Prediction Special: Fermi Paradox Resolution

My favourite posts that I’ve written for this blog have been prediction posts. Whether I looked to the NHL playoffs, Armageddon, or just your week, they are incredibly fun to write. And now a new NHL season is upon us, so it’s a great time to predict. Contemplating the upcoming Canucks season isn’t gonna make me happy, though, so instead I will prognosticate on what might be the resolution to the Fermi Paradox. If you’re unfamiliar with the Fermi Paradox, it’s basically the idea that we haven’t met any aliens, and yet everything we know about the universe, which is admittedly very little, suggests that it should be teeming with aliens, and we should meet some. So what’s going on? Let’s get to the matchups, beginning with the West.

(1) We’re too primitive to notice / (8) The Galactic Preserve What if aliens are attempting to contact us, but we have no idea because we’re thick? That sounds pretty damn likely. The lowly 8 seed going up against the defensive powerhouse is the idea that the whole galaxy may be taken over by super-civilizations, but our little corner is left aside as a National Park of sorts: the galaxy as it really was, without outside intelligent species going and mucking up all the nature to suit them. This is a fun idea, and if indeed aliens trying to contact us are much cleverer than we, you’d think they’d allow for our limited means of understanding, making the top seed seem beatable. Still, the galactic preserve is just too farfetched. Besides, it’s well-known that one should never bet against human stupidity, and I feel like this is the most all-encompassing way such a bet can go. We’re too dumb in 5

(2) The Prime Directive at work / (7) Aliens have contacted us It makes a certain amount of sense that it would be frowned upon, from an anthropological viewpoint, to just contact civilizations ’cause you felt like it. Perhaps aliens are waiting and seeing how our development goes, not wanting to interfere with it. On the other hand you have the idea that aliens are all around us. Butt-probing weirdos, crashing flying saucers in New Mexico, and collaborating with the FBI. Team butt-probes uses what is truly an unconventional system, and one that isn’t going to succeed here. Prime Directive in 4

(3) Gammay ray bursts / (6) HPLD The gamma ray bursts – the idea that astronomical catastrophes happen frequently enough that no civilization can get all that advanced – are a bunch of goons. Having them win would be pretty damn depressing. Contrast that with the HPLD – which stands for Highest Possible Level of Development, and is taken from a Cyberiad story. The HPLD is a civilization that achieved everything it wanted and got bored. Perhaps at a certain point, a sufficiently advanced civilization gets cosmic ennui, and just can’t be bothered with exploration. It could be argued that humanity is seeing this happen on a smaller scale. But while their skill can’t be denied, in a physical contest, HPLD aren’t gonna last.  Gamma Rays in 7

(4) Life is unique / (5) They’re just not that into us There are many things we don’t know, and one of those things is how life began. What if it’s just incredibly unlikely? After all, as far as we know, it only happened once on earth, whereas the conditions for it happening must have been ripe for hundreds of millions of years, at least. On the other hand, what if life, indeed, intelligent life, is instead very likely? So likely that we’re just not interesting enough to bother with for aliens. The resolution to the Fermi Paradox might be the same as the resolution to the “paradox” of why you’ve not bothered calling Francisco Jiménez of Tegucigalpa, Guatemala today. A tough series to call with two opposing styles going up against one another. I’ll go with not into us in 6

(1) It’s just a matter of time / (8) Cosmic evacuation We head on over to the East, with the number one seed being the exciting and well-loved possibility that though it hasn’t happened yet, maybe we’re about to be contacted by aliens some time soon. Whereas the idea that the universe is teeming with life, but it’s been evacuated from our galactic neighbourhood due to a shortly upcoming cosmic disaster is incredibly unappealing. This is the rare cinderella matchup where everyone cheers for the favourite. And yet, it seems unlikely that alien contact is just around the corner, if they’ve had billions of years to come here and as far as we know have not. I predict a stunning upset: Evacuation in 6

(2) Blowing oneself up is inevitable / (7) Depletion of resources Two similar, trapping teams make for one hell of a boring series. That every civilization eventually destroys itself with war is better prepared than that every civilization is doomed to lives of resource scarcity that don’t allow for grand cosmic adventuring or even remote attempts at contact. Even though depletion of resources has an exciting up-and-coming star in Global Warming, I feel that Nuclear Annihilation is a much more steady presence. Self-destruction in 5

(3) A rare intelligence / (6) They know contact is a bad idea It’s been pointed out that the evolution of humans is potentially strange since consciousness is not such a great evolutionary strategy. Maybe, since evolution is something that works everywhere, life is common, but intelligent life very unlikely to develop? Opposing it is the idea that once bitten, a civilization will be shy about contact much more than twice. Imagine first contacts between two alien species inevitably lead to interplanetary warfare, because agreeing with different life forms on anything is very difficult, given as you can’t penetrate their thinking and all. If that’s the case, whichever civilization survives an interplanetary war will not so eagerly risk another one. Although I sort of buy such an argument, that should still leave plenty of naive uncontacted civilizations that try to reach out to the universe. Thus, even though I’m honestly skeptical about both possibilities, I will take Intelligence in 7

(4) Impractical given the distance / (5)  The “Zebra” hypothesis “Zebra” is Phillip K. Dick’s conception of how God works: he is around, but he is very good at camouflage, being omnipotent and all. So most of the time he just blends into the scenery, and can only be seen if he wants to be. What if aliens are like that and they just haven’t felt like being seen, moving instead in mysterious ways? Going up against this intriguing hypothesis is the idea that the universe is too large – there may be aliens scattered here and there, but they’re too spread out to make communication worthwhile. I’ve got to go with the feel-good pick here, especially since if aliens are around, they are probably so technologically advanced as to seem functionally omnipotent to us. Zebra in 7

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2 Responses to Prediction Special: Fermi Paradox Resolution

  1. Fantastic mashup idea and execution! Thoroughly enjoyed.

  2. Pingback: Prediction Special: 2015 NHL Playoffs | Rated Zed

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