The belief that I am investigating is that aliens could be the AI (artificial intelligence) that we know today. Along with this belief comes the Fermi Paradox, named after the physicist Enrico Fermi. This Paradox poses the argument about the lack of evidence and high probability of extraterrestrial beings and civilizations. Based on the articles I have read, mainly astronomers are those who believe in this theory because they have not seen evidence from space that aliens are out there. I have found information on this theory on various websites, including that of SETI, BBC, and the Fermi Paradox website. This theory is still popular today, especially as we advance technologically with more AI devices coming out constantly. This belief that aliens were the start and continuation of AI technology is extraordinary because it seems impossible, we have knowledge of the scientists and engineers who have, and continue, to work on AI. Believers of this theory are claiming that the aliens came to our planet and created this technology, using their advanced knowledge, and then moved on to help other planets and populations do the same. When they moved on they left behind their AI technology so they could monitor us from a distance and later communicate with us if need be. They also state that it is possible if they were to try and communicate with earth, they may be so evolved that we would not be able to understand or detect their messages.
On one end of the spectrum, critics often say, if our galaxy is really over 10 billion years old, there must have been plenty of chances for another species to branch out into the world and settle down on another livable planet. If this is so, where are they and why haven’t we come into contact with them? At the other end of it all it is stated that we haven’t been able to detect alien intelligence because our first contact with them will be in the form of technology and not organic creatures. “Intelligences might be like small ships passing in the night in a vast ocean” it is stated on aeon.com. This AI technology that the aliens have developed is so far beyond our abilities to understand that until we are “ready” we won’t be able to come in contact with them.
Cognitively, I think this belief goes along with the idea that people don’t like the unknown. It brings us cognitive dissonance to not know the explanation behind something, like lights in the sky or why space is so vast, but we are the only species active throughout it. In terms of the belief that aliens are just AI I think it’s possible that this idea is comforting to people who don’t understand how or why technology had become so advanced to the point that it is essentially self-sufficient. The believers of this theory seem to come from more scientific backgrounds, but at the same time others who have similar scientific backgrounds will completely dispute these ideas. Those scientists who do share these beliefs have created communities and websites in which they can all share their ideas; this comradery allows their ideas to be supported and pushed even further. Confirmation bias could be to blame for some of these sustained beliefs, if someone has some beliefs that aliens exist and then they are presented with ambiguous evidence, they are more likely to see this as evidence to go along with what they believe. Along with this, even if they are presented with data that could prove that aliens do not exist, they aren’t likely to listen or remember this.
Overall, this belief in aliens as AI started in response to Fermi’s Paradox stating that the lack of evidence that aliens were real meant they could not be anywhere in our universe. From there they have perpetuated the belief through pseudoscience and lack of evidence to keep coming up with more and more hypotheses for why they do exist, but we haven’t seen them or communicated with them.