The Fermi Paradox: Rare Technology

The Fermi Paradox: Rare Technology


this video is sponsored by curiosity
stream get access to my streaming video service nebula when you sign up for
curiosity stream using the link in the description there are so many hurdles in
all universe keepy intelligence from the rising once it has it seems inevitable
that intelligence should pursue technology but perhaps it isn’t so today we return to our for me paradox
great filter series for a fourth installment of what had been intended
just to be a trilogy focusing forced on what factors of our universe and
galaxies might make life or air then what might make life sustaining wars
like oh three oh and finally on what might make the evolution of intelligence
rare in rare intelligence we did look briefly at what might make the rise of
technology once you had intelligence less inevitable that we might think but
mostly concluded that once you had a value for technology it might not be
inevitable that you go down that path but most would so it would probably be a
minor filter at most since that episode came out a little over two years ago
I’ve been thinking on the matter more and I’m no longer is confident on that
assertion and we’re going to dig into that today and focus more on some
psychological and sociological phenomena that might present whorls since it has
been over two years a brief official is appropriate and you might want to check
out the original trilogy if you haven’t seen it recently or ever combine all
that with our tendency to do long episodes especially when discussing the
for me paradox and you probably want to grab a drink and a snack before
proceeding we often abridge what the foamy paradox is when discussing it
since we discuss it so often and want to save time and because this exact meaning
is a bit variable fundamentally it’s expressing the apparent paradox between
the vast age and size of our universe and why that universe doesn’t seem to be
swarming with civilizations especially in modern times where we can see just
how common Stoll is like oh and all and how many seem to have an abundance of
planets in orbit around them many solutions for explaining it have been
offered but the focus of the series is just that there is no paradox because
we’re simply massively overestimating how likely life is to arise grow to
complexity and diversity get smart get technology then go to be a galaxy
spanning civilization we could easily spot
looking for massive civilizations is a critical notion with the Fermi paradox –
we couldn’t see a clone of ourselves even 200 light years away unless we were
staring right at it and of course if all on the same timeline as us we not see
anything anyway because they’re forced radio signals would still not have
reached us timelines of mere thousands of years mean very little against the
age of the universe but it’s not the whole universe that counts for the Fermi
paradox since our universe is fairly young and
it would seem unlikely anyone could have a head start on us by several billion
years so it’s only our relative neighborhood we can even meaningfully
discuss the farther out we look the more universe we see but the younger and more
primordial the wards we see your chaotic cells those with a nucleus to them and
what many of us feel was a fairly important hortal or filter on the
evolution of life didn’t arise on earth until about 1.8 billion years ago by
current best estimates if we assume that no galaxy Spain civilizations could have
arisen before that then there’s no chance of finding me for the route than
one point billion years because the light from them couldn’t have reached us
yet they are all about a quintillion stars in that volume a billion billion
that’s a big number on which civilizations could have arisen from and
spread out the stalls but none seem to have now there could be a single
specific reason but we usually assume that they’re all several Meinl and not
so mine or hortal is along the paths we categorize these as less or minor major
and grateful tolls we’re lesser ones are merely more likely
than not to stop advancement miele filters are uncommon to pass but not
real and major filters are the kind that less than a percent succeed in passing
on the false ID a great filter is what we normally consider lottery odds
million in one or less and many are suggested for these and we often group
related filters into an overall great filter to one of these on its own might
reduce the odds – you wonder quintillion all by itself and of course we have some
of these we can speak to with great certainty already beginning
with that one in a quintillion probability that’s how many stars
they’re all we might hope to see something emerge from but it’s really
only how many planets we might expect at most that could realistically hold life
we just take for granted it needs to a call on a planet and off like walls and
large moons around gas giants is where all that action takes place that is
already a huge filter because virtually none of the mass in our solar system is
in the planets rocky planets probably make up less than a millionth of the
mass of our universe moreover only the thin crust of those walls would be
hospitable for life generally speaking so we’ve already cut the amount of
matter that might be involved in biology down to around a billionth of the
available mantle before we even get out the gate just by focusing on planets
we’ve discussed how valid that assumption is in other episodes like
panspermia or void ecology but it’s an assumption that’s so taken for granted
that we usually don’t even think about it when discussing the for me paradox I
like pointing it out though because the Fermi paradox is so often phrased in the
context of Drake’s equation a fairly straightforward and popular equation
where the variables are things like how often stars or earth-like Ward’s form
for which we have fairly solid data and it’s other terms discussing the
probability of life arising or getting smart or not kill yourself off our great
big question marks we tend to naturally assume their values aren’t going to be
too different from the other ones we know there are seven factors and even if
they were all just 1% I’ll cut off line from my know tomato filters and we know
some are much more probable than that but you’d still have around 10,000
galactic empires in our visible window of time and space it would be freakishly
improbable that none of those were close enough to us in space and time to be
courtly visible for stacking filters it doesn’t take too much to lower the odds
to next to nothing and throughout the series we always emphasize that it’s a
cumulative process so we are not trying to argue today that technology is so
rare that less than 1 the quintillion intelligent species ever develops it
just that after you winnowed the wards down to the relative
few that make it to intelligence it doesn’t take much more to winnow at four
though on technology seem as when we get to late filters next month those filters
which we still have not passed but they’re all needed to make you visible
to us on Morrow north we don’t need to show that those add up to even a major
filter we don’t know what the odds are most of these filters all but if they
combine to reduce it to less than one in a quintillion then the Fermi paradox is
no paradox at all and I think we’ve more than justified that as a reasonable
hypothesis in the previous episodes and this recap has already gone on long
enough so let’s get to it once a species has cleared all those
Olie filters and intelligence is in play psychology becomes a critical factor in
discussions of the Fermi paradox but speculating about alien psychology is a
lot more of a crapshoot than discussing astronomical or even evolutionary
processes that affect simpler life forms which is why we generally discuss
psychological solutions to the Fermi paradox in our somewhat tongue-in-cheek
alien civilization series where the need for a lot of guessing is the elephant in
