• RogueAI
    191
    "Eric W. Davis, an astrophysicist who worked as a subcontractor and then a consultant for the Pentagon UFO program since 2007, said that, in some cases, examination of the materials had so far failed to determine their source and led him to conclude, “We couldn’t make it ourselves.

    The constraints on discussing classified programs — and the ambiguity of information cited in unclassified slides from the briefings — have put officials who have studied UFOs in the position of stating their views without presenting any hard evidence.

    Davis, who now works for Aerospace Corp., a defense contractor, said he gave a classified briefing to a Defense Department agency as recently as March about retrievals from “off-world vehicles not made on this earth.”

    Davis said he also gave classified briefings on retrievals of unexplained objects to staff members of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Oct. 21, 2019, and to members of the Senate Intelligence Committee two days later.
    "
    https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nation-world/ct-nw-nyt-pentagon-ufo-unit-20200723-b3akzzy44zdgxc3bmhgko6nkgm-story.html

    If we have alien stuff, then it follows that interstellar travel is possible, which would make Dyson swarms and space habitats possible. So where are all the dimming stars we should be seeing from all the alien civs building all these solar collector swarms and habitats?
  • Banno
    8.9k
    No crash artifacts have been publicly produced for independent verification.
  • tim wood
    5k
    Smart folks acknowledge there's very likely lots of life in the universe, even in the galaxy, and likely lots of advanced life. What the storytellers gloss over are the problems of distance and remoteness.
  • Pfhorrest
    2.9k
    So where are all the dimming stars we should be seeing from all the alien civs building all these solar collector swarms and habitats?RogueAI

    If you were to star-lift a star, where would you put all the removed matter? Maybe... just dump it all in big lumps in orbit close to the star? Like a bunch of, what would you call them... hot Jupiters, maybe?

    Have we been finding a bunch of them around, or no?
  • 180 Proof
    1.6k
    @OP - Moot.

    :up:

    Freeman Dyson 1923-2020

    "The biggest breakthrough in the next 50 years will be the discovery of extraterrestrial life. We have been searching for it for 50 years and found nothing. That proves life is rarer than we hoped, but does not prove that the universe is lifeless. We are only now developing the tools to make our searches efficient and far-reaching, as optical and radio detection and data processing move forward." (2006)
    180 Proof
  • csalisbury
    2.6k
    1. If the prospect of alien contact is especially relieving, then:
    2. Imagine a world where aliens never come
    3. If (2) is painful, consider why it's painful.
    4. (3) has told you what, in your life, you can no longer abide. What is impossible to live with
    5. Determine what steps you can take to combat what is impossible to live with
    6. Witness the tiny empowerment you feel taking a few steps. Snowball that into the next steps. So forth.
    7. So forth and so forth
    8. The aliens finally arrive, only you no longer need them
    9. & That was the condition of their arrival all along. Interstellar barbecues ensue.
  • Caldwell
    235
    So where are all the dimming stars we should be seeing from all the alien civs building all these solar collector swarms and habitats?RogueAI

    Hi. So, is this the evidence you've come to believe should happen if they exist?
  • RogueAI
    191
    Hi. So, is this the evidence you've come to believe should happen if they exist? [/quote]

    Hi! That is the evidence I believe should happen if they exist AND have the technology to cross interstellar distances. Yes, their system should be filled with space habitats and energy collectors. It would make no sense for it to not be.
  • SubjectSuperject
    4
    Aside from the highly intriguing accounts (by US Air Force personnel) of encounters with AAV's in recent years, Fermi Paradox considerations are making it seem more and more a mystery why we haven't discovered evidence of any ETI's. Barring radical explanations (such as we are in a Simulation, and its parameters don't include any First Contact events), its seems that there is a "Great Filter" somewhere... Unfortunately, that Filter seems to lie in our future not in our past, since it appears that life will emerge quickly given the presence of the slightest habitable conditions. But my take on that is that the situation we are in is unique rather than dire; it can be argued that the presence of the trace-elements that are necessary for the metabolic pathways of complex life take a number of star-generations to elapse before they can be built up in concentrations sufficient for such life (specifically, generations allowing for energetic events like neutron-star collisions to occur, which are necessary for the nucleosynthesis of the needed elements). All this suggests that we are probably "alone" (though we may have a couple dozen rough contemporaries elsewhere in the galaxy) - meaning, we are Elders, we're the ones who can strike out into the undiscovered country of the galaxy and make its real estate our own.
  • RogueAI
    191
    All this suggests that we are probably "alone" (though we may have a couple dozen rough contemporaries elsewhere in the galaxy) - meaning, we are Elders, we're the ones who can strike out into the undiscovered country of the galaxy and make its real estate our own.

