Welcome to the Galactic Community!

Welcome to the Galactic Community!


This video is sponsored by CuriosityStream. Get access to my streaming video service,
Nebula, when you sign up for CuriosityStream using the link in the description. In the Grim darkness of the Far Future, there
will be only bureaucracy. A few years back we took a look at alien First
Contact scenarios and we came up with 9 scenarios those might fall into, though fundamentally
you’ve got three basic forms that can take. They come to us, we come to them, or we bump
into each other out there. Today we’ll be focused on that first one,
and specifically where they’re trying to contact us, as opposed to us simply noticing
they exist, as would be the case with picking up some signal not intended for us or some
trace of their existence. This doesn’t mean they’re necessarily
landing in full view of the public with some saucer that disgorges little green men. Indeed as we’ll see today, that’s not
a very likely first contact scenario, and if they did land, we’d likely expect the
ship to disgorge something that looked quite human, as in many cases that would be the
most logical thing to do. But we can’t simply ask what the most logical
means of first contact is, because there isn’t one. Rather any given first contact would depend
on what the motivations of those doing the contact was. As an example, a hostile species that simply
wanted us dead would likely make contact with what we call a RKM, Relativistic Kill Missile,
or rather a volley of thousands of them hammering Earth so hard and fast that the contact would
last mere moments and take the form of bright expanding shockwaves – Game Over. Not the most illuminating of first contact
scenarios for learning about an advanced civilization, although I suppose in a literal sense it actually
is due to the sheer amount of light and radiation involved. On the other extreme, first contact might
come in the form of a radio signal in plain English saying “Greeting humans of Earth. This message comes to you in peace Tune into
Frequency X for an overview of basic Galactic information and detailed instructions on creating
a Galactic Internet link so you can access information files in high-bandwidth. Welcome to the Galactic Community.” Which would certainly be a nice message to
receive, assuming it’s on the level, honest and without any particular malicious or mischievous
motivation. But wouldn’t it immediately require asking,
“Why today? Why a century after we had radio? And why by radio anyway?” Anytime we get contacted we’d have to ask
“what has changed?”, assuming they knew of our existence prior to contact and the
message was meant exclusively for us, as opposed to us discovering a civilization far away
because our telescopes got better. Though that could be an example itself, if
they are reluctant to contact primitive worlds, but keep an eye on them, they might see such
telescopes getting built and say “Well, they’re going to detect us soon, best do
it on our own terms”. You might think it ethical to leave young
civilizations alone to develop without your interference, but once they have the technology
to explore space, they’re going to bump into the wider galactic community, and pragmatism
says you’d best go say hello soon, before they randomly bump into who-knows-what and
panic. That’s exactly what the pragmatic Vulcans
did when humans first developed warp in Star Trek: First Contact, and becomes Starfleet’s
basic policy eventually. So that’s an example of a way that development
on our side could drive first contact, but changing circumstances on contactors’ side
could also be the reason. Some interstellar empire that nominally controlled
the space Earth was in changed policies or ceded control of that territory for some reason. Now folks can contact or visit Earth who were
previously unwilling or forbidden to, and it has nothing to do with anything humanity
has been up to. As another example, if some neighboring third
civilization is getting aggressive, you might make contact earlier than ideal to give the
natives a chance to prepare, perhaps even lend them a hand in the form of military hardware
or a team of lawyers. And for that matter, it might be one’s own
aggressive civilization they’d want to give the natives a fighting chance against. Which is another thing to remember on this:
you are pretty much never going to be dealing with just one isolated group, Humanity and
Civilization X. While it’s quite possible, even without
faster than light travel, for a single species to colonize out from its homeworld to cover
the entire galaxy, it would be rather peculiar for them to have done so on such a recent
timeline to our own emergence. It’s being fairly conservative to say that
astronomical conditions would have permitted civilizations to arise only in the last billion
years, and galactic colonization timelines shouldn’t take more than a percent of that
time, ten million years – so why now? The odds of only two such species, them and
us, arising in that same period but nobody else doing so in that billion year period
would be 1 in 10,000 and frankly even such ‘good’ odds rely on assuming life couldn’t
have arisen much earlier, which it almost certainly could have, and that civilizations
not only never get faster than light travel but colonize quite slowly even by subluminal
methods, and that we only need to contemplate our own galaxy. Of course they might be way older, and just
been sitting around, but that raises some other concerns. First, why they sat around watching Earth
so long, many millions of years, and second, how they managed to stay “They”. Even ignoring the isolation worlds have from
each other at interstellar distances, by assuming faster than light travel, they’re not likely
to be homogenous anymore. It’s very dubious to assume a species that’s
been spread out over not only tens of thousands of light years of space but tens of millions
of years of time is anything like a cohesive civilization. Just living apart all that time around alien
suns, with no shared external threat to keep them unified, is going to make them more divergent
from their kindred on other worlds than we are from any other mammal, and that’s ignoring
all the high-tech options on the table like genetic engineering, cybernetics, uplifting,
and mind uploading, which should only hasten divergence. And so, even if in the beginning there was
just one great alien civilization out there, there would soon be many. Such being the case, anything they might do
in regard to us has to be seen through the lens of them worrying what their neighbors
or rivals might think. After all, they might have whole armadas of
ships that could single-handedly obliterate Earth, but so do their neighbors and rivals. They always have to ask what the response
would be, even to non-hostile acts like showing up with open arms and free technology. It’s conceivable that all the alien factions
would be fairly peaceful and friendly but frown on gaining allies and converts by what
they might view as bribery, potentially upsetting the status quo. We looked at that scenario a bit in Invasive
Aliens some months back. Alternatively they might be all guided by
some grand ideal. It’s not super unlikely that ethics tend
to converge to certain core and universal principles and if they did, then it doesn’t
matter if you can maintain cohesive galactic empire or not. For instance, all life on Earth shares a survival
impulse, it’s rather inevitable under Darwin and we’d expect that to be Universal, and
most ethical ideals can trace some connection to our various biological impulses plus various
reasoning, or rationalizing. I think it would be quite a jump to assume
every species out there believed in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness but
maybe not a huge one. More to the point, if societies tend to get
more rational over time it’s plausible they might converge to some shared ethics, particularly
if they tended only to arise from species that placed great value on curiosity and community
bonds, both of which would seem almost prerequisites for technologically advanced civilizations. Problem is, if they do, it’s kind of hard
to imagine they wouldn’t want to just show up on Earth and share those, or why they’d
think Earth in the year 2020 AD was better suited to it than it was in 2020 BC. Oh, they might figure we’d have an easier
time absorbing those principles now than then, but someone is bound to point out that 4040
years, 102 human generations, is a very long time to wait for better conditions to save
a little work. Humans are basically the same now as then
in terms of mind and body, so if it took a few extra generations to get the job done
then, it would still get done way earlier, by starting way earlier. On contemplation, probably even earlier since
it’s likely to be way easier to convert relatively primitive cultures to your life
philosophy. I dislike using analogies that imply primitive
cultures are like children compared to more advanced ones, but it applies to some degree. More to the point, regardless of whether it’s
easier to teach a 5 year old or a 10 year old basic ethics, you still start with the
5 year old because you don’t want them stumbling around hurting themselves or others any longer
than is necessary. So if they’ve got a Grand Ideal, you’d
need a reason why they aren’t sharing it as early as they find plausible. The exception being if that Grand Ideal is