the room but it is educated guessing just as an example we tend to take as a
given heel that the most probable pathway to serious technology is
civilization via species that is both social and curious it’s hardly a bad
speculation either you can’t develop technology until you’re smart but brains
are expensive on and shouldn’t just lead massively in complexity out of the blue
such being the case you start using technology when you’re just barely smart
enough and thus you make a lot more progress a lot sooner and faster if
you’re social and can specialized meaning Alex can specialize on crafting
arrows while Bob can focus on crafting the bows that shoot them and Kalle can
specialize in crafting traps to keep the caves or huts for your woman while Devon
lawns had a dig holes to dump disgusting garbage in to not attract them garbage
voormann and disgust responses all going to be a major theme for later today too
as a heads-up for any of you snacking during this episode
fair warning by specializing we can’t get more done when we’re not too small
yet but that’s only handy if your social critters and so we can actually list
that as a fairly decent filter all the inventions are of less use and represent
a far bigger investment of effort by each individual if you don’t all
cooperate and in much more varied and vulnerable ways than simple cooperative
hunting or even child rearing we’re fundamentally everybody is fairly
interchangeable or expendable and a pack doesn’t need that many members however
let me put a caveat on there it is good reasoning but it assumes all style of
brain you could have the equivalent of neurons being woven into muscle fibers
instead muscle memory in a very literal sense or into the bones or some
transmission mechanism that could rapidly speed up due to a minor mutation
suddenly a species that had been early hominid small to all bounced north of
Einstein on brain power and maybe even so much that they don’t need multiple
generations and cooperation for major advancement particularly if they are
rather long-lived and we have no reason to assume lifespans Ando different
biology would match up to all alone so you might have some race of long-lived
geniuses who all antisocial this is not a great path to civilization and stahl
spanning ones at that still it would be an example of a caveat where technology
did not arise from a social species that was just smart enough to acquire
technology through each member specializing I think as we contemplate
that scenario that it is also an example of an exception that proves the rule
since ultimately the foamy paradox isn’t about if you can get smart or even get
technology but if you do something with it that lets us see you very far away we
use the galaxy spanning civilization as our main example because we could see
them very very far away just by their impact on the environment as they
started engaging in shtetl engineering and those other things we associate with
such civilizations see the Kuroshio scale episode or really how about a
third of the episodes on this channel for more details on why such
civilizations are to be nearly impossible not to see regardless when
discussing filters for the Fermi paradox it’s all a probabilities game and so
we’re interested in what is most palpable not some unlikely scenario that
might explain one anomalous civilization out of thousands in that context your
most probable pathway would seem to be more or less than one we went down
brains are expensive and need to offer a benefit part of that benefit for us is
its use for social purposes which makes it viable for us to share walk and be
more productive at at via specialization related to this is Dunbar’s number the
cognitive limit of the number of individuals one can maintain a stable
social relationship with usually listed as about 150 for humans which may also
influence specialization one could imagine this as a filter since species
with a lower Dunbar number might have a very hard time specializing much while
conversely one with a higher one might have a real problem developing a
cultural able to function while exceeding that because it wasn’t so
necessary even fairly early on this socialization and specialization
presumably leads to stationary villages after the rise of Agriculture over
hunting and gathering and eventually to the rise of cities long before we had
what we think of as nations we had city-states where thousands of folks
could congregate for specialized tasks which they used to trade or raid their
less urbanized and specialized neighbors for food and the city is both the root
of the ward and start of what we consider civilization we already
discussed in rare intelligence how important that transition to agriculture
or was for increasing your population density and various ways that might fail
or to emerge indeed some theories suggest it took so long not because we
didn’t really understand the concept but because we had to wait till those plants
slowly adapted to be more edible through a long process of us selectively
gathering them until they mutated to be more optimized for us as a food source
your basic diet can easily be considered at least
lessor filter since only a more omnivorous scavenger type is really well
positioned to pursue that option and indeed our own setup as a persistence
predator capable of sweating to cool ourselves and jogging all day long were
needed something fairly unique to humans is probably a pretty big factor in how
we can get away with fuelling and cooling our gigantic brains probably
wasn’t a petrol thing originally either we might easily have combined our great
vision and endurance to let us spot soclean vultures or similar and go
charging off to scavenge that prey we are very opportunistic in our style
compared to other apex predators we tend to scare our prey to death or run them
to exhaustion and poke them then we certainly did not in the early days have
a dozen of us run up close and stab healthy and fresh mammoths out of the
blue with Spears they’d have mopped the floor with us I
mentioned this though mostly because our increasingly rational brains didn’t just
pop out of nowhere and decide to start making tools all brains our survival
focused and part of that is for socialization an important part of
surviving in a pack another big part of that is dangerous sense which will
return to you in a bit and another is abstraction which makes complex speech
and invention possible probably not all big brains original main survival
purpose though to avoid getting killed you need to know something is a good
course of action and you can do that by observation or instinct but you can also
do that by running simulations it’s a lot cheaper to imagine what might happen
if you run up to a mammoth than to absorb other tribe members doing that
and getting pasted let alone waiting generations and generations for that to
evolve into a specific instinct we run scenarios through our heads over and
over and over again imagining how it might play out indeed we can get pretty
neurotic about doing that but that is a massive survival advantage and it’s also
the sort of thing that can lead to someone thinking hey if my arm was
longer I wouldn’t need to be so close to that mammoth to stab it right now even
when we go after an injured one that can’t move we’ve got a poke it
can’t react fast enough or at all if I stuck my knife on the end of a fake arm
like a tree branch then it wast it will just break my fake home when it swings
its tusks around and those obviously are some examples of when a big expensive
brain that takes years to grow can turn out to be a valuable investment I should
also note there while we often look with halt or disdain at our ancestors habit
of sacrificing animals valuable things or even people that we might think of
that as an early attempt at investment and bargaining and trade big concept
they are unlike most animals who at most are just instinctively wired to set food
aside for later like a squirrel humans think on the future a lot and are
