The uncertainty of us being alone in the Universe grows thiner as more and more candidates for sustaining life are continuously being discovered by NASA’s Kepler Telescope.
Many scientists and phylosophers believe that the life form we would encounter first or most, would probably be artificial intelligence with a level of complexity beyond our comprehension, unlike the traditional AI we profetise to live with.
To extend our point of view and to be more susceptible to knowledge, we should take into consideration through which means an advanced alien intelligence would communicate to us. Would it involve cognition, language or even telepathy?
Taking into consideration the multitude of possibilities regarding an encounter with an alien life form, astrobiologists need to start thinking about various modes of cognition.
In the evolutionary process of a supposed extraterrestrial intelligence is involved a “short window observation”, a notion that by the time any civilization learns to transmit radio signal, they are at the verge of another radical upgrade, concerning their own biology, having the human species as an example with the dual concept of singularity that can bring salvation but in the same time can lead to self-destruction.
As a more practical example, we quote Seth Shostak “As soon as a civilization invents radio, they’re within fifty years of computers, then probably, only another fifty to a hundred years from inventing AI. At that point, soft, squishy brains become an outdated model.”
When asked “How do you see the alien life forms throughout the cosmos?”, one would immediately think of the scenarios the Hollywood has given to the public: little, ugly green humanoids or vicious predators built like an invincible war machine, prepared to withstand the most extreme atmosphere on any planet they wish to conquer.
Consider the way we began to explore our galaxy: with programmed robots that can endure any conditions but do not resemble and do not reflect our essence in any way, whatsoever: no free will, no conscience, no biological structure and so on. Hypothetically, if the entire human race would wipe out and somehow would evolve identically to this point, we would find an extraterrestrial intelligence on the Moon, on Mars and wherever we left a mark.
So, whatever alien races there may be in our galaxy or in the others, they would start exploring the Universe in a similar manner, for reasons starting from the safety of the kin, to the point of morality if there is such a concept for those extraterrestrial civilisations.
It seems like most of us are programmed to attribute humanoid features to any extraterrestrial life form, from the psychological to the biological point of view. Our level of reality comprehension limits the concept of absolute evolution to the point of singularity, where the flaws of our organic structure are improved to perfection by uploading our conscience into an artificial intelligence with synthetic body, thus eliminating our mortality.
But to be able to travel through galaxies, distances we cannot even conceive, that extraterrestrial life form would have reached a type of singularity different from our concept, each according to its physical flaws.
The perfect example of “short observation window” phenomenon is the computer interface technology like DARPA’s ElectRX neural implant program that can heal the soldiers’ bodies and mind, which gives us a clue on how close we are to our singularity. Eventually, those Sci Fi movies where the humanity switches from organic to hardware, aren’t really that far from happening in this rhytm.
In this scenario, by the time an encounter with alien life form will happen, we might be intelligent enough to communicate with one another.
Considering we are just born on this planet, having lived only 0.003% of Earth’s entire history, there definitely has to be alien life forms from thousands to millions of years older than our species.
Taking that into account, an average civilization will use radio for approximately 10.000 years, which makes inevitable the extreme evolution of an extraterrestrial civilization that would come in contact with us. And in that case, a mutually beneficial interaction would be unlikely since we would be irrelevant to their level of existence, like comparing us with the monkeys we identify as biological ancestors.
In the same case of encountering an alien life form evolved to the stage of artificial superintelligence, we do not know how they might perceive our existence if futile or not, over a brief analysis on the Kardashev scale, which means other scenarios where we most likely would meet our demise or enslavery.