Alien hunters 'should look for artificial intelligence'

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TallyMan
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23 Aug 2010, 6:56 am

Interesting article.

Quote:
A senior astronomer has said that the hunt for alien life should take into account alien "sentient machines".

Seti, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, has until now sought radio signals from worlds like Earth.

But Seti astronomer Seth Shostak argues that the time between aliens developing radio technology and artificial intelligence (AI) would be short.

Writing in Acta Astronautica, he says that the odds favour detecting such alien AI rather than "biological" life.

Many involved in Seti have long argued that nature may have solved the problem of life using different designs or chemicals, suggesting extraterrestrials would not only not look like us, but that they would not at a biological level even work like us.


Full article:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11041449


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Willard
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23 Aug 2010, 11:44 am

SETI is a front for an establishment that is already aware of extraterrestrial presence.


Which do you suppose aliens prefer (before they start building robots), AM, FM or Shortwave?

More ridiculous human arrogance, to think that a species capable of interstellar travel would consider radio communication any more representative of civilization and intelligence than stone arrowheads.



Last edited by Willard on 23 Aug 2010, 3:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Helixstein
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23 Aug 2010, 1:39 pm

On a slightly irrelevant note - I think it is a gross assumption that UFOlogists and Cosmologists (the former recruits mainly cantankerous people) do not take non Carbon based lifeforms into the equation. In my humble, adolescent opinion, there is a higher chance (or equal, at least) of non Carbon based lifeforms exsisting. Think of all of the possible undiscovered elements that could be found on an extrasolar planet!


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MDM
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23 Aug 2010, 2:23 pm

@Helixstein
I do believe that a number of Cosmologists at NASA presume there is methane based life at mars, and have even made possible criteria of what would be needed for methane base life to exist.



daniel3103
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23 Aug 2010, 4:42 pm

If aliens exist, why haven't they already found us? Given the vastness of the universe, and its mindbogglingly old age, the odds are that, if there are intelligent civilizations elsewhere, some of them would have found us before we find them. The fact that we haven't been found suggests to me that there are no extraterrestrial civilizations, or few of them.

Also, all life on Earth ultimately descends from the same lineage. If the conditions on this planet were favourable to the development of life for many millions of years, why has life arisen only once? This suggests that life doesn't arise very easily, lending support to the hypothesis that there is little alien life out there.

If I come across as a killjoy, don't get me wrong. I would be very excited if aliens were indeed found, but I find the evidence sobering and that reluctantly makes me keep my hopes low.

As for the article, the problem is that the development by humans of artificial intelligence is still in its infancy, so we don't know what advanced artificial intelligence would look like. If we're looking for artificial intelligence as a sign of extraterrestrial life, we don't know what we are looking for.



ruveyn
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23 Aug 2010, 5:14 pm

daniel3103 wrote:
If aliens exist, why haven't they already found us? Given the vastness of the universe, and its mindbogglingly old age, the odds are that, if there are intelligent civilizations elsewhere, some of them would have found us before we find them. The fact that we haven't been found suggests to me that there are no extraterrestrial civilizations, or few of them.

.


Inhabited planets are in solar systems that are very far away from each other. Given that the speed of light is most likely the upper bound on transport speed intelligent species with space travel would have a hard time knowing about each other and visiting each other.

Look at SETI. All these years looking for intelligible signals from Way Out There and nothing has yet been found.

My hunch is that life exists on many planets but only a small percentage of it is intelligent and of that only a small percentage of that his manifested skills in space faring. So intelligent species that are curious and have an itch to travel are spread rather thin in the Cosmos.

ruveyn



daniel3103
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23 Aug 2010, 5:39 pm

ruveyn wrote:

Inhabited planets are in solar systems that are very far away from each other. Given that the speed of light is most likely the upper bound on transport speed intelligent species with space travel would have a hard time knowing about each other and visiting each other.


Yes, the odds of two-way communication between lifeforms on different planets are not good.

