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WHERE ARE ALL THE ALIENS?

A new solution to the Fermi Paradox.

Q: Are there other civilizations in our galaxy?

A: We wish there were, but all evidence points to no. To be more precise we are almost certainly the only spacefaring civilization in this galaxy.

This is the Fermi Paradox. Our galaxy has trillions of planets, most billions of years old. Surely many have life on them. Surely some of these are intelligent. But why do we see no evidence of them?

There are many complex ways to approach this, but we can resolve it with no assumptions about technology, biochemistry, or the Drake Equation. Our argument is based only upon ecology.

Suppose that in any billion year time span we expect at least two independently evolved spacefaring species in this galaxy. Either of these could easily span the galaxy in 10 million years. So, unless we are the first to arise, we would already see evidence of the other.

This must be true unless they are (somehow) hiding from us. Let's consider that. To keep it simple, let's forget about how difficult it would be to hide the infrared signature of a technologically advanced civilization. (Hiding in plain sight requires breaking the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.)

Suppose the aliens passively, and secretly observe for millions, or even hundreds of millions of years. No diverting of asteroids. No exploitation, occupation, or zooification the planet. No impactful meddling at all.

We can now ask the one key question: What are the odds per year that one alien (out of perhaps trillions) breaks the rule and, whether by accident or not, meddles?

Is it 1 in 1,000? Or maybe 1 in 1,000,000? Every single year is a new roll of the dice. After even a few million years, the compound odds of non-interference are effectively zero. This strongly implies that, at least in this galaxy:

Humans are either alone, or the first spacefaring civilization.

This all said... We would love to be proven wrong!  


Dr. Timothy P. Barber / 2AI © 18 MAY 2020