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Thread: What do you think is the most likely explanation for the Fermi paradox?

  1. #991
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Why expect travel at all?
    I would assume resources, an AGI that exhibits exponential growth in a relatively short space of time will quickly use up local resources.

    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    A true AGI would have its own motives and resulting actions, which may be nothing like those of biological organisms. Without a reproductive urge, it might have no reason to spread itself all over space.
    Well we can only speculate on this based on our own experiences. But my guess, once it becomes sentient, then it/they would share one motive with us - survival.

    An interesting point that a AI scientist pointed out (cant recall who) is that one of the difficulties when programming AI is how and what morals and humanitarian values to code in. The problem being that there is not really one set of human morals that is accepted by all and the ones that are often evolve over time also. You only have to look at our own history, even just over the past 50 years how things have changed on what is socially acceptable and what is now not.

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    I am not sure there has been discussion of the Dark Forest theory, so here is a little info from an article.

    Dark Forest theory: A terrifying explanation of why we haven’t heard from aliens yet

    QUOTE: The Dark Forest solution explains why we haven't heard from aliens by positing that they are purposefully keeping quiet. The reasoning is laid out best in the science fiction novel The Dark Forest, by Liu Cixin. The plot of the book, the second in a series, concerns questions of how to best interact with potentially hostile alien life. In the novel, the argument is laid out like this: 1. All life desires to stay alive. 2. There is no way to know if other lifeforms can or will destroy you if given a chance. 3. Lacking assurances, the safest option for any species is to annihilate other life forms before they have a chance to do the same.

    https://bigthink.com/scotty-hendrick...rom-aliens-yet


    This has some similarities to this section in Wikipedia:

    An alien civilization might feel it is too dangerous to communicate, either for us or for them. It is argued that when very different civilizations have met on Earth, the results have often been disastrous for one side or the other, and the same may well apply to interstellar contact. Even contact at a safe distance could lead to infection by computer code or even ideas themselves. Perhaps prudent civilizations actively hide not only from Earth but from everyone, out of fear of other civilizations.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_...n_is_dangerous


    A philosophical view of the problem, from a decade ago:
    Will the Aliens Be Nice? Don’t Bet On It
    https://web.archive.org/web/20191001...ont-bet-on-it/


    Arguably the most famous science-fiction novel of all time is founded upon the basics of Dark Forest theory:
    The War of the Worlds (Wikipedia)
    Wells said that the plot arose from a discussion with his brother Frank about the catastrophic effect of the British on indigenous Tasmanians. What would happen, he wondered, if Martians did to Britain what the British had done to the Tasmanians?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_War_of_the_Worlds
    .
    Last edited by Roger E. Moore; 2020-Dec-27 at 04:39 PM.
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    I would argue the likelihood that Dark Forest theory is common to all intelligent species who are aware of what they have done to rival species, civilizations, etc. from their own history. In other words, we are not the only galactic species that has wiped out indigenous folk from our own planet (e.g., native people of the Americas), and perhaps rival or neighboring species (Neandertals, pithecanthropoids, etc.).
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  4. #994
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    I would argue the likelihood that Dark Forest theory is common to all intelligent species who are aware of what they have done to rival species, civilizations, etc. from their own history. In other words, we are not the only galactic species that has wiped out indigenous folk from our own planet (e.g., native people of the Americas), and perhaps rival or neighboring species (Neandertals, pithecanthropoids, etc.).
    Other species do not react accordingly. We are the only life forms on our planet who willingly commit genocide. Certainly we have no reason to ascribe this as a universal trait.

    It is, however, a great way to make enemies. Any survivors of the attempt will become fanatically dedicated to wiping out the aggressors.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  5. #995
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Other species do not react accordingly. We are the only life forms on our planet who willingly commit genocide. Certainly we have no reason to ascribe this as a universal trait.
    Thank God for chimpanzees, then. They make war, proven by Dr. Jane Goodall.

    WIKI QUOTE: The Gombe Chimpanzee War was a violent conflict between two communities of chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania lasting from 1974 to 1978. During the four-year conflict, all males of the Kahama community were killed, effectively disbanding the community. The victorious Kasakela then expanded into further territory but were later repelled by another community of chimpanzees.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gombe_Chimpanzee_War

    If the above chimps had been humans, this might have passed as borderline genocide. The complete destruction of the Kahama community was the goal, achieved by murdering the males. Females and young were incorporated into the triumphant tribe.

