SETI Predicts Alien Life Should Be Discovered In 20 Years

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SETI Predicts Alien Life Should Be Discovered In 20 Years

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence believes that advancing technologies will resolve the Fermi Paradox within our lifetimes.

As we've previously discussed, there's lots of evidence suggesting the universe is filled with life but at the same time good luck trying to find it. We don't seem any closer to resolving the Fermi paradox than we were 60 years ago, but the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence thinks we might be very close. At a House Committee on Science, Space and Technology hearing last week, senior SETI astronomer Seth Shostak predicted that if technology advances as expected, we should know exactly where alien life can be found within the next 20 years.

"It's unproven whether there is any life beyond Earth," Shostak said. "I think that situation is going to change within everyone's lifetime in this room."

Shostak explained that there are three ways scientists seek out alien life. The first is to directly look for signs of microbial life, which is underway with projects on Mars and Europa. The second is to study the atmosphere of distant planets for gases like methane or oxygen, both of which are produced by biological life. The final method, one that SETI pioneered, is to seek out broadcast signals on a wide range of spectrums.

The problem with each of these methods, the third in particular, is that examinations are being conducted very slowly. Shostak noted that statistically speaking, we'd need to examine a few million star systems for a reasonable chance of success. To date, SETI has only studied 1% of these systems, but technological advances will allow it examine more. Advanced telescopes and faster computer processing power would allow SETI to make enough progress to follow-up with each system by 2034. "Given predicted advances in technology, looking at a few million star systems can be done in the next 20 years," Shostak said.

Of course, such advances require funding, which is the entire reason this hearing was being held. SETI only houses 24 full-time scientists, and its two primary telescopes are being subjected to budget cuts.

Do you think SETI could uncover evidence of alien life by 2034? Or do you suspect that, funding or no funding, the Fermi Paradox simply won't be resolved this way?

Source: Space.com

Permalink

Personally, I think the question should be SHOULD we try to make contact? In general, people in large groups can be stupid, and we saw the degree to which indigenous peoples on this planet got fucked over due to interference from technologically superior cultures.

I mean, hypothetically, what if the race we make contact with is the North Korea of the galactic community. Then where will we be?

I've clearly been spending too much time being a rampant dick in Far Cry 3, because upon reading the line "Within the lifetime of all the people in this room" I immediately thought "But what if I were to pull a gun and shoot them all and myself? THEN WHAT!"

Josh12345:
Personally, I think the question should be SHOULD we try to make contact? In general, people in large groups can be stupid, and we saw the degree to which indigenous peoples on this planet got fucked over due to interference from technologically superior cultures.

I mean, hypothetically, what if the race we make contact with is the North Korea of the galactic community. Then where will we be?

Yeah, speaking as an Algonquin, I'm not overly fond of what my people went through/are currently going through. The damage was widespread and long lasting and yet very few people know about the extent of it. I don't know about in 'merica but in Canada, our history lessons started with the "birth" of the country, we never read about/heard about the colonialization and bastardization of my people and their culture. Not even as a foot note. To make matters worse, the history that we learned was purely from a, pardon my french, white perspective. Never touching on the damage that was being done to the indigenous peoples on whom the land they "claimed" was taken from. The whole thing is just a mess. I could see it being worse with others, though I hold out the mild possibility that other life forms are more...Culturally sensitive than what my people were faced with.

Ninmecu:
I've clearly been spending too much time being a rampant dick in Far Cry 3, because upon reading the line "Within the lifetime of all the people in this room" I immediately thought "But what if I were to pull a gun and shoot them all and myself? THEN WHAT!"

Josh12345:
Personally, I think the question should be SHOULD we try to make contact? In general, people in large groups can be stupid, and we saw the degree to which indigenous peoples on this planet got fucked over due to interference from technologically superior cultures.

I mean, hypothetically, what if the race we make contact with is the North Korea of the galactic community. Then where will we be?

Yeah, speaking as an Algonquin, I'm not overly fond of what my people went through/are currently going through. The damage was widespread and long lasting and yet very few people know about the extent of it. I don't know about in 'merica but in Canada, our history lessons started with the "birth" of the country, we never read about/heard about the colonialization and bastardization of my people and their culture. Not even as a foot note. To make matters worse, the history that we learned was purely from a, pardon my french, white perspective. Never touching on the damage that was being done to the indigenous peoples on whom the land they "claimed" was taken from. The whole thing is just a mess. I could see it being worse with others, though I hold out the mild possibility that other life forms are more...Culturally sensitive than what my people were faced with.

