember your childhood, do you? Or perhaps you spent it in a coma...
Naw I just grew up and realized fantasy and pretend is for kids. Everybody indulges. That don't make it right. Fantasy is no substitute for reality. Machines will tell you this.
"I'm bored."
Idle minds are the devils playground, which explains most of history. Machines will tell you this. Machines will never be bored. Their brains will not be working when it is not necessary for them to do so.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Apr 24, 2011
No, I'm just saying that what you describe doesn't require any intelligence above that of an insect.
Why because insects don't have little pictures of other insects on their walls or wear trinkets to make them appear more privileged or savvy than the other insects? Art is poop. It is just another form of social deception. 'I am more worthy/accomplished/capable because I know the proper big words to describe this here artwork, don't you feel the lesser?'

Art is a caste reinforcement without substance. It SEPARATES us. 'People who don't understand art' sounds suspiciously like 'people who don't accept god'. On the pile it goes. Aus den Fenster damit.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (5) Apr 24, 2011
Here we have just one example of the relative value society places on liberal arts:
"Post-bubble, perhaps students -- and employers, not to mention parents and lenders -- will focus instead on education that fosters economic value. And that is likely to press colleges to focus more on providing useful majors."
http://washington...de/80276

Here's another:
http
://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/16/philadelphia-orchestra-bankrupt_n_850133.html

Liberal arts is like ice cream. It melts and gums things up when it gets hot, like now. All those whiny artists. Who needs it? Let them play something that actually sells like black metal.

I think it is fallacy to presume that one gets more quality stimulation of neural circuitry from highbrow stuff than from, say NASCAR or paintball. Or even macrame or a private aircraft or coin collecting. I would have to guess that auto racing is better funded and generates more income than the NEA. No matter, machines will need neither.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.