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dyson-sphere-by-kerihobo

Image by Kerihobo.

While everybody is discussing the tantalizing possibility that this far off star with its strange dimming patterns hosts an alien megastructure, perhaps a Dyson Sphere under construction, there are even more exotic scenarios out there.

For instance, why not the ruins of one? One of the obvious (if pessimistic) solutions to the Fermi Paradox is that space is a war of all against all, with every surviving alien civilization soon realizing that they can’t afford to show their head above the cosmic parapets. Due to the vast distances involved across space and time, stealth is surely the decisive factor in space warfare, so the offensive reigns supreme over the defensive. Chuck a big, cool clump of dense matter at a very high velocity into a location where it is likely to intersect with the path of a rival space civilization and the guys at the receiving end would hardly have any time to know what hit them let alone where it came from.

It is thus possible that xenocidal aggressiveness is an evolved behavior across all surviving alien civilizations. Just as any good or trusting creature dreamt up by mortals and given flesh in the northern Chaos Wastes of the world of Warhammer gets instantly killed by stronger and more evil entities, so too, perhaps, the less paranoid and aggressive space civilizations get snuffed out as soon as they make their existence known to the cruel gods of the heavens.

Or maybe, Nick Bostrom is correct and we are living in a simulation – with the catch that computing resources are limited and cannot support more than a certain number of superintelligent civilizations and their subsimulations, to say nothing of some kind of Kurzweilian “the universe wakes up” intelligence saturation scenario. Maybe that explains the “supervoid.” A singularitarian civilization attempted to “wake up” the universe in an expanding radius from its home planet, and got their section of space Ctrl-Alt-Deleted by The Architect for their trouble. Since then, other advanced civilizations logically deducated what must have happened, and universally agreed – without any consultation, naturally – to adopt the Lannisterian code that everyone who isn’t us is an enemy.

Or maybe the very observation of KIC 8462852 at this moment in history is an elaborate trap. For instance, here is a particularly paranoid but not implausible scenario from a comment to a Less Wrong article by the Russian futurist Alexey Turchin on the risks of passive SETI:

A comment by JF: For example the lack of SETI-attack so far may itself be a cunning ploy: At first receipt of the developing Solar civilization’s radio signals, all interstellar ‘spam’ would have ceased, (and interference stations of some unknown (but amazing) capability and type set up around the Solar System to block all coming signals recognizable to its’ computers as of intelligent origin,) in order to get us ‘lonely’ and give us time to discover and appreciate the Fermi Paradox and even get those so philosophically inclined to despair desperate that this means the Universe is apparently hostile by some standards. Then, when desperate, we suddenly discover, slowly at first, partially at first, and then with more and more wonderful signals, the fact that space is filled with bright enticing signals (like spam). The blockade, cunning as it was (analogous to Earthly jamming stations) was yet a prelude to a slow ‘turning up’ of preplanned intriguing signal traffic. If as Earth had developed we had intercepted cunning spam followed by the agonized ‘don’t repeat our mistakes’ final messages of tricked and dying civilizations, only a fool would heed the enticing voices of SETI spam. But now, a SETI attack may benefit from the slow unmasking of a cunning masquerade as first a faint and distant light of infinite wonder, only at the end revealed as the headlight of an onrushing cosmic train…

Or maybe it really is something very banal, like a cloud of disintegrating comets…

 
• Category: Science • Tags: Existential Risks, Space Exploration 
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31 Comments to "Kic 8462852"
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  1. Chuck a big, cool clump of dense matter at a very high velocity

    Or, lots of small clumps.

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  2. Fears over new Seti plan to repeatedly broadcast greetings to habitable planets for hundreds of years dismissed as paranoia. Steven Hawking is a nutcase. Inclusive fitness is nonsense. If sci fi is any guide the aliens will be beautiful sexually voracious young women like the ones Natasha Henstridge and Scarlett Johansson played in films.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Ever since having thought of it (and having read The Killing Star and Jared Diamond's musings and other thoughts on the subject), it seems to me extremely irresponsible to do active SETI.
  3. @Sean
    Fears over new Seti plan to repeatedly broadcast greetings to habitable planets for hundreds of years dismissed as paranoia. Steven Hawking is a nutcase. Inclusive fitness is nonsense. If sci fi is any guide the aliens will be beautiful sexually voracious young women like the ones Natasha Henstridge and Scarlett Johansson played in films.