willing to suffer in the present to reap a bigger reward down the road they were
just as smart as us back then though way less educated in scientific as at war we
are a lot more practical in all present-day sacrifices to future rewards
but it’s probably the same concept on display all mines can vision many
possible futures and all memories let us we’ll play the past and ruminate on
alternatives and we can realize that a little sacrifice today can pay off
dividends down the road and that’s not as obvious a thing as you might think
as the Stanford marshmallow experiments on delayed gratification half a century
back showed little kids have a very hard time waiting even brief periods to eat a
piece of candy if toward they will get even more candy if they don’t eat it and
wait and that’s just with kids or enough to clearly understand think about
something like agriculture where you need to actually understand that you
must put food in the ground or not kill it and eat it now and wait months before
you get more then actually bring yourself to wait those months and with
the knowledge that it will acquire oversight maintenance protection and
luck to get that final yield to us this is natural and we get better at it as we
age indeed delayed gratification is
practically synonymous with what we mean by maturity but that’s a big and
non-obvious step and one mini kudos even small ones might never make
and remember that’s just agriculture one of the simplest and most fundamental of
our technological steps and delayed gratification is a cornerstone of a
technological civilization even if they have a capacity for it it needs to be a
large capacity and one that makes it profitable in their setup and which they
believe in often it won’t be creativity is not nearly as valuable to an
individual as we tend to think it is these days in a society that runs on it
because only a very tiny portion of creations even useful ones ever get used
enough to support the Creator in a smaller society even a clearly useful
invention alai diya who represents such a large investment to dream up and make
that often might only get invented because you literally have a parasite
class that can sit around on their butts being non-productive and just one in a
thousand of them makes something useful enough to have justified their
daydreaming ironically a society that doesn’t tolerate such useless layabouts
which is entirely probable to pop up might bash their heads in for being lazy
but speaking of parasites I mentioned that humans evolved a pretty impressive
danger and disgust mechanism to avoid dying
do not eat something that looks or smells off do not step in something
do not let a strange or nearby who might have hostile intent or be carrying a
disease do not underestimate how powerful that impulse is even in a
rational mind the saliva in your mouth is obviously not dangerous to you but if
I hand you a clean cup and tell you to spit in it then drink that cup while
that is entirely safe most folks won’t do it even after the reminder about how
safe it is that thing was ejected from a human body and it is not meant to go
back in they’ll get violently nauseous about it indeed just rowdy about it
makes me a bit ill and you can try thinking about it and seeing how you
feel about doing it’s even reminded in advance that it is not even a little
dangerous using that big brain capable of running simulations of actions now we
only know that safe because we know science a pre technological society
does not and is likely to be terrified about any possible source of
contamination even if they know that sometimes it’s beneficial to risk it a
good reminder of what the expression I have a strong stomach is generally
implying I don’t know when or why humans started thinking of fire as a means of
purification but that’s not a super obvious connection and it’s not how to
imagine a species might be terrified to file
mini Hall and have a disgust feeling associated to it also such being the
case even if you could bring yourself to use it for warmth and light there is no
way you’re going to eat food that was in one so you never invent cooking indeed
you might not be willing to use anything forged in a flame either or at least not
feel comfortable using it for stowing food in like pottery or you might be
especially disgusted by reusing anything that previously had food on it because
dangerous rot sets in in that ward fall fast on and scavengers are a material
and speedy lot may be a very plentiful fruit tones poisonous as soon as
germination begins to discourage any animal idiot once it started growing and
will kill off any rival plants competing for that glowing space hardly an
improbable adaptation for a plant to have and hardly an improbable mutation
for animals to get to avoid eating from the object or surface we associate to
having food on it sometime back could really mess with your willingness to
store food or reuse storage vessels are all the cave paintings are not and later
all writing mostly were done with inks that were food based and a culture with
a big fear of leftover food in a format might be very unwilling to use such
things to decorate their homes or portions if they are afraid to use ink
and skins to write stuff down they’ve got a problem and for that matter of
species with very good memories bordering on the eidetic were very good
at crunching numbers in their heads might never get into writing stuff down
or inventing the abacus or tally sticks and that might actually hinder them on
for the development for the same reason a critter with short claws might never
invent stone knives same they might be horrified at using bones for tools
and while we call it the Stone Age bones played as big of all in our tools and
you wouldn’t be sewing any clothing with a rock needle nor you likely be wearing
around the skins of dead animals have that horrified you especially if on your
ward they rotted or decayed fast or all were just less suitable for clothing as
many hides all and it might be a bit of a coincidence that I’ll perform a
animals happen to have handy and easily posad hides if we want big-game hunters
but just scavengers or Vaman catchers we might not have gone that path so – we
use animal corpses a lot nor leaf food and water storage we probably got
yoghurt invented by killing milk around in some animal bladders
and sausage is an ancient method of food storage that’s not terribly pleasant to
think on desperation and necessity are mothers to invention but often disgust
drives can override even that and if you’re wondering why I’m focusing on
that we need to come up with a reason that would prevent small critters able
to invent technology from ever doing so even on timelines of millions of years
an ingrained disgust instinct toward some critical foundation technology or
the situations that can spawn it are handy for such a barrier fear or disgust
a file is obviously a great one since as we discussed in our looks at underwater
species in ocean planets or uplifting there really is no decently plausible
path to technology without fire technology is a stats game same as the
rest of the phony paradox filters so anything that makes you less willing to
use a piece of technology or less likely to be in a situation that will prompt
thinking it up can be enough to make it a decent filter on the flip side a
species with lower disgust sensitivity my kit itself wiped out by plagues a lot
whenever they started congregating in large enough numbers to support
technology storing your food also attracts of all men a big enough problem
I actually put all pets often involved in forming control as one of our lasso
filters last episode for that matter while an anti-social civilization has a
big hurdle to developing technology so would one that was a little too friendly
in open new things are dangerous they really all
we’re just about as desensitized to that as any humans have ever been so we
sometimes forget that there’s a reason why some wandering stranger by
