Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Joker, The Librarian and the Tourist

The Fermi Paradox
The Fermi paradox is the apparent contradiction between high estimates of the probability of the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations and the lack of evidence for, or contact with, such civilizations.

The extreme age of the universe and its vast number of stars suggest that if the Earth is typical, extraterrestrial life should be common. In 1950 while working at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the physicist Enrico Fermi questioned why, if a multitude of advanced extraterrestrial civilizations exist in the Milky Way galaxy, evidence such as spacecraft or probes are not seen.

Fermi concluded, the Earth should have been visited long ago and many times over.

I hope this is pretty obvious to anyone who thinks about it.

So we are looking for an explanations to the Fermi Paradox.

So one of the following must hold true for the Paradox to collapse

1. There is no such things as ET's

2. All ET's don’t want to be noticed

3. All ET's don’t care and don’t bother knowing anything about the world around them or, 3a variant, All ET's have evolved beyond our conception of society and we cant connect with them in any conceivable way.

4. Or Most don’t care, some do, and some are just passing through.

In my view 4. is the most logical conclusion that can be drawn. These i will call the Joker, The Librarian and the Tourist (i wont be arguing the first 3 as it is obvious)

The Librarian
Any ET civilisation that does have an interest in the world around them will build Von Neumann or Bracewell probes, these self replicating probes are the most rapid and efficient way to map the surrounding universe for any civilisation that cares to.

These I will call Librarian civilisations.

Von Neumann probes
A von Neumann probe is a self-replicating spacecraft designed to investigate its target system and transmit information about it back to its system of origin. Named after Hungarian-born mathematician and physicist John von Neumann, who rigorously studied the concept of self-replicating machines that he called "Universal Assemblers" and which are often referred to as "von Neumann machines".

If a self-replicating probe finds evidence of primitive life (or a primitive, low level culture) it could be programmed to lie dormant, silently observe, attempt to make contact (this variant is known as a Bracewell probe), or even interfere with or guide the evolution of life in some way.

Every Librarian civilisation will have Bracewell probes on our moon and in our system performing a variety of functions.

(The movie 2001 A space Odyssey is about Bracewell probes in our solar system guiding the evolution of man)

Hence the expectation is that out of all the Library civilisations extant, some may want to interferer or 'help' and some may choose only to document.

This leaves Earth as Big Brother House for all the Librarian ET's TV

Some will want to just watch and some will interfere, say vote on 911

I'l do Jokers and Tourists later