The astro-biologist Paul Davies of Arizona State writes in The Eerie Silence “I think that biological intelligence is a short-lived phenomenon. If we ever face artificial intelligence, I believe it is post-biological in nature”. Sir Martin Rees of Cambridge University have asked Paul Davies that if we were to encounter alien technology that is far superior to our own, would we even realize what it was. A technology that is million or more years in advance of our, would be unaccountable.Davies suggests in Eerie Silence, that advanced technology might not be made up of matter, it might have no fixed shape or size and no distinct boundaries. It might consist of discrete things but rather it is a system of higher-level linkage of things.
Susan Schneider of the University of Pennsylvania agrees with this. She is one of the few people who considered the perception that the artificial intelligence is out there for eons.
In her recent study “Alien Minds”, she asks “How would aliens think? Would they have conscious experiences?” We know that, we are not alone in the universe and an exposure with an alien civilization could create certain advancements in technology.
Schneider says “I don’t believe that the most advanced alien civilization will be biological. The most modern alien civilization will be post-biological.”
Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) programs have been searching for biological existence. Our civilization has depicted aliens as humanoid creatures with immense eyes, pointy chins and large heads and brains with larger size than ours.
Schneider presents three observations that support her point of view about the existence of super intelligent alien civilizations.
The first is “The short window observation”. Once a civilization creates a technology that could put them in contact with the cosmos, they are a few hundred years away from changing their biological existence to the post-biological existence.
Schneider’s second observation is “The greater age of alien civilizations”. SETI have often concluded that alien civilizations would be much older than our own, may be 1.7 billion years to 8 billion years older. If civilizations are millions or billions of years older, many would be super intelligent. We are then galactic babies. Would they be the form of artificial intelligence or super intelligence? Schneider says “Yes, if they were biological (having biological brain enhancements), their super intelligence would be reached by artificial intelligence, called Artificial Intelligence”.
But she suspects something stronger than this, that they will not be carbon-based. Non-carbon based existence allows a creature to be immortal and to survive under a number of conditions while carbon-based life cannot.