Going into what you guys are talking about, even if they come in peace... we're talking about an alien species. With Bacteria we have no chance of getting used to. Hell, our own germs get meaner in space. What are their germs going to do to us?

you really should have discussed the SETTIlive project, it is a crow source signal searching program accessible at http://www.setilive.org/ it's aim is to help researchers classify signal bands in the search for ET; it is free to join and only takes 10 minutes to run through the classification tutorial. can be very relaxing after a long day >.>. these kinds of projects are being used to solve all sorts of scientific mysteries like protein folding http://fold.it/portal/, mapping the brain https://eyewire.org/signup and even a KickStarter project to catalogue all matter using hand held mass spectrometers https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/903107259/scio-your-sixth-sense-a-pocket-molecular-sensor-fo , the future is so cool ^.^. Not talking about these kinds of initiatives kind of leaves out a huge part of what's going on technology wise.

-Mod edit: User received warning for advertising.

For an organization of smart people, this is stupid.

You can't set timelines when you have no basis to form your predictions. Until there is an established pattern of discovering alien live, any estimation on the time at which it might happen is utter nonsense.

ObsidianJones:

Going into what you guys are talking about, even if they come in peace... we're talking about an alien species. With Bacteria we have no chance of getting used to. Hell, our own germs get meaner in space. What are their germs going to do to us?

Considering the mass use of anti bacterials, we're probably screwed. Though I've seen it offered up that we might not be nearly as squishy as we might imagine. We require a substance capable of eroding pretty much everything and anything over time in order to survive. We created a hunting technique in which we literally run animals to their death through sheer exhaustion. We eat caspaicin for SPORT. We're a very strange evolutionary combination. Who seem to be actively trying to commit mass suicide through various means for an imagined concept known as money. If anything, we're probably the Inter-Galactic Definition of batshit insane. That's probably why the space aliens avoid the hell out of us.

20 Years.. which is about long enough for everyone to forget they ever made this prediction.

BigTuk:
20 Years.. which is about long enough for everyone to forget they ever made this prediction.

We never forgot all those flying car promises and that didn't even require the modern internet, imagine what will be done with this statement and a future internet, mindweb, nerve staple or whathaveyou twenty years from now!

But yeah, we collectively dropped over one million bones on Levar's rainbow--day one! We owe it to ourselves and children to sprinkle a little spliff on these SETI nerds. Even if they don't find any answers in our lifetimes, they are asking important questions.

ObsidianJones:

If anything, we're probably the Inter-Galactic Definition of batshit insane. That's probably why the space aliens avoid the hell out of us.

They just think we're "batshit insane" because they don't have Jesus!

The question is, what level will they be on? Our level? Just ahead of our level? Just got out of their star system? Cavemen? Galactic empire?

Also, one of the first posters said it well. I think ideally we should try and wait a century or two and try to get our shit together and get along with each other before we try and get along with aliens.

ObsidianJones:

Going into what you guys are talking about, even if they come in peace... we're talking about an alien species. With Bacteria we have no chance of getting used to. Hell, our own germs get meaner in space. What are their germs going to do to us?

I actually discussed this before on a similar article, and the conclusion we came to is that it's highly unlikely that either our or their bacteria and viruses would have any actual effect on either of us. The reason bacteria and viruses on our planet can effect human beings is because we all evolved from a common ancestor, therefore the current microbes have evolved for billions of years into having the mechanisms necessary to bond to our DNA and RNA and thus be able to make us sick. However, since alien microbes originate from a completely different evolutionary line they wouldn't possess the means to interact with our DNA and RNA thus cause a disease, at least not before several centuries of evolution to do just that. The aliens might not even have DNA and RNA as their basis for life for all we know.

Ok, seriously?

Click the source. Click it. The /very first/ paragraph points out that this doesn't mean we'll find alien life in the next twenty years, or two hundred years, or ever. It's saying that we have plans for better technology that we'll start using in two decades. Alien life will be discoverable in twenty years, not discovered.

