Fermi Paradox: Stay At Home Civilizations

Fermi Paradox: Stay At Home Civilizations

Today we come back to the Fermi Paradox to
contemplate the concept of advanced civilizations that don’t go out and colonize the galaxy
or go extinct, but manage to exist for truly long periods of time just on their home planet,
or perhaps their own solar system.     Now the Fermi Paradox itself is not
our main focus, but more of a backdrop to this concept because it is a recurring one
in discussion of alien civilizations. That said, if this is your first visit to
this channel, or you just haven’t seen those episodes, I do recommend watching the earlier
Fermi Paradox episodes before this one especially the Fermi Paradox Compendium. This is not a good introductory episode.     As a refresher though, the Fermi Paradox
is the apparent contradiction between how immense and old the universe is and how apparently
absent of intelligent life it is. There are tons of solution for why this is
the case and we covered all of those in the aforementioned Compendium.     Now one of the common camps is that
technological civilizations like our own do not arise very often, either because life
doesn’t emerge too often or the evolutionary path to intelligent tool users just doesn’t
get followed much. We don’t see alien civilizations because
none have developed yet near enough of for us to see them.     The other side of that argument is
that technological civilizations do emerge fairly often but something prevents us from
seeing them. That can be extinction, which we covered in
the Apocalypse How video, or it could be because such civilizations do not expand much, are
not that common, and tend to stay fairly quiet. We discussed a lot of other options and they
just don’t work very well.     Against that we have the idea of a
civilization that has the brains but not the ability. Dolphins never develop technology because
they can’t light fires under water. The hyper-intelligent snail people of Mollusk
V might lack the hands or tentacles to use tools, but even if they had them the gravity
on their world is just too high and the atmosphere too thick for them to get into orbit using
conventional rockets, so they never turn their eyes to the skies. They might exist for eons that way, and even
if their technology eventually improves enough to allow them to economically get off their
planet they may have adopted an attitude of it being a bad idea to try. People do that, faced with a nigh impossible
task they will often come up with laundry list of other downsides that become conventional
wisdom and remain so even after the landscape had changed to permit the idea.     The notion of a long-lasting but non-expanding
civilization is one we also ruled out as decent explanation for the Fermi Paradox, but it
was a bit different than some others. We didn’t say that there are not civilizations
that stay at home, or that they were uncommon, but rather we ruled it out because it does
appear possible to expand outward and colonize an entire galaxy and it would only take a
tiny fraction of civilizations to do just that to destroy it as a Fermi Paradox Solution.     But again we didn’t say such civilizations
were uncommon let alone impossible.     There are a lot of reasons to get out
and colonize the galaxy, and as we will see some make more sense than others. If you are a regular on this channel you know
I am a strong advocate of doing just that, and basically to me looking at the night sky
is like looking at a bunch of beautiful bonfires… made of burning libraries.     Every star in this Galaxy which does
not currently have an inhabited planet around it is just wasting its energy, energy that
could be used to support life and which I believe can, should, and will be turned to
that end by us in the next few million years.     That is not common way of looking at
space exploration, I suspect a lot of the regular audience here who have absorbed some
of the ideas we kick around might share that view now but it isn’t a common one. I don’t think it is a controversial one,
just the byproduct of thinking some of these ideas through to their logical conclusion.     Let’s consider some of the more normal
reasons for space exploration and consider how logical those are, and ask if you need
to colonize a bunch of other solar systems to do them.    Many have valid points, but many also
do not, and of those that do, we are going to consider if there are alternatives.     I will just list out the reasons to
do it and the reasons not too, then we will come back and chew through them.     Here are the most commons reasons I
could find to go out into space: 1. So we don’t have all our eggs in one basket
here on Earth. 2. Because we need the raw materials
3. Because we need the space
4. To better Understand our own world
5. To Inspire mankind and future generations
6. To seek out new life and new civilizations Mostly good reasons, or at least they sound
good. Here is the list of reasons not to do it: 1. We still haven’t finished exploring Earth
yet 2. We need to solve our problems here first
3. It is a waste of money
4. We could be blundering into threats we can’t
handle yet Okay, let us go through and contemplate those,
and since we are asking why people might stay at home on Earth I will mostly play Devil’s
Advocate.     Let’s look at our first one. Get off Earth, if something happens to it
humanity goes with it. Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket. This would a great reason except for two key
problems. First off, civilizations aren’t eggs, except
in the sense that if you place a colony somewhere it is going to hatch into a thriving civilization
all on its own. This is not a great way to preserve your civilization. When you throw technology into the mix, things
like genetic engineering, and look at these things on astronomical timelines, there won’t
be much in common with the colony and the world that sent it. Second, you don’t need other solar systems
to protect your civilization from natural hazards and it won’t protect you from intelligent
threats. A few dozens of the kinds of rotating habitats
we have discussed on this channel so many times give you all the backup you need and
there are room for trillions of them in the solar system, millions just in close proximity
to Earth, but you could stick some far off in the Oort Cloud if you just want distance
as protection, and those can be constructed to be Supernova proof. They can also be constructed to be decent
interstellar starships, so having a few dozen scattered around your solar system gives you
an excellent backup against natural disasters and accidents. To truly threaten a technological civilization,
one that is advanced enough to be able to go to another solar system and terraform a
planet in the first place, you need intelligence. And distance won’t help you against that
because there is no stealth in space and you can’t hide. If I’m the commander of some Alien Extermination
Fleet, I am going to know where your backup colonies are because I saw your ships go there,
and I am not going to call it a day when I’ve obliterated your homeworld. I will go track down all your colonies because
I know where they are and I do not want them growing up to come get some vengeance in a
few thousand years. You do need space technology to get yourself
protection from certain types of threats but you don’t need much and you don’t need
an interstellar civilization to have it. Some threats like asteroids just are not a
threat to a technologically advanced species, you don’t need a backup planet to protect
you from that and a random asteroid approaching your planet is more likely to be regarded
as a lucky mining resource, not a threat.     Which of course is another reason often
cited to get to space. We need the resources, we want the metal. We talked about this in the asteroid Mining
episode, except for precious metals like gold and platinum, which you don’t really need
