First version of this article was originally published on 3 May, 2012
The quest for extraterrestrial life continues. This time our journey takes us straight into the heart of a postbiological Universe where time no longer has a meaning, or has it?
Ray Kurzweil, a leading American futurist have along with a number of other scientists suggested that humans could become immortal very soon.
With help of nanotechnology, scientists believe we could not only extend our mental capacities but also, most important reverse ageing and ultimately live forever.
An advanced extraterrestrial civilization could have overcome all health problems a long time ago. While searching for alien life in the Universe,
scientists tend to look for life similar to our own, but there can be a number of other exotic life-forms out there, and one of them can be a mechanical race.
Kurzweil believes that replacing biological organs with mechanical devices is very beneficial.
The futurists on our planet talk about biological evolution and then bio-engineering, and the fact that our technology is evolving exponentially and
our poor carbon-based brain power is not going to be able to keep up, and we are going to be soon turning ourselves into a machine through some amazing process.
That is what the futurists call the singularity, and what the media call the Borg.
How can humans become immortal?
"I and many other scientists now believe that in around 20 years we will have the means to reprogramme our bodies' stone-age software so we can halt,
then reverse, ageing. Then nanotechnology will let us live for ever.
Ultimately, nanobots will replace blood cells and do their work thousands of times more effectively.
Within 25 years we will be able to do an Olympic sprint for 15 minutes without taking a breath, or go scuba-diving for four hours without oxygen.
Heart-attack victims - who haven't taken advantage of widely available bionic hearts - will calmly drive to the doctors for a minor operation as their
blood bots keep them alive.
Nanotechnology will extend our mental capacities to such an extent we will be able to write books within minutes.
If we want to go into virtual-reality mode, nanobots will shut down brain signals and take us wherever we want to go. Virtual sex will become commonplace.
And in our daily lives, hologram like figures will pop in our brain to explain what is happening.
So we can look forward to a world where humans become cyborgs, with artificial limbs and organs, " Kurzweil said and called his theory
the Law of Accelerating Returns.
Time might have no meaning inside a postbiological Universe.
An advanced extraterrestrial civilization could have gone even further in their attempts to create an immortal race.
"Given the age of the universe, and if intelligence is common, it may have evolved far beyond us.
If intelligence is highly valued for its evolutionary advantage, extraterrestrials would long ago have sought the best way to improve their intelligence,
and it is likely to have involved artificial intelligence, yielding the postbiological universe," says Steven Dick, NASA chief historian and an astrophysicist
specializing in astrobiology and the postbiological universe.
According to Steven Dick, such alien civilizations do not need to be millions of years ahead of us and some scientists already predict Earth will be
postbiological in a few generations.
How likely is it that such a robotic race exists?
"Given the limitations of biology as we know it, the force of cultural evolution, and the imperative to improve intelligence,
I'd say the chances are greater than 50/50.
There could be a number of robotic races on various alien planets.
That said, if postbiological beings do exist, they might not be interested in us at all. The gulf between their minds and ours might
be so great that communication is impossible, or they might consider meatheads like us too primitive to warrant their attention, " Steven Dick explained.
What happens with free choice?
"Although the physical, biological, and postbiological universe may be facts that the universe imposes on us, humans will still have
great scope for choice and free will within these broad scenarios.
The founders of the modern evolutionary synthesis emphasized this point already at the middle of the 20th century. George Gaylord S
impson for one, echoing Huxley's evolutionary humanism, wrote, "it is another unique quality of man that he, for the first time in the
history of life, has increasing power to choose his course and to influence his own future evolution, " Dick said.
Do we want to live in a postbiological society?
There are several questions we should ask ourselves before turning our planet into a place inhabited by postbiological beings. Do we
really want to become immortal? How will the problem with overpopulation be dealt with. there are many questions to consider.
Of course, when we switch to a postbiological society, one can hope that our already overpopulated planet will not be our only home.
By then, we should have other colonies in space.
Can the battle against time be won?
Most modern people complain about the lack of time. We are always far too busy and never seem to have enough time.
Lack of time is a daily problem of the modern society. Everything seems to be a battle against time, but in a postbiological Universe time would have little meaning.
So, becoming immortal seems like a good solutions, doesn't it? Maybe not.
We should also not forget that even machines have a limited lifespan, and although it is possible to replace components, everything comes eventually to an end.
Perhaps the battle against time can never be won...
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Extraterrestrial Interstellar Beacon - A Broadcast From Outer Space
There could be hundreds, even thousands, of intelligent civilizations in the Milky Way, but not all of them can be classified as interstellar travellers.