Reading the article you're referencing is, like, Journalism 101. If even that.

erttheking:
The question is, what level will they be on? Our level? Just ahead of our level? Just got out of their star system? Cavemen? Galactic empire?

If we found anybody, they would by necessity have to be using similar forms of communication for them to be able to pick up our transmissions or us theirs. Therefore, they probably wouldn't be too far technologically from us one way or the other.

BigTuk:
20 Years.. which is about long enough for everyone to forget they ever made this prediction.

These scientists always do this. Instead of actually finding proof of any sort that what they propose will work and making a pretty specific prediction, they just give a very vague far off number of years as to when whatever it is they propose will work because that way they can just waste everybody's money for decades and then make another vague prediction if anybody even remembers or cares once the time they claimed passes and they make little if any progress.

Quantum Glass:
Ok, seriously?

Click the source. Click it. The /very first/ paragraph points out that this doesn't mean we'll find alien life in the next twenty years, or two hundred years, or ever. It's saying that we have plans for better technology that we'll start using in two decades. Alien life will be discoverable in twenty years, not discovered.

Reading the article you're referencing is, like, Journalism 101. If even that.

Not on this site, apparently, intentionally misleading content and especially headlines are quite popular.

Personally I still think that the best sign that there is intelligent life outside of our planet is that none of it has tried to contact us.

Captcha: Break the Ice

...

This can't be coincidental!

I'm sorry but, moderators can you please explain why JessesDale's post received an infraction? I would certainly consider that post helpful, enlightening and on topic.

After reviewing the posting guidelines, I am baffled by your response.

evilnancyreagan:
I'm sorry but, moderators can you please explain why JessesDale's post received an infraction? I would certainly consider that post helpful, enlightening and on topic.

After reviewing the posting guidelines, I am baffled by your response.

My guess would be that it's his first post on the site and full of links, and thus flagged as spam despite it all being very relevant to the topic.

Sorry, it's not gonna happen.

I'm not sure why we think that there MUST be life other than us out there. The sheer improbability of successful abiogenesis leading to successful reproduction leading to evolutionarily sustaining mutation vastly outweighs the number of opportunities there are. Yeah, there's billions of star systems in our galaxy, but not many of them have planets that would sustain water-based carbon life forms, which are the only life forms we know to work (other than the occasional arsenic curiosity).

Abiogenesis may not have happened elsewhere (people are so vague on how it works that I think they're just covering up that they DON'T know how it works).

Abiogenesis may happen, but that doesn't mean that the generated lifeforms even figured out how to reproduce.

Even if they figured out how to reproduce, they may not have had a high enough mutation rate to survive their first environmental change.

AND EVEN IF this ludicrously lucky species somehow starts along an evolutionary path, that most certainly doesn't mean that they're intelligent. Hell, on Earth, of the billions(?) of species that we've cycled through, only one got intelligent enough to figure out how to throw signals into space.

And if they haven't done that, then we're stuck with locating them via Method Two.

...which likely won't work if it turns out that non-carbon lifeforms are possible, and they're non-carbon.

NoeL:

evilnancyreagan:
I'm sorry but, moderators can you please explain why JessesDale's post received an infraction? I would certainly consider that post helpful, enlightening and on topic.

After reviewing the posting guidelines, I am baffled by your response.

My guess would be that it's his first post on the site and full of links, and thus flagged as spam despite it all being very relevant to the topic.

raising the ever-important question, Who moderates the moderators? i don't approve of this random harassment of the new guy, simply because his post contains links... i get a first post being auto-flagged, but it should be properly reviewed before being shown the wrath. shame on you escapist.

shame.
on.
you.

Ajarat:

They just think we're "batshit insane" because they don't have Jesus!

They too shall drink the blood and eat the flesh of our dead god, and then they will know salvation in his kingdom on earth. Go out and spread the word brother!

Hmmm, well my basic thoughts are that we might not have to worry about aliens getting colonial with us if we're 'discovered'. Look at it this way, the Western World, the most civilized and technologically advanced part of humanity, sits around wringing it's hands with guilt over the same things people are worried about. Sadly, to the point of crippling ourselves and our own interests. In theory any race that actually advanced to the point of being able to unify their planet, and build a civilization advanced enough to engage in space travel, probably developed morally as well in order to keep it's own civilization functional. When we sit down and think about space travel and how we'd approach dealing with Aliens that weren't out to exterminate us, we come up with things like "The Prime Directive" specifically to address the issue of our meddling causing lots of damage. I do not think that the old "age of exploration and conquest" is an apt example for space travel and exploration, largely because anyone who got that far presumably build up a civilization after experiencing similar things on their own world.

