Are We Among the First Civilizations in the Universe?

Are We Among the First Civilizations in the Universe?


When discussing SETI and the Fermi Paradox
the focus tends to be on distance, the idea that an alien civilization could exist in
relatively close proximity to earth enough that we could detect them. So far we haven’t found anything. But there is another aspect to the potential
existence of exocivilizations; that they may be relatively common in the history of the
Milky Way, but we simply do not exist and the same time as they do, either that they
existed far in the past, or will exist far in the future. The first possibility is that there was once
someone else here, but are no longer, either through self-destruction, destruction at the
hands of another exocivilization or cataclysmic event, or even unforeseen ways a highly technological
civilization could simply up and disappear. A civilization like this is possible because
the Milky Way has been able to form planets far longer than our solar system has existed,
the current oldest exoplanet we know of comes in at about 12.7 billion years. Whether exoplanets that formed early in the
Milky Way’s history could have the right composition to be earth-like and produce a
civilization is up for debate. But it’s at least hypothetically possible,
and such a civilization, even though extinct, may have left artifacts or at least evidence
of their former existence that we might detect as we explore the galaxy. But, it’s also possible that we are early
in the curve in that Humanity might be among the earliest civilizations present in the
Milky Way. There are a number of reasons this could be,
dealing largely in unanswered scientific questions. Is life easy to start chemically? We don’t know yet. Does life develop complexity very slowly? Earth suggests it does, but again, we don’t
know. What conditions have to be present for intelligent
life to arise? Are those common or rare? There are arguments that they are probably
rare. As a result, we may be early in the game and
that the solution the Fermi Paradox and the lack of detections so far of alien civilization
is that we’re among the earliest to arise. But this brings up another possibility, if
time is key, then will civilizations become more prevalent in the Milky Way as time goes
on? The universe is still fairly young, it could
last for immense amounts of time. And while its period of star and planet formation
will eventually come to an end, it’s chocked full of some very long lived types of stars
that will be here billions of years after our own sun goes red giant, with more stars
yet to form. These long-lived stars, the red and orange
dwarfs, could allow for environments that can allow life to evolve for much longer periods
of time than we had here on earth. If so, as the universe ages this might allow
for an explosion, or blossoming of intelligent life billions of years from now as life has
longer to evolve and develop intelligence. But that’s not the only way it could happen. If we colonize the galaxy, or any contemporary
civilization to us, then we could just as easily create aliens of our own. One way this can happen is uplifting, where
we, or someone else, could upgrade a natural species, either from earth or one we might
find in space to be smarter, or if not that, more biologically suited to leave their home
planet. An example here would be a water world, where
aquatic life might be intelligent, but might be trapped by their conditions and physiology
and rendered incapable of harnessing fire, or for that matter building rockets. This could also be relevant here on earth. If we survive for hundreds of thousands, or
millions of years longer, evolution on this world could move towards other intelligent
species arising here. A good example would be the dolphins, there
is some thinking that they aren’t that far behind us as far as evolving intelligence
goes and that earth in the distant future might be home to two intelligent civilizations,
though one might not be capable of developing technology. Would we help them out? Or would someone come by and help us out. It’s always possible, and we’re already
asking this question of ourselves, that biology is inferior to technology and that we might
some day transcend biology to become a machine civilization. I’m not sure we’d ever really do that
or not, but what if it were forced onto us, similar to perhaps the Borg or The Reapers
from Mass effect? What if we weren’t first, and out there
somewhere lurks a far older civilization, perhaps one made up of machines? Thanks for listening! I am science fiction author John Michael Godier
currently addressing those that are calling me the Bob Ross of science Youtube. Let’s put a happy little neutron star irradiating
an exoplanet over here. Except that I can’t paint, so it would look
some fried eggs that were run over by a Chrysler LeBaron! There are limits to what I can do folks and
be sure to check out my books at your favorite online book retailer and subscribe to my channels
for regular in-depth explorations into the interesting, weird and unknown aspects of
this amazing universe in which we live.

