“Humans are the First to Arrive at the Interstellar Stage” –Physicist Answers the Fermi Paradox



"One rogue AI can potentially populate the entire supercluster with copies of itself, turning every solar system into a supercomputer, and there is no use asking why it would do that," observes theoretical physicist Alexander Berezin from the National Research University of Electronic Technology (MIET) in Russia.

Berezin has proposed an explanation for why we're seemingly alone in the Universe –what he calls his "First in, last out" solution to the Fermi Paradox.


No present observations suggest a technologically advanced extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI) has spread through the galaxy. However, under commonplace assumptions about galactic civilization formation and expansion, this absence of observation is highly unlikely. This improbability constitutes the Fermi Paradox. In this paper, I argue that the Paradox has a trivial solution, requiring no controversial assumptions, which is rarely suggested or discussed. However, that solution would be hard to accept, as it predicts a future for our own civilization that is even worse than extinction.

According to Berezin's pre-print paper, which hasn't as yet been reviewed by other scientists, the paradox has a "trivial solution, requiring no controversial assumptions" but may prove "hard to accept, as it predicts a future for our own civilisation that is even worse than extinction". Berezin suggests the problem with some proposed solutions to the Fermi Paradox is they define alien life too narrowly.

The specific nature of civilizations arising to interstellar level should not matter. They might be biological organisms like ourselves, rogue AIs that rebelled against their creators or distributed planet-scale minds like those described by Stanislaw Lem in “Solaris”. We should, therefore, take a broader definition as the
starting point. It has been suggested in order to classify as life any objects exhibiting the following traits:
homeostasis, organization, metabolism, growth, adaptation, responsiveness and reproduction. For our immediate purposes, this list can be simplified even further.

Berezin says the only parameter we should concern ourselves with – in terms of defining extraterrestrial life – is the physical threshold at which we can observe its existence. "The only variable we can objectively measure is the probability of life becoming detectable from outer space within a certain range from Earth," Berezin explains. "For simplicity let us call it 'parameter A'."

"What if the first life that reaches interstellar travel capability necessarily eradicates all competition to fuel its own expansion?" he hypothesises. A highly developed extra-terrestrial civilisation would consciously wipe out other lifeforms – but perhaps "they simply won't notice, the same way a construction crew demolishes an anthill to build real estate because they lack incentive to protect it".

"Assuming the hypothesis above is correct, what does it mean for our future?" Berezin writes. "The only explanation is the invocation of the anthropic principle. We are the first to arrive at the interstellar stage. And, most likely, will be the last to leave."

The Daily Galaxy via ARXIV

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