[ExI] Aliens are likely to be AI
pharos at gmail.com
Sat Dec 20 09:53:45 UTC 2014
The Dominant Life Form in the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots
Written by Maddie Stone December 19, 2014
The reason for all this has to do, primarily, with timescales. For
starters, when it comes to alien intelligence, there's what Schneider
calls the "short window observation"--the notion that, by the time any
society learns to transmit radio signals, they're probably a hop-skip
away from upgrading their own biology. It's a twist on the belief
popularized by Ray Kurzweil that humanity's own post-biological future
is near at hand.
"As soon as a civilization invents radio, they're within fifty years
of computers, then, probably, only another fifty to a hundred years
from inventing AI," Shostak said. "At that point, soft, squishy brains
become an outdated model."
Begging a final question: How might superintelligent aliens view us?
Will our cosmic cousins see us as nothing more than convenient
biofuel, a la the Matrix? Or do they study us quietly from afar,
abiding by a Star Trek-esque maxim of non-interference? Schneider
doubts either. In fact, she reckons superintelligent aliens couldn't
really care less about us.
"If they were interested in us, we probably wouldn't be here," said
Schneider. "My gut feeling is their goals and incentives are so
different from ours, they're not going to want to contact us."
"I'd have to agree with Susan on them not being interested in us at
all," Shostak said. We're just too simplistic, too irrelevant. "You
don't spend a whole lot of time hanging out reading books with your
goldfish. On the other hand, you don't really want to kill the
So, if we want to meet our galactic peers, it looks like we'll
probably have to keep seeking them out. That may take thousands or
millions of years, but in the meanwhile, perhaps we'll upgrade our own
intelligence enough to level the playing field.
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