Do you want to phone E.T.?

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by ConRefit79, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. Ryan8bit

    Ryan8bit Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  2. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    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?
     
  3. DarthTom

    DarthTom Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    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?
     
  4. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    They are leaving the modern paleoanthroapologists alone in the rain forest because they are less evolved?
     
  5. DarthTom

    DarthTom Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  6. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    Scientists need proof. They may universally agree that they may exist, but until there is proof, that's as far as they'll go.
     
  7. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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...
     
  8. DarthTom

    DarthTom Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  9. throwback

    throwback Captain Captain

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    Some scientists have the idea that humans will last another 9,000 years, before we go extinct. (The Doomsday Argument)
     
  10. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Where does the 9,000 year value come from?
     
  11. DarthTom

    DarthTom Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Interesting. Popular physist Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson disagrees with Hawking on this matter. He thinks the aliens have perhaps already visisted and think us humans are too stupid to be of any interest.

    Huffington
     
  12. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    The Tyson argument could be extended to lend credence to the Hawking argument.

    If we are "too stupid" to be bothered with (I actually agree with this parameter of the posit), it could be additionally argued that, once we achieve some form of interstellar travel, we still may be deemed "too stupid" in comparison to other space-faring civilizations. Then we would have to be re-evaluated to ascertain if our stupidity and ignorance could pose a threat to these other space-faring civilizations. Through wild speculation, looking through a human lens if the situation were reversed, the response would almost certainly be "yes", and we're back to the whole original "we shouldn't be asking aliens to come visit us, as they may think we should be destroyed" argument. Not because the aliens are warlike, but because we are and they may believe that they would be doing the universe a favor by wiping us out. It would be through kindness and charity alone that we are allowed to survive in such a scenario. Either that, or the aliens would find a use for us in fighting their wars - "Hey, we'll let you live, but you need to bend the knee and do our dirty work now". Or they'll just flat out turn us into a slave race based on our perceived inferiority.

    So this is really the same argument, just from another angle - more evidence that we shouldn't talk to E.T. just yet.
     
  13. Ryan8bit

    Ryan8bit Commodore Commodore

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    Not really. In the video he says that he doesn't agree with Hawking because his analogies are all based on human interaction, and not alien-human interaction. Yeah, that's about all we've got to work with, but it's also the point that it's an appeal to ignorance. We can't possibly comprehend or understand something that's so far advanced, and we can't just presume that it's something just like us. It's like you said, wild speculation.

    Also, I can't imagine that a species with the capability of traveling between stars would actually want us for any slavery type purposes. If they can manage a feat like travel through the galaxy, I'm guessing they can either build efficient robots or genetically engineer lifeforms that are suitable to tasks. Humans and Earth would probably have very little value to them. That's part of the idea behind humans being "too stupid."
     
  14. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Humans are certainly not too stupid. Alien life is definitely extremely rare. And when something is rare, nothing will be considered too stupid. The analogy of a child randomly calling other houses doesn't apply, because children on this planet are not rare, they are common.


    Space travel is pure luxury. You will only travel to other star systems if you don't have any other problems left. It will never be used to mine resources because it costs more than it gains, it will also never be used to relocate the planet's population in case the planet's fucked up because other suitable planets are way too far away. It's highly likely that space travel will be so costly and time consuming that anything other than exploration is out of the question.

    Whoever visits our planet is going to be an explorer. And whoever visits our planet is going to be an enlightened mind who will not just start a war or dissect people. They will also not evangelize other cultures, because the situation is not comparable to the colonization and sea faring in the 14th to 18th century. You have to keep in mind that we already know that it was wrong, and we wouldn't do it again, and it's already certain that a highly developed space faring race will be far beyond fundamentalist religion, because - as we already can see - scienctific exploration changes fundamentalist religion to something a lot more tolerant.

    I don't think NASA astronauts would go around invading other planets, and so I don't think any alien astronaut would do it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2013
  15. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Alien psychology - there's no subject with more unknowns. Who could say what a truly alien species would think of us, or want from us? Anything we imagine is still limited by our own psychology.

    If we're ever visited by anything extraterrestrial, it would most likely (IMHO) be something like the Voyager probes. At best it might be a pseudo-intelligent probe, but almost certainly still limited to lightspeed communcations. Therefore anything that stumbles over us can't be an immediate threat, because it would take time for signals from the probe to reach the homeworld, and still longer for the invasion fleet to arrive. :devil:

    Still, if an alien species came here, who knows what they might want? Maybe they would turn Earth and the other terrestrial planets and moons into computronium, with or without our consent. If they think it's for our own good, how would we stop them?

    It's an interesting scenario, but the physical laws of the universe are going to keep us safe from aliens, and them from us.
     
  16. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    Well, talk about missing the point. Twice!
    Excellent job of viewing any possible aliens as having human motives. Which is totally unknowable and dangerous.
     
  17. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Sorry for nitpicking, but it is the stars that are rare (relative to expected travel speeds and costs) that make aliens rare. We don't have no clue how rare aliens are beyond that. They could be as near as Alpha Centauri and as far as ten galaxies away, and we have no way of telling. We've yet to find the means to reject the possibility of advanced alien life even around nearby stars, rejecting them or confirming them at distances further away might be forever impossible.

    This is an important distinction, because the rareness is solely due to the travel speeds and costs, and if we underestimated them significantly, then Alpha Centauri is suddenly the house across the street, and life suddenly becomes common even if there is as much as a tribe of space monkeys there.

    It would be even so if aliens perceive time in a different way. Or deal with long periods of time in a different manner. Or if they are on to colonizing the galaxy (which is not all that hard, by the way) – if they are everywhere, suddenly even the rare aliens become common for them, because they would have counted millions of us rarities along the way.

    So in all certainty, it is not "definitely".

    Or if we saw further than the end of our noses and did long-term plans for our survival.
     
  18. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I don't have a problem with calling out to the cosmos.

    Something will eventually cause an extinction level event on planet Earth, it's only a matter of time.
     
  19. DarthTom

    DarthTom Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    One astronmer estimated within the black lines is how far our radio signals have reached into the galaxy thus far since starting to broadcast 100 years ago.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. DarthTom

    DarthTom Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Here probably is another more accurate esimate:

    [​IMG]