    Ever since having thought of it (and having read The Killing Star and Jared Diamond’s musings and other thoughts on the subject), it seems to me extremely irresponsible to do active SETI.

    Read More
    • Replies: @5371
    The idea that a significant proportion of extraterrestrial beings are located at the exact spot in technological development where they don't know about us now, but will if we conduct METI, seems extremely implausible to me.
  4. @reiner Tor
    Ever since having thought of it (and having read The Killing Star and Jared Diamond's musings and other thoughts on the subject), it seems to me extremely irresponsible to do active SETI.

    The idea that a significant proportion of extraterrestrial beings are located at the exact spot in technological development where they don’t know about us now, but will if we conduct METI, seems extremely implausible to me.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    If it is so, than the whole idea of METI is moot.

    But I think we know very little to say how much Active SETI increases our chances of being discovered. It might be very little, but it might be a lot, and we have no way of knowing this. Certainly Active SETI proponents think the possibility is non-negligible. If they are right, we should stop doing it because it is dangerous. If they are wrong, we should stop doing this because it won't lead to the discovery of ETI.
    , @Sean

    Flash Gordon (1980)

    Ming the Merciless: Every thousand years l test each life system in the universe.

    l visit it with mysteries, earthquakes, unpredicted eclipses.

    Strange craters in the wilderness. lf these are taken as natural, l judge that system ignorant and harmless.

    l spare it. But if the hand of Ming is recognized in these events, -

    - l judge that system dangerous. l call upon the great god Dyzan.

    And for his greater glory, and our mutual pleasure ...

    l destroy it utterly.

    ---
    Doctor Jerkoff: So it's my fault Earth is being destroyed?
    ---

    Ming: Precisely, Doctor. l thought it might amuse you to know this, before your mind is gone.

    Proceed with it.

     


    http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/feb/12/alien-search-wont-doom-planet-earth-say-scientists-who-want-to-contact-et
    Vakoch considers maths a good bet, and advocates beaming formulations of game theory that demonstrate reciprocal altruism. “In other words, if someone does something good for me, I do something good back.”
     
    These people don't really believe that there is anyone out there to contact, which is why they dismiss the dangers. Like the Strugatsky brothers' ostensible science fiction tales were actually complaints about politics on Earth, contacting spare aliens is a critique of how societies on this planet are organised. We have no idea who or what is listening, how they could respond if they chose, or if their policy could alter with an obviously deliberate attempt to contact them.
  5. @5371
    The idea that a significant proportion of extraterrestrial beings are located at the exact spot in technological development where they don't know about us now, but will if we conduct METI, seems extremely implausible to me.

    If it is so, than the whole idea of METI is moot.

    But I think we know very little to say how much Active SETI increases our chances of being discovered. It might be very little, but it might be a lot, and we have no way of knowing this. Certainly Active SETI proponents think the possibility is non-negligible. If they are right, we should stop doing it because it is dangerous. If they are wrong, we should stop doing this because it won’t lead to the discovery of ETI.

    Read More
  6. @5371
    The idea that a significant proportion of extraterrestrial beings are located at the exact spot in technological development where they don't know about us now, but will if we conduct METI, seems extremely implausible to me.

    Flash Gordon (1980)

    Ming the Merciless: Every thousand years l test each life system in the universe.

    l visit it with mysteries, earthquakes, unpredicted eclipses.

    Strange craters in the wilderness. lf these are taken as natural, l judge that system ignorant and harmless.

    l spare it. But if the hand of Ming is recognized in these events, –

    - l judge that system dangerous. l call upon the great god Dyzan.

    And for his greater glory, and our mutual pleasure …

    l destroy it utterly.


    Doctor Jerkoff: So it’s my fault Earth is being destroyed?

    Ming: Precisely, Doctor. l thought it might amuse you to know this, before your mind is gone.

    Proceed with it.

    http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/feb/12/alien-search-wont-doom-planet-earth-say-scientists-who-want-to-contact-et
    Vakoch considers maths a good bet, and advocates beaming formulations of game theory that demonstrate reciprocal altruism. “In other words, if someone does something good for me, I do something good back.”

