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Science and Technology "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan.

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Old June 27 2013, 12:31 AM   #16
sojourner
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Re: Do you want to phone E.T.?

1. Would you really take a chance with that five year old and just let him continue to make random calls? What if he was calling random people in the local phone book?

2. Contrary to popular belief, our broadcasts aren't getting out that far. They fade into background noise after a certain point. A tight beam intentional broadcast on the other hand, can go quite far.

3. "Needlessly hostile" implies that it wouldn't be "needlessly easy" for some civilization that is thousands of years ahead of us to exterminate us. Those are not good odds.

4. Why take the chance? Better to wait as long as we can before announcing ourselves to the neighbors. Make sure we are secure in our capabilities first.

There are a lot more reasons why it's a bad idea than a good one.
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Old June 27 2013, 03:15 AM   #17
Ryan8bit
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Re: Do you want to phone E.T.?

1. I just don't think this analogy really holds up. The implication is that everything is local and dangerous when there is not even the slightest indication of such a thing as far as space is concerned. Traveling between star systems isn't going to be as casual as walking down the block. And even if it were, you'd think that any aliens then wouldn't be waiting on the chance of some radio signals. If they have the capability of traveling such great distances in reasonable amounts of time, then chances are they already know we're here. A flimsy radio signal isn't going to make much difference.

2. Yeah, I didn't mean regular radio broadcasts, but signals sent out by SETI and others deliberately.

3. Those odds aren't established. There's no way to know exactly what they are or if they even exist. My thought would be that it doesn't make sense for a civilization to use so much energy just to exterminate us, especially when we're really just contained here.

4. No amount of preparation is going to change anything. If there is a species out there that is a billion years more advanced than us, yet still hostile, then it doesn't matter if we wait a million years because they'll still be immensely more powerful and capable of annihilating us at any time. There is no catching up or sneaking under their radar. Either advanced species are hostile and we're fucked, or we're not. Radio signals aren't going to make a bit of difference.
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Old June 27 2013, 05:29 AM   #18
sojourner
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Re: Do you want to phone E.T.?

1. Not sure where you get that "everything is local"? If your trying to communicate locally, then by definition....

2. We've been sending out deliberate broadcast a lot more recently than the invention of radio. Most of our attempts haven't reached any destinations yet.

3. How do you know that for these aliens it would be "so much energy"? How tough is it for you to kill a bug?

4. Agreed, better to not bring attention to ourselves for as long as possible and enjoy life while we can. Which cockroach lives longer, the one hiding under the refrigerator or the one that tries to crawl up your leg?
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Old June 27 2013, 06:46 PM   #19
Ryan8bit
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Re: Do you want to phone E.T.?

For point #1, I just don't think the analogy works. It's a lot easier for a person to just pick up and walk down the street than it is for a civilization to reach other star systems. Yes, it's possible that it becomes more common, but just becoming more common doesn't automatically make it on the same effortless level as squashing a bug.

Think of the prevalence of air flight even. We've got it down to a point where it's not that complicated, but it still involves costs and time, and it isn't just effortless. And that's a fairly simple technology compared to interstellar flight. I believe that the more complex technology gets, things are going to be progressively more difficult in terms of just waving your hand and something happens effortlessly.

And even assuming that it is so common for a civilization to be able to wander about so easily, then why haven't they been here already? I mean, if we're talking bug-swatting levels of difficulty, then chances are they've been here and beyond. I don't think we're under any kind of refrigerator, so to speak. If any sufficiently advanced species exists, I'd think that they are well aware of us.
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Old June 28 2013, 02:10 AM   #20
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Re: Do you want to phone E.T.?

Aware? yes, possibly. Bothered by? maybe not yet. Why give them a reason?

As for flying. You do know it's a lot easier to build a machine that will fly today than it was to do 100 years ago? That's how technological advancement works. Things that were hard to do eventually become easier.
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Old June 28 2013, 05:14 PM   #21
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Re: Do you want to phone E.T.?