just want, we have more of everything down here on Earth than in our entire Asteroid
Belt. Asteroid mining is great for getting metals
to be used in space, not for bringing it home to Earth itself. If you aren’t planning to build up a huge
space infrastructure then all those moons and asteroids are mostly worthless.     Lots of folks say we need the space
for our population to grow. Or expand into, but population growth cannot
be fixed by interstellar colonization. It costs more energy to get a person to another
solar system then it would to keep them alive for centuries anyway. Also as we’ve discussed in other episodes
you can stuff a lot more people into a solar system than you can into an entire galaxy
if you are just using planets. One way or another, if you are living here
on Earth, we are going to run out of room if we keep growing in numbers. After you fill up your solar system, after
you fill up your galaxy, after you use all the tricks for miniaturizing stuff, or even
people, you will still eventually have to either stop growing your numbers back here
on Earth or you’ve got a problem. We quadrupled the human population last century,
if we kept up that sort of growth in a bit over 10,000 years we’d have more people
than there are atoms in the Universe. We’ve talked about some ways to support
truly huge numbers of people, both regular old people like ourselves and purely digital
folks living in digital existences, but I don’t care how good you are miniaturization
you aren’t going to support a person on less than one atom even if they live on a computer
chip. At those kinds of growth rates you’d fill
up the kind of Planet-wide supercities we discussed in Ecumenopolises in five-hundred
years, a classic Dyson Swarm in a bit over a thousand years, and even a Matrioshka Brain
in about four thousand years. If you are colonizing the galaxy you still
haven’t gotten out to all but a tiny piece of it by then even if you could go the speed
of light, and 10% is probably about as fast as you can get with a colony ship. So you have to stop growth eventually, and
even if you are growing more modestly that just slows down the timeline. We must also consider life extension. Extending human lifetimes beyond a century
will also increase your growth rate and alter many other dynamics. Some folks would say you might as well start
now and just keep to the current population or even bring it down lower.  I don’t agree but that doesn’t invalidate
that perspective.     Another popular one is that it will
help us better understand our own planet, and I think that is quite true. But mostly because of what we can learn from
satellites around the planet and some associated technologies. We could learn a lot about weather by having
a few hundred Earth-like planets we could watch the weather on, but I suspect we will
have that down pat long before we get people or even robots around planets in other solar
system to watch them up close.     We would also say that learning about
the Universe and exploring it can inspire mankind and generations of scientists to come. That is true, Gargarin and Glenn and Armstrong
and the others inspired countless people all around the planet. There are other sources of inspiration though,
other fields which have greatly contributed to mankind and inspired us too, and you do
get diminishing returns on that investment. I couldn’t think of the name of single member
of the current crew up on the Space Station and I would be surprised if most people could
name anyone who had been up there in the last decade. Which is a pity, because there are ton of
amazing folks from a bunch of different countries who have been up there doing their nations
and the humanity proud. But it is what it is. We remember Amundsen and Scott as the first
to lead teams to the South Pole, but who knows the names of any of the hundred or so people
down at the Amundsen-Scott Station on the South Pole. We remember Magellan’s Expedition for circumnavigating
the globe, but that’s mundane now and the crew on the ISS actually do it fifteen times
a day. So it isn’t a great investment for inspiration. We will remember the first person step foot
on Mars or on some planet around Alpha Centauri, but not the hundredth person to do so or the
hundredth new planet someone sets foot on. Also, there are plenty of things to be inspired
by back here on Earth too.     But it is inspirational, the idea to
set foot on where no one has gone before, to seeks out new life and new civilizations,
to boldly go where no man has gone before.     I think this is a great reason to go
into space, unfortunately it probably isn’t. Science-fiction, especially Star Trek, tends
to imply you can meander around the galaxy and just blunder across new civilizations
and spatial anomalies every week. This is highly unlikely in a non-FTL universe. You would know long before you got to a solar
system if anything is living there, even non-intelligent life ought to be pretty obvious. You wouldn’t send people to these anyway,
you’d send robots. Sending people there, loaded up as we are
with tons of strains of viruses and bacteria, is not a great approach to exploring an alien
ecosystem. Robots are better, especially if your robots
are smart enough to do all the cataloguing on their own so you don’t need people up
in orbit of that planet controlling them remotely. As to technological civilizations, you should
be able to see them a long way off, even if they are hiding. You’d need centuries or even longer to get
to visit them face to face and that’s not the sort of thing you do by surprise. If you did just happen to wander into a solar
system that contains a civilization that’s been hiding there, I suspect they won’t
appreciate guests very much anyway. Yes it would be great to meet aliens and to
talk with them and to explore the universe together, but I think that’s better done
by making first contact at a distance and only with those who want it. That’s a topic we will be looking at in
January, first contact with alien civilizations.     Okay, those are some of the more popular
ideas for why we should go into space. And they are good ones, but as we see, a lot
of them are a bit thin. Or at least seem that way when contemplated
as a reason to move your civilization out beyond your own planet and solar system.     Now let us go the other way and look
at some of the reasons suggested for why we shouldn’t go out into space. I generally don’t think much of these, and
again I’d imagine the majority of the audience of this channel don’t either, but some are
a bit more solid than they first appear to be when we examine them.     First we have the notion that we still
haven’t finished exploring our own planet .This is true, we have barely cracked the
surface of neat and interesting things to study just here on Earth. It is the most interesting place in the Universe,
at least that we know of. But this is not a good one for a few reasons. First, by exploring off the planet we do often
learn a lot about the planet, or get the tools for doing so, that was one of our common reasons
given to explore space after all. Second, we will eventually figure out our
own planet, and I doubt it will take millions of years to do it. So it only delays things in that respect. Third, we can walk and chew bubblegum at the
same time. I don’t see why we can’t explore Earth
and Space at the same time anymore than we can research chemistry and biology at the
same time. Heck we do better by exploring both at once.     Many would also say we need to solve
our problems here first. I hear this a lot when we talk about colonizing
Mars. We don’t want to export our screwed up civilization
to another planet This tends to be followed by some soap-boxing about whatever they dislike
most about our civilization. I am never too clear why so many folks are
so down on humanity. Personally, I think we’re pretty awesome,
I mean not as awesome as a dinosaur, but pretty awesome. Still I’d have to agree we certainly have
