Why do we assume that aliens would be far more advanced than us?

Thaluikhain

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SillyBear said:
Also - Mr OP is correct. Just because a species may be capable of arriving at Earth (whether through space travel as we know it or not) does not mean they would necessarily beat us in a conflict. You are all just saying that because thats what we grow up imagining - but there is nothing to be certain about at all.
Yes...and no.

Assuming the aliens are travelling in spaceships, and these are both large and capable of pretty good interplanetary (not interstellar) speeds, they have the capability to make a mess simply by crashing one of them into our planet. They don't need any science beyond that.

Of course, that they travel like that is not a given, but it seems to be the way aliens are getting here in most people's discussions.

Alien wizards using Greater Teleport, no way of telling though.
 

kickyourass

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Amaror said:
Jacco said:
I was just reading the Wikipedia article on the "Wow" signal and it mentioned this:
Scientists say that if the signal came from extraterrestrials, they are likely an extremely advanced civilization, as the signal would have required a 2.2-gigawatt transmitter, vastly more powerful than any on Earth.
Now that strikes me as an odd conclusion to draw because it completely disregards the idea of sectionalized technological advancement.

I remember when the film "Battle: LA" came out, lots of people were like "that's unrealistic because if the aliens could travel through space to get here, they would be able to stomp us easily." Ditto with Independence Day, and any other alien invasion film you can think of.

I just don't get why that is such a popular assumption. I mean, sure they might be more advanced in space flight if they can travel through space, but that doesn't necessarily mean they have developed highly advanced military technology. Or with the Wiki article, just because they might have vastly more powerful radios doesn't mean they have developed computer technology to our level.

I guess what I'm saying is that because they are aliens, they will certainly have developed along different parameters than we have so their technology in one area might be far beyond ours but an area of ours might be far beyond theirs as well.

Thoughts?

Capcha: Hot sauce.

I agree. Our hot sauce technology sets the bar for everyone.
Because when they can travel through space, that means they need a lot of power.
And everything that generates a lot of power can be in some form used to make very powerfull weapons.
And assuming they are coming to Earth to attack us, they are most likely in the mindset to make weapons from their technology.
So Yeah they should have pretty powerfull weapons.
To add to that, even if they did NOT have violent intentions, it's fairly easy to assume they'd be armed SOMEHOW. You don't head off into the unknown without SOME form of protection, just on the off chance you run into something and if you're actively engaging another intelligent species you need to be able to deal with them in case they're hostile. If they have the technology to make space travel practical, that means that they have the capacity to make weapons that would make ours seem down right pathetic. Even if the strongest thing their ship has is a laser meant for blasting asteroids or something similar, that still means that they have weapons beyond what we have.
 

Madman123456

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To travel to distant worlds one would have to have an understanding of physics that we lack.
Maybe the average alien is comparable in intelligence to a human but they did some more of their physics homework to develop something that could bring them here.

I don't think that they wouldn't have some weapons technology; we developed ours because we went around in tribes and hunted our food and sometimes had to defend it from other tribes who would steal it.
Now we have better clubs and spears and our "tribes" are a wee bit bigger; which is actually an accomplishment not to be underestimated.
Our feeble brains transformed tribes into nationstates and if some other nationstate and if some other nationstate tries to take our resources we don't hunt down every single one of them with the best weapons we have or take all their resources, letting them starve.

With all our weapons we are actually quite peaceful.

Aliens are going to have weapons and its quite possible that they are more warlike then us; one might think that with how close we came to nuclear war any species more warlike then us would have to be ashes by now but we only managed to build atombombs with the resources of a big economy.


If aliens came here with disagreeable intentions we'd be fucked. They'd do whatever they do to space to get here to our landmasses and turn our planet inside out if they wanted to, which would also make it easier to get to massive amounts of iron.
It might not be as extreme but if you can create something that tears a whole in spacetime you can open up a few fault lines here and there with that same technology.

Not to mention any other technology the aliens would probably have in their sleeves.


If they would have peaceful intentions we'd be fucked as well. Probably.
Any advanced culture on earth that met another less advanced culture has eventually swallowed the other through cultural dominance. People started to do things like the more advanced people do it and eventually, no one does things the "old" way. All that remains is vague shadows of the less advanced culture, mostly in places where they had over the otherwise more advanced people. Some fashion fad or some design on pottery is all that remained of less advanced cultures.