    Yeah, that's possible, but it's highly highly unlikely that we would be the first "Elder" race. Stars like the sun and planets like Earth have been around a long long time. Someone else should be ahead of us by now, if not this galaxy, then other galaxies, and then it would be a very short time (as far as the universe goes) to completely colonize a galaxy. Since we don't see this in any of the galaxies we've looked at, I think a filter hypothesis is more likely.
  • SubjectSuperject
    4
    Of course the Elder-hypothesis is highly unlikely, but it rises in probability as we eliminate alternative explanations. I don't think the "Rare Earth" hypothesis is viable. Almost certainly there are civilizations advanced beyond us in other galaxies, but at inter-galactic distances (esp with an expanding universe) there is not even the theoretical possibility of Contact with them.

    Ironically enough, I think a future-Filter explanation is part of the reason why we are (probably) among the Elders. I've read that earlier in the history of our galaxy, the neutron-star collisions needed for trace-element nucleosynthesis were more frequent than they are today; and the gamma-ray bursts associated with just those energetic events would wipe out existing life anywhere within a considerable portion of the galaxy that was in the vicinity of these events. It might well have been the case that complex life and even civilization arose in the relatively recent cosmological past, that was dispatched in this way. Just as in the way that life on Earth emerged soon after meteor-impact abated enough to make it possible, intelligent life emerging now and hereafter has a more stable cosmological environment to develop in.

    It's likely of course that we are not the very first; as I said, we can say that notionally we have one to two dozen ETI's roughly contemporary with us in the The Milky Way. Just as in the case of the Age of Exploration in the history of Earth, those civilizations that become interstellar space-faring civilizations first will have the ability to subject the entire galaxy to an imperial conquest.
  • 180 Proof
    1.6k
    "Any sufficiently advanced civilization is indistinguishable from nature." ~Schroeder's Law

    ... if they exist AND have the technology to cross interstellar distances. Yes, their system should be filled with space habitats and energy collectors. It would make no sense for it to not be.RogueAI
    Explain why "it would make no sense" for interstellar travelers' "system" not to be "filled with space habitats and energy collectors" or other such megastructures.

    Btw, barely a century of terrestrial technoscience, our so-called "Fermi Paradox" seems wildly premature.
  • RogueAI
    191
    Of course the Elder-hypothesis is highly unlikely, but it rises in probability as we eliminate alternative explanations. I don't think the "Rare Earth" hypothesis is viable. Almost certainly there are civilizations advanced beyond us in other galaxies, but at inter-galactic distances (esp with an expanding universe) there is not even the theoretical possibility of Contact with them.

    That's true. Given enough galaxies, it's not too improbable that we might be the first in this galaxy. The problem is that we can see all these other galaxies. We've surveyed about 100,000 now, looking for large-scale megastructures, chunks of "missing galaxy" because of Dyson swarm activity, other stuff like that. But we haven't seen any evidence of any of it. That would mean we're either the "elder" race out of all the galaxies we can see (highly unlikely), or there's a filter or limiting factor that kicks in that stops a civ from colonizing and building Dyson swarms. I can see hitting a wall on the colonizing front- maybe there's insolvable tech issues. But on Dyson swarms? We're already in the early (early early) stage in building ours. There doesn't seem to be any limiting tech factor in swarming a star with tons of solar panels. Unless you just don't need that much power, and that would mean a tech great computing filter in our near future, because if there's a way to compute, and a convienent power source, you're going to push your computation power as high as it will go, and that would mean swarming the system with solar collectors to the point where it would be very obvious to us.

    Ironically enough, I think a future-Filter explanation is part of the reason why we are (probably) among the Elders. I've read that earlier in the history of our galaxy, the neutron-star collisions needed for trace-element nucleosynthesis were more frequent than they are today; and the gamma-ray bursts associated with just those energetic events would wipe out existing life anywhere within a considerable portion of the galaxy that was in the vicinity of these events. It might well have been the case that complex life and even civilization arose in the relatively recent cosmological past, that was dispatched in this way. Just as in the way that life on Earth emerged soon after meteor-impact abated enough to make it possible, intelligent life emerging now and hereafter has a more stable cosmological environment to develop in.