our failings, I just don’t think that will ever not be true, at least in our own eyes. If we are examining ourselves and not finding
faults, we probably shouldn’t be leaving Earth because we have probably devolved into
a super-narcissistic society. So if we use this as a reason not to go, it
is unlikely to ever change. I don’t find it compelling though.     Next we have the idea that it is a
waste of money. This is obviously subjective, NASA is very
expensive, its annual budget is larger than entire Gross Domestic Product of fully half
the nations on this planet. That said, it represents a relatively minor
budgetary expense against the United States own GDP, being about a thousandth.     The argument is still valid, especially
when stretched to include non-scientific missions. We learn a lot of new science and develop
a lot of new technology through space but we also do by investing that same money in
something like cancer research. You could argue more good would be done by
investing NASA’s budget into curing leukemia but that’s a superficial approach to how
research works. Research gets done by finding smart people
who are passionate about something and giving them the resources to look into it. Doubling or halving the money we spend on
something isn’t going to double or half the time it takes to make a breakthrough and
sciences are pretty interconnected. Breakthroughs in one often help in another.     But that only applies to the research
itself, it is hard to argue spending a few billion bucks to land people on the moon again
is a responsible use of funds right now, for instance. Next we have the idea that by going out into
space we could find ourselves running in threats we don’t know about and can’t handle yet. At first glance, this one does seem like a
good concern, maybe the best, but the thing is there isn’t any reason to think there’s
anything out there that is a threat we can’t handle. Now I know, two obvious rebuttals spring to
mind. First, you are thinking, “Isaac, you just
said threats we don’t know about. If we don’t know about them, how can you
say we can handle them?” Which is a fair point, and you are also probably
thinking, “Hey Isaac, what about aliens? Are you saying a high-tech alien civilization
is a threat we can handle?” And the answer is no, if they wanted to attack
us they’d mash us up badly. We talked about how insanely huge the scale
of a Kardashev 2 civilization was a couple months back and how they could crush us like
a bug even if they only had modern technology. But I also said they could see us anywhere
in the galaxy and come get us no matter what we do. They’re not a threat we can handle, they
just are a threat that isn’t altered by us going out into space or not. Similarly, if there are hazards in space we
don’t know about, there is only one way to find out what those are and if they cost
us some explorers, well that is why we tend idolize explorers. They take risks, they roll the dice, and sometimes
those come up snake-eyes. We are not a species of cowards and I hope
we don’t devolve into one, certainly not one that is terrified into staying home because
we’re afraid of the unknown. I have to say, I didn’t find those reasons
to compelling, so I asked the audience for some ideas why we might stay at home and I
got some good ones. As you may or may not know this topic was
selected by a poll over on the Channel’s Facebook Group. It came in first out of about forty options. The topic surprised me, “What if we won’t
go anywhere? What if we stay on Earth?”. I thought, what a strange topic to ask me
of all people to cover, especially as most of the videos in the last couple months have
been about colonizing space. So I threw together a quick video for the
facebook group asking them to give me their best ideas for why we might never leave Earth,
or the solar system at least. As I said I got some good ones, at least better
than the common ones we just covered. Let’s look at those. One of the most common and compelling arguments
that was brought up in one variant or another was that we might back off from space because
of time lag of communication. This doesn’t hold up in a classically human
civilization but it does work a lot better in the context of a lot of the Transhuman
or Technological Singularity style civilizations. While those tend to be immortal by definition,
so that time shouldn’t be a huge issue, it is worth remembering that some of those
could find time delays of even a second incredibly maddening. If your mind has been sped up to process information
millions of times faster, in many respects time is basically running millions of time
slower for you. Just the four or five seconds needed for a
message to get to the moon and for them to reply would seem like an entire year to you. Waiting for the next book by your favorite
author might seem like a few million years, which is even longer than it takes George
R.R. Martin to put out a new book. To such a person the idea of leaving behind
the solar system might sound like the worst kind of hell. And one of the audience even flipped around
the notion of hive minds on me. Normally I don’t think much about hive minds
in regard to space travel, I figure if one altered the dynamics on research and development
it would be to accelerate it. But you can’t run some networked mind at that
kind of scale without risking a loss of cohesion. And you wouldn’t think of a hive mind as
wanting to spawn more separate hive minds, it kinda runs contrary to the basic premise.     Which raises a good point about normal
civilizations too. Colonies tend not to be terribly friendly
to their homeland for too long. As time goes by and they diverge culturally,
they can become an enemy. Now they might not, and it might be a thing
only a minority did, but there is still a finite chance that one day an invasion fleet
is going to arrive from one of your colonies. It’s not even a particularly small chance
when you get around to it, but big or small it is non-zero. Right now the chance of an invasion from Mars
is zero.     Some might say why take the risk? And every new colony heightens that risk. They are eggs in another basket and they could
hatch nightmares. Some colony might get relaxed about its safeguard
to prevent spawning some malevolent super-intelligent computer and next thing you know a swarm of
robots ships comes flying back to Earth. Why spend huge amounts of money colonizing
other solar systems when we honestly won’t get much out of it but will get a lot of potential
threats. And back here on Earth we probably won’t
see many benefits from it either, not for a very long time at least. For instance we might have finished science,
figured it all out, before the first colony contributes its first groundbreaking piece
of original new science. You can only conduct serious interstellar
trade in information, new science, new art, and so on. Some might argue patience is a virtue considering
the risk and we should just continue here in our solar system, after all it wouldn’t
have to just be Earth, and we have seen the sorts of massive civilizations you can build
around just one star. Those ought to spew out more original art
and entertainment every second than a single person could watch in a thousand lifetimes.     We might find something more interesting
at home too. As I mentioned back in the Compendium and
the Dyson Dilemma, all our assumptions break apart if we start tossing in options like
perpetual motion machines being invented or someone finding out a way to open portal to
alternate universes where Earth is the same just never got populated by people. We could also see inside a purely digital
civilization that they might not want to go traveling. In such a thing, where one can exist constantly
inside virtual reality environments and be immortal in that existence, they might find
artificial landscapes made by each other to be vastly more interesting than Universe. At such a point the idea of traveling to another