But why would aliens come here in the first place? What could they possibly want with us? I imagine any actual alien that has some scientific curiosity about us flies around in his hyper advanced spaceship, about 20000 lightyears away from us and then he pushes a button and instantly knows everything there is to know about us.
And then he flies home because there's nothing he could possibly do to learn more because the hyper advanced spaceship sensors have already told him everything there is to know and have probably made predictions so accurate that we would think of them as magic if we where to see them.



If Aliens came here for resources it wouldn't be worth the hassle.
Not that we would be much of a hassle but they could save themselves some energy and get resources from pretty much any celestial body.
We have some rather complex molecules on this planet but i doubt i'd take up interstellar flight for petroleum. Aliens can probably make those chemicals themselves. Actually, we can do that but we continue to burn fossil fuels because it's cheaper.
 

Faelix

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As I said in my previous post, any outside life would be a million years ahead of us, or much more likely, a billion years ahead of us.

Now this leads people to say, we can't understand them. Which is correct, as we need to predict every scientific advance and logical use of it that lead them to become what they are.

But does this mean a meeting would be so alien and abstract? No, because in that scenario lies the assumption, that they also do not understand us.

But they do, they are so far ahead of us, they are so quick and sharp, they understand it all. A UFO pilot for example, has many Doctors degrees in philology. It would take him a moment of study, to learn to speak your language, with your dialect, as well as your mother did when you grew up.
 

Dragonbums

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It's a pretty logical step.
There are so many things wrong with just going to the moon as an astronaut, and around the time we went on the moon, we have created dastardly weapons like the atomic and hydrogen bomb.

Even now, there are documentaries detailing the even more complicated issues of taking people to Mars. You can get killed by radiation poisoning even though you aren't even doing anything. All because the material your wearing isn't good enough to block the suns UV rays.

If an alien species not only manages to find Earth, but to be adapted enough in space travel to easily send in re reinforcements within a couple of hours, it is very easy to assume in that same breath that these aliens are far more advanced technology wise than us.

It's basically the equivalent of using guns against a colony of humans that still believe spears are the greatest form of weaponry.

What should be questioned though is why are there so many alien movies where the aliens instantly invade us.
I feel that we would be quietly observed at a distance. Never interfering unless it's absolutely necessary.
 

WhyWasThat

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This thread reminds me of Fallout 3. They have incredibly advanced technology in some areas (plasma weaponry, synthetic humans that can gain sentience, etc.) but in others they are laughably primitive (Computers, projectors, televisions, etc.).
 

Mau95

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Well, science says predators usually have the more advanced brains, so if a species was to discover us, the chance of them being predators is higher and thus of them being aggressive.
 

OneCatch

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Mau95 said:
Well, science says predators usually have the more advanced brains, so if a species was to discover us, the chance of them being predators is higher and thus of them being aggressive.
I'd not say that this was necessarily the case. What we regard as intelligent animals (at least on this planet) are pretty often herbivorous or at least omnivorous. Elephants, various bird species, a lot of the apes, for example.
Purely predatory animals are probably in the minority, and a lot of them eat fish or krill.

Intelligence seems to be remarkably varied in the animals in which it manifests.
That said, intelligent animals do sometimes have a capacity for more inventive forms of violent behaviour than less intelligent ones.

SillyBear said:
Also, you cannot define intelligence in the way 99% of you are defining it. You are making huge leaps. Just because a species is capable of space travel doesn't mean they would be smarter than us. Shock, horror! But it is true. Maybe the alien travellers didn't invent the space travel they used to arrive on Earth? Maybe, for whatever reason, huge clues were on their planet about how to build amazing space travelling machines and they barely had to think about it? Maybe they have mastered space travel but have terrible medical care and 90% of their babies don't live past youth?

And this would be where someone would say "but if they are capable of space travel, wouldn't they also be competent with medicine?"

Maybe not. We just don't know. That statement is a logical assessment in regard to life as we know it here on Earth - but maybe it has little relevance in alien land?
A species wouldn't have to be smarter than us, but they would have to be more advanced. That's also an important distinction.

And ultimately it does come down to energy. Anyone who can easily accelerate to and from reasonable fractions of c has some extremely powerful propulsion technology that can already be used as a weapon. You don't even need to modify it or refine it or have a separate branch of research - it can be used as it is.
Or, if they've taken many years to reach us at a more modest speed, then they've got some form of cryostasis, or really effective waste management and intergenerational planning abilities. Both of which lend to highly advanced organisational structures and knowledge of chemistry and biology, as well as modest (and by modest I mean as good as ours currently is if not better) rocket engineering abilities.