Many civilizations might simply lack sufficient technology to travel among the stars. Nevertheless,
just like humans other intelligent alien species could seek contact with their galactic neighbors.
Have we already detected such alien signals without being able to identify their true nature?
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When Will Humans Join The Galactic Club?
Most people believe that humans will sooner or later establish open contact with aliens.
When it happens, we might get an invitation to join what scientists and science-fiction writers refer to as the "Galactic Club".
There is also a possibity that advanced extraterrestrial civilizations will not welcome us a new members.
Alien Message Can Be Hidden In Your DNA
Do We All Carry A Cosmic Greeting Card?
While SETI is busy searching for signals from alien civilizations, there are scientists who think we can find proof of advanced
extraterrestrial life much closer to home - namely in our DNA!
Instead of leaving artefacts for humans to find once they are sufficiently evolved, an advanced extraterrestrial civilizations
might instead incorporate information into the human genome, allowing it to be copied and maintained over immense periods of time.
Aliens Living On Methane Worlds
In the search for life elsewhere, many studies focus on finding liquid water. But what
if life could exist with some other solvent? Saturn's smoggy moon Titan makes scientists question the possibilities for methane-based life in the galaxy.
Alien Contact Scenario:
Would Contact With Extraterrestrials Benefit Or Harm Humanity?
"If contact between humans and ETI is possible, then it is important to consider the capability of ETI to cause us benefit or harm. This information is important across nearly the full breadth of contact scenarios," the authors explain.
"Although we cannot know the level of technological sophistication achieved by ETI, we do have a compelling reason to believe that ETI
would be significantly stronger than us and therefore highly capable of causing our total destruction.
"Sacred" 1.7 Million Volt Light Of The Gods
Today, his cool experiment enables Zeus-like miracles!
For the ancient Greeks, the occurrence of lightning mean that Zeus, lord of heaven,
was often very angry and upset. God used to throw jagged, terrifying bolts of lightning, like spears of fire. This was for the ancients, a "sacred light".
In his lab near Chicago, Illinois, a retired electrical engineer, Bert Hickman, uses a particle accelerator acrylic plastic to "grab and keep the wrath of Zeus"...
Mysterious Signal From Outer Space
Is Someone Trying To Contact Us?
A mysterious signal coming from a region of space between the constellations Pisces and Aries has been picked up on three different occasions by
the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico.
The signal is very puzzling and does not resemble any known astronomical phenomenon. Researchers who have studied its frequency pattern do not
believe it is natural interference or noise.
Alien Species Living In The Inner Milky Way Could Be In Danger
Few people doubt there is intelligent alien life in the Milky Way galaxy, but where can we expect to find it?
Astronomers think that while the inner sector of the MIlky Way Galaxy may be the most likely to support habitable worlds.
Unfortunately some of these places are also most dangerous to all life-forms.
The Eyes Of A Future Alien Astronomer - What Will They See?
Have you ever wondered what the Universe will look like for a future alien astronomer?
It will in fact be entirely different from what it is today.
One trillion years from now, an alien astronomer in our galaxy will have great difficulties figuring out how the universe began.
Watching Volcanoes On Alien Worlds
Volcanoes display the awesome power of nature like few other events.
Now that astronomers are finding rocky worlds orbiting distant stars, they're asking the next logical questions: Do any of those worlds
have volcanoes? And if so, could we detect them?
Black Plants Could Exist On Alien Worlds With Two Suns
We have previously seen what auroras might like on alien worlds.
This time we examine how life on planets in binary star systems can evolve.
Earth-like planets with two or three suns would have multiple sources of light that could be used for photosynthesis. This means plants on
such worlds could be dark, even completely black.
Warp-Speed Planets Are Some Of The Fastest Objects In The Milky Way
Warped planets are some of the fastest objects in the Milky Way and they zoom through space near the speed of light.
Some years ago astronomers were astonished when they they found the first runaway star flying out of our Galaxy at a speed of 1.5 million miles per hour.
The discovery intrigued theorists, who wondered: If a star can get tossed outward at such an extreme velocity, could the same thing happen to planets?
Though the universe is filled with billions upon billions of stars, the discovery of a single variable star in 1923 altered the
course of modern astronomy. And, at least one famous astronomer of the time lamented that the discovery had shattered his world view.
Auroras On Alien Worlds Can Be Stunningly Beautiful
Auroras on Earth are stunning to watch, but have you ever wondered what they might look like on other planets?
We took a journey to some alien worlds to find out what auroras look like there. There is no doubt that extraterrestrial auroras
can be very beautiful on other places in the Universe, and sometimes this light show can be very unique.