Aliens Downstairs

This story is from the very recent archives of St. Petersburg’s agency of Russian EMERCOM (the Ministry of the Russian Federation for Civil Defense, Emergency Situations and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters), one of the Russian Federation’s emergency services.

Image result for emercom of russiaThe EMERCOM agents respond to the unusual complain from a citizen residing in the second floor apartment of an upscale St. Petersburg’s building.

The agents ring the doorbell. A man wearing an aluminum foil cap opens the door just a crack. When the agents announce themselves and enter the apartment, they can hardly contain their bewilderment. Every surface  in the entire flat — walls, floors, ceiling and every piece of furniture — is covered with aluminum foil. The owner, still wearing the foil cap, explains the reason for his obsession with foil covering as an attempt to protect himself from the deadly radiation emanating from upstairs.  “You see,” he laments, “My neighbor from the apartment directly above mine constantly, day and night, irradiates me. Do something. Help!”alumium.PNGThe agents gently reassure the “victim of irradiation” and, on his insistence, head upstairs to visit the villainous neighbor. They don’t mind, really. As a matter of protocol, they have to make sure that the paranoiac foil-capped man doesn’t bother the inhabitants of the upstairs apartment.

Another doorbell, and the neighbor — bespectacled, bearded, looking, incongruously, like a mad scientist from a bad movie — opens the door. EMERCOM agents walk in and… encounter yet another curious setup. The entire apartment is filled with… microwave ovens. microwave.PNG

Dozens of them. All turned on and facing down. The “mad scientist” explains that this is how he fights against an alien living downstairs who wants to enslave the world!

Funny or not, this is a real and fairly recent story from Russia. I would’ve forgotten about it, if not for this article in Daily Mail: Billionaire Bigelow space mogul says he is ‘absolutely convinced’ there are aliens on Earth.

A billionaire aerospace entrepreneur who has recently worked with Nasa has said he is 'absolutely convinced' that there are alien visitors living on Earth. Robert Bigelow (pictured), speaking in an interview with 60 minutes, said he has spent 'millions' on alien research

A billionaire aerospace entrepreneur Robrt Bigelow has said he is ‘absolutely convinced’ that there are alien visitors living on Earth. 


Robert Bigelow, aforementioned billionaire space mogul, runs Bigelow Aerospace, a private space technology company, often partnering with NASA.

Speaking in an interview with 60 minutes, asked if he believed in aliens, Mr Bigelow responded: ‘I’m absolutely convinced. That’s all there is to it.’

Mr Bigelow made a number of other statements about his belief in aliens among us:

‘There has been and is an existing presence, an ET presence [on Earth].

‘I spent millions and millions and millions – I probably spent more as an individual than anybody else in the United States has ever spent on this subject [aliens].’

Mr Bigelow did not specify exactly how much he has spent on this research, and declined to comment on any personal UFO encounters.

Correspondent Lara Logan, who was leading the interview, then asked Mr Bigelow whether he felt it was risky for him to say in public that he believes in aliens.

She asked him whether he worried that people might think he was ‘crazy’.

Mr Bigelow responded: ‘I don’t give a damn. I don’t care.’ (–Excerpt from the article.)

An Alien Construction Project?

kic.PNGWhat in the name of the Holy Universe are they building over there?

Where? 

On KIC 8462852

Who are THEY? 

Aliens.

You are seriously kidding, right?

No. It’s all over the media…

Over the course of days, this star [KIC 8462852] can dim by more than 20%, something that ordinary stars never do. Then it will brighten, followed by a relapse of darkening weeks or months later. The amount of dimming is variable, and doesn’t occur with the regular cadence that would mark the presence of an orbiting planet.

When this odd behavior was first recognized, several possible explanations were offered by Boyajian’s team. The most favored was the presence of large clouds of dust from disintegrated comets around Tabby’s star. The orbiting detritus would occasionally mask its light.

But a more intriguing explanation was also proffered: perhaps this star shelters a planet boasting a civilization older and more technically adept than our own. And perhaps these advanced beings have embarked on a massive engineering project, building phalanxes of orbiting solar panels to supply the energy needs of their society. This space-borne construction could cause the dimming.