non-interference, but you wouldn’t expect the lone, primary Grand Ideal of a civilization
to be about minor civilizations on their fringes, anymore than the various major nations of
nowadays focus their principles on what they should do in regard to this or that uncontacted
tribe. They might think it important but it wouldn’t
be the centerpiece of their culture. Even in Star Trek, it’s the prime directive
of their peacetime exploration group, Starfleet, not the Federation itself. It’s also not a policy that works great
unless everyone is on board. In the Trek Universe there is the Federation
and there are a lot of other empires who do not follow that policy. So it gets handwaved away why the Romulans
or Ferengi for instance haven’t just gone and contacted everybody the Federation hasn’t. In a case like that, if not everyone is on
board, then your Prime Directive has to be modified to not just not contacting primitive
worlds but guarding them or threatening your other neighbors who may contact them. That does offer one decently plausible scenario. Any species that has gone on the galactic
stage first might have felt terribly lonely and fascinated by various simple alien life
they encountered. Say they discovered a thousand worlds throughout
the galaxy that hosted some native life with a decent chance of producing a sapient species
sometime reasonably soon on galactic timelines, perhaps a million years. They might quarantine the space of say five
hundred light years around each such world, both to help ensure isolation and to be a
gift to that species when and if they achieve spaceflight. That’s quite a gift too, such volume is
generally going to contain around a million stars. Though not super generous on galactic scales
since it’s not even a percent of the galaxy’s available systems. If they tell any species that shows up to
keep their grubby hands out of those protected spheres, or else, they probably won’t have
to work hard to keep that as an accepted policy. Fight all you want over any remaining worlds,
assuming we haven’t claimed them ourselves, but keep away from those tiny bubbles. And to anyone operating on the galactic stage
that is a tiny bubble even if it contains a million suns. Of course all such things are relative, and
if we’re going to contemplate Elder Civilizations who operate on multi-million year timelines
and multi-billion star neighborhoods, creating large protected bubbles, one could argue something
like our expanding Universe might be an intentional way of creating pockets of isolation. You see such a world appear, with basic life
on it, and slap dark energy generators around to effectively isolate it from everyone else
by creating a massive expanding sphere of emptiness around them. Pretty over the top and I don’t think it
fits the observed facts about dark matter and energy too well, but it’s good to remember
that when dealing with massive and ancient civilizations the scale of efforts can be
mind-bogglingly huge even before factoring in any ultra-advanced technologies that might
break known physical laws. So too, since it’s unlikely any civilization
that’s managed to be around for millions let alone billions of years is terribly focused
on biology as a necessary component of life, you might dump civilizations into effective
pocket universes to keep them safe, be they ones you made by Clarketech or simply virtual
worlds you’ve uploaded their brains to. Key notion there is that a principle of non-interference,
or the Zoo Hypothesis, is plausible enough as a reason we seem to be alone, but there
are so many problems with the way we usually see in science fiction, and so many more pragmatically
effective ways. As we said, timing on first contact is going
to be about either principles, pragmatism, or current events – their current events,
not ours. When it comes to principles, the only one
that really fits the bill for waiting to contact folks till they’ve reached some cultural
or technological level is non-interference. So principles don’t fit too well as they
have probably got better options that are more likely to work for keeping us safely
quarantined. Such being the case, if we get a Hello signal
or a ship landing on Earth, it’s not likely to actually originate from what we think of
as our galaxy anyway, which is likely to be an illusion, or a bubble entirely gifted to
us. The notion someone might grant a whole galaxy
or Observable Universe to someone might seem rather ridiculous but everything’s relative,
and channel regulars already know just how ambitious we can be even without any super-advanced
technologies. If you accept things like faster than light
travel as possible, for instance, you have to consider dealing with species that not
only don’t come from our galaxy but don’t come from our Observable Universe. For all we know the whole Grand Shebang is
a trillion, trillion galaxies or more and somebody happened across Earth a billion years
ago, liked what they saw, and threw a giant dark energy generator back in time to isolate
our otherwise empty galactic supercluster from interference or shoved the whole supercluster
through a mega-wormhole into some new pocket Universe. You make first contact when that species,
us in this case, figures out how to notice that or look outside it. If they do contact you via signal or ship
though, they might go for that classic science fiction approach of landing a ship in Central
Park and asking to be taken to our leader just to make us feel more comfortable, part
of why I’d half-expect the ship to disgorge humans rather than little green men. You probably can arrange to have your ambassador
not only look like but actually be whatever species you are visiting, rather than shock
them with how you look and behave. Indeed, there’s a pretty good chance that
rather than being from species of billions of little green men who colonized part of
the galaxy, the galactic community is actually billions of Matrioshka Brains, giant megaminds
each powered by their own sun and running computational power in excess of a trillion,
trillion human brains each. Since a Matrioshka Brain is a type of Dyson
Sphere, you’d expect to be able to see such a community, or rather not see them since
anyone of those megaminds could pack brain uploads of every human who ever lived into
a tiny closet of vast computational castles, there is no reason to assume you and I are
actually seeing the real galaxy when we look up at that sky anyway. That’s another key concept too, if you’re
getting contacted by aliens then you should expect you’re dealing with something that’s
at least on the Kardashev-2 scale. See that episode for details about how mind-boggling
powerful such civilizations are even if they’re running with more or less modern human technology,
but short form, they outnumber you so massively that they’d literally have more anthropologists
than you have people. Indeed just a single K-2 civilization around
one lone star ought to be able to devote the equivalent of an entire University to studying
each and every single star in the galaxy while funding it about as much as we fund modern
anthropology. That means they know us better than we know
ourselves when they pop out of their ship or send a signal to us saying hello. If their goal is to traumatize us the least,
than they are going to have a good idea how to do that. Needless to say, if they have some other goals,
they are just as well-equipped to do that too. Heck they probably know us so well, and have
so advanced their own capabilities for neurology and psychology, that they could likely just
brainwash us or deliver such a well-polished salespitch that we’d be jumping for joy
at whatever they offered, even if it was mass enlistment to serve as cannon fodder in some
war of theirs, or as prey in their hunt, or as their dinner entree. I’m never quite sure why science fiction
likes to suggest aliens might want us for food, particularly since they could presumably
mass clone synthetic human meat from a few samples of our DNA, but I suspect if that
was their agenda they wouldn’t need to do it at gunpoint or even by deception. They could probably feed us such a load of
tripe that we’d be jumping for the chance to be rendered as tripe. You always have to ask, for any proposed alien
motivation, if there’s a way easier way to achieve the apparent goal. I can’t imagine why they’d want to put
humans on the menu at galactic diners, beyond there presumably being a market for exotic
meats. It would seem fairly likely many civilizations
would have taboos and an aversion to cannibalism or it’s alien equivalent, but even if not,
they ought to be able to just grow meat anyway and even if they prefer meat that was hunted
or slaughtered from something that had been sapient. I doubt that would be a universal taste, meaning
you’ve got to worry what your neighbors will do when they find out, again see the
Invasive Aliens episode for discussion of that issue. How about pragmatism as a reason for saying
hello now, not ten thousand years ago? Well, speaking of restaurants with exotic
menu options, they might have companies that franchise a lot and want to setup shop on
Earth. Plenty of folks would pay good money to try
alien cuisine, be it food or drink, after all as we noted in Parasitic Aliens, it’s
likely to be good stuff, Alien Beer is to die for. You might be wondering what we’d pay with,
