Author Topic: Why We’ll Have Evidence of Aliens—If They Exist—By 2035  (Read 2374 times)

Offline TakeOff

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Are you implying anyone who works in SETI is crazy, because if you are that’s pretty indefensible?
Seth Shostak certainly uses the crazy alien hunter as part of his public persona. That's how most people perceive SETI, Seth strikes the right string in the public mind. I think that without him SETI would quickly dwindle. And they haven't found anything, so it is a natural joke to everyone. A project like this has to be handled with a sense of humor.

Offline Star One

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Here’s a new related SETI article from Jason Wright.

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One of the reasons SETI is hard is that we don’t know exactly what we are looking for, and part of that difficulty is that we still aren’t sure of who we are.  It seems counter-intuitive, but in order to be good at looking for aliens, we have to become experts at understanding ourselves.

http://sites.psu.edu/astrowright/2017/08/17/doing-seti-better/

Offline TakeOff

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Here’s a new related SETI article from Jason Wright.

Quote
One of the reasons SETI is hard is that we don’t know exactly what we are looking for, and part of that difficulty is that we still aren’t sure of who we are.  It seems counter-intuitive, but in order to be good at looking for aliens, we have to become experts at understanding ourselves.

http://sites.psu.edu/astrowright/2017/08/17/doing-seti-better/
That article is itself an example of "cultural myopia"!
The idea of intelligence and civilization is overdone. It is a self-glorifying geocentric perspective. No one has even the faintest idea as to what subjective consciousness is. Science can never even try to start to address the question because consciousness is an immeasurable non-objective existence. Yet our intelligence seems to build upon it, and hence our technology and civilization. We are so intelligent that we have no idea of what intelligence is! So what other non-objective non-measurable phenomena are out there, forming matter and energy like we do??

I do agree that looking for copies of ourselves is a practical approach, but the article totally fails with its claim to get out of this myopic perspective of searching for ourselves out there. Looking at ourselves in the mirrors of the space telescopes. The analogs with historic colonization on Earth can have a meaning for human colonization for space, since we are the same and repeat. But it can have no similarities with what completely different kinds of phenomena are doing. Europeans went to America to grow potatoes and tobacco. What has that got to do with anything else? I think that American history focus has taken over too much of the public thinking about these things.
« Last Edit: 10/08/2017 06:20 AM by TakeOff »

Offline RotoSequence

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I think that American history focus has taken over too much of the public thinking about these things.

Obsessing over "how awful American history is" has effectively become the dominant cultural movement in public universities in America. A myopic view isn't a surprise; the objective study of cultures has basically disappeared in the process.

In any case, it's irrelevant. We can look for optimal structures in nature and reasonably extrapolate that the same laws of physics will produce similar optimal results elsewhere, and the rules of telescope optics care not for culture or philosophy, no matter what planet they're built on.
« Last Edit: 10/08/2017 10:30 AM by RotoSequence »

Somewhere around the late 1960's Arthur C. Clarke predicted there was a 99% chance that we would contact intelligent ETs by the year 2000.  Ambitious predictions are often wrong.

Offline Bynaus

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I skimmed it but missed a compelling argument for why he thinks we will find something. Is it because by 2035 we will have thoroughly explored the LaGrange points and the Moon? I'm dubious of that timeline.

The way I understand it is that if the "10000 to 1 million broadcasting societies in the galaxy" estimates are right, by 2035 we will have surveyed enough near-by stars at sufficient sensitivity to have found the first broadcasting society (with high statistical likelyhood). That seems to be a fair claim.

Of course, these estimates might well be (and are very likely to be, in my opinion) way too high. Then, we won't have found ETIs by 2035, even if they exist (contrary to the claim of the headline of the article).

Online QuantumG

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I usually don't have an opinion on this kind of thing, but it really does seem like the problem of SETI is scale (with a little bit of algorithm thrown in, I guess) and the way to solve problems of scale is *not* the academic approach. Until we figure out a way to make profit from searching for extraterrestrial signals then we'll never find them. Okay, maybe never is too harsh, without profit we won't find them until the non-related economy of relevant technology reaches a point where the required scale is in the noise. i.e., if some other industry causes the abundance of (almost certainly space) radio telescopes you reach such a level that searching for extraterrestrial signals is just a side activity then we may have a chance of finding them. Otherwise we're just searching for a needle in a haystack with grad student labor... literally.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Star One

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Relevant to this thread.

Why haven’t we had alien contact? Blame icy ocean worlds

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Might ET be buried under too much ice to phone Earth? That’s what planetary scientist Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, has concluded may be delaying our contact with alien civilizations. Most extraterrestrial creatures are likely deep inside their home planets, in subsurface oceans crusted over in frozen water ice, according to a new proposal at this year's American Astronomy Society Division for Planetary Sciences meeting in Provo, Utah. The hypothesis could explain the lack of signals from other technologically advanced civilizations, a conundrum known as the Fermi paradox.

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/10/why-haven-t-we-had-alien-contact-blame-icy-ocean-worlds

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