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Fermi Paradox & the Great Filter- Are We Likely Doomed?
Robin Hanson   Jul 29, 2014   Adam Ford  

“What’s the worst that could happen?” - 16 years ago Robin Hanson said: “Humanity seems to have a bright future, i.e., a non-trivial chance of expanding to fill the universe with lasting life. But the fact that space near us seems dead now tells us that any given piece of dead matter faces an astronomically low chance of begating such a future. There thus exists a great filter between death and expanding lasting life, and humanity faces the ominous question: how far along this filter are we?” :


I personally like the astrophysicist Dimitar Sasselov's much more optimistic take on the Fermi Paradox:

"If our roots stretching back into the beginning of time is important, for me the most optimistic message of Sasselov’s book is that the future of life, and not just life that originated on earth, stretches out even farther. Sasselov comes up with a good possible answer to Fermi’s Paradox- the fact that in conditions seemingly so ripe for life to have emerged the Universe is so damned silent. Sasselov’s theory is that the emergence of life is tied to the evolution of stars. The early Universe lacked the heavy elements that seem necessary for life, which need to be produced by long lived stars, so overtime these elements become more numerous and the types of stars that come to predominate are ones that, unlike earlier stars, readily produce a rich sea of these elements. The Universe is silent because we are likely to have been one of the very first intelligent civilizations to emerge at the beginning of this move towards the production of heavy elements- a just dawning golden age for life in the cosmos that will last at least 100 billion years into the future."

Us being one of the first, combined with what we already know is the potential of technological civilization to destroy itself, combined, perhaps with the fact that the technological curve might be steeper than we think from our own nose-against-the-glass period of exponential growth, might explain the Fermi Paradox in a way much less pessimistic than Hanson's. Life in the universe has a bright 100 billion year future in front of it.
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