being rather primitive, but trade is very adaptable and inventive, and this is an example
of when pragmatism could apply. The more advanced a civilization gets, at
least if human history is a good measure, the more exotic and abstract its tastes, both
literally for food and in many other things too. They might have services to offer that you
need to be fairly high-tech to desire or appreciate, same as you can’t sell video games to cavemen,
and there might be local rules about excessively priming the pump. No landing among Neolithic tribes and bootstrapping
their technology until they can desire and afford smartphones, no getting them to sign
over entire mineral-rich asteroids they don’t even know exist in exchange for a ten-year
subscription to Galactinet, and so on. We may also have finally started producing
a large quantity of something they value, which is likely to be something artistic or
creative. They might find our video games or movies
very interesting, and think they could be adapted as big sellers with more advanced
production techniques, and so to the surprise of everyone in Hollywood whose been making
films about them landing on Earth for years, they might go land right in Hollywood and
say “Take me to your Producer” As a whole, any given pragmatism-based scenario
always has to say what the goal is and why we just meet it now, or in the near future,
for it to work. It’s great if it’s the principle of non-interference
and they know you’re within spitting distance technologically of being able to spot them
with new telescopes. Or if you know they’re going to figure out
how to use and listen to some faster-than-light communications network you have. It also works if you’re not really into
non-interference but just don’t care much about other civilizations culturally and are
nice enough not to steal homeworlds, but suddenly have a motive. For instance if rules or customs of galactic
conflicts forbid establishing military or trade outposts on worlds or in their system
if the native species tells you to get out, but now they’re out in space and you need
to ask for a contract for basing rights. Then they find out you’ve been using Mars
as a spy outpost for a million years and kick you out. Or demand back rent. But that takes us to our third option, besides
principles or pragmatism, current events in the galaxy, or at least the stellar neighborhood. Things change, and a galactic map is likely
to have very fluid lines for things like borders or regulations or trade and defense treaties. Earth might have been under the shadow of
some empire for 10,000 years who just lost this bit of space or it seceded to become
a new realm of its own, or suddenly they need to buildup outposts in our area and they want
our permission or cooperation. Possibly out of ethical interests, or a long
time fondness for us who they’ve been quietly protecting, or possibly to keep their other
neighbors neutral or on their side in whatever conflict was brewing, if they might look ill
upon setting such outposts up without our genuine permission. Or it might be something that’s a bit of
a current events for us too, like a dwarf planet or rogue black hole headed our way,
and they don’t think its practical to try to do that without us knowing or even helping. “We need to disassemble Mercury to make
a giant cannon to blow up this dwarf planet headed your way” is probably the sort of
thing you aren’t going to even try to do covertly. Of course if they offer to do that, you probably
want to try to make sure that’s all the cannon is planned for, rather than, say, being
a big gun for blowing up their neighbors and you to serve as the fall guys when their armada
show up in our solar system to inquire about what happened and what your funeral customs
are. I always tend to assume alien civilizations
are courteous like that. Probably true too, you likely can’t make
a civilization without concepts like diplomacy and courtesy, especially really advanced ones
where offensive firepower is wildly disproportionate to defenses. That’s one more pragmatic reason for contact,
not saying hello when you know they’re about to find out you exist soon anyway, but doing
so before they make some horrible, self-destructive weapon or technology. By default we just assume any weapon we might
make in the near future would be no threat to them, but that’s a big assumption. It could be a lot of civilizations destroy
themselves early on with Suicide Pact Technologies, like we discussed in Late Filters last month,
and they show up before you do hoping to prevent that. Indeed you might have a galaxy devoid of any
ancient civilizations because this happened very frequently and only recently did anyone
manage to avoid killing themselves and now they try to pay their good luck forward by
intervening. On the other hand, we never want to get in
the habit of assuming technology always just keeps getting better and better over time. It might be that technology snowball’s very
fast and a 22nd century Earth can create just as good a self-replicating sentient galaxy
devastating super weapon as anyone else can. I generally roll my eyes at science fiction
that suggests aliens stay away from us because we’re hyper-aggressive, or only visit because
they need to enlist us in their cause for having that trait, because I tend to figure
anything that crawls its way up Darwin’s 4 billion year deep corpse pile is going to
pretty aggressive too, so that even if they are nice guys now they weren’t always and
wouldn’t likely scorn us for that trait but rather offer us a hand getting out of
it or just figure we’ll outgrow it. On the other hand, it could be they feel obliged
to race in whenever they find a species at about our level knowing we’re getting pretty
close to being able to build superweapons that are superweapons as far as they’re
concerned too. Though this, like so many other options, always
leaves that big question as to “why now?”, what changed with us or with them that makes
it better to say hello now and not a century ago, or ten thousand years ago? Not a lot of good answers that I’ve heard,
and again why I tend to assume there’s no galactic community yet and if there’s ever
to be one, we’ll have to build it ourselves, but the good news is, looking at means, motive,
and opportunity, if there is anybody out there with particularly nasty intent, they could
so easily have already taken action that we can probably conclude they either don’t
exist or are held in check for some reason and one which hopefully will keep applying
for centuries to come. There is one dark mirror version of the Prime
Directives of non-interference. Civilizations might have rules about not contacting
primitive civilizations, but it might be that it’s the galactic equivalent of fair play,
and once civilization hit a certain ‘age’ they’re expected to fend for themselves
against galactic threats, be it natural disasters like asteroids or alien armadas or abusive
trade partners and scam artists. You get out there and start colonizing your
local planets and mining your asteroids and they expect you to deal with stuff like asteroid
impacts on your own. Or for that matter, they might come land their
ships after you’ve started mining asteroids for space gold and present you a bill for
past protection services. “Welcome to the Galactic Community, you
owe us 4 billion years of back taxes”, and suddenly the hostile armada of homicidal alien
robots doesn’t sound that bad in comparison. While taxes and bureaucracy are likely to
be a feature of any civilization, trade is probably going to be the true cornerstone
of any interstellar civilization, be it with your own colonies or alien empires, and whether
that’s in raw materials or luxury goods or simply data and information. We’ll be taking an expanded look at the
notion of Trade with Aliens in our second installment of our new Nebula-Exclusive series:
Coexistence with Aliens, which is out now. Nebula, our new subscription streaming service,
was made as a way for education-focused independent creators to try out new content that might
not work too well on Youtube, and can be put on Nebula exclusively, though I’ll also
still be using it for previews and early releases too. And if you’d like to get free access to
it, it does come as a free bonus with a subscription to Curiositystream, which also has thousands
of amazing documentaries you can watch, on top of the Nebula-exclusive content like our
Coexistence with Aliens series from myself and many other creators like CGP Grey, Minute
Physics, and Wendover. A year of Curiosity Stream is just $19.99,
and it gets you access thousands of documentaries, as well as complimentary access to Nebula
for as long as you’re a subscriber, and use the link in this episode’s description,
curiositystream.com/isaacarthur. Quite a few episodes coming up to finish 2019
out, starting next week with Accessing Earth’s Core, where we’ll look at how we might go
about drilling all the way to the Earth’s center and why we might do that. We’ll follow that up with a Bonus Episode
on Paranoid Aliens, and the Thursday after that we’ll take a look at Space Pirates,
and see if this classic scifi concept might become a reality in the future. For alerts when those and other episodes come
out, make sure to subscribe to the channel, and if you’d like to support the channel,
you can visit our website to donate, or just share the video with others. Until next time, thanks for watching, and
have a great week!

