From: Beatriz Gato-Rivera [view email] Date (v1): Tue, 19 Aug 2003 13:23:43 GMT (16kb) Date (revised v2): Wed, 20 Aug 2003 12:47:47 GMT (15kb) Date (revised v3): Tue, 27 Jan 2004 08:43:03 GMT (15kb)
In the recent article `Conflict between anthropic reasoning and observation' (gr-qc/0303070) Ken D. Olum, using some inflation-based ideas and the anthropic premise that we should be typical among all intelligent observers in the Universe, arrives at the puzzling conclusion that `we should find ourselves in a large civilization (of galactic size) where most observers should be, while in fact we do not'. In this note we discuss the intriguing possibility whether we could be in fact immersed in a large civilization without being aware of it. Our conclusion is that this possibility cannot be ruled out provided two conditions are met, that we call the Subanthropic Principle and the Undetectability Conjecture. The Subanthropic Principle states that we are not typical among the intelligent observers from the Universe. Typical civilizations of typical galaxies would be hundreds of thousands, or millions, of years more evolved than ours and, consequently, typical intelligent observers would be orders of magnitude more intelligent than us. The Undetectability Conjecture states that, generically, all advanced civilizations camouflage their planets for security reasons, so that no signal of civilization can be detected by external observers, who would only obtain distorted data for disuasion purposes. These conditions predict also a low probability of success for the SETI project. We also argue that it is brane worlds, and not inflation, what dramatically could aggravate the `missing-alien' problem pointed out first by Enrico Fermi.
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