Why we still have not met aliens: scientists put forward a new hypothesis

Image credit: Lenar Shakirov
Scientists have long been concerned about the question of why humanity is not visited by aliens? Recently, two researchers decided to answer it and put forward an unusual hypothesis: developed civilizations simply stopped their development, or died. The scientists published their findings in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

A new hypothesis suggests that as alien civilizations grow and develop technologically, they eventually reach a crisis point where innovation can no longer keep up with energy demand. Further there will be a collapse.

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The only reasonable way is to abandon the “steady growth” model in favor of maintaining balance. In this case, civilization will lose the opportunity to travel to other stars, the researchers say.

Scientists came to such conclusions when they studied the process of urban growth. These studies have shown that cities increase in size and energy consumption at an exponential rate as their population grows, inevitably leading to crisis points, or singularities, that lead to rapid disruptions in growth, followed by an even more rapid, civilization-terminating collapse.

“We hypothesize that once a civilization transitions into what can be described as one practically connected global city, it will experience ‘asymptotic burnout’, an ultimate crisis where the time scale of the singularity interval becomes smaller than the time scale of innovation,” they wrote.

Civilizations that are close to collapse will be the easiest for humanity to detect, the researchers suggest, as they will dissipate a large amount of energy.

This means that humanity will be the first to discover intelligent life, but as yet underdeveloped, the researchers write.

To prevent their death, civilizations may refuse to travel to other stars for the sake of social welfare, the researchers suggest. Although such civilizations will not be able to completely abandon space exploration, they will not expand on a scale large enough to make contact with the Earth.

The scientists emphasize that their proposal is a conventional hypothesis, taken from observation of the laws that seem to govern life on Earth.

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