100 Comments

  • CGI: Certainly Gruesome Imagery says:

    17:28 Hang on… is that a CG bioprinter rendering your channel's logo in muscle tissue?
    You, sir, have the most talented fans ever!

  • sminkycorp says:

    features Pak-ma-ra when discusing how normal alien diets might be

  • Richard Green says:

    We tend to project our own anachronistic memes onto strangers.
    To make more sensible predictions, we to project post-scarcity, post-ignorance, and million-year-advanced.
    – Post-Scarcity means "they" do not need any physical resources – there is no motivation for exploitation.
    – Post-Ignorance means "they" know more about us than we do ourselves – our artistic artifacts are of no interest because they cannot relate to entities so primitive.
    – Million-year-advanced means "they" have evolved knowledge and interactions for a million years or more. In comparison, human "civilization" (city-scale collaborative organizations) have only existed for about 10 thousand years at most. So they could be as far removed from our point-of-view as we are versus a termite colony.
    – In "Childhood's End" by Arthur C. Clarke, the advanced civilization contacts Earth to ready us for a "rapture" transition.

  • Mark Zimmerman says:

    "Galactic Internet, huh?" types in search bar
    "Well, alien rule 34 it is then!"
    "Oh"
    "That's just a press conference"

  • Crustis says:

    why would anyone trust someone who cant even pronounce the the letter R

  • SmellsLikeMeltingPlastic says:

    what if the ethics were established within religion?

  • Blither box says:

    A can of ravioli has a shelf life of about 5 years.  Spaceships are cans.  Think about it.

