How would alien life look like?

Think about all the different ways we can die.

  1. Out of oxygen. Dead.
  2. Too hot, too cold. Dead.
  3. Too much pressure, too little pressure (space). Dead
  4. Fall from a height. Dead
  5. Out of food. Dead
  6. Loss of blood in important organs. Dead
  7. Live too long. Dead
  8. Choke on food. Dead

Our bodies are fascinating, yet at the same time we are very dependent on the Goldilocks condition earth creates for us. Humans would make terrible space faring species. While we’ve been deep under water (submarines), in space (spacesuits), we haven’t been able to have an entire generation living in a new environment. i.e a baby born in space station and lives there its entire life to have another baby. All we know is the pale blue dot.

Body vs Universe composition

From the fundamentals of chemical elements. The stuff we are made of (carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, phosphorous) is quite abundant in the universe. We are not very special. The stuff our robots are made of (iron, silicon, aluminium, carbon, e.t.c) are plenty abundant as well. There are billions of stars that we can see with our telescopes, but we still have to find any sign of intelligent life.

What are qualities of intelligent life?

  1. Energy. Ability to acquire and store energy. e.g. Food & Fat cells for humans
  2. Sense. e.g Eyes, Ears, skin.
  3. Compute & model the environment. Understand itself. Understand objects and its behaviors. conduct experiments to gain new knowledge.
  4. Move. Ability to map and navigate around its environment.
  5. Communicate. Ability to share knowledge and experiences.
  6. Tooling. Create tools to enhance its ability.
  7. Reproduction. Ability to create more of itself with slight variances.
  8. Survival. Ultimate goal is to survive and have a functioning SIPA(Sense, Infer, Plan, Act) loop at all times.

Are stars alive?

There is a lot of motion in the universe though. Planets move around stars. Stars move around black holes. Black holes eat other black holes. Black holes become supernovae, which explode into gases and become stars. May be the stars are reproducing, sensing, moving, conscious and alive. Their timespans are too long

What would life 2.0 look like?

If we can package and instill the attributes into a bot, then we could say we have created life.

All forms of life we know have cells with RNA or DNA in them. Its the fundamental building block of life. In a nutshell, DNA contains the blueprint for the organism. Cells have ribosomes, which are tiny factories reading instructions from DNA blueprint and building little lego protein bricks which end up creating all the complex cells, organisms need to exist.

What if we could understand DNA, and compile DNA code to make new kinds of life?

According to the laws of Physics, Chemistry and Biology this should be very possible. Suppose we have 3D blueprint, we should be able to organically print it like we 3D print objects. Drop a cell into water which has the necessary ingredients. Cell reproduces in the correct structure and voila! you have a factory that produces objects from water.

The oceans already do this. Phytoplantokon algae -> Plankton -> …. All living things in the ocean. “Phytoplankton is a single celled algae, that transforms sunlight and carbon dioxide into edible gold. One teaspon of ocean water can have millions of organisms”

Understanding the DNA, proteins and cells is the key to unlock the next major Industrial revolution of manufacturing. All living things are built of of this little nano-bots. The mastery of this can have great impact. Imagine planting a seed that grows into houses. A seed that grows into a little car. There would be a house and a autonomous car for every person on the planet. Humans would have figured out the secret of Gods. A species smart enough to create new kinds of species and restore old species.

Apparentely MIT already has a programming language for bacteria. Imagine coding for biological eyes, computers and muscles rather than cameras, rasberry pi’s and servos.

In fact with the invention of CRISPR technique, editing genes in DNA is quite possible. The big mystery is how does DNA exactly end up creating complex life. Given DNA, can we know the rules that show in simulation what the final organism will look like. The big question then is, should we do it, where are the boundaries?

Thinking Meat

The second big key is to understand the brain. The brain is the little box that can model and think about the universe. It can learn and combine existing knowledge to form new knowledge. The ultimate mastery of DNA nano bots and powerful brain like intelligence could allow us to frog leap evolution.

The ability for humans to communicate and trade has given us a huge boost in survivability. Humans are powerful mostly because of their ability to build tools to amplify their natural limits. See Major inventions of humanity. The population growth of the last 2,000 years is exponential. Mostly due to farming, engines, electricity, medicine, cities, factories and modern technology

Self replicating super smart machines

Which brings us to the crazy question. If there are smarter aliens, they should have already had an exponential population and technology growth. If any species figured out the secrets of life and intelligence and could build smart, self replicating machines, they should be everywhere in the universe.

So either this little machines are everywhere and we don’t know about them. Or no one has created them and we are probably the smartest species in the galaxy. Or they are already propagating and will hit earth in the near future.

Sooooo … what would alien life look like?

  1. They would be self replicating. They would have figured how to build large organisms from nanobots. They would come in sizes of microscopic to sizes of entire stars.
  2. They would have powerful brains. They would have figured out the fundamentals of intelligence. They would have magnitudes better bit-rate of communication. They would be all connected together as a single powerful organism, at the same time be very decentralized so taking a group of them down, doesn’t stop the colony.
  3. They would be have figured out space flight, they would have figured how to mine for resources from other planets and harness the energy of stars.
  4. They would have excellent combat techniques of attack and defense. May be powerful gamma lasers, explosive nuclear projectiles. May be they attack by literally digesting organisms in their path, tearing them apart and using them for resources. Creatures in ocean already do this. They would defend by excellent camouflage, strong exoskeleton, pretend they are just bare rock on the outside.
  5. They would have probably mapped large parts of universe and be in pure observation mode. They would remain in hibernation and only become active if something else threatens them. May be we are just another experiment for them.

Who knows? One thing is true though, we humans are very fragile living on a very fragile planet. We could be removed from existence forever.

“Figuring out the secrets of intelligence and life would probably give us some insurance from being wiped out.”