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Is there intelligent life on Earth?

Image of Earth created by ChatGTP

I just wonder: it is time to focus more on finding intelligent life on Earth than in outer space? With so many conflicts around the world, it increases the risk of wide spreading wars, and we need to find intelligent people who can prevent it. 

Photo. Image of the globe viewed from space. Created by ChatGTP - DALL·E.

Where is the humanity today? Without mentioned names, there are powerful leaders today who are very controversial due to their policies, actions, or leadership styles. These critiques can come from international organisations, human rights groups, foreign governments, media, and the leaders' own citizens.

These leaders have a responsibility, both for their own citizens and relations to citizens in other countries. Unfortunately, several leaders today are characterized of being incompetent, authoritarian, unpredictable, conflicts seeking, accused of corruption, racism, neglecting or mismanage crises, and practice controversial policies. For example there are leaders who encourage countries to attack other countries, groups or people in the society. 

People need to be led. To lead a nation or a business, one must understand the personal and emotional concerns of others. A leader is someone who achieves goals through the efforts of others; therefore being a high-performing leader is dependent on working well with people. Where are the leaders who have ability to unite people?

Disinformation across the world

I find it interesting to explore how technology has been and still is a factor of change, and discuss the impact technology has had and is having on individuals and societies. Does technology make people more stupid in someways?

It`s frightening to see how disinformation affects individuals and society, leading to increased polarization, extremism, and dysfunction in various forms. Many people have a hard time sorting real news from fake news on the Internet. Sharing of fake news on social media platforms is a global concern. Now everybody can be “journalists”, both write and publish. We have the ability to share information faster and wider than ever before. Politicians have warned that meddlers are trying to manipulate elections around the globe by spreading disinformation. This disort the relationship between individuals, generations, whole communities and nations. 

There are also leaders and organisations in countries that conducts disinformation and propaganda-filled activities intended to brainwash. They use disinformation to destabilize societies and set the stage for potential military actions. They who create and spread their own false narratives to achieve strategically goals, represent a serious threat to the world peace. 

It is also frightening to think of how AI and deepfakes are changing politics. According to BBC (12th April 2024), Politicians including US President Joe Biden and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan have found themselves victims of deepfakes. These are fake images or audio recordings generated by artificial intelligence and have spread rapidly across social media. 

Reasons for conflicts

There is so much extreme attitudes, hate, anger, hostility, and hard feelings on Earth today. That`s my impression when I watch the news. Have people turned totally mad? Conflicts escalate due to a combination of geopolitical, economic, ethnic, territorial, and ideological factors. These factors, especially when combined, significantly increases the risk of conflict or war. 

One of the most important reasons for political violence and terror is perceived unfairness. This triggers emotions and strong reactions. It is injustice that affects oneself, but also the one who affects others.

It`s good to see that forces in the international community seek to manage these risks through diplomacy, international law, peacekeeping missions, and conflict resolution mechanisms to prevent escalation. It`s bring hopes for the future, but is this enough? With this help, and if people in central positions were really intelligent, they should find ways out - peacefully.  

I asked ChatGPT two questions about intelligent life and got these answers:

Is there intelligent life on Earth?

“Yes, Earth is home to intelligent life, primarily in the form of humans. Human beings are considered to be intelligent due to their advanced cognitive abilities, problem-solving skills, language capabilities, and cultural development. Intelligence can be subjective and is often defined in various ways, but humans are currently the most advanced and intelligent species on Earth.”

Is there intelligent life in space?

“As of my knowledge cutoff in January 2022, there is no scientifically confirmed evidence of intelligent extraterrestrial life. The search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) involves actively seeking signals or other indicators of intelligent civilizations beyond Earth, but no conclusive proof has been found.”

The universe is vast, with billions of galaxies, each containing billions of stars and likely even more planets. Scientists consider the possibility of extraterrestrial life due to the huge number of potentially habitable planets. However, until there is direct evidence or contact, the existence of intelligent life beyond Earth remains a matter of speculation and exploration.

Ongoing scientific efforts, advancements in technology, and future space missions may provide more information that could shed light on the question of whether intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe.

Who search for intelligent life in space?

The search for intelligent extraterrestrial life is an active area of research. The search is primarily conducted by scientists and researchers in the field of astrobiology, astronomy, and astrophysics. There are various organizations and initiatives dedicated to this search, with one of the most well-known being the SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence).

The SETI Institute, founded in 1984, focuses on exploring, understanding, and explaining the origin and nature of life in the universe. The institute conducts research, including the analysis of radio signals from space, in the hopes of detecting signals that might be indicative of intelligent extraterrestrial civilizations.

Other organisations and initiatives involved in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence include:

  • Breakthrough Listen: A scientific program dedicated to scanning the skies for signals from advanced civilizations. It is funded by the Breakthrough Initiatives, a project backed by entrepreneur Yuri Milner.
  • NASA's Astrobiology Institute: NASA supports research in astrobiology, which includes the study of the potential for life beyond Earth. This involves the search for habitable environments and the development of techniques to detect signs of life on other planets. 
  • Various Radio Observatories: Observatories around the world are equipped with instruments that can be used in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. These include the Arecibo Observatory (prior to its collapse in 2020) and the Green Bank Observatory.
  • NASA has been allocated $500 million by the federal government this year to work on its next breakthrough space telescope. Details of the space agency's 2022 budget were released by Congress on Tuesday, though it is still subject to approval later this month. Source: NASA Spending Big on Its Next Generation Alien-Hunting Telescope (published 10th March 2022).