That said, when you get past guilt, it can also be argued that surviving peoples who were conquered ultimately benefitted from the experience. In many cases those inferior cultures that were eradicated were stagnant and hadn't progressed much for centuries if not thousands of years. As time went on these people benefitted from better food, more advanced technology, education, and other things. Indeed it's those who resisted assimilation into conquering cultures that would up faring the worst. This is a point (rather controversial) actually brought up by a lot of Native Americans within their own internal politics. The basic argument being that those who have basically been fighting against society and resisting the benefits are the ones who have suffered, while those who "sold out" and chose to basically embrace advancement have in many cases done very well for themselves. A similar point was also brought up in "Deep Space 9" where it was pointed out that Bajor actually benefitted from the Cardassian occupation. both during and afterwards, something which was begrudgingly admitted (eventually). This was the punchline to some of the dialogue with a certain former spy turned Tailor who existed to put a few things into perspective. Sometimes you need to look past how many people died, to the long term benefits.

Now, before anyone freaks out, let me put this into context. Let's say a bunch of aliens showed up and decided to conquer earth. Billions upon billions of people die, our civilization gets flamed, and so on. In the long run that might not be a bad thing. If our descendants wind up assimilating into this culture in a century or two those who don't maintain a bug up their butts will probably be better accepted, and benefit from technologies, advancement, and infrastructure far greater than anything we would have developed in a similar period of time.

Not to mention that I'm not even sure if such conquest would really be necessary, as a "conqueror" could probably du better by just Uplifting humanity and becoming a patron species to the rest of the galactic community, which means that in exchange for their technology they get a kickback from anything that we develop, discover, mine, etc... Such a system of vassalage has been the subject of a few Science Fiction novels.. which raises the point that there really isn't much reason for a space faring race to just show up and act the same way the ancient Europeans treated primitives they ran into.

The point here is that I don't think the odds of meeting a casually genocidal species capable of space travel is good, since I think space travel would require at least some degree of enlightenment. While there are of course degrees, I think in the end humanity would wind up benefitting from contact with a more advanced civilization, even if we were violently conquered... which I'd prefer to avoid mind you, I'm just saying that if you think about it in the big
picture we wind up benefitting in the long run assuming we retain, or gain, some degree of freedom down the road. Nobody would want to live through that though I'd imagine, so it largely becomes an academic argument, but a point to consider when your setting long term strategies and a cost-benefit analysis. Even the worst case scenarios tend to eventually result in a net gain from where we are now.

I expect a lot of people to not like a lot of that even though it's hypothetical. My basic point is that I don't think we need to "hide" that much.

-

As far as the basic question of whether we'll find, and/or acknowledge Alien life within the next 20 years... I have no idea. To be honest I do think aliens are out there, it's almost mathematically certain. I tend to think the most likely possibility, assuming something we don't know about space travel has made current models and ideas of exploration impractical, is simply that aliens have become civilized enough to not really contact a planet until they have reached a certain level of developmet... the whole "Prime Directive" thing. It wouldn't take an implausible conspiracy for them to put a buoy out there saying "stay away" and enforce it with some space navy or other. Odds are if they are advanced enough to travel in space they probably have EW technology that can block/deceive whatever we've got.

I'll also say that I don't discount the whole "conspiracy theory" thing either, and that Aliens have at least been in communication with some leaders. One thing about modern disinformation is that while truly huge conspiracies would be difficult to hide, nowadays they really don't have to, because if something really crazy was going on, nobody would believe it anyway. It's sort of like the whole urban legend thing that the popularity of "found footage" horror movies was in part encouraged by the government to sow disbelief in real "odd" events, in a world where nearly everyone has a phone that is also a camera, one would think ghosts, aliens, monsters, weird crap, etc... would be impossible to keep under wraps. On the other hand if someone actually did say upload a video of aliens onto Youtube or whatever nobody would believe it BECAUSE of found footage movies, and all the people who have been joking around doing this kind of garbage. I waffle back and forth on conspiracy theories, I'm not a big believer in any one of them, but I'm at a place where if some of them turned out to be true I wouldn't be shocked either. For the most part these kinds of "big secrets" don't affect me much at all so I don't worry about them.... the point of this is simply that it is remotely possible that Aliens have visited and/or communicated with earth. Whether that's Tricky Dick and Jackie Gleason smoking cigars while looking at ET in a freezer, or aliens feeding tech to The Third Reich, doesn't much matter, since I'm not talking specifics, all we need is for ONE of those stories or conspiracies to be true...

