Discussion Board

Topic: The Fermi Paradox

From: Andrew Carley
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: 10/29/2006

Dear Mr. Bear,

This has probably been asked and answered before, but hopefully you won't mind that. I just read Forge of God and am reading Anvil of Stars now, and I am curious about your opinion on the Fermi Paradox...it's such an interesting question because there really is an answer and we just don't have the information to answer it..Are we alone? Are we being monitored by advanced civiliations a la Star Trek? Are we some kind of experiment? Is this reality a computer simulation? I believe the answer is that the universe is just big and that most, if not all, intelligences end up destroying themselves before they can get out amongst the stars. I think this is a likely answer, but again, who can say at this point? I hope we can find out in our lifetimes.

Re: The Fermi Paradox

From: Greg Bear
Date: 10/30/2006

The possibilities are wide open. We simply don't know what's going on out there, or not going on. Attempts to quantify the potentials/risks of communicating with other intelligences are tentative at best, and misleading if they give us any sense of security. In FORGE, I proposed an answer--that the smart civilizations lie low and stay quiet until they know a lot more--a likely answer, in my opinion, if there ARE a lot of spacefaring intelligences out there.

Re: The Fermi Paradox

From: patrick
Location:
Date: 10/30/2006

Well, there is the singularity, too - that some have reached a point of self-containment and content. (I know Greg knows of Vernor Vinge, but in case Andrew doesn't, check him out.) Additionally, there are super-dimensional options - in which case, it's possible some of the mythical (or, depending on whom you hear from/speak with, psychic) phenomena could be examples of such.

Re: The Fermi Paradox

From: Andrew Carley
Location: Seattle, WA
Date: 10/31/2006

It's frustrating, our lack of knowledge. I really wish cryonics was an option...or how about this: A spaceship that could hurtle to 99% of the speed of light for 5 years out, then back to Earth. You'd literally be a time traveler. I would SO go for that.

Re: The Fermi Paradox

From: Greg Bear
Date: 11/01/2006

Hmmm... instant acceleration, instant braking, then all over again to get back to Earth...or ten-twenty years each way to reach near-lightspeed? I think I'll work on a more Wellsian time machine and see what happens... Both possibilities kind of stretch our knowledge of physics! And who knows--maybe the aliens just haven't sent us their catalog yet. It's in the mail...

Thanks, Andrew!

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