Sunday, July 02, 2017

An Existential Question

BRT has talked about extraterrestrial civilizations quite often as the chances of intelligent life residing in the vastness of the multiverse, from this rube's perspective, is a lock unless all advanced societies are suicidal to the max, thus leaving us all alone as the one chosen species, a notion rather questionable at best as the number of planets orbiting the trillions of stars out there is just too great to consider that our young and primitive civilization is the only option to a vast reality that extends far beyond the ken of man.

The anti-METI movement is predicated on a grim statistical likelihood: If we do ever manage to make contact with another intelligent life-form, then almost by definition, our new pen pals will be far more advanced than we are. The best way to understand this is to consider, on a percentage basis, just how young our own high-tech civilization actually is. We have been sending structured radio signals from Earth for only the last 100 years. If the universe were exactly 14 billion years old, then it would have taken 13,999,999,900 years for radio communication to be harnessed on our planet. The odds that our message would reach a society that had been tinkering with radio for a shorter, or even similar, period of time would be staggeringly long. Imagine another planet that deviates from our timetable by just a tenth of 1 percent: If they are more advanced than us, then they will have been using radio (and successor technologies) for 14 million years. Of course, depending on where they live in the universe, their signals might take millions of years to reach us. But even if you factor in that transmission lag, if we pick up a signal from another galaxy, we will almost certainly find ourselves in conversation with a more advanced civilization.

A civilization 5000 years more advanced would be gods without question. Something to think about don't you think?

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