EP01: Fermi Paradox


EP01: Fermi Paradox

There’s a concept called the Fermi paradox that asks where all the aliens are. Because the universe is so amazingly old and so astoundingly vast, intelligent life should have evolved perhaps trillions of times by now. At this point, the universe should be so teeming with intelligent civilizations that Earth should be fully colonized by aliens. In other words, we should be as sure that there is other intelligent life in the universe as we’re sure there are people living in Denmark. And yet, all of our searches for signs of intelligence have come up empty handed – we appear to be the only intelligent life in the whole wide universe. This is very weird. A rainbow of explanations have been developed over the years to make sense of the cosmic emptiness we see: from the idea that we are being kept in a zoo to the suggestion that the aliens have gone post-biological – loaded themselves into digital formats – and are hibernating until the universe cools down so the computers that run them can process information efficiently. But as far out as some answers to the Fermi paradox are, perhaps the strangest one of all is that we really are alone. (Original score by Point Lobo www.pointlobo.com.)

Interviewees:

  • Anders Sandberg, Oxford University philosopher and co-creator of the Aestivation hypothesis
  • Seth Shostak, director of SETI
  • Toby Ord, Oxford University philosopher

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