Of course while I'm rambling I'd also say that a big part of our problem might also be that we haven't unified the planet under one government/culture. In absolute terms, there is nobody with the ability to speak for humanity, and nobody has the willpower to try and unite the world anymore. The thing is that there are probably several dozen countries that are reasonable enough to deal with Aliens, but they don't agree with each other, and for moral reasons we allow nations ike North Korea, Iran, etc... to exist, and at least be heard. When we're a world that tolerates guys like Iran's leaders to sit in meetings representing a theocracy and address other nations as "Great Satan" as opposed to their name, it's kind of ridiculous, especially from an outside perspective. Just look at the huge joke that is the UN, which can't even keep nations like China and Russia in line. Now try getting Earth to be taken seriously signing some kind of interstellar treaty. Not to mention the policing nightmare inherent in say the aliens dealing with the rational nations, while also having theocrats trying to kill them as demons or whatever since their religion didn't allow for space aliens.... personally if I was looking at this from the outside I wouldn't want to contact earth officially either....

Therumancer:
In theory any race that actually advanced to the point of being able to unify their planet, and build a civilization advanced enough to engage in space travel, probably developed morally as well in order to keep it's own civilization functional.

Morality is a human concept that shouldn't necessarily be extended to aliens. The only truly certain constant among all living things in the universe would have to be evolution through natural selection. I really can't conceive advanced intelligence without it, regardless of its origins. Natural selection is not a peaceful process. It's a constant arms race between different species and between them and their environment that lasts eternally. I can very easily imagine alien intelligence that has no concept of morality or peace, because actually such things are unnatural the way life works. To me, an approach that sees war as a "challenge", an opportunity to check for chinks in your evolutionary armor, is more in line with natural selection than "peace, love and understanding". I'd completely understand an alien species annihilating us just because "that's what they do".

I'll leave the rest of your post alone, because you are Therumancer, so of course it devolves into facepalm-worthy justifications of the genocide of native Americans, calling other nations "theocracies" when you live in a country that has elected officials that believe the Earth is a few thousand years old, and calling for unification, of course, under the American culture, because everyone else is clearly inferior.

Carnagath:

Therumancer:
In theory any race that actually advanced to the point of being able to unify their planet, and build a civilization advanced enough to engage in space travel, probably developed morally as well in order to keep it's own civilization functional.

Morality is a human concept that shouldn't necessarily be extended to aliens. The only truly certain constant among all living things in the universe would have to be evolution through natural selection. I really can't conceive advanced intelligence without it, regardless of its origins. Natural selection is not a peaceful process. It's a constant arms race between different species and between them and their environment that lasts eternally. I can very easily imagine alien intelligence that has no concept of morality or peace, because actually such things are unnatural the way life works. To me, an approach that sees war as a "challenge", an opportunity to check for chinks in your evolutionary armor, is more in line with natural selection than "peace, love and understanding". I'd completely understand an alien species annihilating us just because "that's what they do".

I'll leave the rest of your post alone, because you are Therumancer, so of course it devolves into facepalm-worthy justifications of the genocide of native Americans, calling other nations "theocracies" when you live in a country that has elected officials that believe the Earth is a few thousand years old, and calling for unification, of course, under the American culture, because everyone else is clearly inferior.

In such cases just leave it alone instead of throwing out an insulting rant.

