A series of public talks by various speakers (listed below). This event is not about the technology that we may use to search for intelligent life in the Cosmos, but more a discussion on what we mean by life, intelligence, and the philosophy of our approach to finding those things external to the Earth. It is about the assumptions we make in our lines of reasoning which may have an influence on our strategies.
When and Where? Saturday 27th October 2018 starting at 11am in the Conference Room, Bone Mill, New Street, Charfield, South Gloucestershire, GL12 8ES
John Davies, "Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (ETI) and the Other Minds Problem": Sometimes science fiction (SF) addresses some of the most difficult problems in philosophy. The problem of Other Minds occurs in at least two such works and probably more. The ETIs in the film Arrival and the novel on which it is based, Story of Your Life, are inscrutable but apparently intelligent. The being Salo in The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut is the subject of a typical Vonnegut joke about the distinction between biological and machine intelligence. However the nature of the minds of possible ETIs has not been much considered academically. This paper attempts to examine the question from the standpoint of an interested lay person in the hope that wider circulation of the issue will draw academic attention and thus more rigorous analysis.
Kelvin F Long, "Advanced Intelligence as god-like Archetypes": When we talk about intelligent life in the universe what do we mean? Taken to its extreme the Clarke law "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" can imply that any race that has super-knowledge compared to our own, is the equivalent of a god from our perspective. Such notions are often referenced in the use of terminology such as technological singularities. Also, it could be argued that cultural hero's from ancient legends, represent the amalgam of high performance traits from many people that together build up a mythology of a meta-being. This can be seen in the ancient legends of Gilgamesh, Thor and Hercules, but also in the modern depictions of superheroes such as Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. Indeed, there appears to be a strong case that many humans seem to seek the realisation of a meta-being as an embodiment of a perfection we may continue to strive for on our journey but can never realistically reach, but also as a tool for dealing with our own pending mortality and the search for meaning in our lives. The interaction of the human society with an advanced intelligence in the universe presents the possibility of us seeing them as god-like archetypes which in itself presents risks to the independence of our species and our potential to grow according to our own free will and beyond external influence. In this talk we unpack the various potential types of meta-heroes, which may manifest themselves as god-like archetypes in our presence and discuss how we may mitigate the dogmatic tendencies of our own character should such a meeting ever occur. Essential to this, is the maintenance of our independent critical intellectual faculties and those institutions which preserve this.
Ian Crawford, "After the singularity": Can a post-biological transition explain the Fermi Paradox?: It is sometimes claimed that the so-called Fermi Paradox might be explained by a extraterrestrial civilisations transitioning to a post-biological phase where they exist within virtual worlds and don't interact with the material universe. The implications of this suggestion will be examined, leading to the conclusion that this scenario is unlikely to be a viable solution to the Fermi Paradox.
Marshall Eubanks, “Looking for the Old Ones - Signatures of Billion Year Old Kardashev II+ Civilizations. Details to come. Eubanks is an independent researcher and the founder of Asteroid Initiatives LLC
Kelvin F Long is a researcher of the Initiative for Interstellar Studies, Author of Deep Space Propulsion: A Roadmap to Interstellar Flight (Springer 2012) and a member of the International Advisory Council of Breakthrough Starshot.
Rob Swinney is co-founder of the Initiative for Interstellar Studies and chair of its Education committee.
John Davies, i4is Senior Researcher and Editor of Principium, the quarterly of the Initiative for Interstellar Studies
Professor Ian Crawford, Professor of Planetary Science and Astrobiology at Birkbeck, University College London.
Marshall Eubanks is an independent researcher and the founder of Asteroid Initiatives LLC.