    These people don’t really believe that there is anyone out there to contact, which is why they dismiss the dangers. Like the Strugatsky brothers’ ostensible science fiction tales were actually complaints about politics on Earth, contacting spare aliens is a critique of how societies on this planet are organised. We have no idea who or what is listening, how they could respond if they chose, or if their policy could alter with an obviously deliberate attempt to contact them.

    Read More
  7. Why would aliens want to kill us? Men kill each other to capture limited resources like arable land, hunting grounds, mineral deposits, women. But in space resources are probably unlimited. The vast majority of star systems and planets are probably devoid of life. If you need energy or mineral resources, the sources of them that are closest to you will most likely be uninhabited. Most of this stuff doesn’t have any owners. You don’t have to kill anyone to take it.

    There is a chance that aliens would fear that we’d grow and progress so much that we will eventually start using a substantial portion of the energy and mineral resources of our galaxy or of our neighborhood in it. In this scenario they’d want to kill our potential in the bud, as profilaxis. But so far we haven’t seen any evidence that anybody else has grown and progressed in this way. This latest thing is no more than a puzzle. And why would anybody need so much energy or minerals? To do what with it? To sustain a population of gazillions? To play with the laws of physics? Could having lots of energy or other resources conceivably help with the latter?

    In short, I’m not sure why aliens would want to kill us.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Spiders might be wondering why entirely peaceful housewives want to kill them. Weeds next to a road don't quite understand why road maintenance is intent on destroying them.

    We cannot understand the motives or predict the actions of something that is a million times more complex than our brains and a quadrillion times stronger than all countries in our entire human civilization put together.
  8. I’ve thought about this some more. If our sort of life is the only sort that’s possible in the Universe, then all alien civilizations would have needs that are similar to ours.

    If life is only possible with our kind of ocean water impurities, atmospheric composition, atmospheric density and temperature, etc., then aliens would be looking for planets that are exactly like ours. And if the path that life has taken on Earth is the only one that’s possible, they may turn out to be similar to us in lots of other ways. Maybe they’d even be able to breath our air and eat our flora and fauna, i.e. to use our biosphere as-is. And this exact kind of planet, with an already-existing biosphere of this sort, could be extremely rare. It could be the limited resource that aliens would want to take away from us.

    There’s also a possibility that there’s no life anywhere besides the Earth and a possibility that there are many kinds of life, most of which would find the Earth utterly useless and inhospitable.

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  9. The interesting thing is all of the speculation about the behavior of advanced civilizations. Sort of like speculating about God or God’s behavior when all that one does is project. My take on “advanced civilizations” is that they wouldn’t make it to that stage if they had kept the destructive baggage mankind carries.

    Baggage that is necessary to develop a mind capable of high technology and also baggage fully capable of destroying all that that mind creates.

    Look at man’s current position.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Aliens destroying humans might not even be "aggressive". We humans destroy countless creatures for mere aesthetical reasons. E.g. we find weeds (as opposed to lawn) repulsive, so we spend considerable energies to kill weeds next to our highways, only to make the highways aesthetically more appealing to us. We even regulate that you have to kill the weeds in your own garden and maintain nicer looking and regularly cut lawn.

    I'm also not so sure such an alien civilization should always be a unified entity. Many of us humans are killing our cousins the chimps for meat and our distant cousins the lions and rhinos for their trophies or their alleged (but actually nonexistent) aphrodisiac properties, while many other humans are trying to protect these creatures by joining environmentalist or animal rights groups or sending many likes and shares on Facebook.
  10. Occam’s Razor: we can’t find any traces of alien intelligence out there because there are no aliens.

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    • Replies: @Glossy
    Using that logic an ancient Roman geographer might have said that there are no antipodes because none had ever visited the Empire. They knew about the existance of the southern hemisphere, but could only speculate about its population.
    , @5371
    An ant doesn't know that there are any humans.
    , @anonymous coward
    It's completely irrelevant whether aliens exist or not.

    Faster-than-light travel and information transfer is impossible.

    This means that we will never meet or talk to an alien. Pondering the existence of 'aliens' is as productive as pondering whether ninja turtles exist in a parallel reality.

    P.S. Humans will also never live on another planet. This one is all we will ever have.

    , @Sean
    Pascal's wager.

