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[Whew] No Galactic Superpowers

Discussion in 'Science & Technology' started by El_Machinae, Jun 7, 2015.

  1. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    Well, we looked. We cannot see any evidence ("near" us) of entire galaxies being colonized fully.

    Search for advanced civilizations beyond Earth finds nothing obvious in 100,000 galaxies


    Basically, no obvious galaxies populated entirely by Dyson Spheres. To put scale in context, we could not have detected the Imperium, the Federation, or the Empire using this analysis.
     
  2. uppi

    uppi Chieftain

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    I wonder what the upper limit of energy consumption of a civilization is, according to their analysis. I suspect it is still much bigger than any planet-based civilization could ever hope to achieve.
     
  3. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    But when you compare it to the energy output of a star, is it measurable at galactic distances? Further, not every star will be in use by said civilization. You aren't going to put a Dyson Sphere around a blue supergiant. So on the scale of a galaxy, it seems extremely unlikely that they'd be making changes that we could see from here.
     
  4. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    They were basically looking for a full-on Type 3. It's one of the possible futures of Sol, when we extrapolate our future. That none others exist(ed yet) is an interesting datapoint that suggests it might be unlikely that we go that way.

    There are many scenarios where we don't go Type 3.
     
  5. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Why are we assuming that method of detection would necessarily find what we're looking for?

    Also, anything we're witnessing in other galaxies is time-delayed a great deal.
     
  6. uppi

    uppi Chieftain

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    Not that I would disagree, but that seems to be the underlying assumption here. If you think that no civilization could significantly alter the energy distribution of their galaxy, it would be quite pointless to search for one.

    There is not exactly a clearly defined threshold between Type 2 and Type 3. I was wondering where their threshold of detection is. For example, would a civilization that consumed* 0.1% percent of its galaxy's energy be detected?

    *consume energy is a somewhat misleading term. It would probably be better to phrase it as creating entropy.
     
  7. Gigaz

    Gigaz civoholic

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    The question is interesting, but ultimately probably not very fruitful. On that line of reasoning, any advanced civilization that uses 0.1% of its galaxy probably uses 99% of the energy within the next million years or so, and then stays as it is. So if we'd muster every single galaxy in the universe and find that 1000 have a type 3 civilization, we might find one with a type 2. Makes no sense to look for that kind of black swan.
     
  8. uppi

    uppi Chieftain

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    ... ,if a type 3 civilization is really possible. There might be physical, economic and social reasons to never go type 3, even if you are type 2
     
  9. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    http://iopscience.iop.org/0067-0049/217/2/25/article?fromSearchPage=true
     
  10. illram

    illram Moderator Moderator

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    Well I really really want to know more about "[t]hese 90 poorly understood sources and 5 anomalous passive spirals." Moar science please!
     
  11. uppi

    uppi Chieftain

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  12. Flying Pig

    Flying Pig Utrinque Paratus Moderator

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    So that's fifty places in which a civilisation could theoretically be living and putting half of all the energy coming out of its nearest star to some kind of work? I'll admit total ignorance on the numbers involved here, but that sounds like orders of magnitude more energy than we consume as a planet. Not convinced that's all that reassuring - and of course you have to consider that an advanced, rich society might have taken steps to be difficult for less advanced, less rich societies to spot.
     
  13. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    Yeah, I've been pondering what we'd do if we wanted to hide our progress and go on to colonize outside Sol. If one is determined to stay hidden, it really limits what they can do.

    But yeah, to even get one star to '50% of the star's output as useful work' would require levels of infrastructure beyond the imaginings of most sci-fi. Basically, any sci-fi that uses planets is right out, since this would require 'planet-disassembling' levels of progress.

    And that's just one star. Nevermind most of a galaxy. They set a very high bar for what they were looking for. And, chances are they didn't find it.

    We live in exponential times. But this search is much harder than people realize. Jill Tarter's "it's dipping a bucket into the ocean, pulling it out, and saying 'nope, there're no fish in the oceans" is a fairly good analogy.
     
  14. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Another drone in the hive mind

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    Read Existence, by David Brin.

    If there were a technologically advanced civilization, they would have found us. More likely, whatever they unleashed in the process of destroying themselves would have found us.
     
  15. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    It's true. But you're still dealing with the L of Drake's equation. Like we saw with New Horizons, a flyby probe is vastly cheaper than one that slows down and permanently stations itself. So, it just might not have been worth sending probes that we would detect.

    But, there's certainly a Great Filter.
     
  16. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Another drone in the hive mind

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    A self replicating probe that goes to the nearest system, stations itself, and sends ten (thousand) more built from local resources to the next ten (thousand) systems is cheaper yet, and blankets the galaxy in what from the galactic scale of time is the blink of an eye. The "more technologically advanced" civilization would certainly recognize that, just like we do. We are not far short of that technology right now, so either there is no more advanced civilization, or their probe is watching us and they are wondering what to do about us.

    How many super advanced civilizations with technology we would not even recognize have monitoring probes hovering among us at this very moment? As many as want to.
     
  17. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    Not sure what that last sentence means. That said, I don't think we currently have sufficient technology to detect their hypothetical cacophony If we were within the horizon of a exponentially growing wave of probes, we'd likely be able to tell. But maybe not if we were outside one, despite their levels of chatter. Our detection power isn't strong enough yet.
     
  18. bhavv

    bhavv Glorious World Dictator

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    I think we assume too much to believe that there is life more capable than ours in the universe.
     
  19. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    Not 'believe', so much as "it's a testable hypothesis"
     
  20. uppi

    uppi Chieftain

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    It is not a testable hypothesis, as there is no test that this hypothesis could fail. Any advanced aliens might be hiding outside of the currently observable universe.

    Any testable hypothesis needs to clearly define the properties of the lifeforms and a part of the universe where these lifeforms are supposed to exist.
     

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