themselves is by themselves and looking for you maybe they got kicked out of
their tribe for good cars and you would be unwise to offer them a home maybe
their tribe got very sick and they fled carrying a disease a species with very
good immune systems or whale viruses or other pathogens never really got the
same foothold might lack that fear easily congregate together then suddenly
hit critical mass for that to be a problem and develop a terror of ever
putting thousands of people in a tight area so they just never develop much and
have little interest in technologies that let more folks survive these are
all examples of how a small species quite capable of developing technology
might hesitate to do so and keep hesitating indefinitely and that’s
important to the notion of inevitable technology many of us myself included in
spite of this tend to feel that once they hit a certain critical mass of
seeing technology as useful that will keep going and that since nothing has
really putting a time limit on them even if they hesitate to advance once twice
or a hundred times they will eventually make that next step after all we
invented fire oh boy million years ago we didn’t use it for all that much until
pottery and metalworking popped up around 10,000 years ago all horse
civilization historically fits into only 1% of that file using time line an all
modern brain has basically been around for about 10 times longer than our
civilization has been to so maybe that is an example of us just going at it
till eventually the dam broke and since it did we have enjoyed almost constant
steady technological progress most so-called Dark Ages are more myth
than truth and was outed in a very little loss of knowledge and indeed many
of them also had technological gains not only globally fall from the fallen
civilization but actually in the alleged collapsed area
I wouldn’t go so far as to say that science specifically was the cause but
more it’s conceptual for mental thinking things through a lot and questioning
fundamental assumptions arguably offsets of delayed gratification themselves
you’ve really got to be willing to pick through an idea to start challenging any
sort of instinctive distaste and that eventually leads to gathering and
documenting evidence and then creating falsifiable experiments to test
hypotheses but once you do that would seem so clearly beneficial that you’re
going to keep at it eat if you have some false starts and setbacks unless it
leads you to a catastrophe like getting wiped out by artificial intelligence or
such which we’ll say for the late filters episode so while I feel we could
make a decent case that many intelligent critters do make it up to basic to use
an invention potential or even capability but never proceed beyond that
being smart but primitive and thus it might be a decent filter I’m very
dubious about extending that to where you are already at the city building and
writing stuff down point as I said we really have not had that meet genuine
collapses and those must be local and less severe than often popularly claimed
many of those are also thought to have had environmental causes and such things
don’t make good for me paradox filters one could argue that they might have a
strong aversion to something like the steam engine maybe on a ward where
geysers were more common and deadly but that would not seem something where we
could expect it to be more common than not or they might have a very extreme
case of uncanny valley a fear of machines or mannequins that seem very
close their likeness but not quite right so they won’t even contemplate computers
or automation that even vaguely Apes their thinking or function though that
might be so extreme they lower their navel as to a degree of xenophobia
unrivaled by even some of our most vile historical examples heck that might be
triggered by something like a sense of familial smell or visual mark oh that is
hereditary and makes them uncomfortable around anyone not closely enough elated
to share the full Markel or they might be very disgusted by other animals okay
with eating them but not in keeping them as livestock or pets or walky animals or
even employing their corpses to make tours or clothing from
but again possible but nothing really pushing that to be a common let alone
likely case we can potentially have even Lowell Horta less than all fifty-fifty
less oh filters that could stack up least filters perhaps a lot of things
where 90% or 99% of the time they get passed by but there were just so many of
them that they added up and indeed they are doubtless all plenty of those two
wipeouts by asteroids or planetary collisions and ejections for instance
less likely than not to happen but many such improbable filters might do the job
enough to make the already improbable just a little too improbable for us to
see another civilization yet but I’m not seeing any of those along our own path
from the nominal dawn of history from a few thousand years ago on Ward the rate
of progress might be slowed but never seems to stop or voice except locally
and temporarily and that means nothing on astronomical timelines Plus once you
get very into reason you do start having the capacity to dissect impulses like
discussed and work to overcome it by exposure or dilution or modification
when you have solid proof it is both safe and useful so it does seem like on
balance that once you get the capacity for abstract thinking and reasoning
you’re going to be on your way forward to technology except where you’ve got a
strong compulsion to avoid a keystone technology and while my gut says that
such avulsions I’ll probably no more common than would offer a less Oh or
maybe mine or filter we really just don’t know there are a ton of little
things that have we not had or gone a slightly different direction we might
have ended our path to technology but not too many of them seem decisive
roadblocks where another path might not have gotten there to in a way this
filter after intelligence even exists seems less about technology itself and
more about developing the ability to contemplate hypothetical future outcomes
and willingness to engage in delayed gratification or short-term suffering or
risk to get a desired result I do happen to think that capacity is a decent
filter though but fundamentally much like our assumptions that the evolution
of a basic brain will tend to lead to ever more
sophisticated ones there’s a lot of guesswork and possible bias in those
assumptions we got there so it can’t be too weird but we know at least something
we think is likely it can’t be that likely or the great filter solutions of
the Fermi paradox wouldn’t walk assuming it is the right solution for the for me
paradox and that those big ol filters all lie behind us not ahead but we’ll
save that for next month in late filters of course the alternative perspective to
rail technology is inevitable technology that technology will develop quick or
slow but almost always if you have a species with a complex an abstract brain
and I felt like that notion needed looked at and at the same time I’ll hold
one or up for our last YouTube poll was the suggested topic could technology
developed without fire so I decided to do a companion episode looking at that
other extreme and I just released that over on nebula to discuss if technology
might still develop even on Wars where that most basic technology file is
denied to them if you’d like to catch that video on nebula or other recent
exclusive me myself and I cloning and duplicants
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description when signing up as I mentioned that topic could technology
develop without fire or was the runner-up in our last poll and we do
have another one up this week for you to vote in overall community tab and it
will be open a few more days if you haven’t already voted in it and we often
do one or more the runners-up to the polls we run four episodes here on
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100 thoughts on “The Fermi Paradox: Rare Technology

