Will the first aliens we find be robots? Intelligent life may have turned to AI by the time we make first contact, expert claims
The hunt for life elsewhere in the universe is now essentially a three-horse race between finding microbes in our solar system, signals from an intelligent race or clear signs of organisms in the atmosphere of an exoplanet.
But one expert has claimed that, while the other two ‘horses’ might be important, finding intelligent life would have the most profound impact - because it might not be ‘life’ as we know it.
Instead, she says that the first life we find might instead be a form of artificial intelligence - and it could indicate that humans, too, will one day be more machine than man.
Speaking to MailOnline, Dr Susah Schneider, an Associate Professor in Philosophy at the University of Connecticut and author of several articles on alien life, explained her theory.
She has been working on it with Dr Seth Shostak from Seti (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence).
‘What I was focusing on was a bit unusual, because I was arguing that the most advanced alien civilisation would actually be forms of AI,’ she explained.
She adds that they might not be the life we find first, with the discovery of microbial life in the solar system being more likely.
‘But it wouldn’t be the same as finding little green men,’ she added.
‘It wouldn’t be as Earth-shattering.’
What form that intelligent life might take, though, could come as somewhat of a surprise.
‘If you look at our own civilisation, people are becoming more immersed in computers, and we can already see signs of it in our own culture,’ she continued.
‘Silicon is faster than brains.
‘The idea is that our brains are actually fairly slow; think about how hard it is to even remember a phone number.
‘AI researchers are doing quite well and most people in computer science think we are 50 years away from AI that is smarter than us.
‘So it looks like the next evolutionary step could be we are post-biological, we are sort of part computer in that people decide to “upload” themselves.
‘It sounds kind of crazy, and I don’t approve of this as a philosopher, but I think the thing is that that’s sort of the pattern a lot of people are starting to notice.
‘Aliens will be vastly older than us, so it looks like they may be sophisticated forms of AI that are far smarter than we are.
‘Kind of mind-blowing, isn’t it?’
Read the rest: DailyMail