We could be the first, or we could be the last. But the Copernican principle (privileged frames of reference are statistically unlikely) makes that statistically unlikely.
But it also leads to the statistical argument that human civilization is time-limited and we don't live at a privileged point in the time-evolution of of human civilization itself, we're ourselves unlikely to be the near the beginning or the end; and if human civilization is very statistically likely to exist for say ten million years then it's very statistically unlikely that "we" should be here to talk about it right now, rather than the more likely situation where we should be members of the much much larger set of humans who will live far in the future from us.
On a sunny day (Mon, 13 Sep 2021 05:41:19 -0700 (PDT)) it happened Phil Allison firstname.lastname@example.org wrote in email@example.com:
The probability there is intelligent life all over the universe is very high, life forms that could do radio communication a bit lower.
Maybe the microwave background holds many of those signals. Problem is those signals are likely encoded the same way as our DVB-S and DVB-S2 TV signals and look very much like white noise. In a way those systems are a cryptography problem. Add the frequency shifts due to relative speeds etc.. We are, with earth in fact traveling through space and will encounter all sorts of things.
Would we encounter life forms that are more advanced then they likely would exploit us, put us in their zoos breed us for meat or slave labor, what not. The same we would do if we found less advanced life forms than ours elsewhere.
Evolution has likely happened in a similar manner for those alien civilizations.. So how much should we look, should we ring a big bell 'WE ARE HERE' ??? As far as we know we have not met 'aliens' yet here, but if we ever did then we would learn to be careful, most animals seek shelter and developed defenses to keep them from being eaten.
Mammalian species seem to last a few million years on average.
We do seem to be a bit unusual, in that we now have the capacity to fiddle with our genome, and we'll probably be able to work how to engineer ourselves (or variations on our basic design) into different species that might be better adapted to different environments. Presumably we'll retain the capacity to communicate with these other species, though we probably couldn't interbreed with them - there wouldn't be much point. Interbreeding is how Darwinian evolution works, which is a disgustingly clumsy and wasteful way of coming up with new variations.
Intelligent design should be able to do better.
Whatever the future is going to look like, I don't fancy our chances of understanding it. Precious few people understand where we are now, and life is going to get a lot more complicated if we chose to develop variations that are better equipped to cope with a more complicated world.
Why would they bother? We aren't going to be well adapted to live in their particular environments, and there's no real reason to suppose that we'd be much use as food to a species that had evolved from a completely different ancestor.
The likeliest scenario is that they wouldn't recognise us as lifeforms, and we wouldn't recognise them. We know what "life" looks like on an earth-like world, but we don't have a clue what it might look like in the rest of the solar system
If we could recognise them as "alive".
Why should it have?
But animals do have to evolve the kind of digestive system that lets them digest specific other life-forms. Ours certainly depends on having a specific range of bacteria in our guts to cope with the sort of food we eat. Give them something totally foreign and they'll have a hard time breaking it down into components that could get through our intestinal walls, let alone be any use to us after they had got through.
My take away after the first couple of minutes was that Carl Sagan probably taught his students to laugh at the notion that the solar system does not revolve around the earth, as he basically played a game of sending out a message where the fundamental premise is that the universe revolves around earth.
The video showed how Carl Sagan and others sent out radio messages to the universe (not the main point of the video) and that the radio waves had no possibility of ever reaching any relevant portion of the universe. The portion of the universe reached by these radio waves was so insignificant that one is either knowingly wasting money or doing their science for show or they think that the universe revolves around the earth. Sending out the radio waves was ludicrous.
The purpose of the transmission WAS largely symbolic, it was easy to do and why not. The beam from the Arecibo dish was radio, not laser light. So it spreads out ! In 25,000 years time, it will find its intended target quite well.