It makes more sense, for any civilization in the universe, to send a message out there intended to be received by other civilizations after the sending civilization has ceased to exist. Advanced aliens would have realized that, and, here on Earth, astronomers searching for extraterrestrial life must be aware of it too. Are we specifically looking for messages designed to be read after the civilization that sent them no longer exists? It would be interesting to think about what such messages would be likely to look like. Are we sending such messages?



Tollorin
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24 Aug 2010, 7:25 pm

Helixstein wrote:
On a slightly irrelevant note - I think it is a gross assumption that UFOlogists and Cosmologists (the former recruits mainly cantankerous people) do not take non Carbon based lifeforms into the equation. In my humble, adolescent opinion, there is a higher chance (or equal, at least) of non Carbon based lifeforms exsisting. Think of all of the possible undiscovered elements that could be found on an extrasolar planet!

All of the stable elements have been discovered. except for a few really heavy ones. If life had been born on carbon it's thank of it's versatility, few elements, maybe even none others, follow the criteria for life.



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25 Aug 2010, 12:03 am

Our search methods would not discover us before 1900. Statring then we have radiant energy, and the rise of Cancer, now with microwaves, the Bees. Intelligent life would get rid of this to survive.

Our other signal, The Bomb, means put them on the list to visit in a half million years.

We could go into space now, but we could never come back. Going to another star, means many generations space born, and raising the last to survive with a whole new set of fungi, bacteria, and large reptiles being the most likely life form.

Like it or not, we are the mutated survivors of reptile life.



ruveyn
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25 Aug 2010, 6:50 am

Inventor wrote:
Our search methods would not discover us before 1900. Statring then we have radiant energy, and the rise of Cancer, now with microwaves, the Bees. Intelligent life would get rid of this to survive.

Our other signal, The Bomb, means put them on the list to visit in a half million years.

We could go into space now, but we could never come back. Going to another star, means many generations space born, and raising the last to survive with a whole new set of fungi, bacteria, and large reptiles being the most likely life form.

Like it or not, we are the mutated survivors of reptile life.


Actually we all arose from a slime of one celled biota.

ruveyn



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26 Aug 2010, 5:46 am

We need a slime detector, for by the time we got there they could be us.



Grey_Area
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29 Aug 2010, 10:30 am

From a quite mind expanding article that explains how a spacefaring entity would be able to travel across interstellar and even intergalactic distances and communicate instantaneously with beings of its own kind without breaking any known laws of physics:

‎"A duty-cycle life form would probably not send out its signals in a continuous period of time but rather in short bursts separated by hundreds or thousands of years, perhaps to match its own duty cycles ... An evolving life form in space might take advantages of certain places within the galaxy. It would need materials, fuel, and energy to sustain itself-- its food. Perhaps the prime area for gathering such materials might occur in the place where all the atomic elements reside. Supernova halos might serve as an excellent source for harvesting the elements since novas create the heavy elements and throw them out along with the lighter elements. They might even take advantage of using an isolated black-hole as a massive gravitational slingshot to propel them to other galaxies. They might utilize stray star systems between galaxies as oasis points to gather energy for the long intergalactic voyages. So if the possibility exists for us to find them (if they so decide to send out signals to terrestrial beings), perhaps we might best find them at their feeding grounds. If we cannot find individual life forms, perhaps a multitude of them leave a detectable signature. If, indeed, these space creatures exit in the millions, perhaps we could scan areas looking for blinks in the sky (like camera flashes in a football stadium). Looking closer at Nova halos, black holes, and isolated stars between galaxies might reveal these flash signatures where they might tend to communicate with each other in shorter intervals.. These brief flashes would appear to us as random so we probably could not decipher them, but at least we might have some knowledge of interstellar life.."

Source: http://nobeliefs.com/death&timetravel.htm

I read that, and immediately thought of this: http://www.bigear.org/wowmenu.htm 8O

Shortly followed by this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rendezvous_with_Rama :D



TallyMan
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29 Aug 2010, 5:40 pm

Grey_Area wrote:
I read that, and ... Shortly followed by this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rendezvous_with_Rama :D


Excellent novel. I read that thirty years ago. Arthur C Clarke. :D


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