Friday, May 8, 2009

SETI's Seth Shostak: Alien hunter

Seth Shostak is borderline absurd in this video. Bigger than a bread box? Jeez, SETI is 1) in serious denial about its chances of detecting extraterrestrial signals and 2) still about 20 to 30 years behind the times.

Now, to be fair, I know that Shostak knows better. He has said,
SETI searches are agnostic when it comes to the biochemistry of the aliens. After all, from our point of view, what makes them “intelligent” is their ability to build a radio transmitter or a powerful laser. The details of their construction are of no consequence for the search — except insofar as they might not be living on planets surrounding an ordinary star. If they are machine intelligence, they may have migrated away from their natal solar system, and of course that WOULD affect our search strategies.
Okay, then let's talk about those strategies. Dysonian SETI, perhaps? Scanning the outer galaxial rim for alternative habitable zones?

Shame that Shostak has to cloud SETI in the baggage of antiquated expectations of Spielbergesque visitors from another planet. Remember: Shostak's job is not to find signs of ETI, but to secure funding for SETI. Talk of post-Singularity colonization waves isn't likely going to win over converts...

No comments:

Post a Comment