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At Scientific American: The Aliens Could Be Extremely Boring

Well, we can’t be sure, can we? It’s literally a whole other world
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Okay, it’s just a thought. But what if all the interesting stuff is happening in our own imaginations?

Caleb Scharf is a University of Columbia astrobiologist and here is his view:

There’ll be some initial oddities, some curiosities that aren’t quite the things we planned for. A dull carrier wave signal for instance. Over time more evidence will show up, until eventually it’s clear that there are lots of species out there, puttering around in their own little neighborhoods and doing nothing truly extraordinary, because those possibilities were, in the end, more the product of our lively imaginations than anything that the universe compels life towards.

Of course, I’m being a little facetious, the first discovery of life of any kind elsewhere in the universe would be shocking and world-changing, and technological life would rank at the very top of the shock-o-meter. But shock passes, and we also have no way of knowing exactly how this would play out. Rumors and preliminary findings have a way of dulling surprises, no matter what’s at stake.

Caleb A. Scharf, “Extremely Boring Aliens” at Scientific American

Well, we can’t be sure, can we? It’s literally a whole other world.

It’s helpful to keep in mind that we haven’t found a single fossil bacterium on Mars, according to NASA. So everything we know is actually science fiction. The human mind is endlessly creative but can we really conjure up the aliens we long to meet?

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Sci Fi Saturday: Can a Robot Find a Better Planet Than Earth? The trouble is, the robot is governed by Isaac Asimov’s three laws of robotics. After 55 habitable planets, the—by then very old—fellow is beginning to suspect something about the robot’s judgment.

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At Scientific American: The Aliens Could Be Extremely Boring