    Based on the assumption that the stakes are infinite if God exists and that there is at least a small probability that God in fact exists, Pascal argues that a rational person should live as though God exists and seek to believe in God. If God does not actually exist, such a person will have only a finite loss (some pleasures, luxury, etc.), whereas they stand to receive infinite gains (as represented by eternity in Heaven) and avoid infinite losses ...
     
  11. @inertial
    Occam's Razor: we can't find any traces of alien intelligence out there because there are no aliens.

    Using that logic an ancient Roman geographer might have said that there are no antipodes because none had ever visited the Empire. They knew about the existance of the southern hemisphere, but could only speculate about its population.

    Read More
  12. Maybe they’d even be able to breath our air and eat our flora and fauna, i.e. to use our biosphere as-is. And this exact kind of planet, with an already-existing biosphere of this sort, could be extremely rare. It could be the limited resource that aliens would want to take away from us.

    It would be much cheaper to just build new biosphere in space colonies near their own planet.

    Read More
  13. @inertial
    Occam's Razor: we can't find any traces of alien intelligence out there because there are no aliens.

    An ant doesn’t know that there are any humans.

    Read More
  14. @inertial
    Occam's Razor: we can't find any traces of alien intelligence out there because there are no aliens.

    It’s completely irrelevant whether aliens exist or not.

    Faster-than-light travel and information transfer is impossible.

    This means that we will never meet or talk to an alien. Pondering the existence of ‘aliens’ is as productive as pondering whether ninja turtles exist in a parallel reality.

    P.S. Humans will also never live on another planet. This one is all we will ever have.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sean
    There have been transmissions going off into space for 60 years. Thirty light years away and a photon torpedo by return mail could arrive tomorrow morning. We cannot know the probability of an event that had it happened already we would not be here to talk about.
  15. (1) There are plenty of ways for the universe to be full of alien life (Drake’s Equation suggests as much) while being “invisible” to technological troglodytes like us.

    (a) Universe is a simulation as per Bostrom.

    (b) Superpredator hypothesis – Since offense likely >>> defense in space wars, keeping radio silence is crucial to survival. The naive get killed by “campers” as soon as they “spawn.” In which case:

    Why would aliens want to kill us? Men kill each other to capture limited resources like arable land, hunting grounds, mineral deposits, women.

    Security is the limited resource.

    (2) Why hasn’t intelligent life “saturated” the universe? Were 20th century sci-fi writers really the first intelligent beings ever to come with the idea in the universe’s 16 billion year history?

    I really doubt it.

    One possibility is that due to the very high latencies of interstellar communications, a superintelligent hive mind or other type of singleton – which I suspect might well be the default mode of any technological singularity, regardless of the precise nature of the biological base that life springs from – simply sees no need to colonize other solar systems let alone galaxies. They would have no effective control over it. Moreover, if the end state is characterized by universal paranoia, siring such “children” might even result in their own doom.

    Moreover, any such prolific “breeder”-type civilization will be seen as a very big threat, since higher population densities lead to greater risks for all in such a ruthlessly lawless system, and thus multiple alien civilizations might even temporarily banf together under implicit non-aggression pacts to instead concentrate their energies on destroying the “rogue” civilization. Perhaps the supervoid is an area of space where this mechanism failed once.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    However, if just once anywhere in the Galaxy a breeder civilization had taken off a hundred million years ago, its descendants would now have colonized the entire galaxy. It doesn't matter that they would be killing each other, I think the only evolutionarily stable strategy is colonization. Non-colonizers are few and far between, and they could easily be overwhelmed by just one colonizer type civilization.
    , @Stephen R. Diamond

    (a) Universe is a simulation as per Bostrom.
     
    I must say I'm dismayed that you take Bostrom seriously. The simulation "theory" is a recast of Berkeleyan idealism.

    Cranks like Bostrom also like to think that conclusions of cosmological depth can be deduced from the mere fact of our existence, by a feat of Bayesian statistics. Sophisticated philosophical backwardness.

  16. @Anatoly Karlin
    (1) There are plenty of ways for the universe to be full of alien life (Drake's Equation suggests as much) while being "invisible" to technological troglodytes like us.

    (a) Universe is a simulation as per Bostrom.