AI or Die — Summoning The Demon

140731_CAR_Robot_1

Speaking at event in London, Professor Stephen Hawking told the BBC, “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.” It is not the first time the famous  physicist warned humanity of an uncertain future as technology learns to think for itself and adapt to its environment, bring about our demise.

RobotEvolution

Image courtesy of Ryan Etter.

 

Earlier in the year Hawking said that success in creating AI ‘would be the biggest event in human history, [but] unfortunately, it might also be the last.’ 

He argues that developments in digital personal assistants Siri, Google Now and Cortana are merely symptoms of an IT arms race which ‘pale against what the coming decades will bring.’

But Professor Hawking noted that other potential benefits of this technology could also be significant, with the potential to eradicate, war, disease and poverty.

Google's DeepMind start-up, which was bought for £255 million ($400 million) earlier this year, is currently attempting to mimic the properties of the human brain's short-term working memory.

Google’s DeepMind start-up, which was bought for $400 million earlier this year, is currently attempting to mimic the properties of the human brain’s short-term working memory.

‘Looking further ahead, there are no fundamental limits to what can be achieved. […]There is no physical law precluding particles from being organised in ways that perform even more advanced computations than the arrangements of particles in human brains.’

Eric Schmidt, Google chief executive, argued that there is no need to fear AI, and it could even be the making of humanity.

‘These concerns are normal,’ he said onstage during the Financial Times Innovate America event in New York this week. ‘They’re also to some degree misguided.’

However, Elon Musk, the entrepreneur behind Space-X and Tesla, disagrees, warning of ‘something seriously dangerous happening’ as a result of machines with artificial intelligence. And this “something” might begin to “happen” in as few as five years.

Speaking at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) AeroAstro Centennial Symposium in October, Musk described artificial intelligence as our ‘biggest existential threat’, and has previously linked the development of thinking machines, to ‘summoning the demon’.robot-hand

As the nuclear, aerospace, manufacturing and agricultural industries forge ahead developing autonomous systems, there are growing unease about the future.

How to prevent robot world domination? How to ensure AI can follow rules and make ethical decisions?

Researchers at the Universities of Sheffield, Liverpool and the West of England, Bristol have set up a new project to address concerns around these new technologies, with the aim of  ensuring robots meet industrial standards and are developed responsibly.

The £1.4 million project will run until 2018. It aims to ensure robots meet industrial standards and are created responsibly, allaying fears that humans may not be able to control them.

Meanwhile, in the field of space exploration…

Intended for the performance of exploratory missions on the moon — alongside a four-wheeled robotic rover — the new designs were introduced by Toyota in a presentation titled “Realization of Moon Exploration Using Advanced Robots by 2020.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

What about little green men, the extraterrestrials? Will the first aliens we find be ROBOTS? Intelligent life may have turned to AI by the time we make first contact, claims Dr Susan Schneider from The University of Connecticut.

  • Drobot-handr Schneider says the first intelligent aliens we find might not be biological. Advanced aliens might be machines.
  • Humanity is already heading in this direction, Dr Schneider claims, and an advanced race would likely have already made this evolutionary leap. ‘The next evolutionary step could be we are post-biological,’ she says.
  • ‘If you look at our own civilisation, people are becoming more immersed in computers, and we can already see signs of it in our own culture. […] if you need space travel, humans aren’t very durable. But with computers, you don’t have the same threat to worry about.’
'The next evolutionary step could be we are post-biological,' said Dr Schneider. Recently experts in Washington DC discussed chances of finding alien life. Seti astromoner Dr Shostak said we 'could be the first' generation to know we are not alone.

‘The next evolutionary step could be post-biological,’ said Dr Schneider. Recently experts in Washington DC discussed chances of finding alien life. Seti astromoner Dr Shostak said we ‘could be the first’ generation to know we are not alone.

 

Little Green Men, Are You There?

