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Extraterrestrial computers

Computers should be searching for extraterrestrial computers, not life!
  [vote for,

With the rate of computer development, the increasing sophistication of on-line communities and linking computers to the nervous system, it seems only a matter of time before humans become completely integrated with computers. Since computers will likely be superior in many ways - processing power, longevity, redundancy, physical tolerance, etc - future humans will, in fact, likely be more computer than flesh and blood.

If we assume that alien races, with the technical capability of contacting races on other planets, have followed a similar techno-evolutionary path, then we can assume that the aliens out there are more computer than biological as well.

Hence, instead of looking for radio waves from human-like aliens, we should have computers work out how they would contact alien computers and use that basis for seeking extraterrestrial awareness. Indeed, perhaps alien computers have already logged onto the Internet looking for signs of computational intelligence.

jeffreyb, Dec 17 2003


       <moot point>hmmmn [jeffreyb], isn't it computers which are starting to use biological systems rather than the other way round </moot point>
neilp, Dec 17 2003

       I don't know, but from my brief fascination with Star Trek, I think it is wise *not* to contact the BORG.
v0rtexx, Dec 17 2003

       // looking for radio waves from human-like aliens // I don't think we actually do that - we just look for any incoming waves (not just radio) which appear to contain structure which might be deliberate rather than natural or random. This might be evidence of any kind of intelligence - whether human or 'artificial'. Hence your idea, although it makes for an interesting read, is pointless. Sorry.
dobtabulous, Dec 17 2003

       Too late. 8th of 7 is already here.
RayfordSteele, Dec 17 2003

       So how would alien computers attempt to contact human computers? The most likely methods are using either electromagnetic radiation or by physical travel. Both these areas are already studied by current attempts to find extraterrestrial life.   

       Unless you're suggesting that some HB contributors are actually alien computer programs. I wouldn't entirely rule that out, but equally I suspect they would appear less strange or conspicuous than many recent human contributors.
kropotkin, Dec 17 2003

       Why does everyone always assume that when we find alien life forms, they will be more developed than us?
luecke, Dec 17 2003

       [luecke] The reason, I think, is because we are not going out to meet them and can't read any of the aforementioned EM radiation from afar to suggest that they are transmitting to us. One logical argument to explain this is because the aliens are located nowhere near us. This means that when they *do* contact us they are either using vastly superior long range tech or they are sufficiently advanced to cloak themselves. I think this kinda falls into a (rather) Weak Anthropic Principle, e.g. 'it is like this because that's what we can see'   

       Either that or they don't exist
gnomethang, Dec 17 2003

       "we should have computers work out how they would contact alien computers"   

       when do we have an AI that can do this? computers do what you ask them too as long as it has a formula to run off of. you cant epxepct a calculater to solve maths without giving it an equation first. this is why we can ask a computer programmed to calculate weather if it will rain or not and we cant ask it to calculate the trajectory of a satelite. A computer that can do this would have to be able to program itself.   

       Another thing...why are you so sure we will become androids? the brain is much more sophisticated then any processor ever invented. the reason computers can "think" faster then us is becuase we don't use much of our brains. that and we are hardwired to think independantly and not so much so to crunch numbers. I would think that if super-intelligence was the gaol genetic engineering (another field growing exponentially) would be used to augment the amount of grey matter we actually use.
Space-Pope, Dec 17 2003

       I saw him today - well, here anyway!
po, Dec 17 2003

       They should start to look for nuclear explosions. For example Uranium or Plutonium fission explosions are very unlikely to happen naturally and generate characteristic X-ray/Gamma spectra. Such explosions should be easier to detect than anything else in space and are a clear indication of a advanced societies similar to ours.
kbecker, Dec 17 2003

       The author is mistaken. SETI looks for any signal that shows signs of intelligence. The source is irrelevent.
waugsqueke, Dec 18 2003

       //clear indication of a advanced societies similar to ours.//   

       Clearly an oxymoron and here's one reason why...   

       //Since intelligence has no demonstrable survival value//   

       With the exception of the ability to quickly adapt to any situation and exist in environments where only the most extreme organisms of that ecosystem have been trying perfect for eons. Yeah, I 'spose that's completely worthless right there.   

       Bacteria and virii are at the top of the tree as far as survival goes. But their design is such that they can survive such extremes. Intelligence does not have to be physically designed to survive such environments and yet could still exist there.
sartep, Dec 18 2003

       Digital signals and static often sound the same. Examples: Modems. Playing a CDROM in a 1980's audio CD player. What if they compress their data? What if they don't use binary or text or graphics and they have totally different senses? What if they use analog computers, or organic ones, etc.? What if they are so smart they don't need computers at all?   

       In the 1978 Superman movie, the planet Krypton used crystals for all their technology. I think that that is one of the best examples of at least how different we should expect advanced ET technology to be even if it looks a little bit human!
mr2560, Dec 19 2003

       Using computers to find other computers may seem like a good idea at the moment, because it’s a case of thinking in terms of the technology we know. What if alien communication is all around us already, and we’re just deaf to it?   

       I’ve often wondered why, if alien intelligence exists, are stars not modified to serve as simple beacons? The message would be “You’re not alone”, and that’s pretty much all we need to know for now. This could be through some direct variation of the star’s output that is obviously artificial, or by aligning a group of stars into very improbable orbits.   

       This, of course, assumes that an alien intelligence is vastly superior to our own. What are the chances of a ‘Star Trek’ like society discovering FTL travel at the same time we do? Not likely. They’re either slime, or gods.   

       Since modifying a star would seem a very logical way of attracting attention, and we haven’t yet seen this, I’ll assume we’re alone. This doesn’t mean we’ve been alone all the time.   

       What if, at some point in our technological advancement, we discover that intelligent life merely makes the hop to a different dimension, and that dimension turns out to be quite crowded.   

       Maybe our universe is just a womb, and we are one of many children yet to be born.
TIB, Dec 19 2003

       On the third read this is all Sci-Fi that I have read before. The basic idea still lags behind the original intent but it was not one half as bad as the telly program I saw on Time Travel last night.
gnomethang, Dec 19 2003


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