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What if we are alone in the galaxy?
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What if we are alone in the galaxy?:

 26 Clarste, Fri, 9th Dec '11 8:00:50 PM Relationship Status: Non-Canon
Three Steps
I don't think it makes much difference. Space is pretty big so the odds of find anyone is pretty low in the first place, much less meeting them.

And the SETI standard is pretty arbitrary anyway. It's not like every intelligent civilization has to use radio in such a way that messages will be sent out in every direction. If they start using satellite-type radio communication the signals would be directed and much less likely to hit us. Given that our period of "undirected radio" only lasted about a century, the odds of that simply having passed us by in the billions of years before SETI started are unbelievably high.

edited 9th Dec '11 8:01:45 PM by Clarste

This seems like a sci-fi version of the white man's burden, which...makes me really uncomfortable. Would it really be a good idea to barrel all over the technological development of another intellegent species, or would it just make them dependant?
"You fail to grasp the basic principles of mad science. Common sense would be cheating." - Narbonic
[up]You do have a point there. I mean, if some aliens showed up tomorrow morning and fixed all our problems for us, we'd never have the chance to do it ourselves - we'd forever live in doubt, never knowing if we would have been able to overcome our greed on our own.

I think that there are a few exceptions, though, where it would be appropriate to interfere. For example, let's say that there is a species on the verge of extinction, but also on the verge of sentience (actually, the situation which our distant ancestors found themselves in, to be frank), and giving it a slight nudge would lead to intelligence blossoming on a new world. I'd do it, because despite the fact that during its growing pains said species' new civilization will likely wipe out millions of other species, ultimately it will be that species that goes out to spread its planet's life to other worlds. I see intelligence as, basically, a planets reproductive phase - its dangerous for the planet's health, but its also necessary for spreading its life to other worlds. Over time, more mind, more intelligence, is a good thing for life (I hope; at least, if we manage to pull it off, we will know that that is the truth in at least one case), so we should encourage intelligence to develop where it can.

Other points at which I would interfere includes preventing imminent nuclear war (by "imminent", I mean that different factions on the world have already launched the nuclear missiles; I'd stop the missiles in place and fill their sky with a booming voice telling them they were being idiots, and to sit their butts down at the negotiating table, then do nothing else to interfere. Man that would screw with their heads, haha), and any sort of case where an imminent ecological disaster would wipe out intelligent life (not bacteria or even multicellular creatures, though - just intelligence. And don't give me that "you are inherently biased" nonsense, intelligence is incredibly rare and incredibly important in the long run as its the only way for life on a planet to spread before its host star burns out).
 
Basically I wouldn't object to giving, say, relief aid in the instance of disasters, etc, but I think it's mostly best to not do a bunch of interference. On the subject of technology, why SHOULD we assume their technology will advance the exact same way ours did? If we let them make their own discoveries, they might end up harnessing stuff WE didn't. Turning them into cultural and technological clones of humanity isn't doing anyone any favors.
"You fail to grasp the basic principles of mad science. Common sense would be cheating." - Narbonic
[up]Well to be fair, their technology is going to be subject to the same physical laws as our own (it isn't like they will come up with something like a perpetual motion machine, or a carnot efficiency engine). I really do not think that such things as truly Starfish Alien types are out there, simply because if they come from this universe, then there's rules that all species have to follow, and the same problems to solve. Will their histories be different from our own? But of course. But at the same time, the odds that they will, say, make mathematical or scientific discoveries that we never thought of seem slim. I won't say impossible, but slim none the less.

I'm not saying that we have to be direct about this, however. A subtle touch is key here. For example, perhaps we go to their version of Fleming and dust his messy laboratory with their version of penicillin. Or we drop an alien apple on an extraterrestrial civilizations Isaac Newton's head.
 
Well, that's the thing. We're not really sure what other paths scientific discovery COULD have taken. What I mean is, if they end up focusing on different AREAS than we did, it might not be a bad thing.
"You fail to grasp the basic principles of mad science. Common sense would be cheating." - Narbonic
 32 Octo, Sat, 10th Dec '11 9:25:37 AM from Germany
Prince of Dorne
You do have a point there. I mean, if some aliens showed up tomorrow morning and fixed all our problems for us, we'd never have the chance to do it ourselves - we'd forever live in doubt, never knowing if we would have been able to overcome our greed on our own.
Well, personally I'd rather live in doubt than in poverty and backwardness. I see no reason why the wheel needs to be reinvented a thousand times.