  • I leave mean comments says:

    "Ethical" sensibilities like the Prime Directive stem from the naturalistic fallacy and the fact that its just easier to leave most primitive cultures alone. If you really think about it… it's truly ethical to help as many primitive cultures as you can. This idea that you'll "influence their culture" is, like I said, based in the naturalistic fallacy.

  • Dean Reichel says:

    The scene from Independence Day would've been a more cathartic thumbnail

  • Jonathan Shaltz says:

    To ease us into understanding the galactic civilization, they could send an avatar with vast knowledge about science, and a soothing voice, to outline some of the possibilities – purely hypothetical, you understand. Once he has, say, 500,000 subscribers, they'll know we're ready for the big reveal.

  • Dean Reichel says:

    Imagine going back in time and giving Hitler your smart phone. No. No way in hell is anything out there gonna want to risk talking to us.

  • Brandon BillTheCat says:

    If a disembodied ball of Aliens pop up and give you a Lens then you know your really screwed.
    Of if a lot of smart cats come knocking you are also really screwed. Or if the Vorlons pop up you know the Shadows aren't far behind… I do love them aliens except for those pesky Klingons.. They are just way to silly.

    Now give me those ones from the childhood end novel that look like the devil and we all can rest easy at night.. LOL.

  • GhostShock says:

    Why isn't Hollywood smart enough to do a film about aliens wanting to just collect taxes. Diabolical

  • mars base says:

    Awesome as always, just wanted to point out that these are 10:20 Klingons and not Romulans.

  • Marx The Destroyer says:

    You know what would be a neat comedy movie? A ship of aliens arrives on Earth, and the world is in awe of what knowledge they might give. Looking forward to bask in their amazing intelligence they must have and stuff. And the aliens are just basically the equivalent of goofy college kids. Chaos and hilarity ensues.

  • Laserkid says:

    Errr…passive detection methods are pretty much out pretty much the fermi equation is also our and anyone elses difficulty to detect.

  • Rory O'Brien says:

    Space IRS

  • mrpieceofwork says:

    Does that meat logo do any tricks?

  • GreensOplenty says:

    so what do you think secret high tech military activities might be like for level 2 and 3 species?…guess i gotta go re-watch galactic warfare vid.

    or think alien/alien clone spies infiltrating your secret military installations gonna be a thing? or gonna basically have to rely on mass of colonies and things to take a hit while you build counter weapons?
    galactic WMD's? do a vid on that yet?

  • MacMcNurgle says:

    Epiphany: Mr Isaac Arthur is an alien here to prepare the way.

  • medexamtoolsdotcom says:

    Wouldn't it be a thing if they arrived and their first message was "buy our products or we have no use for you".

  • sharkylpd4 says:

    Waiting for this one. Thank you sir.

  • commode7x says:

    Who else wants LegalEagle to do a space lawyer crossover episode with Isaac?

  • Anthony Clark says:

    Isaac "You might wanna grab a drink and a snack" Arthur

  • DrB1900 says:

    Could dark matter, the majority of the mass in the galaxy, actually be a hidden K ~2.9 civilization?

  • Wil son says:

    Being born into deals made long before your birth is a source of many problems in human civilization. Not saying it's all bad but certainly ripe with abuse. That's why I've always liked the logic, you inherit Earth from your children. It's more conducive to constructive cycles as opposed to selling your children's future for your temporary whims and short life.

  • 8 ball181 Hand says:

    2:40 those three drinking aliens need their own channel

  • Ray Drouillard says:

    In 1985, science fiction author Harry Turtledove wrote a short store titled, 'The Road Not Taken.' The premise was that the various alien species developed anti gravity, ftl, and reactionless drives; and that so skewed their perception of physics that they never developed electronics and other technologies.

    So, we were invaded by a bronze ship that didn't even have a life support systems. They stepped out of their space ship and used their muskets to fire upon the ambassadors that were sent to greet them. They were, of course, met with overwhelming automatic weapons fire.

    So, the concept of letting a budding sapient species make its own way is self-servingly pragmatic. That new species might well develop something that no other species has conceived. Or, it may use a different combination of ideas to create something new.

    At what point will an alien species be deemed to have gone far enough in their chosen direction to be considered well launched? The 2020 BC people were in the iron age. Now, we have nuclear energy and automation.

  • Josh Wah says:

    C'mon Isaac, if I can tell the difference between real human meat and synthetic, the aliens can too.

  • Deadlyish says:

    I wonder if a possible motivation for non-interference might be that aliens value self-determination in themselves and others, to the point where they avoid contacting other species unnecessarily as such contact can lead to one or both groups being unduly influenced by the other. We arguably see this in human societies, where we are resistant to outsiders affecting our power to make our own decisions about things that affect us, and political systems including democracies, secessionist movements, republicanism, anticolonialism, nationalism, localism, and decolonisation all emphasise not being beholden to arbitrary rule by "the other". An alien species with self-determination as its primary organising principle may expect other species not to interfere with its self-governance, and it may apply a similar courtesy to others unless contact is necessitated by some otherwise irreconcilable risk (eg. Earth starts building a superweapon we don't realise would damage our patch of spacetime and put our galaxy and the aliens within it at risk)

  • Dindunuthingwrong says:

    5:56 Looks like a scuffed Event Horizon

  • rodgersericv says:

    There's no such thing as aliens. Life was put here and everywhere else in the universe. We are all related. There are no aliens.

  • Владимир Кузнецов Vovacat17 says:

    What's the fastest/most energy efficient way to destroy/extinguish a galaxy?

  • Allofmynamestaken says:

    Imagine if upon introduction to the galactic community, humanity is utterly irrelevent aside from one specific field in our film making… Romantic Comedies. That's right, the only thing held in high demand from our species are our decades of experience making quirky, funny and somewhat relatable mating rituals. Thus the entire human species begins haggling out our entire catalogue for technology and space bucks before needing to transform our entire economy to churn out rom coms that cater to every individual species tastes.

  • Paweł Nowicki says:

    What if aliens simply just discover us (instead of observating for years)?

