35th Wffc Bih 2015

World Fly Fishing Championship 2019

Why Alien Life Would be our Doom – The Great Filter

Why Alien Life Would be our Doom – The Great Filter


Imagine NASA announced today
that they found aliens. Bacteria on Mars, weird alien fish
in the oceans of Europa, and also ancient alien ruins on Titan. Wouldn’t that be great? Well, no. It would be horrible news, devastating even. It could mean that the end of humanity
is almost certain and that it might be coming soon. Why? Why would the most exciting
discovery of our lifetime be bad? Let us imagine the development of life, from its inception to us today, as a flight of stairs. The first step is dead chemistry
that needs to assemble itself into self-replicating patterns,
stable and resilient, but also able to change and evolve. The second step is for our early life to
become more complex, able to build more complicated structures, and use the available energy
much more efficiently. On the next step, these cells combine
to become multicellular beings, enabling unbelievable variety
and further complexity. The step above sees the species
evolve big brains, enabling the use of tools, culture
and shared knowledge, which creates even higher complexity. The species can now become the
dominant lifeform on its planet, and change it according to its needs. First shy attempts to leave its
planet are happening. This is where we are now. It’s in the nature of life as we know it to reach out, to cover every
niche it can. And since planets have a limited
carrying capacity and lifespan, if a species wants to survive, it will look for more places
to spread to. So the steps above the current
ones seem logical: colonize your own solar system, then spread further to reach
other stars, to the possible final step:
becoming a galaxy-wide civilization. It’s very likely that this is a universal
principle for civilizations, no matter where they’re from. If a species is competitive and driven
enough to take control over its planet, they’ll probably not stop there. We know that there are up to 500 billion
planets in the Milky Way, at least 10 billion Earth-like planets. Many have been around billions
of years longer than Earth. But we’re observing zero
galactic civilizations. We should be able to see something… …but there’s nothing. Space seems
to be empty and dead. This means something is preventing living
things from climbing the staircase, beyond the step we’re on right now. …Something that makes becoming
a galactic civilization extremely hard, maybe impossible. This is the Great Filter. …A challenge or danger so
hard to overcome, that it eliminates almost every
species that encounters it. There are two scenarios: One means we are incredibly
special and lucky, the other one means we are doomed
and practically already dead. It depends on where the filter
is on our staircase: behind, or ahead of us? Scenario 1: Scenario 1:
The filter is behind us. We are the first. If the filter is behind us, that means that one of the steps we passed is almost impossible to take. Which step could it be? Is life ITSELF extremely rare? It’s very hard to make predictions
about how likely it is for life to emerge from dead things. There is no consensus. Some scientists think it develops everywhere
where the conditions are right; others think that Earth might
be the ONLY living place in the universe. Another candidate is the step
of complex animal cells. A very specific thing happened
on this step, and as far as we know, it happened
exactly once. A primitive hunter cell
swallowed another cell, but instead of devouring it,
the two cells formed a union. The bigger cell provided shelter, took care of interacting with the
environment and providing resources, while the smaller one used its
new home and free stuff, to focus on providing a lot of extra
energy for its host. With the abundant energy, the host cell
could grow more than before and build new and expensive things
to improve itself, while the guest became the
powerhouse of the cell. These cells make up every
animal on the planet. Maybe there are billions of bacteria-covered planets in the Milky Way, but not a single one, apart from us, has achieved our level of complexity. …or intelligence. We humans feel very smart and
sophisticated with our crossword puzzles and romantic novels. But a big brain, is first and foremost, a very expensive evolutionary investment. They are fragile, they don’t help in a fistfight with a bear, they cost enormous amounts of energy, and despite them, it took modern humans, 200,000 years to get from sharp sticks
to civilization. Being smart does not mean you get
to win automatically. Maybe intelligence is just not so great, and we’re lucky that it worked out for us. Scenario 2: Scenario 2:
The filter is ahead of us. Plenty of others died already. A Great Filter before us is orders of magnitude more dangerous than anything we encountered so far. Even if a major disaster killed most of us or threw us back thousands of years, we would survive and recover. And if we can recover, even if it takes a million years, then it’s not a Great Filter, but just a roadblock to an eventual galactic civilization. On universal timescales, even millions of years are just the blink of an eye. If a Great Filter really lies before us, it has to be so dangerous, so purely devastating and powerful, that it has destroyed most, if not all, advanced civilizations in our galaxy over billions of years. A really daunting and depressing hypothesis is that once a species takes control over its planet, it’s already on the path to self-destruction. Technology is a good way to achieve that. It needs to be something that’s so obvious, that virtually everybody discovers it, and so dangerous, that its discovery leads almost universally to an existential disaster. A large-scale nuclear war, nanotechnology that gets out of control, genetic engineering of the perfect super bug, an experiment that lights the whole atmosphere on fire. It might be a super-intelligent AI that accidentally (or purposely) destroys its creators. Or things that we can’t even see coming right now. Or it’s way simpler: species competitive enough to take over their planet necessarily destroy it while competing with each other for resources. Maybe there are runaway chain reactions in every ecosystem that once set in motion, are not fixable. And so once a civilization is powerful enough to change the composition of its atmosphere, they make their planet uninhabitable 100% of the time. Let’s hope that that’s not the case. If the filter IS ahead of us, our odds are really bad. What we can hope for. THIS is why finding life beyond Earth would be horrible. The more common life is in the universe, and the more advanced and complex it is, the more likely it becomes that a filter is in front of us. Bacteria would be bad, small animals would be worse, intelligent life would be alarming. Ruins of ancient alien civilizations… would be horrible. The best case scenario for us right now is that Mars is sterile, that Europa’s oceans are devoid of life, and the vast arms of the Milky Way harbor only empty oceans hugging dead continents. …That there are billions of empty planets waiting to be discovered and to be filled up with life. Billions of new homes… waiting for us… to finally arrive. How likely is it that we’ll find life outside of Earth that is similar to us? Well, that depends on how many planets there are out there in their star’s Goldilocks Zone– the area around the star where water can be liquid. Because stars come in all sizes and configurations, this zone is different for every star system and requires a little bit of physics to figure out. If that sounds like fun to you, this quiz from Brilliant helps to break down the maths for exactly how this is calculated. Brilliant is a problem-solving website that teaches you to think like a scientist by guiding you through problems. They take concepts like these break them up, into bite-sized bits present clear thinking in each part, and then build back up to an interesting conclusion. If you visit brilliant.org/nutshell or click the link in the description, you can sign up for free and learn all kinds of things. And as a bonus for Kurzgesagt viewers, the first 688 people will also get 20% of their annual membership. And if you DO find life on other planets, it may be wise to leave them alone for a while.