100 thoughts on “Are We Among the First Civilizations in the Universe?

  1. As soon as we're gone, my money is in the bears becoming the next ones to dominate Earth. If you look at them, they are very similar in their actions.

  2. I think Carl Sagan's book Contact got it pretty close. There are many civilizations but the process of discovery and understanding takes hundreds of years AFTER we develop the technology necessary to intercept signals from space. That said…radio signals that we look at now are not likely to be the medium that advanced civilizations would use…and would more likely be light waves or as I have posited for many years…some type of communication based on quantum entanglement. In any case we have not even scratched the surface in terms of looking for signals…despite what people think we have not really looked at all…we have just stuck our tow in the water…and have no idea what is under the surface.

  3. Since heavy elements comes from supernova stars, the first star generation can be rule out of life. Can a single supernova be enough to seed the next generation of stars with enough material?

  4. I always imagine that when we explore space that we will be the ones finding ruins of ancient civilizations. But to think that WE will be the ancient civilization that aliens will explore in the future creeps me out.

  5. The Bog and the reapers take away individuality when they assimilate people, i wont mind being a machine so long as i maintain who i am, my personality. However i prefer to be an enhance biochemical organism than a machine, even though the feeling of biochemistry is an illusion and can be replicated in machines, I still prefer the biochemistry.

  6. Obviously we are the only one civilization with radio waves within the radius of ca 100 light years. But that does not mean we are the only one in that region. Others simply do not communicate with radio waves.

  7. Dude, I just wanna thank you for your musings on the universe, I am currently stuck in bed with an incredibly painful elbow infection and while i usually listen to your videos quite often I spent the past two hours listening and although they are incredibly interesting the main benefit at the moment is the blocking out of the pain! I thank you
    Btw, your diction and pronunciation are impeccable

  8. sun age approx 5 b y o
    takes 250k to orbit Galaxy once. earth is young at 20ooo. would be typically humiod ignorance to say we are alone.

  9. Do you have an email address that we are able to contact you on? You have used images from one of our apps that me and my team developed. We would like to contact you to try and resolve this issue. If you could get back to me as soon as possible that would be very much appreciated as we would like to discuss this. Thank you

  10. There are a lot of different elements (94 in total) on earth, sufficient for not only biological life but also sufficient to synthesize to a total of 24 elements. It is possible that with only 80 natural elements you could have life but never (for the sake of argument) create communications equipment.

    Maybe having the "full set" of 94 is just rare?

  11. No cause time works different in every sector of the Universe so there has probable been millions of species that have lived and died already.And is common knowledge to know that planetary filters occur to extinct life to start over again its nature thats why no aliens and no us later metoers kill lol we wont have the tech to stop those

  12. This whole video depends on the belief that living beings get more advanced as time goes on and "macro evolve" into entirely new/different creatures. Something real science says is impossible. (Que religious arguing even though I didn't mention it). If one cell reproduces but (obviously) can't become a more complex cell than the original, then why do we accept that complex creatures, made up of cells, can? The Ides violates all laws of reproduction, but yet people just accept it as fact… Not even just a theory (a silly one at that). Not even Darwin believed what is taught today! Species evolve to adapt…. They don't become different "Kinds" or something more complex than the originals.

  13. I think this is the most likely explanation for the Fermi Paradox: that statistically there is, on average, less than one civilization per galaxy.

  14. As we haven't encountered any other civilizations to date, it's entirely possible that we are the first. Mathematically, it's not likely…but the actual reality is not subject to probability. Something either is or isn't.

  15. An extremely intriguing alternative to solving the Fermi Paradox. However, another is this: They have been and are here, but due to their biology or technology, we cannot see them.

  16. I just discovered your channel today, and as interesting as I found the first video's content it was your self-deprecating funny bit at the end that made me hit the subscribe button; this one had my laughing even harder. Love your sense of humor. I'll be checking out your book(s) now too.