  • Steven Homan says:

    OK, I'll bite, why the hell would they want to kill us all? Just seems like typical hominid fear response to any unknown.
    Every bloody scientist is choked by their own often absurd assumptions. They communicate by radio/ Morse code?? They want something that they can't get without pestering us? Such as?

  • OmegaDMM says:

    Issac have you seen anything from the Thunderbolts Project?

  • Kelly Starks says:

    If a 500 light year bubble ( the first ones give to future "seed" civilizations) is less then a % of the galactic volume, and you set up a thousand of them, arnt you locking off all the Galaxy?

    If civilizations and species continue to evolve, after a few thousand ( or million if you prefer ) years wouldn't any alien civilization evolve past the point they would pay any attention or interact with us at all? I'm reminded of the world in Babylon 5 everyone avoids, because true ancient races ( ones so advanced they make us look like ants ) sometimes goes there, and their mere presence can fry out starship systems. They don't live near stars or in the Galaxy anymore. But for some reason visit some apparently dead worlds.
    That could be a reason why the Fermi paradox is wrong. What if advanced races move away from the troubling heat load of stars, like we moved out of jungles. They could prefer rogue worlds in deep space, or may not even need raw mater sources anymore. We may find a galaxy full of abandoned high tech worlds, and zones of apparently empty interstellar space were not allowed to fly through. Be especially weird if the ancient self repairing cities A.I.'s are still working.
    "Hi new species. Our creators arnt here now .. Long story .. But we'll be happy to be your hosts as long as you'r curtious. Please forward your environmental and esthetic preferences, and we'll build hotels for you"

    Do like the logic of ignoring civilizations until they start building starships and might get underfoot. 😉

    Also love the idea they would wait to contact us until we have something worth trading for, or enough population to be worth trading with.

  • Whiskey Saurr says:

    Was it the old school Outer Limits, or Twilight Zone? Where a race contacted us. And we worked out world piece, cuz we thought that's what they were pissed about. But, they turned out to have created us to be warriors. But, we were clumsy, stupid and slow. And that's what they were upset about.

  • ishmael arc says:

    First Contact is going to a be a user agreement

  • Miki Cerise says:

    If they are good enough at manipulating information, sending an ambassador that not just looks but in fact is like us may be a trivial and uncontroversial exercise for them. "Hey guys. We'll give you a cure for cancer and HIV in exchange for eternal rights over this asteroid. Good deal, right?" "What does that asteroid contain?" "Oh, nothing you need to worry your pretty little heads about. So how about it? Is it a deal? Or do you prefer to watch your loved ones die of preventable illness?"

  • AnteConfig says:

    haha "A billion years of back taxes". I didn't sign up for that.

  • KarkTheRedCanadianDragon says:

    I really liked that scene where you see the three grey aliens drinking beer, and one of them faints from drunkenness. LOL.

    Also, if President Trump doesn't believe in aliens, he'll change his mind real quick once that flying saucer lands on The White House lawn. 😛

  • Rod Chambers says:

    Cool. On January the 2nd we get the February 2027 episode on Time Travel.

  • matchesburn says:

    "Welcome to the Galactic community!"
    "Wait, are there space catgirls and/or space elves?"
    "Um, no. W-We have space versions of your 'Skunks,' however"
    "Ehhhh… I dunno…"

  • Socks With Sandals says:

    23:57 "Crawls its way up Darwin's four billion year deep corpse pile"
    Isaac, you are a colossus of striding out mind-blowing concepts in every sentence.

  • Alex Swage says:

    Aliens races have visiting earth and observing primtive earth mankind 2000 yrs ! Earth mankind with very limited understanding as warrior race that violent and racists to others cause death and destruction evety they go

  • Bethesda sucks, but Zerglings still are cute. says:

    I hate the idea of being forced to subscribe to this Nebula only to watch you videos.

  • Juan Rial says:

    Near the end you mention that bill for 4bn years of protection, and I know it was kind of a joke, but I'd still like to address it: we didn't ask for the protection, and I've never heard of a trade system where you provide a good or service that wasn't requested, and then bill it after the fact. The reason for which is that we could easily counter that bill by charging them a bill at their cost multiplied by the number of civilisations in their camp or more for staying primitive for so long and thereby not posing a threat to their camp nor indeed the entire universe for the past 4bn years.

    I guess in the end it'll all come down to who has the most firepower. To quote the wise Ash Williams: "Good, bad… I'm the guy with the gun."

  • Derek Rocco says:

    Your videos are incredible. At first I couldn't stand the voice now I find it almost soothing.

  • The Armchair SpacemanTM says:

    holy fuck, USA.. you're not even part of the Terrestrial community.
    you insular and assumptive generality wielding, blinkered plebes.

    you've got no bloody chance of becoming galactic members.
    none whatsoever. – lol.. look, sorry, but you really are too damned insular over there, and not only nationally – culturally too.
    and btw.. ''they'' DON'T remain ''They'' – they don't need to, when you're sentient belonging is all in your mind.
    like i said, you ''Americans'' wouldn't know life if you found it. because you assume too much about it.
    you'd not recognize civilization, because you don't fully know what the fuck civilization is.
    and you'd not know a colonial or long-term exploratory alien if you met one, because no-one at all knows what the hell to look for.

    As for contact.. it won't be made openly with governments, or scientists, or seti or futurists.
    you lot are an ''experiment and imprisonment'' threat to any individual alien entity we may be in proximity of.
    using stealthy hints and indirect clues is the ONLY safe way to make contact with humans.
    Besides, fear isn't the only reason to avoid human aggression. – they could simply be disgusted by us.
    Though it's more likely they stay away because of the stupidity which feeds the aggression than the violence it's self.

    They're afraid we'll go even more nuts than we already are.
    How we'd react to open contact is dangerous to us .
    fear and hate… or awe and hope.? – not that simple.
    they're angels, they're demons, they're government vat-clones, they're bad zetans, they're good arcturians, they're lying to us, they're totally honest, they're the old gods, they're the new gods.. they'll help us, they'll fuck us up.
    in human society, those will become opposing views, not just thoughts, – there'd be chaos, and more fuckin' violence.
    those saying ''no they're just aliens with many facets like us'' would be drowned out in the melee.

    and here's a thought. – when you speak of the scale of those fantastical matrioshka brains and dyson spheres, you seem to be unaware of our own developments in cloaking tech. – we've got a material which can bend light around solid objects.