    =====

    Humans also kill and sometimes wipe out intelligent animal species who cannot compete with us. Often, we eat them.

    Bushmeat (Wikipedia, see primate section)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bushmeat

    Whaling (Wikipedia)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whaling

    We eat dogs, too, but let's not go there. Octopi are regarded as highly intelligent for invertebrates, but they end up in sushi bars.

    =====

    However, chimpanzees also kill other intelligent primates and monkeys. They hunt bush babies with handmade spears, then eat them...
    https://web.archive.org/web/20150417...ars-150414.htm
    https://www.nationalgeographic.com/s...ls-study-says/

    ...and are known to kill and eat red colobus monkeys after highly coordinated group attacks.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimpanzee#Hunting

    In fact, there is evidence that chimps have nearly wiped out local groups of colobus monkeys.
    http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150...ed-out-monkeys

    =====

    So we have the examples of humans AND chimps.
    Last edited by Roger E. Moore; 2020-Dec-27 at 08:07 PM.
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  6. #996
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    A BBC article with more detail on chimpanzee warfare and comparisons with humanity, including arguments pro and con as to whether chimps and humans are inherently violent.

    http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150...als-fight-wars
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

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    OK, so two of the most closely related species act similarly. Not really a shocker there.


    What in the wide black sky does that have to do with aliens? They're a total unknown, and you're saying we can anticipate that they'd act like us at our worst!
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  8. #998
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    It is, however, a great way to make enemies. Any survivors of the attempt will become fanatically dedicated to wiping out the aggressors.
    Yes. That's one of the reasons I find the "Dark Forest" scenario implausible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    OK, so two of the most closely related species act similarly. Not really a shocker there.
    Except that behaviour comparable to war has been observed not only in chimps, but also in wolves and ants.

    The common factor is that all these animals are predators (carnivores or omnivores), and all are social. Warfare is a team event, after all...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    What in the wide black sky does that have to do with aliens? They're a total unknown, and you're saying we can anticipate that they'd act like us at our worst!
    That's it. Aliens are a total unknown. They might be a bad as us at our worst, or even worse, or they might be angelic. We simply do not know. We do, however, know what we and chimps are like, and that Earth has a long history of predator-prey relations among all creatures, extending over hundreds of millions of years. Predator-prey relations appear perfectly normal to us. Why would this be implausible on an alien world? Why should aliens be friendly if they too grew up on predator-prey worlds? Why should they be friendly to us if they have no idea of what we are really like? We can be nice, sure, but can you bet on that?
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  11. #1001
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    Predators do not wipe out their prey. That would be ...unwise. Modeling genocide on predator-prey relationships is not rigorous logic.

    But aliens need not be "friendly" to ignore us. Distances are just too great for anyone to be a mutual threat. Interstellar war, popular as it may be as a subject for entertainment, is not a plausible scenario.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  12. #1002
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Predators do not wipe out their prey. That would be ...unwise. Modeling genocide on predator-prey relationships is not rigorous logic.

    But aliens need not be "friendly" to ignore us. Distances are just too great for anyone to be a mutual threat. Interstellar war, popular as it may be as a subject for entertainment, is not a plausible scenario.
    Alas the Dodo and passenger pigeon! But the worm hole wars? Who remembers those these days?
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
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  13. #1003
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    Yeah, so the terms "predator" and "prey" are being stretched way beyond their accurate biological definitions here. I'm gonna drop talking about that aspect.

    As far as the "dark forest", I can't see interstellar weapons being worth their while. That same effort can be used to spread a species into space and even other stars making their extinction vanishingly unlikely.

    It's just such a low-probability scenario that it's not worth worrying about. Space is too vast, wars across such distances are not feasible.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Well, Anna Rasa's Mongoose Watch devotes a chapter to a war between two bands of dwarf mongooses
    SHARKS (crossed out) MONGEESE (sic) WITH FRICKIN' LASER BEAMS ATTACHED TO THEIR HEADS

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    I can only think of a few effective means of interstellar attack anyway. A kinetic kill vehicle (which would rely on constant acceleration-- a Bussard Ramjet, which is now a discredited concept) or nanotechnology. If the enemy has a universal deconstructor I doubt they'd be worried about us being a threat.