  1. "Grab a drink and a snack". "Garbage, vermin and disgust responses are going to be a major theme, as a heads up to any of you snacking". Enjoy !

  2. As a mechanical engineer I have to point out that the two gears depicted in the thumbnail have two different modules, and that truly is a rare technology!

  3. Is this right? Because this episode assumes individual intelligence is innate. Rather that learnt. I think the only benefit humans have over other primates is a plastic brain which is able to continue learning longer The human journey to technology is actually built on learning and developments of generations prior. So this allows each new generation to learn and innovate. In fact you could argue that the start on the road to technology has itself encouraged selection for increased neuroplastisity. If that’s right then if you have a social species faced with constantly changing environmental challenges are likely to develop intelligence and technology to survive and once in that road and passed a certain gate. You move towards a technological civilisation. You see the basics of this In ants.

  4. I took your challenge and spit in a cup, then drank it. I don't see the problem here. Now if someone ELSE spit in a cup and then offered it to me, I'm out.

  5. An intelligent extraterrestrial species that has greater difficulty delaying gratification makes me think of Predator.

  6. Most channels: "oh crap I'm pushing 5 minutes my audience will never sit still long enough for this!"

    Isaac: "so anyway now that we finished that 15-minute recap let's dive into the episode!"

    Best channel ever.

  7. The thing I think of when it comes to rare technology, though maybe this is in the "late filter" category, is that fossil fuels might be a fluke. I don't know how long it "should" take for cellulose or lignin digesting microbes to appear, but it might be highly variable. It might be very difficult to get through to viable solar/wind/nuclear with just wood and hydroelectric dams.

  8. would not disgust be outweighed by desperation? (people have reverted to cannibalism although its taboo} and then in the case of fire discover its benefits. I think changing conditions may well drive towards tech if the change is faster than natural adaptation can cope with, and necessity is the mother of invention.

  9. Primate tolerance for alcohol may be an example of a disgust filter we overcame in early evolution. Few species are able to scavenge fruit after it begins to ferment into alcohol or lactic acid, but we can. We still avoid rotten meat that wouldnt trouble a dog's digestion.

  10. I'm wondering how sequential technology development has to be, like if humans didn't invent the steam engine would that preclude the invention of the combustion engine. Sure you can go from fire to spaceship, but if the maximum leaps between advancement isn't too small. Then aquatic life forms might have a chance at advance technology.

  11. Is it me? While watching all of these episodes, comparing the "Pros vs Cons". Does inorganic, machine societies always have the most Pros? Seems inevitable they're dominate life form in the universe.

  12. Have you considered the density of intelligent species? Maybe for some reason we are spread farther apart that prevent communication. You should consider probability not as a pure scalier factor, because vector matters.

  13. Part of what made the marshmallow task so "hard" for those kids was that they didn't all trust the experimenter to actually give them the second marshmallow.

  14. Logicless, what is the main issue this thinker want to express? Please re-organize the content in a more rational way: background-basic concept-main practical approach-universal impact-future perspective.

  15. What do you think about a Renaissance filter? The Renaissance would never have occurred if Rome were able to maintain control over its territory.
    For a more practical historical example, take a look at ancient China. There was great stability from a powerful central government, and the level of technology was advanced for the time, but technological progress happened very, very slowly. How long would it have taken Chinese emperors to place a satellite in orbit? 10,000 years? 100,000? Or perhaps even an astronomically significant amount of time?

  16. On a marine planet, which ours very nearly is, a species could become quite intelligent. But without easy access to fire, or without limbs well suited to manipulate tools, what we call technology could be extremely unlikely.

  17. I would think that a creature that wasn't as fragile and delicate as we are, something like a tiger or elephant. something that didn't need any of what was for us early technology – camp fires, clothing, cooked food, knives and the like. these sorts of intelligent creatures wouldn't develop technology because they don't need the simple stuff that's required as building blocks to eventually get to the nuclear power and space ships necessary for a galactic spanning civilization. this is what I thought of as a why an intelligent species would not develop technology.

  18. Stellaris has taught me that eugenics and controlling the masses using drugs and waifu pillows are both rare technologies.

  19. Can you think of any aversions or psychological patterns that humans have that currently hold them back in a lot of ways from being more technologically advanced than they are?

