Archive for March 6, 2010

My Views on the Fermi Paradox

March 6, 2010 6 comments

The ‘Fermi Paradox’ is about lack of contact with extraterrestrial intelligent life even though odds favor the existence of multiple intelligent civilizations, even in our own galaxy. Many types and subtypes of explanations have been put forth to explain the lack of aliens visiting us. This post is about my version of the explanation, which is influenced by one subtype of existing explanations.

Many explanations are based on some version of “we are alone at this moment”. The people most likely to believe in such explanations are also very likely to believe that white men are the ultimate expression of evolution.

I digress and here is my logical train:

Interstellar travel requires a lot of energy, whether we are talking about sub-light or trans-light speeds. It likely also requires mastery of technologies such as partially biological lifeforms, very good artificial intelligence and the ability to move your mind from one ‘shell’ to another on demand. Without a whole bunch of synergistic technologies reliable interstellar travel is not possible.

The corollary to such abilities is that a civilization with such technologies, but acting like humans would destroy itself very quickly. Essentially only a species that has evolved past zero sum thinking can explore interstellar space without first destroying itself. The number of stars in the universe, or even our galaxy are very large, and there are many opportunities for intelligent life to evolve. Since evolution is a dynamic process, small differences in the starting conditions and circumstances can produce very different outcomes.

Therefore it is very likely that more than a few intelligent species would have evolved past zero sum thinking before destroying themselves. Once an intelligent species becomes a multi-stellar species it is, save for extraordinary conditions, immortal (species not individual). Aging or resource accquisition is not a problem for any species that can simultaneously exist in a number of synthetic forms, with varying “physiologies”.

So why don’t they visit earth to talk to us?

My answer is based on an interpretation of one of my memories. I remember observing pond water/ scum through a microscope and seeing flea-like creatures that was barely larger than a paramecium. Now these are fully multicellular creatures with jointed limbs, ” eyes” and their transparency allowed me to see their internal organs.

At that very moment, I wondered about what that arthropod “saw”. Initially I imagined that it would be a just a different perspective of what I was observing, adjusted for it’s “eyes”. It was only a few hours later, that I realized that what it “saw” was unique to it’s brain/ sense organ combination.

I am not sure it even realized that it was on a ‘hanging drop’ slide illuminated by a halogen lamp. Do you think it realized that someone with a much more complex brain was looking at it through technology that it could not comprehend, for reasons other than killing or eating it? Could I have communicated with it even if I wanted to?

Now imagine you are that arthropod.. and an alien species is the human watching it, once in a while with a bemused indifference.

Random Thoughts: 1

March 6, 2010 Leave a comment

I had posted this on another blog a few months ago. It is about why MBAs, Lawyers and Sycophants are bad for innovation and progress. Will explain the points in greater detail in future posts. This one merely summarizes one of the main reasons behind the ongoing demise of the west

In case you believe that innovation is not important, I suggest you should continue to believe in that delusion. Men who cannot see their limitations cannot think (or move) past them.

When you drive out the innovative wierdos and recruit yes men- you will not get innovation.

When you drive out people who think beyond the next few quarters and replace them with MBAs- you will not get real growth.

When you drive out people who understand what they don’t know and replace them them with ‘know it alls’- you won’t get knowledge.

When you replace job security, by the necessity to show “productivity”- you won’t get calculated risk taking

Replace those who can admit mistakes, with those who won’t- and you will never get progress.

Is that so hard to understand?

More on this later..