In the past, experts trying to make sense of the Fermi Paradox have looked to the Drake Equation to put a numeric value to the likelihood that extraterrestrial (especially intelligent) life exists anywhere other than Earth.
[R]esearchers found that there’s anywhere from a 53 to a 99.6 percent chance that ours is the only civilization in the galaxy, and a 39 to 85 percent chance that we’re the only intelligent life in the universe.
To learn more, we reached out to Anders Sandberg, a senior research fellow at Oxford University.
Futurism: I came across your work through articles with headlines saying that new research concluded we were definitely alone in the universe. But your actual work seems to present a more nuanced view. Sure, there might be a 99 percent chance that we are the only civilization out there, but there also might be a 40 percent chance. Do you think the coverage thus far has been fair or accurate? Has it been frustrating at all?
AS: The paper deals with a rather abstract idea — handling uncertainty about an unknown probability. That is at least two steps removed from everyday, solid reality. So in many ways I am thankful people have not misunderstood it worse.
Our conclusion is basically “there is a pretty decent chance we are alone, given what we know, even if we are very optimistic about alien intelligence.”
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