  • Zach Sylvester says:

    Maybe once we find the pause menu and click open to lan we will meet aliens.

  • Mr. Numi Who says:

    24:08 "…or offering us a hand out if it (aggressiveness), or hoping we'll outgrow it…" that 'hand' and 'outgrowing' it is here – it is called the Philosophy of Broader Survival (for the Space Age, no less). A theo-nut called it 'Space Atheism'. Clever, but foolish. I call it advanced Sanity.

    23:33 You are right to assume that 'now' is no special time to be visited. Enlightened beings would treat us as potential problem-solving 'minds', and they would want us enlightened as fast as possible, to increase the odds of Broader Survival in a harsh and deadly universe, as per the Strategies of Broader Survival (read the philosophy). The Prime Directive of Star Trek was foolish in this regard, but its creators were clueless – they did not have any advanced philosophy to guide them (though today's humans do not, either – this philosophy has not been disseminated adequately yet), they suffered the same Continued Universal Human Cluelessness that humans still suffer from. So you can now see that any enlightened alien would want to alleviate such a horrible, non-beneficial condition.

    How would aliens approach us? Their first question would not be concerned with our technology (as you assume in the video), it would be whether we were enlightened or not, which would determine how we would use any advanced technology. They would also go by the enlightened adage, "Pursue peace, it is a noble endeavor, but be armed to the teeth just in case." (though peace is not only noble, it also contributes positively to Broader Survival).

    I would end the philosophical note here, but you need a good one, and badly (since your video can be Exhibit A). Just to clarify philosophy (and it needs to be clarified – it has given itself such a bad name), philosophy is where you get your values from, which affect your attitudes, which affect your decisions, which affect your actions, which affect the prospects of survival in a harsh and deadly universe. Currently your actions, as a human, are still ultimately clueless (you inadvertently admit it over and over again, but from a vague, hazy vantage point, enter me), and where cluelessness is blindly destructive, which is not a good thing for civilizations, let alone individuals. NOTE that EVERYONE already has cobbled together a philosophy at their core – a human would not be able to make any higher-than-animal decision without one. The problem? Everyone's core philosophy is feeble, if not horrible, if not depraved, and they are all ultimately suicidal. They've been cobbled together from trite sayings (immediately forgotten) and from a naive past that, for all practical purposes, thought the universe was made out of Orange Marmalade. Just look at the self-induced horrors of human history. Science still progresses blindly (philosophically blindly, so philosophy is not dead – I found it – in the toilet, where academia, and especially Oxford, had flushed it, the clueless twits), where the results of science will inevitably end up in ill hands, given Continued Universal Human Cluelessness.

    NOW I can say 'Philosophy Out', for now…

  • mgabrysSF says:

    Keeping civs unified with no external threat … means they'd have to invent one to clobber their own people. Oh dear.

  • Shinku Toner says:

    If a Galactic empire wants to scare humanity. They wouldn't send an Armada. They would send Lawyers.
    {Edit} DON'T TALK TO SPACE COPS.

  • Bert Visscher says:

    The first sentence already reminds me of a video I watched once, in which forms played an extremely important role. I don't remember the name at the moment. I'll edit this comment as soon as I do.
    7:23 It's not impossible either. Star Trek will have had multiple examples of differing values, but the only one I can think of at the moment is:
    Star Trek: Enterprise, season 2, episode 22, title: Cogenitor.
    12:13 Can we make dark energy generators?
    18:48 That's assuming they use some kind of currency, or we still do by that time.
    23:44 Have you ever watched the series Earth: Final Conflict?
    26:06 I'd like to know what that assumption is based on.

  • storm Lord 117 says:

    Hey here's a suggestion do a video on super weapons like the halo array from halo

  • Euphrates says:

    What is his accent?

  • WKFO says:

    "You have not been paying your taxes for a couple million years now."

  • eM Cee says:

    The key mistake you are making is in projecting human-like ideas and motivations onto the aliens in such a way as to personify them. Aliens could be extra dimensional creatures for all we know and therefore the driving force behind first contact may in fact turn out to be some bizarre rationale we would never have considered.

  • Gary Whites says:

    Have you seen the videos about the Enterprise encounter that is supposed to be realest by the DOD of when they detectid some air craft on radar during manovers. Some kind of air craft doing things that we can't do. Have you seen anything that says that it is a fraud. If they have been here for so long and haven't distroid us then what makes you think that they would all of a sudden decide to hurt us

  • Robert Miller says:

    I've always been skeptical of the "trade" trope. What would interstellar civilizations trade among themselves or with us? I mean, what could we possibly offer such a society? A society capable of interstellar travel would essentially be "post-scarcity", at least as far as we are concerned. If we were to go back in time even just a couple of centuries, what could any civilization then offer us in trade that we don't already have in abundance? I would think that any kind of interstellar "trade" would be more akin to a galactic "www.thinigiverse.com" or "www.gnu.org"

  • Pass The Butter Robot says:

    Are these aliens The Ood from Dr Who?… 18:11 …or do they just look like them?

  • ThatDamnedYankee says:

    So, short form: Best possible situation, we get Galactic google. Worst case scenario: Galactic Military advisory team sets up shop on earth? Hmmm….no wonder it took so long for our ancestors to emerge out of the caves. 😉

  • The Roh says:

    That's it, I'm getting out my space Gadsen Flag if I get space taxed by aliens.

  • Bobby Goetz says:

    Just don't bring a dove!

  • Kingfisher says:

    The difficulty in speculating on the topic is that we assume the aliens will have motivations and means similar to our own. Property, trade, tax, war and lawyers. None of which are likely to apply.
    All we can do is project our own history outward – which is why a hyperspace bypass was so funny of an idea by Adams, and hits the topic on the head.
    Despite the challenge, excellent video.

