"Alien Electromagnetic Signals Will Be Discovered by 2040"
- URL to an interesting post from The daily galaxy blogI hope we won't pick up the alien equivalent of Fox News or Rush Limbaugh.Chris""Astronomers will have scanned enough star systems by 2040 that we'll have discovered alien-produced electromagnetic signals," said Seth Shostak of the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute in Mountain View, Calif. during a talk at the 2014 NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) symposium at Stanford University.SETI has until now sought radio signals from worlds like Earth. In the current search for advanced extraterrestrial life SETI experts say the odds favor detecting alien AI rather than biological life because the time between aliens developing radio technology and artificial intelligence would be brief. “If we build a machine with the intellectual capability of one human, then within 5 years, its successor is more intelligent than all humanity combined,” says Seth Shostak, SETI chief astronomer. “Once any society invents the technology that could put them in touch with the cosmos, they are at most only a few hundred years away from changing their own paradigm of sentience to artificial intelligence,” he says.
ET machines would be infinitely more intelligent and durable than the biological intelligence that created them. Intelligent machines would be immortal, and would not need to exist in the carbon-friendly “Goldilocks Zones” current SETI searches focus on. An AI could self-direct its own evolution, each "upgrade" would be created with the sum total of its predecessor’s knowledge preloaded.
ET artifacts coordinated by computers, suggests British physicist, Stephen Wolfram, would look far more like a natural artifact. It is easy to distinguish a technological artifact such as a car from a natural object such as a tree. The tree is far more complicated. But, says Wolfram,"this is simply because our technological artifacts are primitive. As they become more complex - with computer processors enabling them to make a moment-by-moment decisions - they will begin to look just as complex as trees and people and stars." We have slim chance, he suggests, of distinguishing an ET artifact from a natural celestial object.
SETI's chief astronomer, Seth Shostak, says that "artificially intelligent alien life would be likely to migrate to places where both matter and energy — the only things he says would be of interest to the machine-based life — would be in plentiful supply. That means the SETI hunt may need to focus its attentions near hot, young stars or even near the centers of galaxies."
Writing in Acta Astronautica, Shostak says that the odds favour detecting such alien AI rather than "biological" life. Seti researchers have long argued that nature may have solved the problem of life using different designs or chemicals, suggesting extraterrestrials would not only not look like us, but that they will not be carbon based life forms, but be bound to follow "at least some rules of biochemistry, live for a finite period of time, procreate, and above all be subject to the processes of evolution."