    Anything like an invasion scenario is, IMO, suited only to mass market sci-fi. It's got too many barriers to effective implementation.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Just as assault is not always murder, most wars are not wars of extinction, but fights over resources, land, or ideology. Full genocide usually happens when there is a major power imbalance in a limited area with closed borders; Otherwise the victims can move on to another location. Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, even the fate of Native Americans all reflect a conquered territory or totalitarian government, not a war.

    If aliens decide to exterminate our entire species, they'd have to find a way to make sure there were no survivors; either send autonomous probes to observe the destruction, or come in person. Otherwise all they're doing is laying the future foundation for a humanity existing solely for revenge and counterattack.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  17. #1007
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    Two articles, one an interview with Stephen Hawking, that tie into the Dark Forest hypothesis.

    ===

    Is Stephen Hawking Right About Hostile Aliens? QUOTE: In a recent interview with El País, famed physicist Stephen Hawking posited that an alien visitation would put Earthlings in the same position as Native Americans when Columbus landed on their shores. "Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they can reach," Hawking speculated.

    https://www.livescience.com/52439-st...le-aliens.html
    https://english.elpais.com/elpais/20...82_956639.html

    ===

    ‘There’s nothing to stop a group of hostile aliens from lobbing a big, heavy rock at Earth.’: Christopher Paolini on first contact. QUOTE: While a scenario like Independence Day will remain firmly in the realm of fiction, there’s nothing to stop a group of hostile aliens from lobbing a big, heavy rock at Earth at a decent chunk of lightspeed. Nor, if one wants to really speculate, from using the output of an entire star to drive an interstellar laser capable of frying an entire planet, or any number of other fantastical possibilities. Unlikely, but again, in a universe this large, rare events become almost guaranteed. But, some have argued, any species that has advanced to such a level must have tamed its wilder impulses. Surely they wouldn’t be as violent as humans. To which I say, “unlikely.” In order to survive long enough to build a technological civilization, a species would both have to eat and avoid getting eaten. This is no small thing, and was the primary focus of a great number of our ancestors.

    https://www.panmacmillan.com/blogs/s...a-sea-of-stars
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    I am not trying to argue that aliens we meet will definitely be warlike and hostile, or certain to drive us into extinction without much of a thought. The articles cited above point out that aliens could be willing to trade and coexist, but if they are more powerful than we are it becomes trickier for us to survive a negative encounter with them. Humans are the only technological "aliens" we know, and we don't have a good history in dealing with ourselves.

    George Washington said, "'To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace." Maybe he had a point in regard to the currrent discussion.

    In another thread a few years ago, I pointed out that if we really did find a Dyson sphere (Kardashev Type II civilization), we would be wise NOT to try to contract it right away. The power differential between us and them would be enormous, we being the weaker. Maybe shutting up and hiding for a while would be smart.
    Last edited by Roger E. Moore; 2020-Dec-29 at 08:44 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    What in the wide black sky does that have to do with aliens? They're a total unknown, and you're saying we can anticipate that they'd act like us at our worst!
    I would argue that aliens are not, in the context of an argument about "Where are the aliens?", a complete unknown. We are mainly interested in civilized, technological, social beings that might be capable of interstellar communication or travel. These are a lot of assumptions to chain together, but necessary to continue the discussion. If we assume there are no aliens, there's nothing more to discuss. If we assume we are the most intelligent life in our galaxy, again, nothing much to discuss. We are picking around for reasons why an alien race with the advantages we enjoy would not want to communicate or travel over interstellar distances. It puzzles us, making these assumptions but coming up empty when our math suggests we are not the only life around.
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, even the fate of Native Americans all reflect a conquered territory or totalitarian government, not a war.
    War factored hugely in all three scenarios.
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  21. #1011
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Anything like an invasion scenario is, IMO, suited only to mass market sci-fi. It's got too many barriers to effective implementation.
    I agree with this up to a point. An alien race that comes along might not want Earth (too germ-y) but might want the asteroid belt as a home, and thus take it without consulting us. And Jupiter and Saturn's moons, etc. The solar system no longer becomes ours. We could no longer expand our civilization, and our civilized lifespan becomes quite limited.
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  22. #1012
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Predators do not wipe out their prey. That would be ...unwise. Modeling genocide on predator-prey relationships is not rigorous logic.
    Then let us look at Lyall's wren, wiped out by feral cats. Predators that catch prey that cannot escape could indeed cause the prey to go extinct. A predatory alien fleet would find us tied securely to one place, Earth, possibly causing us to go extinct.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyall%27s_wren
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  23. #1013
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    I would argue that aliens are not, in the context of an argument about "Where are the aliens?", a complete unknown. We are mainly interested in civilized, technological, social beings that might be capable of interstellar communication or travel. These are a lot of assumptions to chain together, but necessary to continue the discussion. If we assume there are no aliens, there's nothing more to discuss. If we assume we are the most intelligent life in our galaxy, again, nothing much to discuss. We are picking around for reasons why an alien race with the advantages we enjoy would not want to communicate or travel over interstellar distances. It puzzles us, making these assumptions but coming up empty when our math suggests we are not the only life around.