    I'm honestly surprised we've made it this far with the many things that work against it.
    Most people have absolutely nothing to do with modern technology, nor do they comprehend it or care to do so.

    I only use "we" here as being benefactors of technology, inventors and scientists might as well be an entirely different offshoot of humanity that only survives by being the parasitic brain slug mentioned in the video. I don't even mean that as an insult, I mean, do you really think 1000 genius particle physicists alone could have built LHC? It took so many improbable circumstances and such a huge stretch of that "delayed gratification" concept to even happen at all. It took humans of many many different mental variations and proficiencies to accomplish such a project.

    The human ability to randomly develop into various different "types" with minds and bodies geared towards different ways of working is probably one of the most critical things to human success.

  20. Uncontacted tribes on our own planet in the Amazon, and off India both possess bows and arrows but not fire. This suggests they came from people who did have fire, and gave it up, because they didn't need it and it was too dangerous. If the rest of us were to die tomorrow in a modern calamity… they would continue on with just bows and arrows… forever refusing fire… and we would be just one more planet with intelligent creatures that never gets seen out there in the galaxy.

  21. You forgot to mention one element in the equation: the climate
    The climate must not be too 'pleasant' in order for new knowledge and technology to be accepted and to lead to more innovation, i.e. most of the modern technology came from Europe (based on 'ancient knowledge, such as math and medicine) because there was dire need due to the climate zone Europeans live in.

  22. Advanced technology may have a negative evolutionary effect on intelligence. Rather like the Panda, a bear that has evolved into a creature that sits and eats bamboo, having everything done for us could be our downfall and other intelligent alien races too.

  23. I'd never thought of disgust being something that might slow down or stop technology from progressing. But you're right. Hindus and muslims deliberately deny themselves an obviously viable food source even when they can see that other people eat beef and pork with no ill effects whatsoever. I suppose westerners feel the same way about insects. Having said that I've eaten insects and lizards so it seems that we can easily train ourselves to drop our disgust.

  24. I would overall disagree on much of the argument about disgust driving a specie away from technologie.

    I think in the big scheme of things, it would often fail on the probability argument we used to classify other filters, but at an intra-alien specie level rather than galactic one. Meaning even if things are disgusting in the eye of a specie, some members are likely to overcome the disgust, see some value to it and eventually the innovation is likely to spread. It may just take longer, rather than never happen at all.

    I mean, someone ate an oyster first……

  25. Fire is probably a common great filter. The most likely I think is the water issue, Earths oceans are several times more deeper than the surface rock formations, I expect a lot of earthlike exoplanets will be fully covered in it. Even a few islands is not enough as it would create a huge diversity not suited for complex life although having plenty of oxygen for them, see the Galapagos islands for example, if the distances are too big it creates a huge wall to climb for a single species to conquer a planet.

     In rare cases it could be the opposite were there isn't enough and the whole planet is just a giant swamp or desert where the landmass soaks up every available drop in turn not creating the huge algae oxygen farms Earth has.

     A little less oxygen on a planet could lead to fire not burning as strong as long or at all, a lot more oxygen and it could be a catastrophic event when a single stick catches flame.

  26. If an ancient civilization was able to develop efficient artificial fusion engines for space propulsion, they could colonize an entire galaxy within a few million years at a speed of 4% of light, they could find a cold brown dwarf system full of Helium-3 and with the helium-3 resources extracted from this brown dwarf supplying several and many interstellar ships to colonize the galaxy, civilization could use the resources extracted from a rocky moon of the System to build its ships.

    Since a brown dwarf's helium-3 reserves would be endless for humans even on an extraction scale of 1 million tons per year, they would have no trouble worrying about fusion fuel to fuel propulsion and life. aboard these interstellar ships.

    It may be that Fermi's paradox is related to the rarity of a biological species flourishing however habitable and rich in natural resources that a home rocky planet might have for a potential civilization, or that their interest is not the colonization of the galaxy but more. modestly only a few dozen stars once they were at the height of interstellar colonization for them. And most systems in the galaxy actually have habitable planets but almost all life has evolved at most into something we know as wild on Earth with some level of rationality such as monkey or dolphin.
    If there was a dominated civilization in the galaxy that is wiping out other technological civilizations, the structures built by that civilization would be very visible to us. Thus the hypothesis of a cannibal civilization can be ruled out.

    Remember that to develop technology the planet must have fuel deposits ready for this civilization to start producing energy, so the geological age here is also a crucial factor.
    At first civilization would not have to face the domain of nuclear fission, let alone artificial fusion with exponential energy gain.
    That is why chemical fuels would be of paramount importance if it were at least to take tree wood to produce charcoal which would in turn be an option if this civilization did not have large chemical fuel deposits already ready on its planet, but the planet possessed vast reserves of some kind of tree.

  27. Also, hive minds are much less likely to develop tech. A given planet may only evolve a very few of them, that proceed to compete for resources. So, instead of many thousands of individual engines of innovation that can specialize, you have only 10 or so. Look at our disgust mechanism involved with insect larvae, nests, etc. Perhaps in pre-history we already had a tough fight with a primitive hive mind.
    See CJ Cherryh's Serpent's Reach.

  28. We can only machine technology we can sense. It's not unheard that there might be senses humans haven't properly developed.

  29. Perhaps a part of this filter would be contentment.
    If a civilization is happy with what they have, and sees no reason to invent new things… they will remain stuck in their current technological state, perhaps so long, as to have used up the resources required to advance to the next level.

