The unimaginable size of the universe for a long time made scientists believe in the almost infinite abundance of the worlds inhabited in it. If so, then where is everything? In general, this is the whole essence of the so-called Fermi paradox, a puzzling scientific anomaly that indicates the absence of visible traces of the activity of extraterrestrial civilizations that would have to be scattered throughout the universe for billions of years of its development. Only one of our Milky Way galaxy has several billion stars according to various estimates, but we still did not find any signs of the existence of extraterrestrials. Actually, why?
The paradox formulated several decades ago has been puzzled by more than one generation of scientists and thinkers. Hypotheses were advanced that aliens simply “sleep”, thus showing no signs of their activity. Others assumed that the technological development of extraterrestrial civilizations is hampered by some incomprehensible factors. Or maybe they just do not want to communicate with us and carefully hide their presence?
However, the theoretical physicist Alexander Berezin of the National Research University “Moscow Institute of Electronic Technology” has his own opinion about why we are still alone in the universe. In a paper titled “First in, last out”, whose preret is on arXiv.org and awaits evaluation by other scientists, Berezin offers his solution to the Fermi paradox. Berezin himself calls it “trivial, not having any contradictory assumptions,” but at the same time “difficult to accept, as it predicts the future that awaits our own civilization.” And this future will be worse than extinction. ”
In his work, Berezin notes that the main problem of the previously proposed solutions to the Fermi paradox is due to the fact that they all too narrow the possible range of species of extraterrestrial life.
“Some specific nature of civilizations reaching the interstellar level should not be taken into account at all, since it does not play any role,” Berezin said.
“They can be biological organisms, like we, for example, or artificial intellects, rebelling against their creators, or in general the quintessence of the collective mind of the planetary level, like the one described by Stanislaw Lem in Solaris.”
But even with such a variety, we still do not see any signs of the existence of other civilizations in space. Nevertheless, according to Berezin, the only parameter that must be taken into account for the solution of the paradox – from the point of view of determining extraterrestrial life – is our ability to detect the existence of this life.
“The only variable that we are able to measure objectively is, perhaps, at what distance can we determine the existence of life in space from the Earth,” Berezin said.
“For simplicity, let’s call it” parameter A “.”
If the intelligent extraterrestrial civilization for some reason failed to achieve the required “parameter A” – did not develop methods of interstellar travel, communication methods, or other ways to demonstrate its existence to the rest of the cosmos – it will still exist, but it will not help us in solving the paradox .
The real solution to the Fermi paradox, proposed by Berezin, follows a rather gloomy scenario.
“Actually, why are we so sure that the first living species that has achieved the possibility of interstellar travel will not destroy all the” competing “civilizations discovered in its path in order to further its expansion?” Berezin asks.
Readers familiar with the novel by Douglas Adams “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” can remember the incident that laid the foundation for the entire plot. There one kind of very highly developed aliens decided to build an intergalactic highway right through the place where our Earth is located, not really caring about the life that can exist on it.
Berezin explains that this is only an assumption. The scientist notes that a highly developed civilization can destroy other living forms at all not consciously. Literally this without even suspecting.
“They can do it quite by accident and do not even notice it. We, too, do not notice how we destroy the same anthill in the construction of the road? We do not even think about it. ”
No, Berezin does not say that we are ants and the reason why we have not yet found extraterrestrial civilizations is that they have not yet decided to build a new road through us. On the contrary, the scientist believes that in the future we ourselves will become destroyers of the worlds, which we are looking for all this time.
“Assuming that the proposed hypothesis is correct, what future awaits us?”
“The only solution is to turn to the anthropic principle. We will be the first to reach the interstellar level. And, most likely, the last who will end their existence. ”
Again, such a potential destruction of all life on the path of expansion does not have to be pre-engineered and organized – it can be the result of a larger system – something that does not lend itself to any attempts to control the process.
As an example, Berezin leads the capitalism of free competition, and as another – artificial intelligence, not limited to the power given to him.
“Only one evil AI will potentially be able to populate an entire superexplosion with copies of itself, turning every solar system into a kind of collective supercomputer. And here it does not even make sense to ask why he should do this, “Berezin said.
“The answer will be obvious: because he can.”
According to Berezin, we can become winners in the deadly competition, of which we do not even suspect participation. Moreover, we are the answer to the paradox. It is we, our species, who will populate the entire universe, destroying everything that gets in the way. It is impossible to exclude this possibility, Berezin believes, since to stop this process “it will require the existence of forces far greater than mere free will.”
Berezin himself admits that he very much hopes that he is mistaken in his assumption.
“The only way to find out the truth is to continue exploring the universe in the hope of finding a different life,” the scientist says.
Although from all of the above, some will certainly conclude that now this may not be the wisest way to proceed.