  17. This is all based on the false premise that we have NOT detected E.T. civilisations, but thousands of reports from highly qualified military and aviation observers alone prove that we have. And it is easy to keep secrets, especially using ridicule and character assassination against those you want to gag. In another field, only very recently with the publication of "The Venona Secrets" has it come out that the US Government was infiltrated all the way up to FDR (his closest and "most trusted" adviser Harry Hopkins) by Stalin's NKVD, AND, that Oppenheimer was also such an agent, AND, that Einstein was also in the network — read the book which cites all the clandestine radio messages from US "Communists" (Stalinists) to and from Moscow, all through the 1930s, '40s & '50s. Why has there been no such detailed book on KGB-"Communist" activity in the West since 1959? Obviously, this stuff is still ongoing, so they put a lid on it, just like MI5 can get a "D-notice" and prevent any aspect of the media reporting on any story they want kept secret.

  18. I wonder if in a billion years the universe will beam with civilizations. It's still rare, but maybe light speed is a limit and sci-fi warp will never be. It doesnt really help us seeing a planet 11 billion light years away. There's probably someone in Andromeda, but we can never know how far they have come or if they pulled the short straw before they could even start beaming out their presence. Wouldn't any signal sent out there be twisted and turned by cosmic winds and radiation like leafs in the wind. Most we would get would be static?

  19. How fantastic would that be? For us to end up leaving earth and becoming one of the first and oldest civilisations in the universe.. Imagine how the others would see us😄

  20. John, what is the possibility that we were among one of the civilazations of the universe and had been in contact with other aliens in the past? Seen as that many of ancient civilizations such as those who build pyramids had technology that we can't comperhend today. Maybe they were more advanced than us, we just didn't know. And maybe something bad was happened and we were abadoned and left by them because we the bad guy or smth? Idk, that just my thought.

  21. Civilizations are rare because of external factors like impacts and Solar eruptions. The mean time it takes for a civilization to become space faring is overtaken by multiple dooms day events and any civilization that is no longer bound to planets will not be interested in this one. "They" will primarily seek out peers if "they" exist. Earth life may not be more interesting to a space age Alien than any other microbial life on any other random moon/planet. Human language may not be viewed as anything special ( or anything above what our animals can accomplish ) by an Alien observer. We have to limit the Drake equation to civilizations that are on our own level. This is the biggest limiter.

  22. What if we find thanos sitting in a space chair looking straight at us and then he puts on the gauntlet saying fine I’ll show them myself.

  23. Every scenario imaginable is astounding
    If we're first, if we're last, if life is common or rare, separate and distinct or from common seed and convergent, these are all beautiful amazing possibilities

  24. II have this theory that a advanced civilization dwelling a lot on genetic engineering as we might soon do ourselves, and this well before finding fast or easy means to travel trough space, might see much reason in a general trend to shrink the species. Afterall a smaller species would consume less, allow to exist in greater numbers and small size would be helpfull in making space travel easier. Afcourse i guess the species wouldn't want to loose it's capabilety's as it becomes ever smaller yet there might be many ways why being tiny is extremely usefull even for survival and perhaps it would be possible too. In such a case, perhaps the aliens would have a natural tendency to grow tiny for the naked eye, and it must be said that perhaps size can be very relative especially given that our size is much determined by the atmospheric pressure and gravity of this planet.

  25. We are not a civilization. We are parasites whos "technological" age will last 300 years at best until the planet is dead.

  26. I believe that intelligence is common however robustness combined with intelligence and the ability to manipulate the environment. For example it makes no use to be a intelligent plant.

  27. Since the Universe is supposed to last for hundreds of trillions of years and is only supposed to be 14 billion years old, then yes, mathematically, I'd say the Universe is very, very young and thus life, especially intelligent life, is yet probably extremely rare in it.