    (b) Superpredator hypothesis - Since offense likely >>> defense in space wars, keeping radio silence is crucial to survival. The naive get killed by "campers" as soon as they "spawn." In which case:

    Why would aliens want to kill us? Men kill each other to capture limited resources like arable land, hunting grounds, mineral deposits, women.
     
    Security is the limited resource.

    (2) Why hasn't intelligent life "saturated" the universe? Were 20th century sci-fi writers really the first intelligent beings ever to come with the idea in the universe's 16 billion year history?

    I really doubt it.

    One possibility is that due to the very high latencies of interstellar communications, a superintelligent hive mind or other type of singleton - which I suspect might well be the default mode of any technological singularity, regardless of the precise nature of the biological base that life springs from - simply sees no need to colonize other solar systems let alone galaxies. They would have no effective control over it. Moreover, if the end state is characterized by universal paranoia, siring such "children" might even result in their own doom.

    Moreover, any such prolific "breeder"-type civilization will be seen as a very big threat, since higher population densities lead to greater risks for all in such a ruthlessly lawless system, and thus multiple alien civilizations might even temporarily banf together under implicit non-aggression pacts to instead concentrate their energies on destroying the "rogue" civilization. Perhaps the supervoid is an area of space where this mechanism failed once.

    However, if just once anywhere in the Galaxy a breeder civilization had taken off a hundred million years ago, its descendants would now have colonized the entire galaxy. It doesn’t matter that they would be killing each other, I think the only evolutionarily stable strategy is colonization. Non-colonizers are few and far between, and they could easily be overwhelmed by just one colonizer type civilization.

    Read More
  17. @inertial
    Occam's Razor: we can't find any traces of alien intelligence out there because there are no aliens.

    Pascal’s wager.

    Based on the assumption that the stakes are infinite if God exists and that there is at least a small probability that God in fact exists, Pascal argues that a rational person should live as though God exists and seek to believe in God. If God does not actually exist, such a person will have only a finite loss (some pleasures, luxury, etc.), whereas they stand to receive infinite gains (as represented by eternity in Heaven) and avoid infinite losses …

    Read More
  18. @Drapetomaniac
    The interesting thing is all of the speculation about the behavior of advanced civilizations. Sort of like speculating about God or God's behavior when all that one does is project. My take on "advanced civilizations" is that they wouldn't make it to that stage if they had kept the destructive baggage mankind carries.

    Baggage that is necessary to develop a mind capable of high technology and also baggage fully capable of destroying all that that mind creates.

    Look at man's current position.

    Aliens destroying humans might not even be “aggressive”. We humans destroy countless creatures for mere aesthetical reasons. E.g. we find weeds (as opposed to lawn) repulsive, so we spend considerable energies to kill weeds next to our highways, only to make the highways aesthetically more appealing to us. We even regulate that you have to kill the weeds in your own garden and maintain nicer looking and regularly cut lawn.

    I’m also not so sure such an alien civilization should always be a unified entity. Many of us humans are killing our cousins the chimps for meat and our distant cousins the lions and rhinos for their trophies or their alleged (but actually nonexistent) aphrodisiac properties, while many other humans are trying to protect these creatures by joining environmentalist or animal rights groups or sending many likes and shares on Facebook.

    Read More
  19. @anonymous coward
    It's completely irrelevant whether aliens exist or not.

    Faster-than-light travel and information transfer is impossible.

    This means that we will never meet or talk to an alien. Pondering the existence of 'aliens' is as productive as pondering whether ninja turtles exist in a parallel reality.

    P.S. Humans will also never live on another planet. This one is all we will ever have.

    There have been transmissions going off into space for 60 years. Thirty light years away and a photon torpedo by return mail could arrive tomorrow morning. We cannot know the probability of an event that had it happened already we would not be here to talk about.

    Read More
  20. @Glossy
    Why would aliens want to kill us? Men kill each other to capture limited resources like arable land, hunting grounds, mineral deposits, women. But in space resources are probably unlimited. The vast majority of star systems and planets are probably devoid of life. If you need energy or mineral resources, the sources of them that are closest to you will most likely be uninhabited. Most of this stuff doesn't have any owners. You don't have to kill anyone to take it.