    I'm sympathetic to that hypothesis. But, like I said, we can see other galaxies, and we don't see any evidence of anyone else around. Everywhere we look, the universe looks pristine and untouched. How can that be? Are we the first in the observable universe???

    If I was a materialist, I would believe the solution to the Fermi Paradox is that we're in a simulation, and in the world of the simulators there are limits on computing power. The simulators don't want to waste computation on alien races. I also expect us to hit a wall on computer progress. That would be another way to save on computing power. But maybe not. If we're the only intelligent things in the simulation, they may have computing power to spare to let us continue improving our computers. But anyway...

    It's likely of course that we are not the very first; as I said, we can say that notionally we have one to two dozen ETI's roughly contemporary with us in the The Milky Way. Just as in the case of the Age of Exploration in the history of Earth, those civilizations that become interstellar space-faring civilizations first will have the ability to subject the entire galaxy to an imperial conquest.

    This should already have happened in other galaxies.
  • Dogar
    29
    When Davis is quoted as saying "we couldn't make it ourselves," I think the "we" he is referring to is the United States military, not humankind.
  • RogueAI
    191
    Explain why "it would make no sense" for interstellar travelers' "system" not to be "filled with space habitats and energy collectors" or other such megastructures.

    So they're going to do interstellar travel, but they're not going to colonize or build space habitats and solar collectors? That, right there, is silly. But here are reasons:

    1. You don't put all your eggs in one basket. Existential threats exist.
    2. You don't leave energy lying around if you can cheaply collect and store it (this goes back to the implication that if interstellar travel is possible, efficient antimatter production and storage is possible). Spare energy is never a bad thing to have.
    3. You increase available computing power.
    4. Population pressures (possibly mitigated by population controls)
    5. Convenience (there are benefits to space habitats)
  • RogueAI
    191
    When Davis is quoted as saying "we couldn't make it ourselves," I think the "we" he is referring to is the United States military, not humankind.

    If the U.S. military couldn't make it, who could?
  • unenlightened
    5k
    Like you, we are curious; but unlike you, we are not greedy. We came, we saw, we left quietly, picking up our litter as we went. We travel but leave no footprints, and live lightly on the galaxy. You project onto us both your faulty physics and your diseased psyches; not understanding yourselves, you assume we are like you. With us, more is not better, and so we do not seek endless growth or endless expansion or infinite power.
  • DingoJones
    1.9k
    So they're going to do interstellar travel, but they're not going to colonize or build space habitats and solar collectors? That, right there, is silly. But here are reasons:RogueAI

    You have no idea if they would be inclined to build those things nor can you have any idea whether they would need to build those things. Those things you mentioned are the kinds of things humans might need to build, but an alien world could have elements and propulsion systems that we do not, they could be evolved to travel through space For all you know and need none if that. This sense you have of what an alien species would build or leave for us to see is based off of anthropomorphised fiction. No offence, but you seem to lack the imagination for the endless possibilities that explain why those things (megastructures and such) might not be present.

    1. You don't put all your eggs in one basket. Existential threats exist.
    2. You don't leave energy lying around if you can cheaply collect and store it (this goes back to the implication that if interstellar travel is possible, efficient antimatter production and storage is possible). Spare energy is never a bad thing to have.
    3. You maximize available computing power.
    4. Population pressures (possibly mitigated by population controls)
    5. Convenience (there are benefits to space habitats)
    RogueAI

    1. So? That doesnt mean we would see these megastuctures, you dont even know If they keep the eggs in baskets. They could easily have other ways of dealing with existential threats, and have existential threats humans are totally unfamiliar with. They can just as easily have existential threats we do not, and us with ones they do not.
    2. This is nonsense, there could be any number of reasons to leave energy lying around. Humans do it all the time. Again, you lack imagination here. We leave sources of energy lying around because we have better sources of energy, and better technology to utilise the better energy sources. It could easily Be the case we are unable to detect their sources of energy, or any of thier mega structures. (Maybe they dont want to be found)
    3. Nonsense again, you MIGHT maximise available computing power but you might not. Again, humans all over the earth show us that this just isnt true. Even if we did, why would we expect aliens, especially more advanced aliens, to maximise it? Do they even have computers? You have no idea, you just assume they do because we do.
    4. You are assuming they have population pressures. They easily could not due to a different evolution process, different culture/laws or technology so complex we dint even recognise it. Youre just guessing.
    5. How do you know it would be convenient for them? How do you know what benefits this alien species or doesnt?