    The problem with all the red-dwarfs in the universe right now is that they'll take 100 billion years to calm down enough to be able to live comfortably in their habitable zones without the constant explosive flaring red-dwarfs do in their first 100 billion years, and since we're only 14 billion years old, few red-dwarfs are near being ready to calm down yet, which means any planets currently in a red-dwarfs habitable zone are either stripped of atmospheres and magnetic fields due to red-dwarf flares already, or most assuredly will be in 86 billion years when the red dwarfs finally become more friendly to life and stop flaring so much. Since red-dwarfs make up most of the stars in our universe and always will, doesn't that cancel out most chances for life since for the first 100 billion years of the universe red-dwarfs will continue sterilizing everything that orbits their "habitable zones?" When they calm down in 86 billion years, all the planets around them that may have once been conducive to life might be burned out, lifeless rocks, no longer suitable for life to grab an easy foothold on.

  28. I pondered this one day, looked up the arguement online, found this video. Haven't stopped watching your channel since. Finally a person who reports on discoveries without falling into sensational reporting. Plus you're not a brit, 2 for 1 I'd say.

  29. I think there's a strong possibility we are the only advanced life in the universe. The Drake equation is overly optimistic in some of its estimates for the odds of things happening and undoubtedly leaves out a great many variables.

    For example, a species that evolves on a planet with no hydrocarbon fuels is not going to make it into space. Or a planet lacking any of a number of elements vital to advanced technology, such as copper or silicon. They would need an atmosphere that supported combustion in order to cast and forge metals. So, presumably, very Earth-like.

    How important is the relative size of our moon? All those countless craters on the moon would have been craters on Earth if not for the moon getting in the way. How many of those would have been extinction-level impacts? Would life on a moonless planet survive long enough to reach even our meager level of advancement?

    And we can't discount sociological questions. It's possible there are millions of civilizations in the universe that we will never encounter because they took the same route as the indigenous peoples of the Americas, Australia, Africa, etc. rather than the more "exploratory" route of Europeans and Arabs.

    There's no doubt there are "laws of life" similar to the laws of physics. Just like we don't find three-eyed dogs or twelve-legged horses here we aren't going to find them elsewhere. Similarly, we aren't likely to find a proliferation of intelligent life elsewhere when we don't find it here. For similar reasons, I think any intelligent life we met would be surprisingly anthropomorphic. I don't think it was mere happenstance that it was a monkey that evolved intelligence out of the countless millions of species life experimented with.

  30. Considering the projected age of the universe we live so early on it's like a human who's just been born and having his bottom spanked. Beofre his first bowel movement. (If you have kids, you'll know what I mean)

  31. 1: Find life of any sort.
    2: Find macro organisms and a mature biosphere.
    3: Find "intelligent" life, if there is any.
    4: Consider the likelihood of any organism ever going into space.

    I know it's fun to do, but this sort of speculation without proper data is pointless. If we found tribes of spear-wielding creatures they might qualify as intelligent if we could speak with them somehow. And just what are the criteria for intelligence anyway? Mud huts? Textiles? Critter domestication? Mega structures in space? Why are we expecting alien civilizations in space when we ourselves can barely get out of our own atmosphere? I mean, we don't even know if space based civilizations are possible at all. It certainly isn't for us right now, even though people nevertheless keep insisting that we are intelligent. It just seems like such an unreasonable expectation to have for an alien species. "Boo, boring! We only talk to space traveling species here, thank you so much! Begone, primitive!"
    I keep imagining an aquatic species on a heavy planet failing to live up to the standards of human "futurists" by not being able to leave their planet. "Nope, sorry! You have to surround your star with mega structures to join our club here! I mean what is this bioluminscent architecture you've got going on down there anyway? Barbarians! You stink!"

  32. The thing I am having trouble wrapping my mind around is infinity. If you have an infinity on your hands then what exactly are we dealing with here when we ask ourselves what is out there? We are out there. In some obscure spiral galaxy calling it the Milky Way. How many Earths are there within infinity? How many humans exist within an infinity? How did the Universe come into existence? Could it have been an unintended consequence of something else? Could the existence of reality be paradoxical?

