Could something like the Borg actually exist ? Image Credit: CC BY-2.0 Marcin Wichary
A NASA philosopher maintains that an ancient extraterrestrial artificial intelligence might already exist.
When we think of the possibilities of life elsewhere in the universe, we tend to imagine civilizations not unlike our own made up of humanoid biological beings like something out of Star Trek
But what if the dominant form of intelligence in the universe is artificial, rather than biological ?
Philosopher Susan Schneider - who holds the Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology - believes that such an AI might have already been around for billions of years.
"I do not believe that most advanced alien civilizations will be biological," she said. "The most sophisticated civilizations will be postbiological, forms of artificial intelligence or alien superintelligence."
For a recent study at NASA, Schneider attempted to answer the question of how an alien intelligence would think and whether they would have conscious experiences similar to our own.
She concluded that once a civilization reaches the point at which it can venture out into space, it will take only a few centuries for them to transition to artificial intelligence.
This makes it highly likely, she argues, that any aliens we do encounter will not be biological.
That said, it's important to note that her definition of 'artificial intelligence' extends to entities who have enhanced their minds and consciousness with technology - so this doesn't necessarily mean that an extraterrestrial AI would be purely robotic in nature.
Perhaps a better analogy would be something like the Borg in Star Trek
- a fusion of biological entity and machine designed to enhance both way beyond what could be achieved with evolution alone.
Whether we are ever likely to encounter such beings (or to even become them ourselves), however, remains to be seen.
Source: Daily Galaxy | Comments (117)
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