Even though there is a preponderance of evidence to suggest that alien life exists (and may exist in myriad forms on myriad worlds), thus far, humanity has not been able to produce definitive proof of aliens in any form. Therefore, the Fermi Paradox, the glaring contradiction between the high probability of existing aliens and the lack of direct evidence of such, holds sway at present. But a trio of European scientists believes they have a solution to the famous paradox, and it involves advanced aliens, a state of dormancy, and a tremendous amount of restraint and patience.
Three Future of Humanity Institute (University of Oxford) researchers -- Anders Sandberg, an neuroscientist; Stuart Armstrong, an Artificial Intelligence expert also associated with the DeepMind project; and Milan Cirkovic, an astrophysicist at the Astronomical Observatory of Belgrade, Serbia -- have produced a paper that argues that aliens do exist, but their civilization(s) are at such an advanced state that they have explored the universe and reached an existential point where they have selected to go into hibernation and wait for a more optimal time to be alive. In fact, according to ScienceAlert, the simplistic gist of the scientists' position is that the technologically and culturally advanced aliens are waiting for the universe to cool down.
"Right now, the cosmic background radiation makes nearly everything in the Universe hotter than 3 Kelvin, but as the Universe expands, this background temperature will decline exponentially," write Sandberg and Cirkovic on their blog, Andart II. "So if you want to do as much information processing as possible with the energy you have, it makes sense to wait. It becomes exponentially better."
"An advanced civilization may have explored a big chunk of the universe, done what is doable with existing nature, and now mostly have internal 'cultural' things to do," Sandberg and Cirkovic further explain. "These things can be regarded as information processing. If they want to maximize processing they should not do it today but wait until the cold future when they will get tremendously more done. They should hence aestivate."
Getting to this advanced state to where a civilization can aestivate -- a zoological term describing a prolonged state of torpor or dormancy -- through technology is already being explored by scientists in the form of dataism, or the digital transfer of the brain, memories, emotional, and psychological constructs onto some type of storage (or working) device to hold off the inevitability of biological breakdown and death.
The scientists suggest that there are ways to detect the advanced dormant alien civilizations. Those who search for extraterrestrial intelligence should be on the lookout for a "suspicious absence of processes that would waste resources useful for the aestivators," Sandberg told George Dvorsky at Gizmodo. The "absence of processes" would include natural cosmic forces not interacting or suspended from regular activities.
The researchers admit that the two most popular reasons that there is yet no evidence of alien life are that there are no aliens to be found or that intelligent aliens are too distant and thus remain undetected. However, they argue that their position helps rule out multiple possibilities associated with the Fermi Paradox while offering insight into humanity's potential future.
Besides, as Sandberg told Gizmodo, "If you don't check your less favored hypotheses, you are not doing science."
The latest possible solution to the Fermi Paradox is far more hopeful than that suggested by author and television personality Dr. Brian Cox in October. As reported by the Inquisitr, the noted physicist said that humanity was unlikely to have a first contact with aliens, even though he adamantly believes aliens exist (or have existed), because he thinks that civilizations tend to self-destruct. And humans, he said, were fast approaching or have already entered into that dangerous period where technological development and cultural instability will likely conspire to end human civilization as well.
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