100 thoughts on “Why Alien Life Would be our Doom – The Great Filter

  1. I think I found what is the great filter. It might be wrong. I have a bad english so sorry for misspelling. So, the great filter is life. When life is created, its only purpuse, to make more of it, so making more and more DNA. This works perfectly, until a point, where life evolves so much, that breeding, or making DNA isnt the first purpuse. This happens at the moment too. If you want to be perfectl efficent, you should breed with everybody, you can. Or you couls duplicate urself, but we cant do it. Cells, are almost perfectly efficent, because they are making more DAN a lot, but viruses are even better. They duplicate very fast, and they are the perfect form of life. Duplicating DNA for ever, and disableing other life. So, if a spieces stop not doing anything else but making more DNA, its unefficent. And it will evolve, and make less and less DNA. It could be good, because at a point, the lifeform will reach a stage, where it can make a lot of its own DNA, and do other stuff at the same point. But sadyl, I think this will never happen. So, we are making less and less DNA. We wont stop making DNA, bacuse we destroy ourselves before reaching this point. But this means, evolution is more like a disease at a point, than advantage. But, if we think from an other point, the purpuse of life is destroying itself. I'll continue in an other comment.

  2. Why finding life on other planets would mean that the filter is ahead of us? Why can't it mean that we are both past the filter?

  3. The great filter will always be in front of us. Because we made the filter even exist. Because the great filter is our ignorance. Climate change, political warfare, etc…we will always be the greatest threat to our own being. The more advanced our civilization gets, the larger the weapons get that we point at ourselves.

  4. Its so obvious,… life does not allow absolute control!
    If you solely let Mind to rule…things go mindlessly eventually.
    Often times, it is too late to listen to Heart.

  5. The only it would be bad news, would be that the elite and religious fanatics would lose control of the masses.
    As soon as those in control realise that they eventually have to let go, the better

  6. So huh, tell my why exactly it is relevant that the "great filter" is behind us. The only thing important for our common survival is the greater filter that is ahead of us. Let's analyse all the potential filters that could stop us and think about how to escape the traps we have to avoid in order to go onto the next ladder of evolution.
    The potential of surmounting thoses traps is there, only humanity has to realize the chances are slim and that it will pretty much require an evolved human state to reach there.
    Let's define what that evolved human state would look like and set the change in motion.

  7. 4:04 THE INSTITUTION OF OLD HETEROSEXUAL MARRIAGE. In this case women would be the mithocondria.

    How curious it is that we all inherit our mithocondrial ADN from our mothers and not our fathers!

  8. Did no one consider that there is life and they just have technology that makes them invisible to our technology.

  9. Before I even watch the video I’ve always thought that coming into contact with aliens would be like what happened to the native population when the Europeans came to the new world in regards to disease

  10. My hypothesis for the reason that we can’t see any civilizations on far away planets, each light year in space is equivalent to a year when looking at the surface, for example: a planet with an alien civilization but It’s 4 billion light years away, with a telescope we would see what the planet was like 4 billion years ago before that civilization, like if you were on like Pluto or something let’s say that’s 60 million light years away, they would look with a telescope and see dinosaurs on our surface

  11. I think if we found aliens they would react just like we would becuase to us we see aliens as super smart and have better tech than us but to aliens, it's the same we have tech that they don't have. So it would be 50/50 because they don't have things to help them from guns nor nukes and we don't have thing to help us from their guns unless they are just like us than it would be a normal war well not so normal but you get what I mean

  12. I think what's most likely based on Occam's Razor is just that there are MULTIPLE "great" filters along the development staircase. That there are any number of potential existential threats along the way (e.g. developing complex cells, evolving higher intelligence, or being destroyed by technology/meteors/disease, etc. etc.) and that each filter makes the probability of survival drastically lower. For example, dinosaurs would have survived the first few filters, but didn't make it past a meteor event. This would also explain why we haven't found intelligent, alien life—each step on the development staircase is exponentially harder to reach than the one before it, which would also mean it would be far more likely we found alien bacteria on another planet than alien Type III civilizations, since bacteria would have less filters to overcome. Bacteria happens to be a lot harder to spot from lightyears away as well.

