By Larissa Anderson // Posted: 08/23/10 03:08 PM
Seti (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) astronomer Seth Shostak says instead of listening for radio waves and looking for biological signs in our search for life beyond Earth, we need to start trying to detect alien artificial intelligence. This is apparently a growing sentiment in the Seti community. It’s based on the idea that technology evolves much more quickly than humans. Here’s a quote from Shostak:
“If you look at the timescales for the development of technology, at some point you invent radio and then you go on the air and then we have a chance of finding you,” he told BBC News.
“But within a few hundred years of inventing radio - at least if we’re any example - you invent thinking machines; we’re probably going to do that in this century.
“So you’ve invented your successors and only for a few hundred years are you… a ‘biological’ intelligence.”
09/26/10 11:15 AM
There’s a vote coming up this week in Washington that will have a big impact on how you use the internet, what’s available to you, how much faster you’ll be able to get things online. On Thursday, the FCC is expected to open up unused parts of the broadcast spectrum, a lot of people call it “white space”. This is space that was positioned to be something of a buffer between television stations but such padding is proving less essential since the conversion to digital TV.
On today’s show, we talk to Glenn Fleishman from Wi-Fi Networking News and The Economist about how the spectrum works and what kind of new space we’re talking about. We also check in with Tim Wu from Columbia Law School about the companies that will look to use the space and what it all might mean for you and me as internet consumers.
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