    I've already said my thoughts on the matter of "where are they". The scale is just too big, and civilized intelligence is not a given.

    They might be able to travel an interstellar distance, but that's a long, long way from "colonize the whole Galaxy". It's akin to saying a sand grain is touching its nearest neighbor, therefore one grain covers the whole beach.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  24. #1014
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    I agree with this up to a point. An alien race that comes along might not want Earth (too germ-y) but might want the asteroid belt as a home, and thus take it without consulting us. And Jupiter and Saturn's moons, etc. The solar system no longer becomes ours. We could no longer expand our civilization, and our civilized lifespan becomes quite limited.
    And we'd do what while they're accomplishing all this? It's not like they'll instantly transport a whole Solar System of population between stars. They'll come in a fairly small amount and expand from there. Giving us time to react and counteract.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    I've already said my thoughts on the matter of "where are they". The scale is just too big, and civilized intelligence is not a given.
    No, but it is a necessary assumption for the discussion, that they are social, organized, and tool-using. That's what makes the argument interesting: why, if they have similarities to us, are they not at least talking.

    They might be able to travel an interstellar distance, but that's a long, long way from "colonize the whole Galaxy". It's akin to saying a sand grain is touching its nearest neighbor, therefore one grain covers the whole beach.
    Agreed, they just have to be able to get here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    War factored hugely in all three scenarios.
    The Nazis took power legally and by popular acclaim. War was not the cause or method of that genocide. It was a policy enacted in areas they already controlled.

    The Soviet government was ultimately a product of war, as was that of the USA, but a government not founded by violence could also be genocidal by practice.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    And we'd do what while they're accomplishing all this? It's not like they'll instantly transport a whole Solar System of population between stars. They'll come in a fairly small amount and expand from there. Giving us time to react and counteract.
    I doubt there would be much we could do about it if the difference between our technological levels is too great. They don't need to send a billion asteroid colonists, just a few, with a few more coming behind them, and more behind them, etc. Plus lots of higher tech than we have. Seriously, what could humans do? Watch them take the solar system, chunk by chunk. We could get the Moon, but if they wanted the resources of water, etc., they'd just ignore us and plow it up.
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  28. #1018
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    No, but it is a necessary assumption for the discussion, that they are social, organized, and tool-using. That's what makes the argument interesting: why, if they have similarities to us, are they not at least talking.
    I think I wasn't being clear enough. I was saying, the reason they're not talking is, they're rare. Life's probably much more common than the specific kind of social-organized-tool-using intelligence under discussion. It's a very specific set of characteristics that may not come together too often.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  29. #1019
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    The Nazis took power legally and by popular acclaim. War was not the cause or method of that genocide. It was a policy enacted in areas they already controlled.
    The Jews in underground groups and in Warsaw would disagree.

    The Soviet government was ultimately a product of war, as was that of the USA, but a government not founded by violence could also be genocidal by practice.
    Afghanistan War.
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  30. #1020
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    I doubt there would be much we could do about it if the difference between our technological levels is too great. They don't need to send a billion asteroid colonists, just a few, with a few more coming behind them, and more behind them, etc. Plus lots of higher tech than we have. Seriously, what could humans do? Watch them take the solar system, chunk by chunk. We could get the Moon, but if they wanted the resources of water, etc., they'd just ignore us and plow it up.
    We're close enough in delta-V to several large Near Earth Asteroids that we can claim and use before aliens spread too far. That gives us a foothold that we can expand on.

    As for the waves of settlers from afar, I can't see that happening. The energy investment needed for even one population group to get here is far to great for it to become an assembly line. It's a massive investment with, as detractors delight in pointing out, no returns.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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