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...

10 comments:

Athena Andreadis said...

If SETI continues to be run on a shoestring budget, it will continue to give shoestring-size results.

Mac said...

I miss Carl.

Stuart D said...

Yeah it's absurd isn't it, that we're looking for a type of creature that will only have existed for a maximum of a few hundred years...as that's surely the limit a civilisation has between technological revolution and post-humanism.

Martin Andersen said...

You are way out of line here George..

Is you view of how many ETI's there are, better than Shostak's ?

Shostak didn't say anything new in this clip, so why this attack ?

I thought you were smarter than this.

Michael Anissimov said...

SETI is BS. Maybe Seth Shostak should become a MILF Hunter or a Bigfoot Hunter instead.

Dominic said...

Hunting your mum isn't sport any more Anissimov.

Stuart D said...

Martin I think George's point is that Shostak's view ignores post-singularity civilizations, which is naive and money driven.

Martin Andersen said...

How exactly does he ignore post-singularity civilizations ?

Shostak has spent most of his working-time involved with aliens and finding them, and then he is not interesting in really finding them ?
It's absurd.

Anonymous said...

Cognitive dissonance relates to the concept of being exposed to information or having experiences that conflict with our existing base of “what we know.” The theory holds that our minds are not always flexible or rational when it comes to evaluating uncomfortable information or questioning our own beliefs.

The theory holds that “dissonant cognitions” will cause us to dismiss or alter conflicting information or add justification to one side or the other—not necessarily rationally—in order to regain psychological balance. It’s an important concept to consider in terms of the way people block things out or justify things to themselves.

disclosureproject.org

Martin Andersen said...

For the record, Shostak do consider post-singular civilizations. See his latest book, confessions of an alien hunter.