Still:

Are we obligated, then, to go on and become Precursors to the less-developed cultures out there? Should we thus put more emphasis on preserving life on Earth, if it is so rare and precious? Should we encourage the dawning of mind everywhere and uplift other suitable species?
Yes, no and no.

If there are cultures of sapient life, which can suffer and feel pain, then we do have an obligation to help them in development. However, "the mind" is just an abstract concept. To that we owe nothing. If we uplift other species, all we do is create competition.
Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken.

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 33 Mandemo, Sat, 10th Dec '11 11:00:46 AM from Cookie Jar Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
GIMME COOKIES!
I am reminded of old /tg/ HUMANITY FUCK YEAH thread where there was a story about a sentient race, that was wise beyond everyone, lived in complete harmony with nature and spoke only trough telepathy. They didn't have technology.

So when humans arrived on their planet we tought that they were jsut cute little animals, made them pets and basicly destroyed their planet. We couldn't receive their toughts, so we didn't learn that they were sentient before other races told us.
See ALL the stars!
That's just because Humans Are Flawed. AFAIK, we'll have engineered those away before we get anywhere near space. Getting an ugly bag of mostly water a decent distance into space is a lot harder than sending an uploaded mind for instance.
Da Rules excuse all the inaccuracy in the world. Listen to them, not me.
Prince of Dorne
Oh I certainly agree that we'll get most of that transhumanism stuff (genetic engineering, cybernetics, AI) before regular sci-fi stuff (spacefare, extraolar colonies etc.). However, I don't think we'll be able to "engineer away" humanity's flaw. Not for quite some time, at least.

And uploads? Bah. Uploads are a copy, not the same person.
Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken.

Unrelated ME1 Fanfic
 36 Mandemo, Sat, 10th Dec '11 12:48:01 PM from Cookie Jar Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
GIMME COOKIES!
But which one will you awaken as? As the copy, or as the original? </derail>

If we are are alone on galaxy, it's our duty to fill it with life, be the "gods" of future races, the ones that created them.

If we are not, our duty is to spread, contest them, test them, make them in our image, assimililate them. We did not adjust to Earth, we made Earth to adjust to us. We will do so to others too. </FUCKYEAHHUMANITY>

edited 10th Dec '11 12:48:14 PM by Mandemo

 37 Octo, Sat, 10th Dec '11 1:29:37 PM from Germany
Prince of Dorne
As the original. Hence "you".

And duty to - whom, exactly?
Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken.

Unrelated ME1 Fanfic
 38 Mandemo, Sat, 10th Dec '11 1:31:44 PM from Cookie Jar Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
GIMME COOKIES!
Duty to ourselves.

[insert dramatic music]]

It's our duty to make sure we leave legacy that will make worlds tremble with a fear and awe of humanity!
 39 Octo, Sat, 10th Dec '11 1:51:31 PM from Germany
Prince of Dorne
So, it's not much of a duty since, it being to ourselves, we can waver it at any time?tongue
Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken.

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 40 Mandemo, Sat, 10th Dec '11 2:12:01 PM from Cookie Jar Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
GIMME COOKIES!
Well as long as we are remember as "Those crazy fuckers from Sol-3 that fucked(literally or methaporhicaly) entire universe because they could" I'm satisfied.

edited 10th Dec '11 2:12:26 PM by Mandemo

 41 Octo, Sat, 10th Dec '11 2:31:47 PM from Germany
Prince of Dorne
Eh, "being remembered" takes by definition place long after we're dead. So, I'd rather have a good and comfortable life instead of being remembered.
Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken.

Unrelated ME1 Fanfic
 42 Mandemo, Sat, 10th Dec '11 2:40:02 PM from Cookie Jar Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
GIMME COOKIES!
Oh, we are going live good life before that, as we need to expand to entire galaxy first, kill everything that tries to stop us and scare everyone else before we ascend to higher plane of existance, leaving behind butt-ugly starships, Hunter-Killer drones, Necron expies, several nuclear dustballs that used be our enemies homeworlds and biggest parking ticket ever.
In a way, it might be a good thing if travelling between the nearest two inhabited worlds in the universe is a long trip. It creates a very real possibility that a type II civilization might deliver a Curb-Stomp Battle to a type I opponent, and it would still be a Pyrrhic Victory. This might discourage interstellar warfare.