  30. What I love most about this video is that you, Isaac are willing and able to reassess your standpoint on things and I applaud you very much for that. The sentence. "Since then I have thought more about it, and are no longer as confident in my initial assertion" (paraphrased) once again increased my respect for you. tips hat

  31. What if the pace of technological advancement is also a filter?
    If you advance too fast you don't develop the cultural maturity to use technology with wisdom and are thus more likely to destroy your own civilisation.
    If you advance too slowly you use up all the easily accessible energy sources before you develop the technology that would let you use a less easy to use energy source.
    Both these scenarios would lead to a species not being very easy for us to discover.

  32. I think that these cultural Great Filters are among the hardest to game out. And I agree that this particular mechanism seems solidly in the category of "Filter, but unlikely to be Great". There are a number of developmental branch points that could be filters: development of social and evolutionarily modern humans, 200-50K ago; domestication and agriculture, 15K-5K ago; transition to state-based societies or similar levels of social organization, 6K-2K ago; scientific revolution and enlightenment, 500 ago. I could make up reasons why any of these might be rare — if we had data we could write the interstellar equivalent of Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel — but they are too complex, and in some sense we are standing too close to them, to speak with any certainty. But taking this a little farther, this is my greatest fear regarding the long term effects of global warming (and similar anthropogenic threats): not that humans would be driven anywhere near extinct, but that we would be knocked far enough down that ladder that we might not make it back up.

  33. The Sioux abandoned agriculture and became nomads when they got horses. That is an example of a new technology being used in a way that hindered further technological progress.

  34. I am at 24:00 – Sure, it makes sense, but sooner or later, some tribe will mutate in a way where hunger/need will be more important than disgust, or so, and they will start doing it, realizing it's not harmful… and over time will dominate over all the other tribes.
    – Not saying it's not a filter at all, but probably a very minor one… (talking about disgust to fire, using corpses, etc.)

  35. Sorry, I'm 11 seconds into the vid and I can't watch this. Unable to understand and YT closed captioning is so bad it's a joke. Please start using a good narrator.

  36. Definitely think agriculture could be a major filter, given we were modern humans for so long before coming up with it. Although the push and flow from the Ice Ages could be necessary to high intelligence and very rare, too, as argued by John Gribbin in The First Chimpanzee. Gribbin is definitely a Rare Intelligence advocate.

  37. The ancient romans (1st century) had access to a steam engine called the Aeoliplie. I'm guessing there was no incentive for industrialization because the romans had slaves. There was also no tools that could be hooked up to a spinning engine and no infrastructure for giving it fuel. Science is worthless without the money or energy for it, sadly enough.

  38. my thought is,if a superior inteligence exists ,then would craft be needed to observe the day to day meanderings of the anthill?

  39. I am so mystified by this type of stuff. However, before all these new planets were being discovered I remember reading opinions of the sentiments how perfect everything had to be for any type of advanced life at all to exist in any way. Certain factors like Jupiter being a major draw for celestial objects that essentially protect Earth from renegade meteors or asteroids. etc. I remember reading one Scientists opinion, how the probability of life as we know it was akin to a tornado hitting a junkyard and building an airplane. Thats how unlikely he felt it was. That sentiment has almost vanished completely currently….But the Fermi Paradox sure raises a good question. From what I can gather, life isnt common at all…What the heck is the Universe? It is so beyond our comprehension most likely

  40. I think the Fermi Paradox is explained by the recently observed galaxies that transformed into quasars in just a couple months. I think life is simply annihilated regularly by supermassive black holes flaring off insane amounts of radiation. Lord knows we are far off from being able to defend ourselves from that sort of galactic transformation.

  41. Imagine that.
    You could spend entire lifetimes learning about a distant civilization as it grew. You would already know them by the time you met. Each having studied the other's transmissions for thousands of years.

  42. Asteroid impacts aren't the only environmental factors that are dangerous. the Toba eruption ~70,000 years ago came very close to wiping humanity out for good (along with a few other primate species and cheetahs).

    Another factor to look at is available resources. In areas where iron is hard to access it's unlikely that the culture can advance beyond a pre-industrial civilisation, because bronze simply isn't a viable replacement in certain higher technologies like electric motors.

  43. No divergent and opposable thumbs, the inability to grasp. Perfectly adapted to their environment. No adversity or need for competition. Live on a metal poor world. Or the electromagnetic field around their world or from their sun is either too strong or unstable to allow for advanced circuitry.

  44. Humanity will never get into space proper. Peoples eyes are focused on the ground. Climate change will be disruptive enough to permanently lock out space travel via depletion of viable chemical fuel sources or wipe us out as a species completely if we get a run away greenhouse gas effect like Venus. That's it. That's the endgame for humanity.

  45. We also have to take into account that our galaxy is on the edge of a galactic dead zone. Meaning we are basically in the boonies. Meaning there may be lots of other intelligent life in the more populated areas of the universe but none nearby. We could be the equivalent of island dwellers so far removed from civilization that we can't see they exist (and they can't see us) even though they can see and interact with each other. Think about some of the pacific island people that were not contacted until long after sailing around the world was somewhat common. Ones not contacted until the 19th and 20th centuries.

  46. Well… No, you wouldnt have other creatures with as an advanced brain as ours to hate fire, for example, for the simple reason that if their world is similar to ours, they would learn/evolve to knowing fire is good, like for cooking.

  47. I have mild synesthesia. You describing drinking spit made me taste and feel the sensation of drinking warm saliva. As a secondary effect, I now also taste bile.

  48. Ive always said there is probably a lot of life bearing planets but probably 1 in every 10,000 galaxies that have a planet with intelligent life at any time.

  49. ps check out some of the papers by Ceri Shipton about how there's evidence of Homo Erectus squatting all day which apparently you can tell from how the legs bones are stressed, and his conclusions about how lazy they were.

