171. The Fermi Paradox: Why We Haven’t Met Aliens & What Would Happen If We Did

07 takeaways from this video:

00:00:05 The observable universe is about 90,000,000,000 light years in diameter and expanding, and hosts at least 1,000,000,000 galaxies which altogether contain as many as 1,000,000,000,000 stars. Our solar system alone, the Milky Way, is thought to contain as many as 400,000,000,000 stars and about 20,000,000,000 sun-like stars.

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Research suggests that there could very well be trillions of planets residing in a ‘habitable zone’ and capable of containing life.

So how is it not possible that we haven’t yet encounteredanother life form?

00:00:47 Assuming there are life forms residing outside of our Milky Way galaxy, the continual expansion of the universe means that galaxies are moving farther and farther away away from each other. Using modern technology it would take billions of years to even reach them, let alone begin exploring them.

00:02:13 According to the Kardashev scale, there are three categories of civilizations:

  • Type 1 civilizations are capable of controlling all energy available on its planet. Humanity is still too primitive to attain this level. Further, humanity isn’t predicted to reach this level for another few hundred years. That is, if we don’t destroy ourselves along the way.
  • Type 2 civilizations are capable of controlling its home star’s energy. A Dyson sphere is a ‘hypothetical megastructure large enough to encompass a star and capture most or all of its power output.”
  • Type 3 civilizations are capable of controlling all of the energy in its entire galaxy. To humans, this civilization would be god-like to us.

00:03:41 Theoretically, civilizations pass through ‘great filters’ as they move from type 1 to type 2 to type 3 civilizations. Survive these filters, and the civilization continues to exist and evolve. Fail to survive these filters, and the civilization is destroyed.

There are four main theories about the location of humanity with regard to ‘great filters:’

Theory 1: Humans are the most advanced civilization in existance. Humanity has defied the odds and successfully passed through all of the great filters, in which case we would be among the most advanced civilizations in existance.

Theory 2: There lie great filters ahead for humans. Humanity, and potentially trillions of other civilizations in the galaxy, are also currently in this process of going through the great filters, and are not guaranteed to survive. It is possible that our future technology, once activated, would immediately destroy our planet and ourselves along with it. In which case humanity can only look forward to its impending doom.

Theory 3: Humans can expect to be destroyed by an advanced civilization. There already exists a type 3 civilization capable of controlling all of the energy in its entire galaxy, and who patrols the galaxies destroying all other civilizations that reach a certain level of advancement.

In which case humanity can only look forward to its impending doom.

Theory 4: Humans are the only civilization in existance. Humanity is completely, and utterly alone in the universe. To date, we have no government declassified evidence proving there is any life besides ourselves.

00:00:43 In order for a civilization to move from planet to planet and colonize it, a transportation device must be assembled which is capable of sustaining itself almost indefinitely while permitting it’s passengers to survive and/or reproduce during the long journey. Further, the ship must contain everything needed to successfully colonize the new planet from scratch. Forget to bring just one imperative tool, or discover an obstacle you are not prepared for, and the whole journey was for naught.

To date, 99% of all species on Earth have died out. What makes humans think this might not be its fate as well?

00:02:00 There is no reason to assume that any other existing life forms are like us, nor that they abide by our same structures of logic and reasoning, needs and wants. There is also no reason to assume that were we to actually encounter another alien life form, that we would have a means of effectively communicating, exchanging, or building a relationship.

A Type 3 civilization (explained above) for example, may:

  • See planet Earth and it’s inhabitants as a mere means of their survival, despite our logical and passionate arguments against our destruction.
  • Be more motivated by culture than by our understanding of economics.
  • Have developed an artificially-intelligentnanotechnology-based ‘doomsday’ device so advanced that it is fully-autonomous and capable of mechanically seeking out useable planets and forms of life, deconstructing them into consumable components, using those resources available to them to build new space probes, and then repeating this process.

00:04:22 A matrioshka brain is ‘a hypothetical megastructure based on the Dyson sphere (mentioned above) of such immense computational capacity’ that an entire civilization could upload their consciousness into it’s very own simulated universe.

Humans haven’t yet identified the limits of technology, so we have no idea if our current technological path is safe or dangerous, nor how much farther we have to advance and innovate until we’ve reached those limits.

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