There are some very specific circumstances where they could be less advanced (District 9 style loss of intellectual caste[footnote]and this one doesn't really count because they'd have been more advanced to start with[/footnote], using intact ships left behind by someone else, microbial life hitching a ride on an asteroid, etc), but they probably lie outside of the spirit of the OP.

Whether they'd want to fight is an entirely different question, and in that sense you are right - we can't begin to imagine potential intents. But we can reasonably assume that they could outmatch us if they wanted to.
 

thehorror2

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The thing is, technology may not evolve at the same rate across all sectors, but it does evolve as a front. Sure, we've had some outsized gains in communication technology in the last 100 years, but in that time we went from horse-powered vehicles to vehicles measured in horsepower. We went from not having fully explored the earth's surface to exploring the moon. Not to mention the number of commercial/civilian uses for tech developed for warfare (tech not related to the military that came about ONLY because the military advanced!)

Put briefly, there's no way for them to have the kind of technology to contact or reach us intentionally unless they've advanced beyond us, because everything tech and science is so interdependent.
 

teisjm

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They could have advanced communication technology, and/or space travel technology, without having as advanced military technology.
If they're without natural enemies where they're from, and smart enough to not fight amongst themselves like humans do here on earth, they might have seen the idea of "Hey guys, lets produce enough nuclear weapons to blow up our planet... several times" as a naturally retarded idea.

If thats the case, i'll be welcoming our new alien overlords.

Why do we still see the need to hold all life on the planet as a hostage in order to get along...
 

Yuuki

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I don't see how it's possible or intelligence to only advances in *certain* aspects and not others. If they are genuinely intelligent, they will thoroughly branch-out to ALL forms of technology including the destructive type.

I see no reason why any civilization will NOT have developed advanced weaponry long before attempting interstellar travel. One thing that I really love about the Mass Effect series is how each races' "progress" in terms of intelligence/technology is judged by how far they are able to travel into space, and whether they're able to find the Mass Relays and put them to use :p
 

pearcinator

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This video is interesting as there are many theories as to WHY we haven't discovered any advanced alien species.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tripD00-9zU[/youtube]

We are not yet a 'Type 1' civilization but if we were to reach 'Type 1' status it would be the most dangerous part of human survival as a species. Basically we can conclude that we are the most advanced species in the galaxy since we have seen no evidence of a technological 'singularity' anywhere else...that's not to say they don't exist, just that we haven't found any evidence yet.
 
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Because space-faring technology presupposes advancement in numerous other areas that are linked. The same principle that blasts a satellite into orbit also propels ICBMs; if you discover a source of fuel to power your ship, that fuel can presumably be exploited for destructive purposes (i.e., nuclear). We advance in a fairly even way, because scientific fields are so interconnected. It's feasible that for ideological or cultural reasons some alien species could be less advanced in some areas (i.e., ethics holding back biological research on themselves), but I consider it unlikely.
 

k-ossuburb

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Here's an outsider thought. What if the alien species was just a single-celled organism and it happened to catch a ride, and survive the billion-year journey to our planet where it happened to crash on the moon and leave enough of the little guys intact? Panspermia is a common hypothesis among a lot of conspiracy theorists and science fiction writers (as well as one religious origination that I'm not going to name) but it could happen.

The water bear has been shown to survive in space without much issue and been capable of re-animating itself as soon as it comes into contact with a livable environment, it is also entirely possible that life would be based on another element instead of carbon, silicon has been a favourite among science fiction writers, but scientists are looking into creating inorganic forms of life using other base elements.

There's also the chance that it is organic life, but has come from Mars or one of the moons of Jupiter, alien life doesn't have to come from another galaxy, it just can't be from earth, which means our local planets will suffice.

None of these have to be technologically advanced, because single-celled organisms don't particularly need that for their evolutionary development. However they might be very evolutionarily advanced given how well they've adapted to changing environments they could've gone through several species before reaching us, however because space doesn't provide an abundance of energy the process is significantly slowed á la entropy.

Now, just in case some of you reading this aren't completely familiar with evolutionary theory for some reason, let me clarify that just because something is evolutionarily advanced it doesn't mean that it's become more humanoid or even evolved a brain; evolution isn't decided on how advanced it is by what features an organism has, but how many iterations of it had come before and how well it has evolved to deal with its environment (specialization).