solar system might seem as interesting as leaving an amusement park to travel at great
expense for many centuries to visit one random small town in farm country, with no internet
or phones.     We could get pretty lazy in such an
existence too. A person born into a Utopia, especially the
more extreme kinds offered by virtual realities, is going to have motivation problems even
learning enough to keep their civilization running, let alone exploring space, which
is relatively dull and unpleasant. A lot of post-scarcity civilization could
fall apart just from compounding laziness. Fortunately such places by their very nature
would tend to have a lot immortal people – be they human or some AI – kicking around still
to fix stuff, and for that matter make sure someone doesn’t decide to use their super-3D
printer that can make anything to make nuclear bombs or something worse because they are
bored and have no ethics. Of course such a civilization could get turn
into a serious police state, even if everybody had everything they could want, just because
they need to monitor everything to prevent some lone lunatic from killing everyone.     Which brings up our last one, from
the audience anyway, that you could end up staying at home because no one is allowed
to leave because humanity is under totalitarian control. That could even be fairly benevolent, many
a tyrannic regime actually has been compared to its neighbors and tyranny has been the
norm, not the exception, of human civilization. It probably is pretty common among aliens
too.     You could have one pop up just to protect
people from each other, that is the scary thing about a police state after all. Benevolent or terrifying, the one thing such
a government would never look fondly on is the idea of some colony too far away for them
to monitor and control. Heck they might even get that passed by popular
support when you consider the dangers that might get bred up in those colonies where
they can’t control dangerous technologies and some fool might let a dangerously malevolent
artificial intelligence off the chain to cannibalize that colony system and come home to Earth
with an armada planning to do the same. I said in past episode that the only way to
stop colonization, if the technology got practical, would be to shoot down any ship that tried
to leave for no greater crime than wanting to leave. I never said people couldn’t do that, just
that I didn’t think anyone would go that far. But in this context the people doing the shooting
are not firing on people who are only guilty of wanting to leave, they are shooting at
people they firmly believe are, whether they want to be or not, endangering all of humanity
by leaving. To them it would be the same as being on guard
outside a city under quarantine that was infected with a plague and somebody jumped the wall
and tried to flee, carrying that plague with them to uninfected cities. They might fire warning shots or try to tackle
the person but if that doesn’t work they will probably shoot them and I won’t say
they’d be wrong to do it. The last one to discuss, and the one that
always worked for me, as a reason to leave our own solar system, is the notion that no
matter what else, one day the sun will burn out and when it dies so would we, along with
everything we accomplished. In the end the sun will go dark. That’s billions of years off and by using
some of the tricks we have discussed before like starlifting we could lengthen that even
more. Heck if we could disassemble the sun and just
use it to power Earth via fusion it would have enough fuel to light our planet not for
a few billion more years but several billions of billions of years, millions of times longer
than we have before the last stars in the Universe die off. I hate to say it but that is time enough,
if we haven’t figured out how to extend our existence indefinitely by then I don’t
see that cannibalizing the rest of the galaxy to extend it further would serve much purpose. We would have long since cracked immortality,
I wouldn’t be surprised if we did by the end of this century and I would be surprised
if we hadn’t by the end of the next. Such a civilization would have long since
gone a step past zero-growth because you aren’t even having children to replace people who
died of old age, just those who decided to die. And I figure such decisions ought to get less
and less frequent as time rolled on since those still alive would be the ones who especially
liked living and were better at helping others decide to do so too. You could have some billion year old civilization
here on Earth where most folks are very nearly that old and no one has died in a million
years. That would be a weird group and I could see
them getting collectively exhausted and just saying enough, we have people here who make
Einstein look dumb and they’ve been researching ways to beat entropy for a billion years. We don’t think we will ever figure it out
and honestly we don’t feel like trying anymore. It seems like our purpose in life is just
to keep living. Why go to the effort of sending out ships
to go gather up more hydrogen to keep us running? Let’s just run out the clock. I don’t think they would go that route but
I could imagine a handful of people still kicking around as the last fuel ran out and
just shutting off the lights on all the monstrous libraries and museums they collected down
the eons and going to have a drink before the world ended. It doesn’t matter how many systems we colonize,
someone will eventually have that job, and I could see a lot civilizations deciding to
do their curtain call earlier than they have to so they can go out with dignity and all
their monuments and mementos intact, rather than cannibalizing them all to buy a little
more time. If tomorrow the sun went out and the Earth
started getting colder, I can’t see myself burning all my books just to buy myself a
couple more days or robbing my neighbor for their furniture to do the same. So I could see civilizations deciding to stay
at home for that reason and others. A touch depressing, that last one, but there
are some scenarios that might let us keep going forever, even past the timeline we discussed
in the episode about civilization at the end of time, and I think we will talk about those
sometime next year. Taken as a whole, I do not find any of these
arguments truly compelling. I honestly don’t think many civilizations
will choose to stay home and in the context of the Fermi Paradox I just can’t believe
they all would, so it isn’t a great solution for the Fermi Paradox in my eyes, though better
than many we have looked at. We are going to talk more about alien civilizations
next year too, including discussing the scenario of First Contact with them next month. However next week’s episode will close out
Year 2 for this channel and the topic then is going to be Black Swan Events and some
related concepts like OCP or Outside Context Problems introduced in the late Iain M. Banks
novel Excession. This is the notion of things occurring that
no one predicted or could predict and just rocked the landscape. First Contact with aliens is often given as
an example of such things. I thought that was an appropriate way to end
the year when it tends to be popular for a lot of folks to make predictions about the
future. I considered doing that myself, a list of
what technologies I thought we would develop in the next generation maybe, but I think
we will go the other way and remind ourselves how uncertain the future is instead. Again that is next week, and if you haven’t
already seen them I suggest going back and watching the earlier episodes about the Fermi
Paradox or some of the topics we mentioned today like Matrioshka Brains or Starlifitng. As always, if you enjoyed the episode, make
sure to like it and share it with others, and subscribe to the channel for alerts when
new episodes come out. Until next time, thanks for watching, and
have a great day!