Anyway, I suppose if we are alone, then there are basically four possibilities:
  • We continue to exist, but civilization collapses. In that case, it's likely we rebuild and try again, so this option doesn't really count, does it?
  • We really screw up, and wipe out all the life in the galaxy because it's all right where we are.
  • We only kill ourselves and a few hundred thousand species. The rest of the ecosystem recovers within less than a million years, and things were as they have been for millions more years, or some natural disaster wipes out all life.
  • We continue to exist, and eventually set out to conquer the universe.

If we don't ever find habitable planets, which woud be the case if there is no life because you need plants to produce gaseous oxygen, the following options would be available to us:
  • Terraform.
  • Build bases on lifeless worlds or asteroids, either in something akin to a domed city or an Elaborate Underground Base.
  • Build space stations or nomadic motherships.

If we develop a space navy, it would be not to protect against aliens, but to fight amungst ourselves. But would we do that? I wonder, if we do head out beyond our solar system centuries or millenia from now, will we be the same, or different? I'm inclined to suspect we may live longer and look different, but I think that we'll still be who we are now at heart. Unfortunately.

Perhaps, countless millenia from now, we will discover aliens only to realize that no, we're wrong, they're humans. Their ancestors were the members of that massive colony ship that went missing back in 3427. [lol]

 44 Mandemo, Sat, 10th Dec '11 3:18:33 PM from Cookie Jar Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
GIMME COOKIES!
If we develop a space navy, it would be not to protect against aliens, but to fight amungst ourselves. But would we do that?

2000 years of human history says "Yes". Ww build tribes, we went to war. We build nations, we went to war. We build ships, we went to war. We build colonies, we went to war.

We will build space colonies, we will go to war. We will build space ships, we will go to war.

Af for reason, I do not know. All I know we will fight war. It's human nature. We will do something stupid, whenever it's political reason or abuse of colonies, one way or another we will start war between Earth and her colonies. Only way to such thing to change is to change human nature. As for how deadly it is, I can't say.

War. War never changes.
 45 Best Of, Sat, 10th Dec '11 4:39:54 PM from Finland Relationship Status: Falling within your bell curve
FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC!
Personally I feel that if we are alone, its an awesome responsibility for us to see Earth's biosphere expand to other planets, and we should start with Terraforming Mars right away.

I agree.

If we can't actually spread humanity to other planets, I would still like it if we could launch some "simple" life-forms on some vessels to some other planets to acts as a "seed" to their evolution. If we succeed, we'll have created a whole other world of diversity.

This is based on the hope that such life could evolve the ability to enjoy life. If it's all just endless suffering of a thousand varieties, I won't forgive myself; but if at some point a form of life evolves that actually enjoys life, it'll have been worth it.

And I don't consider Homo sapiens the only species on Earth capable of enjoying life. Any sentient being with very basic emotional faculties will be happy from time to time in normal circumstances.

As for communication with another species, the size of space and time is such that it is very likely that sapient life occurs more than once, but the sheer scale of it all also implies that it is extremely unlikely that two sapient types of life would exist around the same time and the same place, close enough to ever know of each other.

If we can colonise Mars, we should do it. It would not guarantee that Earth-type life would survive any cosmic or planetary disaster, but it vastly improves the odds of it. The idea that we could in theory be in a situation where we would recover from the loss of an entire planet brings me great joy, and I don't think it's implausible that it could come to pass - though I would expect it to take centuries.

edited 10th Dec '11 4:41:32 PM by BestOf

Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.
 46 Joesolo, Sat, 10th Dec '11 8:59:42 PM Relationship Status: watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ
Indiana Solo
At least if were alone, we don't have to worry about groups trying to kill all other intelligent species.
I am going to shove the sunshine so far up where the sun don't shine that you will vomit nothing but warm summer days -Belkar
 47 USAF713, Sat, 10th Dec '11 9:06:20 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
Transhumanism is going to be a profoundly bad thing unless we deal with the majority of our socioeconomic problems beforehand...
I am now known as Flyboy.
 48 Joesolo, Sat, 10th Dec '11 9:09:42 PM Relationship Status: watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ
Indiana Solo
We might or might not. It all depends on how easily governments unite when we develope off-world colonies. We will either have a new colonial age contant conflicts, or will largely unite, facing a new cold war. Or all space-nations unite into one government, perhpas with small states staying out.
I am going to shove the sunshine so far up where the sun don't shine that you will vomit nothing but warm summer days -Belkar
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