    There is a chance that aliens would fear that we'd grow and progress so much that we will eventually start using a substantial portion of the energy and mineral resources of our galaxy or of our neighborhood in it. In this scenario they'd want to kill our potential in the bud, as profilaxis. But so far we haven't seen any evidence that anybody else has grown and progressed in this way. This latest thing is no more than a puzzle. And why would anybody need so much energy or minerals? To do what with it? To sustain a population of gazillions? To play with the laws of physics? Could having lots of energy or other resources conceivably help with the latter?

    In short, I'm not sure why aliens would want to kill us.

    Spiders might be wondering why entirely peaceful housewives want to kill them. Weeds next to a road don’t quite understand why road maintenance is intent on destroying them.

    We cannot understand the motives or predict the actions of something that is a million times more complex than our brains and a quadrillion times stronger than all countries in our entire human civilization put together.

    Read More
    • Replies: @This Is Our Home

    Spiders might be wondering why entirely peaceful housewives want to kill them. Weeds next to a road don’t quite understand why road maintenance is intent on destroying them.

    We cannot understand the motives or predict the actions of something that is a million times more complex than our brains and a quadrillion times stronger than all countries in our entire human civilization put together.
     
    We are qualitatively different from spiders. We can understand things but spiders and weeds cannot.
  21. This Is Our Home [AKA "Robert Rediger"] says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    I can only assume that aliens are everywhere. Existing means being propagated so existence itself endlessly pushes propagation by filtering out anything that does not propogate.

    While we can imagine plausible scenarios where life chooses not to propagate itself, indeed we see it all the time with humans, this filtering process will only leave the life that remains better at and more determined to propagate.

    Seemingly this then begs the question of why are we allowed to exist by these super propagators? If the universe were full they would need our space.

    But the universe is not full, indeed neither is the planet, both are big and these things take time which means that there is no particular logic for aliens to wipe us out, not for billions of years anyway.

    So why no signals? And no contact?

    Either we don’t understand the signals and we are beneath being contacted or even noticed, but I doubt that this is the case. We are not ants and our ability to understand the universe is not negligible nor is our ability to recognise and query patterns.

    Or, alien life has declared our area a reserve. Something interesting for study or amusement or for sentimental reasons and is filtering all signals to keep it that way. Perhaps it is seen as a kindness as it allows us to continue to strive and invent new things without just being given everything on a plate and be made to feel utterly inferior.

    Do we not mostly do the same thing with the Andaman Islanders?

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    • Replies: @Glossy
    After the big tsunami of a few years back there was some concern about whether the Sentinelese survived it. They did. Humans make efforts to save particularly cute, interesting species from human-caused and natural disasters. If your theory is true (and it's plausible), a higher ET civilization might be moved to save us from a wayward asteroid or maybe even from ourselves.
  22. This Is Our Home [AKA "Robert Rediger"] says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @reiner Tor
    Spiders might be wondering why entirely peaceful housewives want to kill them. Weeds next to a road don't quite understand why road maintenance is intent on destroying them.

    We cannot understand the motives or predict the actions of something that is a million times more complex than our brains and a quadrillion times stronger than all countries in our entire human civilization put together.

    Spiders might be wondering why entirely peaceful housewives want to kill them. Weeds next to a road don’t quite understand why road maintenance is intent on destroying them.

    We cannot understand the motives or predict the actions of something that is a million times more complex than our brains and a quadrillion times stronger than all countries in our entire human civilization put together.

    We are qualitatively different from spiders. We can understand things but spiders and weeds cannot.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Of course, it was not to be taken literally.

    My point was that spiders to be found in European apartments do not harm us (they don't kill or bite us, don't spread diseases, are silent etc.), and the ladies killing them are peaceful. Same thing for weeds and road maintenance.

    In other words, it's possible for highly developed and peaceful creatures to destroy countless vastly inferior other creatures for no obvious reason (aesthetics or disgust). This could be applied to humans vs. vastly superior aliens: they might want to destroy us (or most of us, confining the rest to some small national park) even in the absence of a highly compelling reason even if they were otherwise peaceful creatures.
  23. @This Is Our Home
    I can only assume that aliens are everywhere. Existing means being propagated so existence itself endlessly pushes propagation by filtering out anything that does not propogate.

    While we can imagine plausible scenarios where life chooses not to propagate itself, indeed we see it all the time with humans, this filtering process will only leave the life that remains better at and more determined to propagate.

    Seemingly this then begs the question of why are we allowed to exist by these super propagators? If the universe were full they would need our space.