100 thoughts on “Fermi Paradox: Stay At Home Civilizations

  1. Isaac Authur I love your channel but you cannot speak of any of this without understanding what a 'person' is, and that opens a whole realm of considerations you never touch upon in any of these videos. You really must read this book, if only to debunk it: "On The Universal Mobility Of Individuality – By Means Of Natural Entanglement" …on Amazon.

  2. all we have to remember is that the light that we are seeing from the Stars that have planets that surround them that could possibly sustain life are millions of light-years away. what if they're looking our Direction on the same spot that we're looking at and they're saying our solar system from a million light-years away I wonder what they would see right now

  3. like erupted over the whole universe at the same time. we just don't see any evidence of it cuz we're looking hundreds of thousands 2 millions of years in the past

  4. we've only been admitting radio signals that to outer space for the past 70 maybe 85 years that's only 7285 light years away that's not very far

  5. Lol, the Asians are the only people who will go to the moon again, travel to other places in the solar system. White people are done, we will be too busy being nannies of the third world. Space-x might accomplish some cool things, but I bet they will move to China in the future, and only multi-millionaires will use their services.

  6. Ancient advanced galactic civilizations find colonizing the galaxy is not as easy as first thought as we may be finding now. And if they do it would be more like Polynesia with infrequent contact between the stars.

  7. Imagine whole civilization of introverts, just stay at home and read those books, no need to hang out with other people!!

  8. #SETI #mega_structure #SETI_beacon #moral_obligation_of_SETI

    #SETI is not a chat room


  9. Isaac arthur will be huge hit in the next century, when people start realizing the wisdom in these videos. His grandchildren will be earning lots of martian real estate as a royalty for his work!

  10. I often wonder if the solution to the Fermi Paradox is a mixture of reasons: Intelligence/sapience being pretty rare to begin with and spread over wide distances, possibly obscured from us by the bulk of the galaxy; some of it too young to have done much, some preferring to stay "home" and not having had time or inclination to go full Dyson Sphere in their home system, some unable to get off their homeworld (whether or not they have the ability to make technology).

    You're quite right. We only need one very expansionist intelligent species to have emerged at the time dinosaurs roamed the Earth to have a growing bubble of Dyson Spheres that we should be able to detect, but if that hasn't happened yet, then there's plenty of scope for intelligent life to have evolved elsewhere but is currently invisible to us because those guys are still in their bronze age, those guys are still just at the dawn of their industrial revolution, those guys have had radio for the last 300 years but they're 600 light years away, those guys have only just begun colonising their own star system, those guys live on a water world, those guys can't even detect the stars through their thick atmosphere, those ones have a gravity well akin to that of Jupiter, those ones don't have expansionist ideals and so forth.

    I don't think that there's one reason, I think it's a combination of many.

    I think the time lag argument for staying on Earth (or at least close by) is a really good one. Not an issue if you transplanted a person from, say, the 18th or 19th Century into a solar-system wide civilisation – they'd be astounded by how convenient a mere half-hour delay in communications between Earth and Mars is compared with communication between the Americas and Europe of their day. For my son, who swears like a trooper at a second's lag in an internet download, and anyone else who's used to near instantaneous communication, it'd probably feel like hell.

    Hostile colonies is another good point – and pretty much the core premise of a lot of the initial conflict in The Expanse series.

    Frankly, if I had my life extended to the point that I had no predictable natural death (ignoring the possibility of hostile actions against me or a colossal screw up on my part) and we went all out on building a Dyson Swarm around the Earth, I could well imagine that even if I spent my entire existence travelling from habitat to habitat, moon base to moon base, I would never ever run out of new things to see and experience as each of those places would have changed by the time I got back to them a second or third time. Meanwhile, the available things for me to look at and experience – art, music, books, videos (or virtual realities) – would never stop growing beyond my capacity to see them all.

    This, I think, is one of the greatest Fermi filters of all – you get to the point you've got a fraction of a percentage of a Dyson Sphere and a few scattered habs around the various moons and asteroids in your own system and you've got no actual need to go anywhere else to occupy your time, even if you're immortal.

    These, and other, reasons for "stay at home civilisations" could contribute to "part" of the reason we haven't seen alien intelligence yet. I don't think it is the only factor, but it can't be ignored.

  11. I just wanna know what happend to humanity's pioneering spirit. It's what got us here and now we're just stagnating. I realize we are still moving forward but it's like we've become afraid to take risks. Going for the low hanging fruit instead of climb to the tallest branch to have the whole tree. And people deciding risks other people are willing to to take instead of just asking if they're cool with the risk. We operated by the mentality yeah you might fail you might die but look at the reward for your trials and risk for it is great. Stuck on should or shouldn't not figuring out if they could. To much talking not enough doing

  12. 16:46 "Personally, I think we're pretty awesome. I mean, not as awesome as a dinosaur, but pretty awesome." LOL!

    "Which takes even longer than George R.R. Martin to put out a book." Coming to bookstores January 1, 2027 The Winds of Winter LMAO!

    Great video. Cool ideas explained clearly. I know precious few people who find ideas like these interesting.

  13. what if they know more, dolphins, and we are not listening?

    why should we take just 3000 year or 12000 years. to make a library.

    should we ask the ones that made it longer, and talk to them. here. flipper was a great show. so it is possible.

    why don't we ask the creators here and ask .

    I wouldn't goto mars, o e people I don't trust will fail. who cooks. who is garden. can't do it here. won't do it there

  14. too bad free engery was taking away, tesla still is great.

    we ran away and no one wants the truth.

    talk about how everything that is possible is hidden and people that don't want others to know the truth.

  15. great science, and math…..but you obviously have no clue about physiology. people are 99 percent jerks and wont care for anything but them selves.
    think, a 3 year mars visit. it won't be like the movie martian. people will go crazy, missing home, family, and at that point someone else is paying for it, not like you don't have a boss.

    no way in ever we are going to stop arguing, as in earth, and join together to go to mars.

    we can't even feed people and get clean water here. maybe a moon trip, but still.
    won't happen in our grand children's life tume5 at this rate.

