Last week, NASA announced the discovery of the planet Kepler-186F, the first exoplanet with the same size as Earth, located in the habitable zone of its star. In theory, there could be liquid water and even life forms on this second Earth, and if we want to go the extra mile we can even presume that these life forms are intelligent. But the experts believe that the existence of life on other planets is not such a good sign for our civilization.
It may seem strange, but the finding of extraterrestrial life on another planet could indicate that we are getting closer to the end of our journey. Many scientists argue around the concept of the Great Filter, which attempts to resolve the Fermi paradox – Why aliens have not been found yet and we have not been contacted by them? Given the billions of exoplanets observed so far, is hard to believe that there is no intelligent life form out there. And yet, no one has contacted us (I’m not talking about UFO conspiracy theory here…).
One explanation could be that the intelligent life forms could be extremely rare and that these life forms have a to self-destructive tendency. Thus, there is a real possibility that on one of these planets to host primitive life forms. On planet Earth, the shift to higher life forms (eukaryotes), took some time: over a billion years .
Let’s not forget that our planet has the ideal conditions for the development of life, which is not observed so often in other planets. Earth is located in the habitable zone of our solar system, away from the center of the galaxy, so it is safe from deadly radiation. The gas giants found in our solar system deflect the asteroids away from our planet and the moon stabilizes the tilt of the rotation axis which ensures the change of seasons. Everything was “tweaked” perfectly so it could create the perfect conditions for life to emerge.
However, if there is intelligent life on other planets it might not survive for too long. Many scholars argue that the technology is a double-sided sword, and it can mark the decline of our species. Stephen Hawking , Max Tegmark and Stuart Russell spoke about the dangers of intelligent machines, and Martin Rees warned us about risks of biotechnology.
Therefore, an advanced civilization can go extinct through these technological advances, and we could be next on the list.