    This can either be comforting—in that we've already survived a number of filters already and can potentially survive others—or horrifying—in that it means we'll face many more filters in the future—depending on how you look at it :O

  13. I dont get it why discovering intelligent life is an argument for the filter is in front.
    I just thought about it – your argument sucks – not only the argument but also the fact you just spat it out without explaning!
    You base your argument on the observation, that no space traveling aliens have been observed. Sorry, your argument sucks. Try again.

  14. What if the great filter is the inability to travel faster than the speed of light? Unless we find a way we aren’t going anywhere of significance.

  15. aliens: hey look humans they build concrete structures fun haha
    alien scientist: the mega computer is ready
    aliens: yeah maybe a few centries of fun what's the worst that can happen?
    humans: *actually develops enough to colonize them
    aliens: *not stonks intencefies

  16. Climate crisis is a great filter.
    If the population cannot get over it's narcissism and arrogance then we all will be filtered by the filter!!!!
    NO BULLSHIT!!!

  17. I take philosophical issue with this video. Even if we have just passed a filter…there is nothing necessarily preventing the possibility that a second filter lies right in front of us anyway. So there’s nothing in principle that guarantees that having a filter in front of us or behind us is preferable.

  18. Its no surprise that we would destroy ourselves. Despite all of our advancements across the board, we still operate competitively, as we have for thousands of years. Its disgusting how slow our progress is because people are having pissing contests to show how big their ego's are.

  19. What if there is another civilization like us that looks like an alien in this vid and they made a video that shows an alien that looks like us?

  20. Your argument is that every possible option is bad for us. But what if we see a variety of different lifeforms, more and less advanced than us, across the universe. Then it would mean that there are no great filters.

  21. What if trying to push our concept of life on to other planets is the reason that we haven't found other life forms. What If it's just specific to us, and other forms of life can live in much different conditions. For example a species that thrive when in extremely hot conditions like on venus.

  22. Ok but we don't even have the technology to zoom in on the closest stars from our own galaxy and enough to see them more than points of light, so what exactly would you be expecting to see if there was advanced intelligence out there? A huge structure bigger than a star, or what? Picking up radio signals from them? Aside from a few close stars, how faint or degraded would that signal be at that kind of distance?

  23. What if there was life on other planets, but they destroyed themselves, and the UFOs we see here are survivors who escaped in time and are looking for a new planet to settle

  24. Unless the world learns how to untite as one we will 100% not survive. That's a mathematical fact we will destroy each other.

  25. But if we came across other intelligent life, wouldn't that be a good thing because it must mean the filter is behind us or that the filter isn't too bad? Coming across other life might make it statistically common, supporting the idea that we are not approaching a devastating filter

  26. You lost me at intelligence. Intelligent species don't self-sacrifice to ideologies which necessitate violence to be implemented and sustained. Humans are very full of their selves and entirely as intellectually capable as any self-destructive organism that continually invents new ways to forces itself into slavery.

  27. The great filter is the ability to directly communicate our single cell friends inside of us on a conscious level. The only reason why we need nano technology right now is because we need something to be s buffer, but the ability to do that directly would give us the ability to control our very DNA. Once we have the ability to have that have full control over our bodies like that, we'd be able to become immoral and then many other things will fall into place. Then we can go to Mars and automatically adapt to the environment. Our intelligence will grow exponentially and we'll be able to build Dyson Spears.

  28. its so depressing to see the peoples desperate calls for stopping climate change, yet all most governments care about is money…

  29. If space is so wierd why do scientists think that planets need to be almost exactly like earth to hold life?

  30. So if we find life, it increases the chances for the filter to be ahead of us.
    But what if we find really advanced life? It could mean that all life become super advanced; and so there are no filter.

    So finding life is good or bad, depending on the life form we find!

  31. If AI takes control wouldn't that jost make them then new kings?
    In fact AI is probably the only being that is robust enough to survive space.
    Really the big elephant in the room is more likely. Space is really far away.

  32. Evolution vs Creation…Creation wins. Remove meat suit and you have soul. Soul does not Evolve, it's created. Higher beings in meat suits, that made us, NAW. We were created. We Adapt not Evolve. I don't see monkey turning into humans or half human etc.. but I do see monkeys adapting and learning. Not in the history of history is there proof of monkeys turning human or any other animal morphing.

  33. Idky this video just made me feel so uncomfortable about being alive… like I started thinking what if when you die you just permanently have an itch on your back you cant scratch or you gotta pee but cant forever and now I'm having existential panic

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