[ExI] Drake Equation Musings

Jason Resch jasonresch at gmail.com
Mon May 16 00:41:13 UTC 2016

I've found the "Transcension hypothesis" as reasonable answer to the Fermi


Another nice (and similar) exploration of the trancension idea:



On Sun, May 15, 2016 at 3:38 AM, BillK <pharos at gmail.com> wrote:

> A Less Bleak Lesson from the Silent Universe
> May 7, 2016 by Rick Searle
> <
> https://utopiaordystopia.com/2016/05/07/a-less-bleak-lesson-from-the-silent-universe/
> >
> Quotes:
> The astronomers Adam Frank and Woodruff Sullivan have an interesting
> paper out where they’ve essentially flipped the Drake Equation on its
> head. If that equation is meant to give us some handle on the
> probability that there are aliens out there, Frank and Sullivan have
> used the plethora of exoplanets discovered since the launch of the
> Kepler space telescope to calculate the chance that, so far, we alone
> have been the only advanced civilization in the 13.7 billion year
> history of the universe. I won’t bore you with actual numbers, but
> they estimate the chance that we’re the first and only is 1 in 10
> billion trillion. I shouldn’t have to tell you that is a really,
> really small number.
> ----
> We do have pretty good evidence of at least one thing: if there are,
> or have been, technological civilizations out there none is using the
> majority of its galaxy’s energy. As Jim Wright at Penn State who
> conceived of the recent scanning 100,000 galaxies that had been
> observed by NASA’s Wise satellite for the infrared fingerprints of a
> galactic civilization  discovered. Wright observed:
> Our results mean that, out of the 100,000 galaxies that WISE could see
> in sufficient detail, none of them is widely populated by an alien
> civilization using most of the starlight in its galaxy for its own
> purposes. That’s interesting because these galaxies are billions of
> years old, which should have been plenty of time for them to have been
> filled with alien civilizations, if they exist. Either they don’t
> exist, or they don’t yet use enough energy for us to recognize them.
> -----
> Yet perhaps we should conclude something different about the human
> future from this absence of galactic scale civilizations than the sad
> recognition that our species is highly unlikely to have one.  Instead,
> maybe what we’re learning is that the kind of extrapolation of the
> industrial revolution into an infinite future that has been prevalent
> in science-fiction and futurism for well over a century is itself
> deeply flawed. We might actually have very little idea of what the
> future will actually be like.
> Then again, maybe the silence gives us some clues. Rather than present
> us with evidence for our species probable extinction, perhaps what
> we’re witnessing is the propensity of civilizations to reach
> technological limits *before* they have grown to the extent that they
> are observable across great interstellar distances by other
> technological civilizations.
> ----
> Since the industrial revolution our ideas about both the human future
> and the nature of any alien civilization have taken the shape of being
> more of the same. Yet the evidence so far seems to point to a much
> different fate. We need to start thinking through the implications of
> the silence beyond just assuming we are either prodigies, or that, in
> something much less than the long run, we’re doomed.
> -------------------------
> End Quotes.
> To me, that seems an optimistic interpretation of the Great Silence.
> Given the billions of galaxies we see and the billions of star systems
> in each galaxy, that humans are the only intelligent species is
> really, really unlikely. The other option, that all intelligent
> species quickly become extinct (in galactic time scales) gives
> humanity a very bleak future.
> So that leaves a more optimistic option.
> As Searle suggests, civilisations might hit technological limits that
> force them to stabilise at a level undetectable at interstellar
> distances. Mastering nano-tech might enable very complex civilisations
> to exist in small spatial dimensions.
> This is an appealing solution to the Great Silence. As previous
> commentators have noted, there has been plenty of time for just one
> exponential species to have colonised the whole galaxy. So that vision
> of the future is almost certainly mistaken.
> For long-lived civilisations nano-tech and sustainable energy
> efficiency looks good.
> BillK
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