  16. Wait 100 years and historians might see European exploration in 1500s as a mistake. First what if the south americans sailed to Europe? Second, europe failed to unite twice because of their own former colonists interfering. Third, what if america turn tyrannical and Europe become enslaved. Fourth, the population of africa use to be very small compared to Europe and soon they will be many times larger. How would a 1500 european see their decision to explore if they can travel to 2100 to a europe ruled by african?

  17. i must have watched these fermi paradox videos hundreds of times by now, as they are quite good. in this one, i feel i need to offer a correction to the script: isaac states that earth is the most interesting place in the universe – this is entirely subjective and probably not accurate. small nitpicking, sorry :

  18. I find issue with you saying that people don't want to cannibalize their own society toward the end. This has happened throughout time and will continue to do so.

  19. This comment is for Issac Arthur I'm a truck driver and I listen to your videos almost every day I'm working you are awesome and keep it up

  20. BlicorToday at 3:18 PM


    Unepic AukletToday at 3:18 PM


    KasparChavalryToday at 3:18 PM

    I'm gonna make a file for these

    Angrily blows nose

    Behold, my best creation

    BlicorToday at 3:23 PM


    KasparChavalryToday at 3:24 PM


    BlicorToday at 3:24 PM

    emoji names for each of these





    KasparChavalryToday at 3:24 PM

    These all have important uses, just look at the names

    Unepic AukletToday at 3:25 PM

    I’m so hot

    KasparChavalryToday at 3:25 PM

    Maybe you require some c o o l


    https://discordemoji.com/generator# here's the link to the site

    Discord Emoji

    Emoji Generator – Discord Emoji

    Create awesome custom emoji using our Emoji Maker / Emoji Generator. Using the Twemoji set as a base, create emoji with over 10,000,000 possible combinations!

    IncredibleFella96 (Martin)Today at 3:28 PM

    Mussolini be like

    KasparChavalryToday at 3:28 PM



    IncredibleFella96 (Martin)Today at 3:29 PM

    me when somebody compliments me

    beingsneakyToday at 3:30 PM

    i made this

    KasparChavalryToday at 3:30 PM

    oh dear

    IncredibleFella96 (Martin)Today at 3:30 PM


    BlicorToday at 3:30 PM

    me when i see good art

    beingsneakyToday at 3:30 PM

    what should it be called

    BlicorToday at 3:31 PM


    beingsneakyToday at 3:32 PM

    what's this one

    KasparChavalryToday at 3:32 PM


    Unepic AukletToday at 3:32 PM

    I saw Dumbo today

    KasparChavalryToday at 3:32 PM

    oh how was it?

    beingsneakyToday at 3:33 PM

    last one

    BlicorToday at 3:34 PM


    KasparChavalryToday at 3:34 PM

    oh god

    BlicorToday at 3:34 PM



    KasparChavalryToday at 3:34 PM

    what have we done

    BlicorToday at 3:34 PM



    oh hey

    i was slightly incorrect

    looks more like :theMaddergod:

    KasparChavalryToday at 3:36 PM

    this one says: umm actually

    beingsneakyToday at 3:36 PM

    yo that emoji has 4 eyebrows

    KasparChavalryToday at 3:37 PM

    4 are better than 2

    more expressive

    Unepic AukletToday at 3:37 PM

    is this spam

    KasparChavalryToday at 3:37 PM

    it could be

    Unepic AukletToday at 3:38 PM

    good movie

    beingsneakyToday at 3:38 PM

    what emotion does that emoji say

    BlicorToday at 3:38 PM

    oddly cute emojis.

    KasparChavalryToday at 3:38 PM

    dumbo sounds like it was good

    BlicorToday at 3:40 PM

    time to be gross.

    and make some "NSFW" illustrations

    KasparChavalryToday at 3:41 PM

    oh dear

    Unepic AukletToday at 3:41 PM


    BlicorToday at 3:41 PM

    just some showing the reproductive organs of my aliens.

    in a 1000% non sexual fashion.

    Royal Jester ArachnusToday at 3:41 PM

    the stabbing penis arms?

    BlicorToday at 3:41 PM

    unfortunately they don't have those anymore.

    Royal Jester ArachnusToday at 3:42 PM

    what do they have now?

    Unepic AukletToday at 3:42 PM


    BlicorToday at 3:42 PM

    if you checked the thread they have a more 'traditional' reproductive system.

    :BUSP: https://specevo.jcink.net/index.php?act=ST&f=7&t=728&st=0#entry9039 dis threed

    Royal Jester ArachnusToday at 3:42 PM

    shots fired :crie:

    Unepic AukletToday at 3:42 PM

    critikal burn

    BlicorToday at 3:43 PM

    that was a shot?

    crap i really don't know how guns work.

    Royal Jester ArachnusToday at 3:43 PM

    don't feel bad I haven't read a project in years

    Unepic AukletToday at 3:43 PM

    critikal injury

    Royal Jester ArachnusToday at 3:43 PM

    I wonder how long it'll take for people to realize you're missing.

    BlicorToday at 3:43 PM

    a long time.

    Unepic AukletToday at 3:43 PM


    BlicorToday at 3:44 PM


    IncredibleFella96 (Martin)Today at 3:44 PM

    don't you dare utter my idols name you utter buffoon

    Unepic AukletToday at 3:44 PM

    not long because I’m at a restaurant

    BlicorToday at 3:44 PM


    here i go.

    Unepic AukletToday at 3:45 PM


    BlicorToday at 3:45 PM

    i'll be showing progress in #nonspec_brainstorming

    but it'll be spoilered' so some people don't get offended.

    Unepic AukletToday at 3:46 PM

    why would people get offended

    BlicorToday at 3:46 PM

    cause it's genitals.

