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About Everything Wiki » Education » The Dark Forest theory: why aliens are in no hurry to get in touch with people

The Dark Forest theory: why aliens are in no hurry to get in touch with people

13 Jun 2023, 00:00, parser
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What do researchers think about aliens

The idea that Earth is not the only planet inhabited by intelligent beings appeared a long time ago. This was discussed by science fiction writers and scientists, for example Konstantin Tsiolkovsky "Planets are inhabited by living beings" / "Cosmic Philosophy" by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky , carl Sagan Carl Sagan On Extraterrestrials / Blank on Blank and Frank Drake. The latter even made Drake Equation / SETI Institute the formula for calculating the approximate number of our cosmic neighbors is the Drake equation. The astronomer suggested multiplying the number of sun-like stars and planets with suitable conditions for life, the probability of intelligent beings appearing on them, and a number of other indicators. However, no one has managed to find an exact solution to the equation yet.

It is impossible to determine the correct value of most variables, so some calculations show a result close to one, others — to 10,000. But there is still a chance that we are not alone in the universe.

Why, in this case, has no one made contact with people yet or has not been Did China just detect signals from an alien civilization? / Space detected by radars? This riddle is called the Fermi paradox, after the Italian physicist who first voiced The Fermi Paradox / SETI Institute her publicly. The scientist himself, by the way, assumed that the aliens simply do not have the technologies that would allow them to get to Earth.

The Fermi paradox has given rise to many hypotheses. Some researchers suggest ‘Zoo hypothesis’ may explain why we haven’t seen any space aliens / SETI Institute that humans are akin to animals for aliens: they choose to observe humanity from the outside, just as we do not seek to find a common language with snakes or pandas. Others consider Beyond «Fermi’s Paradox» X: What is the Firstborn Hypothesis? / Universe Today that humans are the only intelligent life form in the universe so far. Still others allow N.A. Sears. Anarchy, Technology, and the Self‑Destruction Hypothesis: Human Survival and the Fermi Paradox / World Futures. The Journal of New Paradigm Research that all other civilizations do not have time to get in touch, because they destroy themselves too quickly, developing dangerous weapons and technologies.

The dark forest theory is another fantastic hypothesis explaining the Fermi paradox. And it is, perhaps, the darkest.

What is the theory of the dark forest

Photo: Tatiana Dobreva / Unsplash

Space is compared to a dense impenetrable thicket, and extraterrestrial civilizations are compared to hunters who hide behind every tree and bush. They are silent, unpredictable and do not spare anyone on their way. Paranoia forces aliens to keep complete radio silence and not transmit signals to other planets.

The name of the theory appeared Beyond «Fermi’s Paradox» XVI: What is the «Dark Forest» Hypothesis? / Universe Today thanks to Chinese science fiction writer Liu Qixin. This is about how he described the cosmos and those who inhabit it in the novel "The Dark Forest". In defense of the hypothesis, the author gives the following arguments:

  • All living things do not want to die.
  • Civilizations in the universe can be both aggressive and benevolent. But it is impossible to know in advance whether any of them is a threat.
  • The safest course of action for any species is not to sort it out, but to destroy another life form before it has a chance to do the same.

Liu Qixin is not the first person to propose such an idea. Similar thoughts were heard in the novels "The Forge of God" by Greg Beer and "The Killer Star" by Charles R. Pellegrino and George Zebrowski.

By the way, the dark forest theory is similar to another possible solution to the Fermi paradox — the berserker hypothesis The Berserker Hypothesis: The Darkest Explanation Of The Fermi Paradox / IFLScience . Its supporters are sure that a very progressive, but unfriendly civilization can exist in the universe. She has a weapon that automatically destroys everything she finds. Such thoughts are expressed not only by fans of science fiction, but also by scientists, for example, physicist and NASA consultant David Brin G.D. Brin. The Great Silence: the Controvercy Concerning Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life / Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society .

What should humanity do

In short, enjoy solitude and do not seek contacts with the inhabitants of other planets.

The survival model of people in the "dark forest" can be explained Aliens, The Fermi Paradox, And The Dark Forest Theory: A Game Theoretic View / Towards Data Science through game theory is a mathematical method for studying optimal strategies. In this case, the universe is a field, and different life forms are players. All the alien inhabitants act in turn, not knowing anything about the others at all. There are three possible moves:

  1. Keep silent.
  2. Try to report yourself in order to find friends or create an alliance.
  3. Killing others.

Winning the game is survival. Therefore, those who keep quiet or attack have a better chance of success. But partnership is not the best idea. The companion may turn out to be a villain or a traitor.

If we assume that the theory of the dark forest is correct, all experiments of mankind to study the universe is a very risky thing. There is a possibility that a more advanced and aggressive civilization, having caught a radio signal from Earth, will really want to destroy us.

What's wrong with the dark forest theory

Photo: Thanh Nguyen / Unsplash

Not everyone is ready to consider space a gloomy thicket with bloodthirsty hunters. Opponents lead The Fermi Paradox: Where Is Everyone? / Forbes as arguments, questions to which the hypothesis does not give logical answers:

  1. How did all the civilizations in the universe come to a single decision — to be silent? The inhabitants of different planets have never communicated. It turns out that everyone is a fearful recluse. Everything except people. We actively communicate about ourselves and even try to purposefully get in touch with the aliens. It seems strange that there are no other such inquisitive researchers among alien life forms.
  2. Why are Earthlings still alive? This question follows from the previous one. We are actively sharing signals, which means that cautious aliens should have found us long ago.
  3. How do civilizations manage to hide their existence? Rockets, satellites and other technologies emit heat and stand out against the background of cold space. An advanced civilization will be noticed even if it does not send direct messages.

In any case, the dark forest theory and other solutions to the Fermi paradox are just assumptions. It is impossible to prove or disprove them, at least not yet. But one thing is for sure: scientists do not plan to stop space exploration because of the ideas of science fiction writers.

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04 May 2023, 10:17    0    0
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