  33. There are only two possibilities for space travel: 1. Multi-generational ships in which civilizations are born, live and die traveling through space. 2. A new form of science in which Faster then Light (FTL) is “possible”. Though possible, the discovery of FTL isn’t probable, thus multi-generational ships are the most likely form of space travel. That being said, unless an aliens planet is dying, space travel so far from their home world doesn’t make sense. Especially considering everything is a one way trip. So here is the door and gloom reality. The sheer size of space means that there is a 100% chance alien life exists somewhere (or everywhere). Also because of the sheer size of space, the likelihood of intentional contact is almost 0%. Now, we might discover a random message… kinda like a message in a bottle, but nothing directed towards us.

  34. Panspermia is as yet the most likely explanation for life on Earth. The biggest problem is the belief that intelligent life is inevitable. It's far more likely that what we consider to be intelligent life is not inevitable. If it was surely there would be more than one species on the planet that had evolved intelligence. Evolution simply did not select for intelligence in all but one species on this planet, it's unlikely therefore to be common throughout the universe. We could expect vision, hearing, and locomotion, but intelligence did but seem to be important in all but I've species on Earth.

  35. Maybe the first that's looked out into space and wondered, but I think there's animals living in societies all over the universe

  36. Personally I believe based upon star generation's, that truly only now civilizations can exist. Personally life seems easy and once it becomes multi-cellular civilizations are inevitable.

  37. The Bob Ross if science utube….lol…. you do paint an interesting picture of science I must say. keep up the awsome content. Cheers.

  38. I love how he mentioned mass effect
    Everyone needs to look into the lore of the game HALO. It’s ideas are so mystifying and possible and probable. A race of beings called the precusors were so technologically advanced they were able to become transient beings through neural physics and traverse galaxies. They created the forerunners and humans. Their story takes place over millions of years.
    Where will the human race be in 100,000 years is even wild to imagine. We could, over the course of millions of years become so advanced that we become the seeders of life for the Milky Way.
    Look at how far we’ve come in a mere 100 years. Now imagine 100,000 or 2 million.

  39. Great video about why we not seen alien life . The problem with alien race's will be time and intelligence. If you can traveller around space would you talk to alien race's because it maybe dangerous because war's and would you openly contact alien races that not at the same intelligence has you . It's like us and animal's .Alien race's would just watch us to see if we're are dangerous long-term and would not openly talk to us because of the dangerous. Maybe raw too that alien race's travel around space .So we're free to develop are civilisation's and travel around space. The problem with contacting a alien races too would be Intelligence, time , distance and the lasted answer dangerous 🤔 This has to be the answer to why we not seen alien life .

  40. of course to assume we haven't seen them is to assume every single account of UFO or alien visitation is false. its not impossible… but there are some very credible witnesses to things that in some cases its impossible to have been anything other than an intelligently controlled craft certainly not of this world. This also includes cam footage from F18's…. high ranking military personnel, pilots, pilots and passengers of commercial aircraft… etc. Could they all be wrong / lying? Maybe…. maybe not. As you say… distances are vast. So what are you expecting to find? Our tech is hardly even good enough to detect the presence of planets around other stars… it can just about know they are there… that is all. Official contact with the human race may be undesirable for them and our leaders… and quite simply their tech level allows them to be in the area without being detected.

  41. Maybe there's something to the rare Earth hypothesis. The novel, The Silent Stars talks about the galaxy having habitable zones. It mentions that Magnetars have an amazing kill distance.

  42. Thank you for thinking about these things, and for sorting it all out for me so that I don’t have to.

  43. It's intriguing and disturbing to think that we may be first. That we may eventually spread out into interstellar space, maybe even intergalactic space, in the far future, and be the visiting aliens other evolving races may discover, or be discovered by.

  44. What if the reason ancient civilizations knew so much about astronomy is because there ancestors were advanced like us or more and just wiped themselves out and had to start over… Think Albert Einstein's quote "I don't know what weapons ww3 will be fought with but ww4 will be fought with sticks and stones"

  45. We humans i believe as the second intelligence lifeforms in the universe, civilizations that live before humans affect us in someway

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