    Royal Jester ArachnusToday at 3:47 PM

    Forum's not really like that

    BlicorToday at 3:47 PM


    Royal Jester ArachnusToday at 3:47 PM

    In the past we had plenty of reproductive talk it's the human sex where everyone gets all

    BlicorToday at 3:47 PM

    post human sex


    Unepic AukletToday at 3:47 PM


  21. 17:20 There is also the issue of "what is a problem" There was an alien on Babylon 5 who was quite impressed with "Down Below" (the "slums" of the station) because it showed humans as unafraid to deal with the "inferior" member of its own species.

  22. 23:00 Clearly, you have never seen the movie, "Mars Attacks!"
    Also, it IS possible (though exceedingly unlikely) that Mars harbors an entirely underground culture. As such a culture may have no need (or desire) to ever come to the surface, they may not even know there is more to the universe outside their underground environment.
    On the other hand, they might know all about us and are quite annoyed by know. How long can someone drop stuff on your roof and or walk around up there before you climb up and punch them in the face?

  23. 24:20 But how much of that art and entertainment would even be worth watching? You Tube has several thousand hours of content uploaded every day, but the vast majority of it is utterly worthless and will frankly never be watched, even once.

  24. At about 10 minutes into the video Isaac said, if continue to grow population at the same rate then in 10k years we would have more people than atoms in the universe. I understand the point he is making but it brings me to a question. Can we ever have more people than there are atoms in the universe? Assuming of course there is only one universe and we don’t “ borrow” atoms from planets, Star etc. It would seem to me that we would run out of building blocks. Anyway it might turn out to be a good discussion.

  25. Solar panels with skin like capillaries grown artificially to greatly increase solar power production!

  26. The problem with Cancer Research is that a patient cured is a customer lost. A hard lesson learned with scurvy, treatment used to cost a king ransom.

  27. We don't know how to leave. Which is good enough for now. Why didn't Wilbur and Orville Wright go to the moon? They didn't know how.

  28. Another great episode. I see that your channel is really taking off now, I'll be thrilled to see you with a million subscribers and growing.

  29. The earth is the most interesting place in the universe, that we know of. So we need to find more interesting places

  30. Isaac, I just started watching this channel and it is amazing! I have a question though: in an Agents of Shield episode, it is revealed that an ancient android from a distant star system was sent to Earth to silently observe for eons, only stepping in to prevent an extinction-level event. What are your thoughts on the plausibility of this, and do you think advanced humans might ever do the same kind of thing? If our population growth slowed to near zero and lifespans extended to near-immortality, do you think people might embark on solo journeys to observe distant star systems suspected to contain alien life?

    I hope you see this!

  31. We won´t leave our solar system because we simply can´t. No FTL means no place to reach in a human lifetime. Immortality will also never be a thing, the same goes for hibernation. Besides of Science Fiction, we have not the slightest clue how to do such things, with FTL being regarded as an absolute impossibility by physicists. We will also never send generation ships, as this would be unethical, as the second generation is already bound to a fate they never opted in on, which is pretty much the same as slavery. But apart from it being unethical, human psychology would be a timebomb on such a vessel. Being born in captivity, traveling to a target you don´t care too much about, mostly because the plan is that your great-great-great-grand-children will maybe see it, coming from a place you don´t even know, would sooner or later lead to rebellion.

    And as if all of that wouldn´t be enough, it´s pretty unlikely we will ever reach the technological maturity to build such a vessel. The Flynn effect is already reversed for the last 4 decades. we get dumber and dumber as a whole. The anti-science movement takes on more and more power, the brain drain is significant. Without foreign students, most universities in the US wouldn´t be able to function anymore. What we experience today is more or less the same Bagdad and the Arabian world experienced in the last century of the so-called Islamic golden age. After al-Ghazali said science is of the devil the public opinion slowly turned against it. It took almost a complete century to shatter everything the most advanced society of its age accomplished, but it did it for good. Today these countries are the most reluctant dirt holes this world has to offer. They never recovered from this blow and neither will we. Welcome back to the dark ages, this time forever.

  32. I think one reason we might not see more signs of advanced life may be due to the limitations of lightspeed over the great distance of space even in our own solar system comunication at light speed has mins of delay any interplanetary with have to develop ftl comunication

  33. Raw information. Not dumbed down and not directed at people who just got interested in cosmology 2 weeks ago. Great stuff, my dude.

  34. If a certain form of 3-d printer technology was invented that would allow the creation of a nuclear bomb the government would classify it and the public would never see it. You cant even publish a book they don't like much less patent something like that. They screen every invention for anything they think might possibly pose a threat to national security and confiscate/classify any that do. Along with the "knowledge" of it. They will do the same with all the paperwork/evidence and make it a federal crime to discuss it with anyone.

  35. Problems at home include people starving through lack of resources (that are undoubtedly a result of hoarding combined with over-population). This is not a problem we could take "with us". It would seem criminal to spend money on "luxuries" such as space travel (as India is doing now) while those people starve. So we can't morally go (in fact there's an awful lot we can't morally do). Fix our barbarian civilisation so that population & hoarding are simultaneously under control…conscience cleared and the sky is no longer the limit. I seriously doubt we could achieve anything in space without raising our group intelligence above it's current amoeba level anyway.

  36. If anything even if humans do get lazy we will always have people like MrBeast, Cody's lab and such to go "Fuck it lets go to the second star to the right, straight on till morning and when we get back this evening Jeremy will edit the video on his PC."

  37. Most likely reason why we would stay home: Exhaustion of non-renewable resources on earth could alter the economics of mobilizing capital, energy, expertise, and materials, permanently, in such a way that the costs of getting into space rise exponentially until they are unattainable.

    Space travel would become a might-have-been that people could have done back when energy was cheap and it was easy to reach resources you had to dig deep or large mines for, and there were so many people that highly specialized equipment was practical to produce, and goods and services applicable to a space project were produced in a quantity that made buying them practical, and civilization rode on an enormous powerful infrastructure that would handle a lot of your needs without you having to develop the industries from scratch with no other market besides your project, and there were people who could devote whole lifetimes to the study of narrow specialties…

    Somewhere along the line as the world adjusts to the absence of non-renewable resources, space launch could become harder and harder, until it sinks out of the realm of possibility.