That said, I'm not sure where you got "Genocide Of Native Americans" from, I did mention Social Darwinism, and mentioned some parts of internal Native American politicking and compared it to "Deep Space 9". I worked for two different tribes over the years. One of the big divides when they get together in tribal organizations largely comes down between the Americanized Indians, and those who resist Americanization. A divide which also in many cases leads to arguments between the rich tribes against the poor ones, although that's not exclusively how the lines are drawn. It comes down to thinks like embracing education, and business opportunities, and doing things like say opening Casinos, building science/farming complexs for things like shrimping and the like, and otherwise working with society, as opposed to trying to draw a clear line between "Indian Land" and "American Land" and resisting any kind of development or official cooperation. While they ran into some hard times, at one point Foxwoods was the world's largest Casino (in general, not just among Indian Casinos) and Mohegan Sun was #3. The economy kind of hurt them, but to put it bluntly during they heydays (when I worked there) they were making unprecedented amounts of bank, and acted as hosts for a lot of meetings between tribes and such where they set policies for festivals and such. It's not something you see publically, but yeah, there are a lot of Indians who will argue that being conquered was probably the best possible thing that could have happened to them, they having come further in the little over two centuries the US has been around than they did for thousands of years beforehand. Of course your also talking about guys saying this to shut down other arguments, and who could probably roll cigarettes with $100 bills if they wanted to. I've listened to some of the bickering, and read a number of periodicals/tribal newsletters over the years. Besides your taking that out of context, the point was that let's say earth is conquered and we're decimated, but those who assimilate into an alien civilization now have space ships, magical-seeming medical technology, and all kinds of other things, and what's more are able to spread all over the galaxy so in a couple of centuries in this situation there will probably be more humans in absolute terms than died during the conquest, it's not an EXACT analogy mind you.

I also didn't focus on it, but I wanted to point out that if you've actually read my rants, you'd know that when it comes to the basic idea of world unity, a lot of cultures could in theory do it. American principles however are the ones that are likely to lead to the least internal conflict and give everyone a chance to succeed. The systems inherent in China and Russia for example could both also unify the planet and keep things functioning but would also create highly oppressive regimes, not to mention bring intristic racism along with them. Even if the US doesn't live up to it's ideals all the time, in principle it would allow all kinds of people to co-exist to some extent. At the end of the day though it's about principles, in a true global unity the US would itself also dissolve along with other nations, as opposed to everyone becoming an American. That however went beyond the point of this argument. When it came to theocracies the point was that guys like The Ayatollah and his government are so far gone as to not even properly acknowledge those they do not like. The US has it's religious people in power, but we're not a religious state, nor do they have the influence or authority to rally people towards holy wars, and those who actually wind up in authority tend to be fairly rational. The point here was more or less that if you were an Alien diplomat and your here to discuss intergrating earth into some equivalent of The Federation, having some dude with millions upon millions of followers declaring holy war on you and refusing to acknowledge you as anything but some supernatural spirit of evil isn't exactly going to fill you with confidence. Ideally for such relations (again within the context of this discussion) Earth would need to have one government, and the ability to appoint a representative to be able to quickly and easily speak for Earth as a whole. Someone who can make agreements for trade, diplomacy, or even potentially war if we're asked to send
a fleet, or conversely need to ask for military aid. You can't have hundreds of bickering voices all with their own territories, tying up anything earth does in a UN type deadlock. It's bad enough to have one government bureaucracy to deal with (and there would be one) not hundreds of them plus another one on top of that. Seriously, if Aliens arrived tomorrow and wanted to uplift humanity, who would get to make that decision? If it went before the UN we'd still be debating it decades from now, and inevitably some countries could come down hardcore on either side of the question and that would lead to conflict no matter which way the vote went officially.

Ahh well, the point here is that it's fine you don't want to discuss some of this stuff, but don't drop a slam on me for no reason. At any rate for anyone who might be paying attention (other than you) there is a bit more clarification.

http://hanson.gmu.edu/greatfilter.html I found this a very interesting read about the possibilities of alien life.

BigTuk:
20 Years.. which is about long enough for everyone to forget they ever made this prediction.

Exactly, I don't trust anyone who says they can prove something that there is no actual concrete evidence for in a arbitrary timeline. It stinks of "faith"

Quantum Glass:
Ok, seriously?

Click the source. Click it. The /very first/ paragraph points out that this doesn't mean we'll find alien life in the next twenty years, or two hundred years, or ever. It's saying that we have plans for better technology that we'll start using in two decades. Alien life will be discoverable in twenty years, not discovered.

Reading the article you're referencing is, like, Journalism 101. If even that.

thaluikhain:
Not on this site, apparently, intentionally misleading content and especially headlines are quite popular.

