When did intelligence first emerge in the universe?
Here’s a question that has a direct bearing on both the Drake Equation and the Fermi Paradox: When did life first emerge in the universe? More important to the SETI discussion, however, is determining the earliest point at which a radio-capable or Singularity era intelligence could have emerged. My initial suspicion is that the conditions required to support intelligent life have been established for quite some time now – a conclusion that will only reinforce the Fermi quandary rather than diminish it. A lot of hand waving goes on when people dismiss the Fermi Paradox. The fact that the universe isn’t already teeming with ETI’s and machine intelligences is more disturbing than most people realize. One such person is Ray Kurzweil who believes that we are the first (or among the very first) intelligences in the universe to approach the Singularity. I find this absurdly improbable, but it’s an hypothesis that I’m willing to entertain.
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