12 August 2010, JellyBean @ 4:37 pm

In a new post at the Huffington Post, SETI’s Seth Shostak asks the question that haunts his organization – “If advanced alien civilizations are common in the Universe, where are they?” (Fermi’s Paradox) – and then proceeds to offer possible answers:

Some folks have opined that no aliens have colonized the galaxy simply because they inevitably blow themselves up in massive, hi-tech wars before completing the project. Others say that it’s too expensive — you can better stay home, and improve lifestyles in your natal solar system. [Allen Telescope Array] A personal favorite of mine is the idea that the galaxy might be urbanized, and we happen to live in a largely empty, rural district.

The onset of the digital age has spawned other suggestions: Maybe truly advanced societies don’t build big stuff — honking interstellar rockets for boldly going to someone else’s galactic quadrant. Rather, these sophisticated sentients start miniaturizing their technology, eventually uploading their minds into some sort of microelectronic computer, at which point colonizing star systems will seem as tempting as oxcart travel.

A more draconian explanation for why we don’t see the trappings of empire is the suggestion that there really is no galaxy and no us. Everything we experience is just a software simulation run by someone as an experiment (or as an amusement). Our daily lives are no more than computer code. And the rules of this giant matrix-like existence forbid contact — just because.

Read more here: Daily Grail

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