Phil Dick's Autofac is a brilliantly frightening sf stroy. There's also Greg Benford's Great Sky River books, about machines conquering and slowly wiping out biological life, very interesting idea, but a huge shame it's extremely badly written in "nerdspeak"
thanks for that. i read the wiki, and i'm still not feeling this is a 'good' idea to say the least. i remember watching something on communicating with extraterrestrials years ago, and basically some experts reckon that theres more chance of communicating with robots than other biological life, mainly because the robots became so advanced they left their biological makers behind!
Well, as Fermi famously said, "where is everybody"?
If aliens more intelligent than us exist somewhere, then either they should already be here (some people think they are!), or else if interstellar travel is impossible for biological beings, then at least some "clanking replicators" they've made should have got here. But we've seen neither!
This concept is also related to artificial intelligence, another area that's made almost zero progress. Despite amazing software, nowadays, there's still no machine that can pass the Turing Test. This is important, because replicators would need to "understand" their environment in much the same way humans do, in order to survive.
I've heard about Fermi before. I'm off the opinion that they are there, millions of cilivisations are out there, some like us, soe VERY different, but all of them are at about the same evoluntary stage, ie before lightspeed travel. Thus, none of us know about each, unless two cilivisations happen to live in the same star system. Also, you must consider that if there are other civilisations, they may not want to be contacted, for various obvious (I hope) reasons.
As for the Turing Test, thats got to be only a matter of time, and indeed, when has any obvious risk of danger stopped us doing anything?!
I would hate to believe that we were alone like that, better to think there are others for our own sanity!
I've always said to people who question whether this other intelligent life to look at the stars and imagine nothing but us, then remember that all the stars that you see our just in our Milky Way, and there's literally millions more galaxies in the Universe - seems EXTREME unlikely that we're the only ones.
I think there could be three or four other civilisations of our intelligence just in our galaxy alone, its just that we can't find a way to find them. Ok, Star Trek's 'Federation' doesn't look likely, but if we were still about in 10,000 years I'd be disappointed if we didn't find someone out there.
i seem to remember a program many years ago (horizon or something similar) whereby they got a few eminent mathmatians, physicists,astronomers etc and formulated an equation to work out how many planet's in the universe had intelligent life, well i sat there spellbound watching them going through this equation until right at the end they didn't/couldn't workout the value of the last symbol, and therefor couldn't workout the answer (which was a big anti-climax) (i was only a kid at the time)
thinking about it now, i don't think we'll ever know as the distance involved is too great, unless cavorite......
but then again that's another story
Yeah, I do agree that Drake's Equation is too a VERY large extent correct, although, as I've said above, its not beyond the realms of reality to believe that ALL intelligent life in the universe is at about the same stage of development as us, ie pre-lightspeed travel. After all, this is only one single start point for the universe.
I have grave doubts about all of the above equations, especially those surrounding the individual parameters / quantities within Drakes equation, as it is formed around just one form of mathematics, which utilises only the human idea behind it, and has no quotient to include the potential adaptions based on progression through time.
Indeed none of the above postulations really go further than using existing known forms of communication between life forms, which severely limits their accuracy when we go beyond the SETI idea of electromagnetic spectrum reception.
The Sci-Fi writers are of course very aware that the limitation of light is the biggest restriction to communication across distances that are presently apparent, and have skirted round this to include faster-than-light particles, gravitational waves, telepathy, hyperspace/space curvature and time displacement, as a way of communicating, and travelling to converse with other species not of this Earth.
Each one of the above ideas once deemed feasible through human development would update the civilisation number by a significant amount, as successive Ages relied on better tools in the stone/Iron/Bronze eras and would improve the result of N in Drakes equation by (at least) factor of 2.
I for one would welcome a team of professionals from this forum to break down the variables into numbers that have updated validity. The best venue appears to be one which includes a table with some slightly damp writing mats, the thought processes honed using a generous supply of beverages dispensed via a number of hand pumps at the bar (and at least one serving wench on hand to remove the distraction of travel between bar and table every 20 minutes) .