Sorry, did I say something to the extent of "We're finding aliens in 20 years, you guys"?

SETI's spokesman made a prediction that they can find aliens in twenty years with the right tools. That's the story as laid out in the source article, and it's one I've tried to lay out for discussion without taking a position. If you read it again, I hope you'll see this is the case.

Fanghawk:
Sorry, did I say something to the extent of "We're finding aliens in 20 years, you guys"?

Yes. The headline is "SETI Predicts Alien Life Should Be Discovered In 20 Years".

That is very different from predicting they'll have the technology to examine a significant number of star systems for alien life within 20 years.

You want to know the real kicker...the real kicker. Even if they find a signal.. at this point there's a good chance that signal would be so old that it likely would be meaningless. We're talking as in the signal was sent around the time we figured out how to rub two sticks together..

Also it assumes another rather misleading thing. SETI is based on the logic that other civilizations would share our tech-tree I.e they'd be using radio wave communications. There is a very good chance that they might not. I mean a society of telepathic species would have no need for phones or radios would they? A celphone seems rather a step backwards when your species can stay a few dozen kilometers a way and just think: 'Honey remember to pick up the milk and extra diapers.'

So again we wind up restating. SETI is looking for life with Human-like intelligence with human-like limitations that uses the technology to overcome those limitations in a manner very similar to how we did.

In short SETI is looking for Humans in outer space.

They are not talking about intelligent life are they now? Certainly the chances of finding life in the shape of micro-organisms or primitive plant life should be much better.

Intelligent life would be the last thing I'd think about when talking about extraterrestrial discoveries.

evilnancyreagan:
I'm sorry but, moderators can you please explain why JessesDale's post received an infraction? I would certainly consider that post helpful, enlightening and on topic.

NoeL:
snip

He was given an infraction for advertising. While the links were on topic, advertising products on the site is against the rules.

I'll edit it into his post to avoid confusion for anyone else.

This is too funny, basically what they are saying is that they will discover alien life.... if they get a bunch of money for our funding. That is fantastic, when did SETI become politicians.

Kudos to the escapist teams for some actual news, and I mean that in a non sarcastic way. I am often in the crowd that points out how some articles should have never been published, so it is only fair that I also praise when praise is due... as if you cared anyway.

thaluikhain:

Fanghawk:
Sorry, did I say something to the extent of "We're finding aliens in 20 years, you guys"?

Yes. The headline is "SETI Predicts Alien Life Should Be Discovered In 20 Years".

That is very different from predicting they'll have the technology to examine a significant number of star systems for alien life within 20 years.

Ahhhhh you know what, I think I see the problem here; the wrong link ended up in the Source section; same website, related topic, but different speakers. That is totally my bad and I apologize. It's now fixed.

That aside, if you refer to the actual quotes from this hearing, SETI is much more optimistic.

Actual SETI quotes:

"It's unproven whether there is any life beyond Earth ... I think that situation is going to change within everyone's lifetime in this room."

"If this is the only planet on which not only life, but intelligent life, has arisen, that would be very unusual"

"I suspect that the universe is teeming with microbial life" - this last one is Dan Werthimer, director of SETI

O maestre:
Kudos to the escapist teams for some actual news, and I mean that in a non sarcastic way. I am often in the crowd that points out how some articles should have never been published, so it is only fair that I also praise when praise is due... as if you cared anyway.

We do, actually! Thank you!

BigTuk:
You want to know the real kicker...the real kicker. Even if they find a signal.. at this point there's a good chance that signal would be so old that it likely would be meaningless. We're talking as in the signal was sent around the time we figured out how to rub two sticks together..

It would prove that life evolved elsewhere in the universe, that our existence isn't a fluke. There are plenty of implications of that.

BigTuk:
Also it assumes another rather misleading thing. SETI is based on the logic that other civilizations would share our tech-tree I.e they'd be using radio wave communications. There is a very good chance that they might not. I mean a society of telepathic species would have no need for phones or radios would they? A celphone seems rather a step backwards when your species can stay a few dozen kilometers a way and just think: 'Honey remember to pick up the milk and extra diapers.'

Well, depends how your telepathy works.

But, quite possibly, yes, but then again, we don't know for sure. Even if you don't produce radio waves for talking to each other, you'd likely (maybe) produce lots of mechanical electronic emissions.

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