    You said you would present reasons, but you didnt provide any reasons at all. You listed possibilities, and you listed blind guesses.
  • 180 Proof
    1.6k
    So they're going to do interstellar travel, but they're not going to colonize or build space habitats and solar collectors? That, right there, is silly.RogueAI
    What's "silly" is your assumption that "they" are a biological species, thereby territorial expansionist "colonizers" like us, and not intelligent machines without the (our) evoluntionary baggage (i.e. motives or prerogatives). Given that deep space is extremely inimical to complex organic molecules and interstellar transits more likely than not are not organically - ecologically - viable for centuries-long durations, interstellar travel by intelligent machine probes is much more likely to be the case. These prevalent "Age of sail conquistadors" & "wild west/frontier settler wagon-trains" assumptions are post-Victorian/Depression-era pulp magazine space fantasies, which today, are, IMO, speculatively "silly".

    But here are reasons:

    1. You don't put all your eggs in one basket. Existential threats exist.
    Interplanetary travel suffices. Interiors of large asteroids or seismically inert moons can provide (A) orders of magnitude more usable per capita surface area than any 'indigenous planet', (B) abundant indigenous resources and (C) maximum radiation shielding. Interstellar travel for biologicals, by comparison, is an extreme "existential threat", and, therefore, much less likely to succeed (or be pursued for very long); that's what intelligent machine probes are far better suited for.

    2. You don't leave energy lying around if you can cheaply collect and store it (this goes back to the implication that if interstellar travel is possible, efficient antimatter production and storage is possible). Spare energy is never a bad thing to have.
    Bussard ramjets (maybe even 'micro-singularities') for machine space probes. Nuclear and solar power for asteroid or moon bio-habitats. Native solar system more than suffices for a living species.

    3. You maximize available computing power.
    Agreed. And send it - (xeno)A.I. - to the stars expanding through tens of millennia the light-year radius of cloud-like computing. The species stays home in 'simulated universes' progressively updated by (usable) data streaming-in from countless (if only .01% of probes survive), exponentially self-replicating, interstellar probes

    4. Population pressures (possibly mitigated by population controls)
    Population control is far far more efficient and inexpensive (in time, resources & energy) than "colonizing" a solar system, let alone other solar systems ... just to relieve "population pressures". C'mon, now that's "silly".

    5. Convenience (there are benefits to space habitats)
    Agree. But a native solar system more than suffices.

    :up:

    Like you, we are curious; but unlike you, we are not greedy. We came, we saw, we left quietly, picking up our litter as we went. We travel but leave no footprints, and live lightly on the galaxy. You project onto us both your faulty physics and your diseased psyches; not understanding yourselves, you assume we are like you. With us, more is not better, and so we do not seek endless growth or endless expansion or infinite power.unenlightened
    "GORT! KLAATU BARADA NIKTO." :clap:
  • jgill
    730
    You think Covid-19 is just a virus? Think again, Earthlings! :scream:
  • DingoJones
    1.9k


    You joke, but the US military has admitted there are UFO’s, Times did a story on it, video, radar and thermographic evidence has been released and nobody cares. Most people havent even noticed. Covid-19 has hedged it out of everyone attention, or maybe used up everyones “wtf is going on?!” reserves.
  • jgill
    730
    You joke, but the US military has admitted there are UFO’sDingoJones

    True enough. But they may not be aliens. :cool:
  • SubjectSuperject
    4
    This should already have happened in other galaxies.RogueAI

    Well, the explanation for that seems straightforward: a) ETI's have only been able to emerge in a durable way relatively recently in cosmological time b) not enough time has elapsed to see the emergence of a Type II civilization, given the time-lag in communication between us and Andromeda (much less galaxies further out).

