Where Is Everybody?





What if aliens visited Earth during the Jurassic Period, found it to be occupied with a bunch of mean, giant lizards and thought “Well, fuck this planet” and never came back?

what if when humans went out into the galaxy all the aliens panicked because if the dinosaurs’ tiny fur snacks now had spaceships and laser blasters and interstellar colonies then what the fuck were the dinosaurs up to??? 

#important human policy: do not let any aliens know the dinosaurs are extinct#EVER

jurassic park movies as extremely important interstellar propaganda

Let me wade in here and totally bore everyone:

THE FERMI PARADOX  boiled down basically says, ‘space is fucking massive, therefore there must be loads of aliens SO WHERE THE HELL ARE THEY ALL?’

There have been many different attempted resolutions of this paradox.

Maybe, like in Star Trek, civilisations are isolated by some form of galactic council until they develop interstellar travel? Or pass some other metric of being advanced enough to be let out of the kiddy pen. Until then we’re in a quarantine bubble that’s the size of the Oort Cloud which the crafty aliens have set up like some kind of Faraday cage, so we can’t intercept all their texting, hentai and suchlike.

Maybe every species gets to a certain stage and then they kill themselves in nuclear wars before ever leaving their planets. This is where we’re at now: we’re too busy spending all our resources on murdering each other over oil / religion / territory to get off the planet. All it takes is a few nukes and we’re toast.

Maybe it takes sooo long to invent interstellar travel that every civ gets killed first, by a random asteroid strike or star going nova or other natural disaster.

I have a different, shinier theory! 

Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended.

—”The Coming Technological Singularity” (1993) by Vernor Vinge

I believe the reason we don’t see aliens is that every civilisation gets to the stage where they experience the Singularity. They invent an AI which can recursively improve itself until it exceeds any intelligence known.

Then, one of two things happens. If the AI feels threatened, like Skynet, it may decide to kill off its parents. Maybe it’ll decide to kill off all organic life on its planet, just to be on the safe side. After all, all an AI needs is matter to convert into processing cores and solar energy.

Or maybe it just… ascends. Just vanishes into a different plane of processing which isn’t apparent to us or similar meatbrain species. Perhaps it learns how to encode its consciousness into the spin of subatomic particles? Or the magnetic flux patterns of its sun? The parent species will be stymied at this point, they will never progress in the processing capability necessary for interstellar travel and so it’s only a matter of some centuries before eco-collapse or war takes them, stuck on one tiny planet.

Meanwhile, the AI exists in virtual realities within the processor cores… perhaps it decides to have children or clones itself. There’s plenty of room, the only thing that limits it is processing power. Within these AI universes, completely invisible to us, civilisations may rise and fall, lovers meet and part, the greatest poetry and songs and dreams ever known to the multiverse. None of which will be comprehensible to us.

Sooo… that’s why Earth isn’t swarming with thousands of species of alien visitors, like Mos Eisley at lunchtime. The aliens are out there but their universes are hosted in satellites floating around abandoned, dead homeworlds. Satellites whose solar panels power the minds of trillions upon trillions of aliens, worlds and realities.

(And if any of that last paragraph floats your goat, please check out Diaspora by Greg Egan.)