The problem with E.T.

It’s statistically possible (and likely even in our own solar system) for there to be life on other planets, even intelligent life for that matter. But because our universe is so vast, the likelihood of our species making any contact with another intelligent alien species is extremely remote… I’m just being realistic.

The next closest star Alpha Centauri takes 4 years for its light to reach us, this would make space travel very difficult for the long distances it would take to make physical contact. And even if they had the technology to visit, what would compel such a highly advanced alien race to seek us out?

Here’s the problem with our simplistic view on aliens in the universe. Typically pop culture displays them as being only about a few hundred years more advanced than we are. The reality is the universe is vastly old, 13.4 billion years and counting. It would not be entirely improbable that a potential visiting alien species would be millions of years more advanced than us.

A species that was theoretically 5 million years more advanced than us would be unfathomably ahead in technology and we wouldn’t even comprehend the advancements that they were making. There would be technology we would have no idea would be even possible. As for those ancient aliens conspiracy theories, it is laugh worthy to think that a highly advanced alien species would visit this planet and not leave a massive technological imprint on our species in the process; that is if they did decide to help us out.

It’s safe to assume that any reasonable person has at one time or another gazed up at the night sky and dreamed of what or  who was out there just waiting to be discovered. Afterall, it would be fantastic to finally answer the question “are we alone in the universe?” Optimistically most likely we aren’t, but chances are we will never meet. Even if they did visit us, would we even know it or be worth their time?

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  1. Two of your statements contradict – (1), that we’re unlikely to ever meet an alien civilisation because of the technical challenges and (2) an alien civilisation could be millions of years in advance of us and we can have no idea what technology they have. I’m paraphrasing but you get the gist.

  2. Well, this is an interesting take and I agree with much of it. However, I see some problems. You seem to have a linear view of technological advance, that it is something that can be measured in years or millennia. I don’t find this very believable and your assumption that a civilization 5 million years more ‘advanced’ than us would be incomprehensible is questionable. It assumes few limits to what science and technology can do, that as a civilization grows older its technology ‘advances’ linearly (or even exponentially?). But this is unlikely to be the case. If there was no limit to technology then there would be no limit to what is theoretically possible to do and that seems unlikely. If there is a limit to what is theoretically possible to achieve in science and technology then, as a civilization becomes more ‘advanced’, further advances would become increasingly more difficult until they ceased altogether. In this case, there could many civilizations in the universe on a similar level of knowledge, irrespective of how old they were.

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