  50. The universe is too huge to communicate using radio, it just takes a ton of time. Beside humans assume that other civilizations also use radio waves for communication .
    Scientist imagine something that they think its true, and the real truth is that YOU DON'T KNOW.
    Also the statistics they use are just not scientific. 1 in million, billion and so on, did you check every star? or just one and took some imaginary statistic, you need at least 10.000 samples to do statistics property.

  51. It is a bit inaccurate to say that our ancesters didn´t really use fire for a million years until pottery and metallurgy. Use of fire is first and foremost a technology for preparing food and thus through "pre-digesting" our food made us able to get more nutrition out of meat, which was instrumental in allowing us to grow larger brains. Thus the use of fire is basically hardwired into our bodies, a fundamental requisite for the species we are today, and has been from before the origin of homo sapiens. Besides, even though we find it hard to imagine a space-faring civilization without metallurgy, we should remember that the pre-columbian civilizations were basically stone-tool-cultures, but nevertheless had sophisticated social organizations, means of production, engineering, architecture, astronomy etc. It IS hard to imagine how you get to the tech stage of lauching space rockets without metallurgy, as well as imagining rockets made from bone and wood, but it cannot be ruled out altogether. And yes I know that the native American cultures did smelt gold and silver, but that was not for tool use but ornamentation (an ability plundering Spaniards fancied a lot…)

  52. there was a bronze age collapse, which is one time i know that technology went backwards (we lost knowledge). so it is possible, and not just conceptually. granted it hasn't happened since then as far as i know.

  53. The topic of disgust responses suffers in my opinion from some major issues:

    First, it demands exclusivity, that no member of the species will ever do anything that they find disgusting. Most crucially, disgust responses can be overridden when there is gain to be had: drinking milk from an animal's teat, for example. Or a better example; eating meat. Our ancestors did not buy their meat nice and clean in plastic wrapping from a supermarket. They had to kill an animal, and then get themselves and their tools covered in the gore of that animal, pulling out the nasty stuff and throwing it away.

    A more domestic example is cleaning out trash (though this can also apply to sewer workers); it's nasty, it smells bad, but people do it because it is beneficial.

  54. Neurons in muscles and bones to activate intelligence, has one major caveat. If the body is damaged, so are the neurons and thus the intelligence. Given what we know about nature and the universe being totally unforgiving, this wouldn't be a great survival move and would probably be ruled out by evolution pretty fast. That said, we can only assume out from how we know the universe and nature works, although it would border pseudoscience to think that nature and the universe could be massively forgiving somewhere, as that would counter the purpose of getting the best of the best when it comes to reproduction. The only other way to avoid bodily damage becoming a major damage to the intelligence, would be for the species to have developed rapid healing, but that would in turn require extreme amounts of energy and thus defeat the entire purpose as intelligence would once again be very expensive.

  55. Coal, the technology filter, very hard for massive primitive machines without coal(a dense energy source). Did you know all coal is the same age? Coal was only "made on earth for 60 million years. the conditions that would eventually create coal began to develop about 300 million years ago, during the Carboniferous period and ended then as well. No new coal is now being formed and we have all that we will ever have.

  56. Hi guys, i’ve been wondering, has ‘Alien Evolution’ had a video yet? It a curious thought how evolution would play out on other worlds.

  57. I am not sure why it is bothering me so much that the mammoth in the clip is not walking properly. It would have toppled over with that gait wouldn't it?

  58. Damn, dude, your speech therapy is really paying off! I had to pause the video on "rare"because it was so strongly enunciated. I've loved your stunningly well constructed and thoroughly considered content since the Elmer Fudd CC pop-up days so whether you got therapy or not wouldn't have mattered to me. But I'm shocked by how committed you are to improving every single element of your channel's videos. It's really cool to be in audience to your dedicated pursuit of perfection. God speed buddy and thanks again for the amazing content. Sincerely, one satisfied viewer.

  59. As non native english speaker, the accent is very hard to understand. But I like those information dense science formats. Keep the good work up, while I keep the subtitles going.

  60. I can only listen to this lisp for a few seconds before I have to change the channel even though I am interested in the subject. Its not that there is an annoying lisp ive listed to plenty of people with lisps and it was no bother. Its a combination of the lisp and the i know everything attitudes the speaker is trying to portray when pushing the deception of mainstream science

  61. We're the only life form on earth out of hundreds of millions over billions of years that relies on techknowledgy over adaption for survival. We have a working example already of how rare technology is. It's useful yes but it's obviously not the first choice.

  62. Their are 2 trillion Galaxies in this universe with 100 billion star systems in each of these galaxies!
    The andromeda galaxy their 2 trillion star systems inside andromeda galaxy with 300 earth like planets with 300 advanced civilizations live their !
    The 2000 advanced aliens races in alliance council goverment in 100 galaxies
    With 2000 languages and cultures and civilizations! The 2000 aliens races in alliance council goverment use universal language translator machines for communication with others aliens races on their saucer spacecrafts

  63. There are birds and reptiles that sacrifice eggs or whole nests. Rodents eat their own offspring. Indeed, virtually every type of lifeform, even amoeba engage in altruism, which is a type of sacrifice.

  64. Brains are calorically expensive organs. That's one immediate reason it would be less likely to come upon this kind of organism as often as you do other tiers of the trophic cycle. There physically can only be so many of them because of the demands of their metabolism. But if it rewards them with civilization it's easy to see why evolution makes these detours every so often.

  65. Just read "how to invent everything" by Ryan North.

    Fun book but one of things that you meantion resonated with something he meantioned. In all of human history, written language has only been invented twice. It is hard to imagine that such a useful technology was only independently create such a low amount.

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