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Shostak: 'we will find ET within 20 years'

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I'mConvinced

"We will find aliens within two decades", says man looking for two decade research grant.

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seeder

Considering that Seth is now 74 years old, he wont be around to collect on any bet he makes.

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bison

Who knows, really? He said within two decades, not after the passage of 20 years. The article implies he's being optimistic, but since we know so little of life in the universe, this is actually baseless. We might think 20 years pessimistic, if we knew enough. I'd sooner see ET intelligence discovered this year. I wouldn't cost Dr. S. anything, I don't even drink coffee.

By the way, Seth Shostak's  SETI Institute isn't funded by research grants, but by work the do for the military, using the same equipment, and by public subscriptions from hopeful people. 

Edited by bison
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thelion318

I think he said the same thing when he started SETI in the mid 1980's

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Why not

I rember Seth saying the same thing 20 years ago.

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Why not

Remember........ Spell it right dopey.

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seanjo

We might find life tomorrow, then again we may never find life in other star systems the Universe is huuuuuge....

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paperdyer
5 hours ago, seeder said:

Considering that Seth is now 74 years old, he wont be around to collect on any bet he makes.

Who knows.  My Dad lived until he was 92 and was pretty active until he was 90.  It doesn't take much physical effort to analyze data. A computer and a place to work.  Seth could pretty much work at home with the proper setup.

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Gary Meadows

Check back in 20 years for the next estimate of ET confirmation.

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A rather obscure Bassoon

The Phrase, keep moving the Goalposts comes to mind.

Carry on Enrico....

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Dejarma

So SETI finds a signal that is obviously from an intelligent source> then what?

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bison

Then people can stop predicting it 'within the next twenty years!';)

Seriously, though, 'obviously from an extraterrestrial source' doesn't mean the same thing to a SETI Scientist as it does to the rest of us. Consider-- a clearly artificial signal could be from ET, or it could be some unidentified signal of human making. Even a natural, very distant source of radio waves could be suspected of being the product of ET intelligence-- like Pulsars, when they were first discovered.  

Deciding if it's a real SETI signal could make some time. They even have to check and recheck their own equipment, and prove to themselves that it isn't interference of their own making. Other observatories are asked to listen for the signal, and see if they can confirm it.  They also watch the signal for a number of days, to see if the source drifts with respect to the fixed stars, or moves steadily with them. That can eventually rule out one of our own, distant satellites. 

If the signal passes all the tests, they announce it to the scientific community, and then the general public. And what will happen then, is anybody's guess, really. Different people, different reactions, presumably. Excitement, elation, fear, a feeling of vindication for some, who have always believed this day would come, someday.      

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Dejarma
31 minutes ago, bison said:

Seriously, though, 'obviously from an extraterrestrial source' doesn't mean the same thing to a SETI Scientist as it does to the rest of us.

Yeah you're right> allow me to rephrase:

obviously from another form of intelligent life= then what?

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Occams Razor

This is the standard SETI researcher response... they all say the same thing. Seth Shostak will have plenty of motivation to find intelligent ET if he's 74 years old, that's for sure. You never know, with equipment getting better all the time, we can now find rocky planets to point the radio telescopes at.

 

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bison

Besides the reactions I alluded to above, the consequences of discovering sure signs of intelligent life on another world are hard to predict, given that we know nothing of what sort of civilization we might encounter.

We might be able to understand some of the things contained in their signals. This could give us new insights into a wide range of subjects, such as advanced technology, mathematics, and physics. We are likely to have enough in common with a civilization that sends radio signals to make this much understanding possible. 

One of the simplest, and yet most profound consequences could be the realization that a more advanced technological civilization is a viable prospect. We might then ask ourselves-- If they can prosper and progress well past our current level of technology without destroying themselves, why shouldn't we be able to do the same? 

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Occams Razor

I think the SETI guys are just far more interested in proof that we're not alone. I doubt they have thought too much about what to do about it if they discover an alien signal. Call a meeting of people that are thought to be globally significant and ask them I suppose. Advanced physics would be mathematical, I'm sure our best and brightest would get their heads around it eventually. 

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switchopens

I heard this exact statement made about 20 years ago.

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Barkinghorse

I dont think old Seth is too interested in alien contact. I feel he could have other agendas

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Derek Willis
16 hours ago, Why not said:

Remember........ Spell it right dopey.

Their is a foram rool abowt not kritisizing peeple's spelling.

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toast
1 hour ago, Derek Willis said:

Their is a foram rool abowt not kritisizing peeple's spelling.

Alarm!

:lol:

Edited by toast
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toast
7 hours ago, Barkinghorse said:

I dont think old Seth is too interested in alien contact. I feel he could have other agendas

And what kind of agenda should that be?

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jmccr8
6 minutes ago, toast said:

And what kind of agenda should that be?

That he is an alien who's agenda is a disinformation specialist.:w00t:

jmccr8

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Aten

Stanton Friedman has a few things to say about Seti.

Edited by Aten
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seanjo
20 hours ago, Dejarma said:

So SETI finds a signal that is obviously from an intelligent source> then what?

Not a lot, we'd know there is life in a certain place in the Universe, but even if that life was based in the nearest star system, it would take 40 odd thousand years to travel there (with current technology), I suppose we just send a signal back to them and wait for years to see if we get a reply.

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