NASA scientists have explained in a new paper why they most likely believe we have never encountered intelligent extraterrestrial life – and we intend to.
All intelligent life, they argue, probably developed before it reached a sufficiently sophisticated point in evolution to support such an encounter. People are almost the same and continue to believe, except by doing.
The “great filter” theory – as in “filtering out” various life forms – argues that other civilizations, perhaps more, have existed in the universe. But they all destroyed themselves before they could make contact with Earth, the paper noted, “avoiding the big filter”: extraterrestrial life and the future of humanity in the universe.
Scientists fear that all intelligent life, like humans, has deep-rooted dysfunctions that they wrote “viper quickly into the Great Filter.”
But there is some hope for humans — as long as we can learn and take care to avoid our own extinction, notes a paper by joint researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in southern California.
“The key to humanity successfully passing through such a universal filter is… [destructive] in our own attributes and spoiling it in advance, astrophysicist Jonathan Jiang and his coauthors wrote in a paper that appeared on October 23.
The paper has not yet been reviewed.
It seems likely that humans will be wiped out, even to invent intelligent life on other planets, the authors argue. Likely culprits — which could be impacted by humans or other intelligent life forms — include nuclear war, pandemics, climate change, and uncontrolled artificial intelligence, the authors note.
The trick, the biggest challenge of all, the researchers said, is going to be one thing.
“History shows that intraspecies competition and, rather, collaboration have led us to the highest heights of discovery. However, we draw ideas that seem to be the opposite of long-term sustainable growth: Racism, genocide, equity, sabotage, the writers warn.
Read the full paper here.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.
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