  • urmensch12 says:

    Nice Warhammer 40K Joke. You must be an man of culture.

  • nipi tiri says:

    Welcome to the galactic community. New members get assigned an anthropologist to help ease you in – one for each of you.

  • nipi tiri says:

    How about the welcome signal is beamed at us at an interval of 5000 years or so? I mean a few thousand years here or there might not make much of a difference from their perspective.

  • mrs7195 says:

    If we assume that the aliens are monitoring us closely already without our knowledge, an obvious point when they would make themselves known to us would be us creating our first Artificial General Intelligence (AGI).

  • voidremoved says:

    Its Eden and we have painted the inside of our eyeballs to block it out. Dizzy like cartoon characters hit in the head seeing stars spinning around or little birds

  • Delbane Ren says:

    12:27 – um Isaac, did you just accidentally explain the Bootes void? Cause that was the most plausible explanation I’ve heard yet… #bootesvoid, #vacuumofnothingness, #thebesthypothesesareoftenarrivedatentirelybyaccident, #SFIA

  • havedrill1 says:

    Thank you Isaac for taking us on such great journeys. I belong to a forum of Dune fans and the guess was asked where would Dune and Star Trek fit in to the Kardashev scale. Obviously Dune was hard to measure. Any chance of doing some on that or what movie lived in those scales? Keep up the great work.

  • David G. Horsman says:

    Okay… Where do you share tech with Isaac's fans. They can tell me if a story exists.

  • mariamik104 says:

    epic!

  • DILLIGAF says:

    To think there might be an alien race like Douglas Adams' Vogons scare the crap out of me.

  • Brandon Cave-Wynter says:

    Lost me at intergalactic space lawyers…

  • Phillychew 215 says:

    Isaac thanks for turning me onto the foundation series. I have thoroughly enjoyed it thus far…

  • TheWorld Says says:

    Interstellar conflict sounds about as plausible as wargaming via postal mail (remember that!) during a blizzard.

    Ya, you can do it…

  • MISTER says:

    What happend to your accent

  • David Durant says:

    Isaac casually throws out the idea of dropping an entire galaxy supercluster through a wormhole and my brain is in tiny pieces.

    Share I'll not be seeing the episode of Trade as, like the idea of huge population increase, I struggle to see why it would happen when, by the time you have full nano-tech and virtual environments, no-one will want for anything. Sadly, I'll not be subscribing to Curiositystream as I find it hard enough to get things done as it is… 🙂

  • jamie lilwall says:

    Isaac , i hope you are in the team , should we make contact…..

  • Hugo Dufort says:

    Lots of movies depict aliens that fail to understand what humans are, how we live, the languages we speak, etc. But at the same time, these aliens are humanoid-looking individuals with a head, members, a mouth, ears and eyes. So in theory, they must at least understand that we are too semi-independent individuals. Just by observing some interactions, they will understand that we communicate mainly through sounds and that we are not interconnected at the brain level. If they want to understand how we live and to learn a language, they can just go through every steps of human experience beginning at birth. By observing a small group of newborn humans through their every interactions and learnings, they will be able to be fully functional within 6 to 7 years.

    So any alien that has a concept of individuality, that communicates with other individuals through directional waves (sound, "visual" or radio), and that understand that individuals have a beginning (birth or hatching or "conception"), wouldn't struggle much. As soon as they get close to Earth, it's a matter of just a few years before first contact is possible.

  • John Boettcher says:

    People of Earth, your attention, please. This is Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz of the Galactic Hyperspace Planning Council. As you will no doubt be aware…

  • Syfer Polski says:

    13:10 Pause point

  • NO NAME 00110001001110010011100000110100 says:

    You sound like kripke from the big bang theory.

  • Ordinary Tree says:

    "They're bureaucrats, Morty! I dont respect them!"

  • Midnite111 says:

    2:45 Do you make these little cgi shorts! Considering their difference in biology I shouldn't be surprised the little guy couldn't handle his beer!

  • Midnite111 says:

    I love the idea of an alien armada showing up to find their neighbors high tailing it out of there while the humans are clueless getting stuck with a dyson beam they don't know how to operate and could not possibly have built.

  • madfidler says:

    Looking forward to the Fire Episode. It does not have to be Fire, but You can Cover all Aspects. Huge Fan.

  • FighterAceee94 says:

    Maybe our culture did get converted to their life philosophy 2019 years ago…

  • Cargo_Vroom says:

    As an Isaac Arthur video continues the probability of it being about the Fermi Paradox approaches 1.

  • HOW TO DO THIS says:

    In the grim darkness of the future there will be only micro transactions

  • Dale Martin says:

    They avoid us because we are the trailor park of the galaxy.

  • crazygame crafter says:

    idea: they were too busy blowing eachother up to care about us

  • john smith says:

    some day a more advance civilisation will come to threaten us to not built space weaponry to remove us the ability to attack them , they will present a set of law to follow and if not comply they will make preventive attack again installation making technologies that they prohibited us to built or maybe  just kill us all .
    no intelligent species let potential enemy grow wen they have the power to destroys them . only chance humanity have is if there no more advanced civilisation than us

  • Ned Kelly says:

    "We knocked on their door with a Relativistic Kill Missile, but they didn't answer" – A small talent for war

  • theuncalledfor says:

    The problem with non-interference is that it's basically murder. All those people that die of diseases and old age before the medtech is invented that prevents these issues are the fault of those that could have helped, but refused to. It's like driving past a car wreck on a very lonely and isolated road, with suffering, dying people inside, and not even bothering to call an ambulance. We have laws in many places that dictate you have to help, because sitting idly by when you can help is unethical. That's why rescue parties exist, why firefighters don't just extinguish the fires but also rescue people from the burning buildings.

    I would deeply resent any aliens that could have helped us, and chose not to. And I would deeply resent our own civilization if it chose to go for a non-interference route.

  • brokenblackbird says:

    Isaac has some an interesting mind and sense of humor

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