There's plenty of examples here on earth of highly-evolved organisms that have not only been around for a shorter time than we have (relatively speaking) but also haven't reached an intellectual evolutionary stage like we have. Fruit flies and single-celled organisms are prime examples because they can go through several generations in a very short span of time which can make them highly evolved and capable of going through hundreds of mutations and adaptations to their environments, which does make them significantly highly evolved even though they wouldn't know how to craft their own tools.

Basically, what I'm saying is that alien life doesn't have to be something that comes in a space ship to be considered a threat. I'm actually writing a horror/sci-fi novel where a single-celled life-form comes to earth and starts a pandemic that nobody can deal with because of how foreign it is; think Day Of The Trifids on a micro-scale, or the "red weed" from War Of The Worlds). I'm also trying to say that life also doesn't need a space ship to arrive here, there's plenty of other methods of panspermia available that life can survive so long as it is evolved enough to deal with it.
 

mechman123

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I personally would like to see a movie or game in which humanity has only recently reached or is on the virg of FTL (but the world still looks remarkably like it does now with some obvious advances), and than encounters aliens that are at the same or comperable stage of technology. No tricked out anti-grav vehicles, uber energy weapons, or force fields. And to top it off, they would be just as new to the whole dealing with extra terrestrials as we would be. Talk about tension. It could even flip back and forth between the POVs of different people on both sides to show their reactions to the relization that they truely arent alone anymore. It would be a nice change of pace.
 

Chaos Marine

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Jacco said:
I was just reading the Wikipedia article on the "Wow" signal and it mentioned this:
Scientists say that if the signal came from extraterrestrials, they are likely an extremely advanced civilization, as the signal would have required a 2.2-gigawatt transmitter, vastly more powerful than any on Earth.
Now that strikes me as an odd conclusion to draw because it completely disregards the idea of sectionalized technological advancement.

I remember when the film "Battle: LA" came out, lots of people were like "that's unrealistic because if the aliens could travel through space to get here, they would be able to stomp us easily." Ditto with Independence Day, and any other alien invasion film you can think of.

I just don't get why that is such a popular assumption. I mean, sure they might be more advanced in space flight if they can travel through space, but that doesn't necessarily mean they have developed highly advanced military technology. Or with the Wiki article, just because they might have vastly more powerful radios doesn't mean they have developed computer technology to our level.

I guess what I'm saying is that because they are aliens, they will certainly have developed along different parameters than we have so their technology in one area might be far beyond ours but an area of ours might be far beyond theirs as well.

Thoughts?

Capcha: Hot sauce.

I agree. Our hot sauce technology sets the bar for everyone.
You're reminding me about a short story I read years and years ago. The shtick of the story was that after discovering how to make iron, there was some kind of a connection to it that could allow faster than light travel or some such and races would go around with early 1900s flintlock rifles. They tried to invade the earth and got absolutely slaughtered because they invaded 1990s Earth. Because they were able to travel through space and raid other planets for resources, they never developed beyond that level. It was a strange, strange book.

But realistically, one could not develop proper space travel technology without advanced computational abilities because of necessary number crunching. Which would require advanced electronics to be capable of high power-low heat CPUs etc.

The thing about technologies is how it has a ripple effect where one technology will invariably affects others.
 

archvile93

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Have you ever heard of a technology base? What this means is that you can't create advanced works of technology without the knowledge and ability to manufacture the base parts. For example, you can't create skyscrapers without the knowledge and technology to create high quality steel at reasonable prices and in large amounts even if you have a strong enough understanding of physics to conceptualize them. Of course, steel can also be used for many other things as well, which our species has explored and created new things based on. If aliens have advanced, extremely long range space craft, they would need a very advanced technology base to produce them, such as cheaply creating various metal alloys, and computer systems we humans have never heard of, and an understanding of natural laws we haven't even begun to consider (Think necron level understanding), if they have those things, it would not be even slightly surprising that they've applied these same things to other fields, such as communication and weapon systems, architecture, and terraforming.
 

Brandon237

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Everything can be weaponised in a heart-beat and every technological and scientific advancement has implications for parallel branches of technology.

Even if they CAME with no weapons, they'd likely still be able to rip us apart with an "unintended" weapon if they wanted to. Hell flying fast enough with a large vessel over major cities would be a brutal tactic... and dumping whatever fuel / leftovers they had either straight onto us or weaponising into a crap-ton of thermo-nuclear devices would likely not be that hard a task if they could make the journey here.