    But the universe is not full, indeed neither is the planet, both are big and these things take time which means that there is no particular logic for aliens to wipe us out, not for billions of years anyway.

    So why no signals? And no contact?

    Either we don't understand the signals and we are beneath being contacted or even noticed, but I doubt that this is the case. We are not ants and our ability to understand the universe is not negligible nor is our ability to recognise and query patterns.

    Or, alien life has declared our area a reserve. Something interesting for study or amusement or for sentimental reasons and is filtering all signals to keep it that way. Perhaps it is seen as a kindness as it allows us to continue to strive and invent new things without just being given everything on a plate and be made to feel utterly inferior.

    Do we not mostly do the same thing with the Andaman Islanders?

    After the big tsunami of a few years back there was some concern about whether the Sentinelese survived it. They did. Humans make efforts to save particularly cute, interesting species from human-caused and natural disasters. If your theory is true (and it’s plausible), a higher ET civilization might be moved to save us from a wayward asteroid or maybe even from ourselves.

    Read More
    • Replies: @This Is Our Home

    After the big tsunami of a few years back there was some concern about whether the Sentinelese survived it. They did. Humans make efforts to save particularly cute, interesting species from human-caused and natural disasters. If your theory is true (and it’s plausible), a higher ET civilization might be moved to save us from a wayward asteroid or maybe even from ourselves
     
    That's true. It's also a comforting thought.

    We would certainly stop a tsunami from killing the Sentinelese if it weren't too much effort.

    This thought process can get quite science fiction friendly if we continue with it and see us as a bonsai tree for a small time alien to prune and shape for fun or satisfaction. I'm sure it would be very fertile ground for the right writer with the alien or even competing playing aliens staging interventions through individuals like Jesus or Moses or whomever. I do not mean this wholly seriously of course but it is just plausible enough to make for a good set of stories.
  24. This Is Our Home [AKA "Robert Rediger"] says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Glossy
    After the big tsunami of a few years back there was some concern about whether the Sentinelese survived it. They did. Humans make efforts to save particularly cute, interesting species from human-caused and natural disasters. If your theory is true (and it's plausible), a higher ET civilization might be moved to save us from a wayward asteroid or maybe even from ourselves.

    After the big tsunami of a few years back there was some concern about whether the Sentinelese survived it. They did. Humans make efforts to save particularly cute, interesting species from human-caused and natural disasters. If your theory is true (and it’s plausible), a higher ET civilization might be moved to save us from a wayward asteroid or maybe even from ourselves

    That’s true. It’s also a comforting thought.

    We would certainly stop a tsunami from killing the Sentinelese if it weren’t too much effort.

    This thought process can get quite science fiction friendly if we continue with it and see us as a bonsai tree for a small time alien to prune and shape for fun or satisfaction. I’m sure it would be very fertile ground for the right writer with the alien or even competing playing aliens staging interventions through individuals like Jesus or Moses or whomever. I do not mean this wholly seriously of course but it is just plausible enough to make for a good set of stories.

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  25. @This Is Our Home

    Spiders might be wondering why entirely peaceful housewives want to kill them. Weeds next to a road don’t quite understand why road maintenance is intent on destroying them.

    We cannot understand the motives or predict the actions of something that is a million times more complex than our brains and a quadrillion times stronger than all countries in our entire human civilization put together.
     
    We are qualitatively different from spiders. We can understand things but spiders and weeds cannot.

    Of course, it was not to be taken literally.

    My point was that spiders to be found in European apartments do not harm us (they don’t kill or bite us, don’t spread diseases, are silent etc.), and the ladies killing them are peaceful. Same thing for weeds and road maintenance.

    In other words, it’s possible for highly developed and peaceful creatures to destroy countless vastly inferior other creatures for no obvious reason (aesthetics or disgust). This could be applied to humans vs. vastly superior aliens: they might want to destroy us (or most of us, confining the rest to some small national park) even in the absence of a highly compelling reason even if they were otherwise peaceful creatures.

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  26. @Anatoly Karlin
    (1) There are plenty of ways for the universe to be full of alien life (Drake's Equation suggests as much) while being "invisible" to technological troglodytes like us.

    (a) Universe is a simulation as per Bostrom.

