as long as we don't gamble away a lot of time and money on the big unknown when there are big knowns to take care of right here in Eden
"What's one more meaningless act of violence on that zoo of a planet?
It would be appropriate.
When in Rome; burn it."
- State of the Art, Iain M Banks
"Man has always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much...the wheel, New York, wars and so on...while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man...for precisely the same reason."
Although we have not detected aliens, they may have detected us. Why then don’t they make an effort to communicate? Perhaps they are not interested in us. Michio Kaku uses the analogy of human contact with ants. When we come upon an anthill, he explains, we do not request to see their leader or bring trinkets to them and offer unparalleled prosperity through the fruits of our technology. Because of astronomical time scales, a civilization capable of visiting Earth could be many millions of years ahead of us and thus might find us uninteresting. Moreover, it would be unlikely that any such advanced civilization would find any resources on Earth that could not be found in numerous other star systems closer to their civilization. As Kaku points out, the main danger ants would face is not that humans want to invade them or eradicate them. Rather, we might simply “pave them over because they are in the way.” In this scenario, the danger would be if Earth got in the way of the aliens’ highway.
ZaphodB: Who's to say that intelligent life hasn't arisen elsewhere and then long since died out? We're not just alone - we're last.
Hairy Lobster: FauxScot: "We're deluded if we think we're any better than yeast in the eyes of stellar visitors."
That's an unfair comparison. Yeast makes beer. Humans also make beer but then they drink it themselves.
exogenous: From the paper:
Our model for probe replication is a very simple one. While a probe is travelling between stars, we assume it collects matter from the interstellar medium, and this is used to create a replica probe. We assume that the quantity of material collected during the flight is great enough such that the probe does not have to stop and mine for materials at any time ...
Those are some very generous assumptions. I guess you could tweak the model a little so that the first probe carries an excess of certain rare materials that it could pass along, but it seems that the probe is still going to have to serve as the equivalent of numerous factories and refineries.
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