It is impossible for a human being to survive beyond about a minute and a half in space without significant technological assistance. If humans wish to colonize planets, it would require next state of human evolution.
Does this mean that we must become cyborgs or ET machines or is space exploration just a dream of humanity?
According to SETI researcher Seth Shostak we shouldn’t expect them to be anything like us – in fact, they might not be biological at all, but instead, extraterrestrial machines.
He says that it might be more successful if we search away from biology and focuses on artificial intelligence – extraterrestrial machines, for example.
The development of true Artificial intelligence (AI) is, by some estimates, just a few decades away.
“The continued exponential growth in computer power implies that even consumer-grade computers will have the processing power of a human brain by the year 2040,” he says. If and when we do create true AI, it would surpass us quickly.
An AI would have the power to self-direct its own evolution.
“If we build a machine with the intellectual capability of one human, then within 5 years, its successor is more intelligent than all humanity combined,” Shostak says.
“Once any society invents the technology that could put them in touch with the cosmos, they are at most only a few hundred years away from changing their own paradigm of sentience to artificial intelligence,” he says.
Because artificial sentience would almost inevitably outlast and outperform its fleshy, needy predecessors, Shostak concludes that any aliens we detect will be machines.
ET machines would be infinitely more intelligent and durable than the biological intelligence that invented them. Intelligent machines would in a sense be immortal, or at least indefinitely repairable, and would not need to exist in the biologically hospitable “Goldilocks Zone” most SETI searches focus on.
Every new instance of an AI would be created with the sum total of its predecessor’s knowledge preloaded. The machines would require two primary resources: energy to operate with and materials to maintain or advance their structure.