    Of course, a Dyson Sphere might seem to an advanced ETI like Steampunk seems to us; a quaint way of extrapolating about the future. Essential to the history of our species has been the discovery of more and more efficient ways of generating energy; we may be on the cusp of (another) energy revolution, one that makes the need to capture the energy of a star much more trouble than it is worth... also it's worth pointing out, that we won't need energy to keep pace with an expanding population, since the demographic transition strongly suggests that the total species population will go into a permanent reduction sometime this century. The ratio of energy available per person may soon be off-chart. It makes sense further to say that "we" biologicals might never engage in interstellar exploration & conquest, instead that will be left up to Homo Superior who will replace us.
  • arreno
    16
    We are so enamored with our selves that should a traveler of the stars arrive in our corner of the universe they surely want to do lunch..maybe..not so much.
  • RogueAI
    191
    Well, the explanation for that seems straightforward: a) ETI's have only been able to emerge in a durable way relatively recently in cosmological time b) not enough time has elapsed to see the emergence of a Type II civilization, given the time-lag in communication between us and Andromeda (much less galaxies further out).

    Andromeda is too close away for that to be an issue. Stars like our sun have been around for billions of years, and for most of our own history, life was unicellular, so there's been plenty of time for someone to be ahead of us. I see no reason to suspect that the window for reaching technological advancement is so narrow, that nobody has done it yet. Nobody? Out of all the billions of life-permitting planets in this galaxy alone? Nobody is, say, a million years ahead of us? And out of all the galaxies in our local group, nobody is, say, 20 million years ahead of us?

    I just don't think we have reason to believe we're that special. I think there's a competing theory that doesn't violate the mediocrity principle so badly: this is a simulation, and the creators want to save on computing power, so it's just us in the universe.

    Of course, a Dyson Sphere might seem to an advanced ETI like Steampunk seems to us; a quaint way of extrapolating about the future. Essential to the history of our species has been the discovery of more and more efficient ways of generating energy; we may be on the cusp of (another) energy revolution, one that makes the need to capture the energy of a star much more trouble than it is worth...

    But it's not trouble to capture a star's energy, that's the thing. If you're figuring on some fantastic new energy source, then you must also figure on miraculous advances in other areas, like nanomachines. It would take almost no effort at all to swarm a star with solar collectors if you have advanced enough self-replicating machines. Under no scenario is it plausible for an advanced civ to let its star's energy radiate out into space if it has the means to easily gather it, store it, and/or use it for computation.

    Computation is the big thing. We can already see how no matter how much you have, it's nice to have more, and computation requires energy, so if there are advanced civs, they're going to harness as much energy as possible. That means harnessing whatever future energies there are (if any) AND all the current energy sources, and that means we should see Dyson Swarms.




    also it's worth pointing out, that we won't need energy to keep pace with an expanding population, since the demographic transition strongly suggests that the total species population will go into a permanent reduction sometime this century. The ratio of energy available per person may soon be off-chart. It makes sense further to say that "we" biologicals might never engage in interstellar exploration & conquest, instead that will be left up to Homo Superior who will replace us.

    We will always need computation, so we will always need energy.
  • SubjectSuperject
    4
    All very good points. But the problems I find with the Simulation Hypothesis are: 1) it would not be the case that we were alone (obviously) 2) If the part of the purpose of Simulation is to keep this fact hidden, the absence of distance-evidence of ETIs is just too obvious a hole in the ruse 3) Simulation still is so much in violation of the principle of parsimony, that the available evidence suggests that we are in a Rare Earth cosmos.
  • fishfry
    1.6k
    If we have alien stuffRogueAI

    This was a very strange announcement from a government agency. I for one don't think anyone's discovered space aliens or even vehicles "we couldn't make ourselves." There's something off about this story. Myself I'd withhold judgment.
  • TheMadFool
    6.6k
    So where are all the dimming stars we should be seeing from all the alien civs building all these solar collector swarms and habitats?RogueAI

    Please don't take offense to what I'm going to say. I remember very vaguely being told a story of three donkeys and it so transpired that they had to do a head count. One of them volunteered and began, "one" (pointing to one donkey), "two" (pointing to the other donkey) and confidently announced to his companions that there were only two donkeys in their group. :chin:
  • RogueAI
    191
    I don't think we have anything either. Or, to put it more precisely, if we have alien stuff, then I think the zoo hypothesis solution to the Fermi Paradox is right, to the point that we're being deceived about the universe on a massive scale.
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