We May Be Alone in the Universe, According to NASA

 




Astronomers are starting to believe that there are other beings in the universe besides ourselves. They see it as a math and humility issue. Why would our planet be the only one to develop a high-tech society when there are likely trillions of other planets out there that may support life?


However, if extraterrestrial life does exist, we haven't yet encountered it. (Probably.) You would think that with trillions of opportunities for life to emerge in the universe, we would have discovered evidence of intelligent alien life by now.


A team from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California is currently reexamining an outdated idea to shed light on this. According to the "Great Filter" theory, there may have been several other civilizations throughout the universe's history, but they all perished before they had an opportunity to communicate with us.


Even more horrifyingly, we appear to be "filtering" ourselves out of existence as well. In this way, knowing why we haven't encountered other civilizations—that is, what they could have done to extinguish themselves—could be the secret to preserving our own.


According to JPL astrophysicist Jonathan Jiang and his coauthors, "the key to humanity successfully traversing such a universal filter is... identifying those attributes in ourselves and neutralizing them in advance." The new study was published online on October 23 but has not yet been peer-reviewed.


The Great Filter's theory is not universally accepted in the sciences. Wade Roush, a science educator and the author of Extraterrestrials, said of the book, "It feels unduly deterministic, as if the Great Filter is a physical rule or a single looming force that confronts every advancing technological civilisation." "We don't directly have any evidence of such a power,"


The theory's influence, however, cannot be disputed. An economist from George Mason University named Robin Hanson first proposed the Great Filter back in 1996. Today, it is a mainstay of science fiction worldbuilding. It's dramatic, and for good cause. The fact that our cosmos appears to be essentially lifeless means that it is extremely difficult for advanced, explosive, and permanent life to emerge, according to Hanson.


He describes the potential for a civilization to develop affordable space travel and quickly colonize many other worlds as "explosive." According to Hanson's theory, there is something—or a number of things—that stops intelligent life from flourishing on its home planet, spreading to other worlds, and remaining around long enough to communicate with extraterrestrials like us.


At least one prominent supporter of the quest for extraterrestrial life has no issues with the hypothesis. Avi Loeb, a Harvard physicist, told The Daily Beast, "I think that is conceivable.


Jiang and his coauthors used a mirror to examine humanity in order to comprehend the Great Filter. They said that whatever seemed most likely to endanger us might also be a threat to intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. They compiled a short list of the greatest dangers to the human race, all of which, with the exception of one, are totally our own fault.


Yes, an asteroid may strike Earth with enough force to wipe out the majority of life. We may not always be able to stop that. However, the JPL team also believes that the other civilization-killers are likely to be self-inflicted. nuclear combat Pandemic. global warming AI that has become too powerful.


The existential hazards are attributed by Jiang's team to what they term as profoundly rooted malfunction in sentient beings like humans. The researchers warned that "dysfunction may snowball rapidly into the Great Filter."


But as Jiang and his coauthors emphasized, dysfunction is not unavoidable. They stated that "immaturity has its roots in the foundation for many of our conceivable filters." Growing up as a species would allow us to eliminate our nuclear weapons, transition to sustainable energy, control the worst pandemic-causing zoonotic viruses, and even improve technologies for avoiding planet-destroying asteroids.


The JPL team wrote: "History has proven that intraspecies competition and, more crucially, teamwork, has led us towards the highest peaks of creativity. All of these improvements require humans to work together. Yet we continue to promote ideas that seem to be in opposition to long-term sustainable growth. The list is endless: racism, genocide, injustice, sabotage, etc.


We might be able to overcome our own tendency toward self-destruction and defeat the Great Filter with the help of peace, love, and understanding—as well as some significant technological advancements. And it seems sense that other civilizations could succeed if we can cooperate to get past the filter. We should have faith that the other Great Filter survivors will one day encounter us because of our own survival.


Or perhaps not. Hanson believes that Jiang and colleagues had certain misconceptions about the Great Filter and its possible solutions.


According to Hanson, the precise thing that Jiang and his colleagues suggested as a means of ensuring our existence may end up being the thing that ultimately does us in. They clearly advocate for greater centralization of our civilization's government and control, according to Hanson. However, I believe that excessive government centralization is the most likely cause of our eventual Great Filter.


According to Hanson, certain of us have a greater chance of surviving and thriving the more decentralized society becomes. Think about remote homesteaders surviving a horrific pandemic or private space explorers—your Jeff Bezoses and Elon Musks of the world—founding settlements on the Moon or Mars. colonies that could survive even if a catastrophe annihilated everyone on Earth


Some detractors believe the Great Filter idea as a whole to be false. It's plausible that the reason we haven't encountered aliens yet isn't that they're all extinct, but rather that, well, we haven't. The cosmos is quite big. It's quite unlikely that there are billions of advanced alien civilizations nearby, even if there are. To eventually uncover them, patience and extensive searches are required.


According to Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute in California, "The Great Filter idea hinges on the supposed observational result that nobody is out there," The Daily Beast. But such judgment is far too hasty. We've just just started looking.

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