  38. 5:45 #5: Stop the spread of the virus that is humanity while it's quarantined to one stinking planet. 16:45 you think humanity is pretty awesome, huh? I see you have little to no knowledge of actual history then. Why should I value humanity itself, i.e. lives that don't exist as they haven't been conceived much less born anyway? That's basically the same ideological position as that contraception is murder. Not abortion mind you, contraception. So I see it as no tragedy if humanity dies on Earth, for the very same reason, no matter HOW much you value lives.

  39. I enjoy space exploration but do not approve of stealing money from my fellow citizens at gun point (Which is what taxation is.) to pay for it. 🙁

  40. At 23:53 about, by “the first colony contributes its first groundbreaking piece of original science”, does it mean earth has already finished before the colony made anything that could have been useful, or that earth is just now getting a new contribution to science after supposedly completing it

  41. You are pretty optimistic. Which is good when constructing ideas about how things could work. At the same time. I don’t believe it. Call me a misanthrope, but I do not think we are capable of actually doing most of these things, because they require a level of maturity, and dedication that must be truly within everyone, in order to exist.

  42. fermi paradox…. the universe is old so where are the aliens. but… is the universe old? what if we are just the first …

  43. After just a couple of your videos my frustrated objections to some of your baseline assumptions in your Fermi breakdown weren't enough to lower my predisposition to your conclusions generally.

    Watching this right afterward I'm gonna need to carefully examine and relentlessly follow any future logical disagreements I have with your perspectives.
    You have absolutely demonstrated that you're worth that energy

  44. Curiousity is the path of science and is wonderful. However, what frightens me are those in history who fund and permit scientific discovery for personal power and control. This egocentric view has plagued the Earth through history and will continue to do so.

  45. Regarding the six "Common Reasons for Space Exploration" that you listed in the video: They all have one thing in common. They all involve 'to do something'. But I think the best one is not listed, and that is not "to do" anything. The reason why people would want to explore space is fundamentally an unintended by-product of curiosity, which in turn has been an important aspect of our evolution as a species. Curiosity helped to enable our evolution as a species, or is an unintended by-product of an evolution which has come up with a large-brained, abstract thinking, language and symbolic wielding species. So #7 could be written as: 7) It's an unintended by-product of our evolution

    You may say #7) does not belong on the list because it's not a reason FOR space exploration but should be on another list entitled: "Why We Do Space Exploration". Fair enough but I still think you should at least mention it and comment on it, if only briefly.

  46. 16:45 "Personally I think we are pretty awesome" – Thank you for being you Issac – I love it! and your videos and space and humanity and the universe!!!

  47. When we leave this planet it proberly won't be NASA that does it, it'll be people like E. Musk, we will be landing on Mars no more that 2030 and I'll not see it

  48. If anyone wonders if the Mollusc people example is reasonable, just think about the New World, where the wheel remained uninvented, and limited domesticatable options for livestock and work-animals left them insular until the Old World found and exploited them.

  49. ERROR…. you can NEVER have more of something than ATOMS in the Universe. 1 human is how may atoms? so 2 humans are how many ATOMS… you see 1 = Trillion atoms, so no you can't have more of something that is made by the something your trying to make more of, each person is more atoms…….

  50. There is an easy explanation. Space travel is extremely expensive. Aliens would likely only travel if the distances were short enough. 10 million years ago, our solar system was passing through a section of the galaxy that was densely populated with stars. If aliens were to travel to earth, that would have been the best time. Unfortunately, our species had not developed yet at that time. Now we are going through a sparse region of the Milky Way so aliens would have to travel much further to get here. It will take several million years before we get around to another dense region again. We may just have to wait several million years before we are contacted by aliens.

  51. How is it you know of so many fringe topics and theorys but are unaware that we have a secret space program which colonized Mars and the moon 30-40 years ago.

  52. I maintain that humanity has a lot to learn before we get TOO busy in space. I do not think we're very awesome right now, but there is potential and we are making progress.

  53. The Human being was design to be part of the earths eco system . We are part of this living breathing world. To travel in space you would have to design a ship that reflects the same atmosphere, the same design or your not going to exist out there in universe .

  54. Speaking as an American, we only have one real reason we do anything – because we can. Of course this isn't always a good thing…

  55. Even if a technological civilization decide to stay at home for some reason, sending a self duplicate probe to nose around near by star system is necessary to manage own risk. Once a self duplicate probe is launched, that will increase to infinite number and spread to entire galaxy as time goes by.

  56. – If a planet had a permanent cloud cover, the residents would not conceive of space travel until somehow they got above the clouds. They might eventually send up in balloons with cameras and discover space.
    – If a planet has no oceans, the concept of "voyage" might not carry. A road-trip does not require a "ship".
    – An ocean planet could develop a civilization based on biological breeding and specialization. That kind of technology might produce large scale organization and structures whose scales are equivalent to Earth's cities or even mega-structures. But without the sort of energy-concentration that fire makes possible, they are unlikely to take to the air, let alone get off planet.

  57. What if we do colonize Mars or something in our solar system and over a thousand years or so we STILL dont find any evidence of alien life anywhere and the colony is it's own civilization by now and we humans are a blood thirsty race and they decide to attack for whatever reason.

  58. I thank you for the thought provoking knowledge you have and your blending it with your style of "story telling". Yours are the best insightful digital media I watch.

  59. If working with a digitized civilization you could arbitrarily slow down the clock speed and defer growth concerns as much as you wish with out having to cull the population, restrict "births" etc. Most likely though a digitized humanity would just implement a garbage collection algorithm. Remove entire interconnected segments of people if the system decides they aren't beneficial to the over all organism, etc.

  60. I do forsee a time where we "cure" ageing. If in fact ageing is a product of DNA breakdown. We couldn't us repair or reenforced DNA systems to extend life to thousands of years.

    Trouble is when you become imortal one way you tend to want to stay around the point where it keeps you there. So you don't go pokeing I to tech that could jeopardize your imortality

  61. Reasons to go out 3 and 4 seem to be the soundest. And my mother is a big believer in reason not to go out number 2. she gets upset at the thought of people making a mess of earth via pollution, litter and habitat destruction, then going to mars and doing it again.

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