Image

Two weeks or so ago, NASA scientists announced the discovery of Kepler-186f. Kepler-186f is special because it marks the first planet almost exactly the same size as Earth orbiting in the “habitable zone” – the distance from a star in which we might expect liquid water, and perhaps life. And — what do you know? — only a mere 492 light years away in the Cygnus constellation.
Image

It might look pretty, something like this. The coloration of the plant life is somewhat “autumny” yellowish. Scientists imagine it’s due to the manner in which the planet reflects light. Water and clouds , they say, might be rather orange. 

Each new discovery of an Earth-like planet in the habitable zone, such as Kepler-186f, makes it more and more plausible that there are — there simply must be! — planets other than Earth that might support life. 

Well then, should we, perhaps, expect visitors from Kepler-186f? 

пришел0There is, of course, this pessimistic “Rare Earth” hypothesis…  The evolution of complex life requires an exceedingly large number of perfect conditions:

  • The planet must be in the habitable zone of the sun;
  • The star must be far enough away from the galactic center to avoid destructive radiation;
  • The gas giants must be massive enough to sweep asteroids away from the planet’s trajectory
  • The planet has to have an unusually large natural satellite (like the Earth’s moon) to stabilize the axial tilt. (Such tilt gives us different seasons.)

These are just a few prerequisites. The emergence of symbolic language, tools and intelligence could require other such “perfect conditions” as well.

пришел2

Most of the articles about the discovery of Kepler-186f  I came across have one thing in common. Immediately following the NASA’s announcement they say something ominous, like this:  What did not make the news, however, is that this discovery also slightly increases how much credence we give to the possibility of near-term human extinction. This because of a concept known as… the Great Filter!

Oy!

The Great Filter is an argument that attempts to resolve the Fermi Paradox: why have we not found aliens, despite the existence of hundreds of billions of solar systems in our galactic neighborhood in which life might evolve?

As the namesake physicist Enrico Fermi noted, it seems rather extraordinary that not a single extraterrestrial signal or engineering project has been detected. (from some article written by someone smart to enlighten the rest of them people)

Well, obviously, Fermi choose to disregard the entire “scientific field” of UFO conspiracy theories.

Seriously now. The Great Filter was discussed in articles with scarily sensational titles such as: Could our search for alien life trigger the end of humanity? ‘Great Filter’ theory suggests habitable exoplanets may spell our demise and Why habitable exoplanets are bad news for humanity’s future

This prompted me to turn to Wikipedia (for solace mostly)  and read an entire article on Search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Great read for those who knows little, but wants to know something. Particularly reading that each discovered “habitable exoplanet” spells doom for humanity’s future...

Searching and finding some cartoons about aliens helped as well.

пр

We still have many reasons to think intelligent life might not emerge. The atmosphere might be too thin to prevent freezing, or the planet might be tidally locked, causing a relatively static environment. Discovery of these hostile conditions should be cause for celebration. As philosopher Nick Bostrom once said:

The silence of the night sky is golden … in the search for extraterrestrial life, no news is good news. It promises a potentially great future for humanity. (from one or the other article mentioned above.)

The “golden silence” might also be the explained by intelligent life’s failure to survive for long. Why? Perhaps it self-destructed by developing some suicidal technology or made a wrong turn toward unsustainability…  при

For 200,000 years humanity has survived super-volcanoes, asteroid impacts, and naturally occurring pandemics. But our track record of survival is limited to just a few decades in the presence of nuclear weaponry. And we have no track record at all of surviving many of the radically novel technologies that are likely to arrive this century.

Translation from Alien: "Idiot! Haven't I told you we were flying way too slow.."

Translation from Alien: “Idiot! Haven’t I told you we were flying way too slow..”

Esteemed scientists such as Astronomer Royal Martin Rees at the Cambridge Center for the Study of Existential Risk point to advances in biotechnology as being potentially catastrophic. Others such as Stephen Hawking, Max Tegmark and Stuart Russell, also with the Cambridge Center, have expressed serious concern about the exotic but understudied possibility of machine super-intelligence.пришел

Still, the Great Filter or not, it shouldn’t reflect badly on Kepler-186f, should it? 

Makes me wonder, though, what does f in 186f stand for…