Why would radio signals be all that bothersome?

And yes, of course it's easier to build airplanes comparatively, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's as easy as snapping your fingers. Even in another 100 years, it will likely be easier than it is today (although I'd imagine at some point they will hit a plateau on that), but it still won't be as easy as doing something on a whim.

And that's just airplanes, which are a comparatively simple technology. I don't think all technological advancement implies infinite exponential increases. Each will have its limits, and I think that with more complexity will come lower limits.
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Old June 28 2013, 06:16 PM   #22
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Re: Do you want to phone E.T.?

I don't believe in exponential increases either. Leave that to the singularist crowd. But I do believe that a civilization 1000 years ahead of us will be capable of things we can only dream of.

Lets put it this way. History is scattered with examples of cultures meeting more technologically advanced cultures. How well did that turn out for the primitives ones? Even in cases where the more advanced had altruistic motives?
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Old July 2 2013, 02:45 PM   #23
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Re: Do you want to phone E.T.?

sojourner wrote: View Post
Lets put it this way. History is scattered with examples of cultures meeting more technologically advanced cultures. How well did that turn out for the primitives ones? Even in cases where the more advanced had altruistic motives?
Actually most modern Paleoanthropolists of ancient life and less evolved spcies on earth means leaving them alone today. Don't most scientists today leave for example alone in the rain forest who are less evolved?
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Old July 2 2013, 05:22 PM   #24
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Re: Do you want to phone E.T.?

They are leaving the modern paleoanthroapologists alone in the rain forest because they are less evolved?
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Old July 2 2013, 06:23 PM   #25
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Re: Do you want to phone E.T.?

YellowSubmarine wrote: View Post

But it was never discounted as a signal with ET origin and no phenomena, natural or human-made, was able to explain where it came from. Which does not mean that aliens exist, but to me it does mean that if aliens are all over the place, this is pretty likely to have come from them.
I thought it was pretty much universally agreed upon among scientific circles now that aliens do exist. It's just unlikely we'll ever see them because they exist so far away, unless they have FTL travel which as of now - we believe to be impossible.
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Old July 3 2013, 12:30 AM   #26
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Re: Do you want to phone E.T.?

Scientists need proof. They may universally agree that they may exist, but until there is proof, that's as far as they'll go.
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Old July 3 2013, 08:34 AM   #27
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Re: Do you want to phone E.T.?

sojourner wrote: View Post
Scientists need proof. They may universally agree that they may exist, but until there is proof, that's as far as they'll go.
Well, you could indirectly measure the number of aliens in the universe if you multiple the number of habitable planets in the universe by the probability of an abiogenesis process happening. If only we had any reasonable estimate about the latter...

And then if you multiple it by the probability of the evolution of sentience, you get an estimate about the number of alien civilizations. If we only knew that either...
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Old July 3 2013, 01:26 PM   #28
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Re: Do you want to phone E.T.?

YellowSubmarine wrote: View Post

And then if you multiple it by the probability of the evolution of sentience, you get an estimate about the number of alien civilizations. If we only knew that either...
As I understand it [and someone correct me please if it's wrong] one of the most unknown variables is how long average civilizations last?

Since the only sentient species on this planet has been around ~ 20,000 years and we have know idea how long we will last or if we'll kill ourselves - or become zombies - it's also as probable that many alien species existed for 50,000 years and then died off for a number of different reasons.

Technological advancement does not necessarily equate to immortality for a species.

The universe is billions of years old. Many aliens may have predated us and then died off long ago.
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Old July 5 2013, 03:27 AM   #29
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Re: Do you want to phone E.T.?

Some scientists have the idea that humans will last another 9,000 years, before we go extinct. (The Doomsday Argument)
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Old July 5 2013, 06:01 PM   #30
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Re: Do you want to phone E.T.?

Where does the 9,000 year value come from?
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