EXPERTS are saying that the searches for extraterrestrial [ET] life are looking at the wrong signs.
When scientists engage in these searches, they often assume that biological life on other planets functions the same as Earth.
It’s this anthropocentrism, or “human-centered” point of view, that could be stopping us from eventually finding life outside our solar system.
It’s the same as assuming that intelligent life on other planets would be similar to Earth because of humans. However, it’s possible that we haven’t interacted with aliens because their technology is much more advanced than ours.
Earth is still a young planet compared to others so it could be likely like ET life has invented technology the same as we did. It’s possible that those inventions have exceeded us by a lot.
Advanced ETs could have developed artificial intelligence or virtual worlds beyond our comprehension.
SETI senior astronomer Seth Shostak believes that if aliens are intelligent enough to seek out Earth “will probably have gone beyond biological smarts and, indeed, beyond biology itself.”
This idea has intrigued both scientists and entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, raising questions about the potential risks of searching for these possibly super-intelligent species.
If aliens are nonbiological, searching for them the way we normally do won’t do much help.
Focusing on technosignatures, chemical, radio, and light emissions from civilizations might do better instead.
Searching this way also considers what these hypothetical civilizations might invent and produce. Aliens might have reached a point where their technological outputs are identifiable.
By looking for life through this lens, it’s also possible that humankind might reflect on their own definitions of life and our understanding of intelligence.
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