The Fermi Paradox makes sense if we‘re about to learn a specific technology.
The Fermi Paradox, paraphrased for brevity, basically poses the question: why isn’t there evidence of aliens? If other civilizations evolved to our technological level, there would have been plenty of time (on a galactic timescale) for them to make their presence known. So why haven’t they?
What are the alien’s limitations?
Let’s imagine that aliens knew about us and thought we were worth visiting. Even then, would they visit us? Bear in mind that we might be dealing with civilizations that could be thousands or tens of thousands of light years away from us. Physical creatures can’t move faster than light without warping spacetime. And while that might be possible, it’s a serious limitation.
Would you leave your home on a 1000+ year journey to visit a young civilization? Probably not. And even if you did, they wouldn’t know about it for 1000 years.
But what about communication?
But couldn’t aliens be sending out light-speed signals that we could pick up? YES! Yes, they could. And that’s why the Fermi Paradox is a conundrum. They could easily alert the universe that they existed (at least at some point in time).
Many explanations have been offered to the Fermi Paradox, including some similar to this, but this is a new hypothesis (as far as I’m aware) that could demystify it: the discovery of instantaneous communication (or near-instantaneous).
Okay, we’re reaching into science fiction now; most physicists will start quoting general relativity, with the specific claim “information cannot be transferred faster than the speed of light.” And so far, with our current level of understanding, that is true. General relativity is absurdly successful.
However, we CAN already change the universe faster than light, such as using quantum entanglement and teleportation. We can also theoretically bend spacetime, which would bypass the rules of light speed altogether. It’s not without precedent to suggest that we might stumble upon similar loopholes.
Suddenly, the absence of that communication would make sense.
So humor me, and let’s say that it was possible. We discover instantaneous communication. And suddenly we discover a new civilization that was beginning their space age on a planet only 500 light years away. At this point, we have two options: a) We could send out a light-speed signal that would reach them in 500 years; b) We could wait fifty years until they developed instantaneous communication and communicate instantly.
Logically, we must assume that if instantaneous communication is possible and within reach of space-age civilizations, every similar civilization would discard light-speed communication as being a worthwhile endeavor for intergalactic communication. They would ALWAYS use instantaneous communication.
Perhaps this will remain in the realm of science fiction forever, but it certainly would be fun to one day connect to an intergalactic — or even universal — internet.