    (b) Superpredator hypothesis - Since offense likely >>> defense in space wars, keeping radio silence is crucial to survival. The naive get killed by "campers" as soon as they "spawn." In which case:

    Why would aliens want to kill us? Men kill each other to capture limited resources like arable land, hunting grounds, mineral deposits, women.
     
    Security is the limited resource.

    (2) Why hasn't intelligent life "saturated" the universe? Were 20th century sci-fi writers really the first intelligent beings ever to come with the idea in the universe's 16 billion year history?

    I really doubt it.

    One possibility is that due to the very high latencies of interstellar communications, a superintelligent hive mind or other type of singleton - which I suspect might well be the default mode of any technological singularity, regardless of the precise nature of the biological base that life springs from - simply sees no need to colonize other solar systems let alone galaxies. They would have no effective control over it. Moreover, if the end state is characterized by universal paranoia, siring such "children" might even result in their own doom.

    Moreover, any such prolific "breeder"-type civilization will be seen as a very big threat, since higher population densities lead to greater risks for all in such a ruthlessly lawless system, and thus multiple alien civilizations might even temporarily banf together under implicit non-aggression pacts to instead concentrate their energies on destroying the "rogue" civilization. Perhaps the supervoid is an area of space where this mechanism failed once.

    (a) Universe is a simulation as per Bostrom.

    I must say I’m dismayed that you take Bostrom seriously. The simulation “theory” is a recast of Berkeleyan idealism.

    Cranks like Bostrom also like to think that conclusions of cosmological depth can be deduced from the mere fact of our existence, by a feat of Bayesian statistics. Sophisticated philosophical backwardness.

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    • Replies: @5371
    The argument associated with Bostrom, which from the then rapid progress of computational technology concludes that we are probably simulated beings ourselves, is far from original with him. Hans Moravec, for one, had published it many years previously.
    I share your opinion of the "doomsday argument".
  27. @Stephen R. Diamond

    (a) Universe is a simulation as per Bostrom.
     
    I must say I'm dismayed that you take Bostrom seriously. The simulation "theory" is a recast of Berkeleyan idealism.

    Cranks like Bostrom also like to think that conclusions of cosmological depth can be deduced from the mere fact of our existence, by a feat of Bayesian statistics. Sophisticated philosophical backwardness.

    The argument associated with Bostrom, which from the then rapid progress of computational technology concludes that we are probably simulated beings ourselves, is far from original with him. Hans Moravec, for one, had published it many years previously.
    I share your opinion of the “doomsday argument”.

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  28. I personally find this to be one of the most important and interesting topics (the survival of Western Civilization and the white race aside), so it’s a bit disappointing it didn’t draw more comments.

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  29. Interesting findings.

    It’s actually quite depressing how only some science fiction fans are species realists. It seems that most people believe that “intelligent” life forms are blank slates, just like we humans. (Whatever even “intelligent” means – would a species 100,000,000 years ahead of us even recognize us as intelligent? probably the same way as we recognize a chimpanzee as intelligent, sort of.)

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    would a species 100,000,000 years ahead of us even recognize us as intelligent? probably the same way as we recognize a chimpanzee as intelligent, sort of
     
    Actually, chimps are a mere 5,000,000 years behind us. 100,000,000 years behind us are maybe some birds and lizards. Do we recognize them as intelligent? Well, compared to insects, yes. But otherwise, I doubt anybody would think of birds or lizards as "intelligent".

    What makes us think that any being in the universe would even recognize us to be intelligent?
  30. @reiner Tor
    Interesting findings.

    It's actually quite depressing how only some science fiction fans are species realists. It seems that most people believe that "intelligent" life forms are blank slates, just like we humans. (Whatever even "intelligent" means - would a species 100,000,000 years ahead of us even recognize us as intelligent? probably the same way as we recognize a chimpanzee as intelligent, sort of.)

    would a species 100,000,000 years ahead of us even recognize us as intelligent? probably the same way as we recognize a chimpanzee as intelligent, sort of

    Actually, chimps are a mere 5,000,000 years behind us. 100,000,000 years behind us are maybe some birds and lizards. Do we recognize them as intelligent? Well, compared to insects, yes. But otherwise, I doubt anybody would think of birds or lizards as “intelligent”.

    What makes us think that any being in the universe would even recognize us to be intelligent?

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