There are an estimated 100 billion galaxies in the universe, home to an unimaginable abundance of planets. And now there are new ways to spot signs of life on them (The Search for Intelligent Life Is About to Get a Lot More Interesting - The New York Times Magazine).

The search for extraterrestrial intelligence is an interdisciplinary effort involving scientists from different fields, and it often relies on collaboration between various institutions and researchers globally. As technology advances, the methods and tools used in this search continue to improve, expanding our capabilities to explore the possibility of intelligent life beyond Earth. It sounds fascinating, but shouldn`t we take all our efforts to sort out the problems on the the Earth first? What about starting search for intelligent life on Earth?

Have we forgotten what civilization is? According to Dictionary.com, is civilization an advanced state of human society, in which a high level of culture, science, industry, and government has been reached. And as mentioned, intelligence can be subjective and is often defined in various ways. Even though humans are seen as the most advanced and intelligent species on Earth, we seem to lack something important. 10 Habits of Highly Intelligent People. Source: LinkedIn: Anuj Sharma, Image Consultant & Transformation Coach, 25th July 2023. 

What happen today around the world reminds me of the plot in novel "Lord of the Flies". It was written by British author William Golding, first published in 1954. The book reveals psychology, organizational life and big politics on every single page. It's a gripping story about a group of British boys stranded on an uninhabited island and their destructive attempt to govern themselves. The narrative explores complex themes such as civilization versus savagery, the loss of innocence, and the inherent evil of mankind and abhor. It is a fable about a society where irrational forces rule, a fable that shakes some of the most fundamental things we believe in. In the light of this history, arguments about human rationality almost vanish. The paradise turns into hell. Rules and functions are forgotten. Fear rise. This is just like today`s development in the world: this is too real for me!

Seen from my point of view there is lack of “common sense”, and especially when it comes to dealing with other human beings. It`s more than ever need for communication, emotional, adaptability, and empathy intelligence. General intelligence is not just a cognitive ability; it is also a cognitive disposition (how to practice it). We need to start the search now for this kind of intelligence before it`s too late!

Stein Morten Lund
February 2024, Updated 14th April 2024

Additional information
Notice: this article was written assisted by ChatGTP.

Quotes to keep in mind when it comes to intelligent life on Earth:

  • Edward A. Murphy Jr. was a Captain in the US Air Force in 1949. His original quote, after a serious accident, was: "If there are two or more ways to do something and one of those results in a catastrophe, then someone will do it that way".
  • The Peter Principle was first identified by Dr Laurence J. Peter, a sociologist, lecturer and business consultant, in his 1968 book of the same name. It states, “In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.”
  • The Dilbert principle is a satirical concept of management developed by Scott Adams, creator of the comic strip Dilbert, which states that companies tend to promote incompetent employees to management to minimize their ability to harm productivity.

Where are the leaders who have ability to unite people?
ChatGTP: Leaders with the ability to unite people often possess qualities such as empathy, integrity, vision, and a strong sense of justice. They are capable of transcending political, social, and cultural divides to bring people together towards common goals. Such leaders can emerge in various spheres of life, including politics, community activism, business, and religious or spiritual movements.

This is how the government of Canada define disinformation: 

  • “Disinformation refers to false information that is deliberately created to mislead people, organizations and countries”.
  • “Democracies rely on access to diverse and reliable sources of news and information. This allows members of society to develop informed opinions, hold governments to account and take part in public debate”. 
  • “Disinformation is deliberately false information. It is a major threat to democracy and makes it more difficult to access timely, relevant and accurate information”.
  • “Disinformation undermines peace, prosperity and individual freedoms. It erodes trust in democracy and reinforces polarizing viewpoints. Especially in times of crisis, disinformation can be harmful”.

Which Countries are the Most Polarized on Visual Capitalist

Over 100 China-Run Fake News Websites Pushing Propaganda in 30 Countries on Newsweek

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on Amnesty International

Some speeches or series of speeches throughout history have been criticized for their role in promoting false narratives or manipulative tactics, leading to significant consequences. What are the world`s most famous speeches promoting desinformasjon and manipulations that resulted in huge human catastrophes?

There are several examples that illustrate the profound impact that manipulative and deceptive rhetoric can have on societies, leading to war, genocide, and widespread persecution. They serve as a reminder of the importance of critical thinking, media literacy, and the responsibility of leaders to use their influence ethically.

How AI and deepfakes are changing politics (BBC, 12th April 2024)
Politicians including US President Joe Biden and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan have found themselves victims of deepfakes. These are fake images or audio recordings generated by artificial intelligence and have spread rapidly across social media. Although, there are politicians across the world who have not only embraced this technology but used it on themselves. For many, it has raised concerns about public trust in politicians.

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