Since the invention of space flight and the detailed mapping of the Milky Way and the universe, there has been one obvious question: “Where is the extra-terrestrial life that must surely exist and why haven’t we been contacted by them?”
This question was first asked by Fermi and has become known as the Fermi Paradox. It is closely aligned with the Drake Equation that demonstrates the near certainty of advanced extra terrestrial life having access to the Earth.
The most popular explanation for the paradox is the Great Filter. It presents a picture where every advanced ETI is destroyed or destroys itself. This and most other explanations for the Fermi Paradox are slanted negatively. The Great Filter is a representation of today’s uncertainty rather than a likely model of ETI development.
The model presented here is UETI, or Ultimate Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, wherein the UETI is defined as having reached the Ultimate State of development. Rather than being isolated because there are no other ETIs advanced enough to reach us, this model discusses our isolation as being intentional and organized by the UETI.
In order to predict ETI behavior from the singular case of observed civilization, Earth civilization’s behavior must be extrapolated into the future. It is important that this extrapolation be done with a historical perspective of incremental advancement.
In order to justify the UETI model over the Great Filter a consideration of explicit and implicit assumptions must be made. The two primary assumptions discussed will be Copernican and Anthropomorphic. There is only one know ETI, namely, earth, so all assumptions should be Copernican or heavily justified as to why not.
The Great Filter looks at the dangers posed to modern civilization and concludes Earth civilization may imminently end. This assumption is too pessimistic to be Copernican, since Earth civilization has made it this far into its development. UETI is a more optimistic model of the future. It assumes social, political, scientific, technological and medical developments will come at a pace that can be handled by modern humans. It further assumes this pace will allow for recovery from near disasters such as with the Cold War and Climate Change.
The problem with all ETI analysis is that it is a projection of Earth civilization into the future and therefore is tainted by the current viewpoint of scientists rather than the historical view of civilization’s development. To work through this problem a heavily Copernican system model will be used.
This paper will present the context, solution and analysis of the UETI model. Related work will be discussed and a problem statement will be described. Next, a detailed description of the UETI will be presented in such a way that analysis of the UETI’s characteristics can be performed.
The following terms will be used throughout this paper:
UETI – Ultimate Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence
ETI – Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence
Ultimate State – epitome of all knowledge, technology, artificial evolution, and societal structure
Given the existence of Earth civilization and the size of the universe it is perplexing that there has been no recognized ETI contact. The current model for predicting ETI behavior not only assumes an Earth-like civilization, it also assumes Earth’s current level of technology represents a near epitome of development. This system model will make the former but not the latter assumption. In other words, Earth civilization will be extrapolated into the very distant future.
The assumption that Earth civilization will undergo many more paradigm shifts and the resulting impact on society, culture and the arts will create their own paradigm shifts is a Copernican assumption. It assumes that we are somewhere in the middle of our development. When it comes to the very distant future all paradigms will be known and all technology will be developed. The only question of whether a UETI has a certain technology is whether that technology is theoretically feasible.
The advent of artificial evolution through genetic engineering is upon us at this time. Eventually, with careful controls, artificial evolution could be used to remove genetic pathogens. From there it’s a small step to want every member of society to be healthy, intelligent and long-lived. Remember, this is a prediction of a very distant future where all ethical concerns will eventually be satisfied. This is a non-Copernican assumption since it is presuming we are at the start of a new behavior as a civilization.
The existence of ETIs is assumed. The sheer size of the universe and the existence of humankind makes this an easy assumption.
Life will follow the same path of evolution humankind has followed. This is a heavily Copernican assumption and implies that DNA-based life is all that exists. No other system of chemical processes has been demonstrated to create life.
The other aspect of this assumption, that evolutionary processes are necessary to promote life, is actually Copernican since it assumes that DNA based life is typical. The limitation on cell size, and thus nucleus size, means there is a finite number of genes possible in any ETI. In a UETI the entire genome has been edited and optimized to include all possible good genes while removing all bad genes.
ETIs are primarily biological in nature or at least are high fidelity whole mind emulations. This assumption is necessary because any other form of intelligence will be impossible to predict until one has been studied. Since it appears the creation of an AI is likely to precede whole mind emulation, this is a non-Earth like and therefore, non-Copernican assumption.
The technologies listed as qualifications for being classified as an UETI, rather than an ETI, are assumed feasible. The justification for feasibility will be presented in the Solution.
The existence of an invisible, to us at least, galactic or universe-wide civilization is assumed. This is the cornerstone assumption of the UETI model.
It is further assumed that there are three levels of human intelligence, see Figure 1. These levels are primarily defined by their ability to communicate with radio signals. The Primitive Intelligence can not communicate by radio signal. The ETI has remote communication by way of radio signals. The UETI has remote communication beyond radio signals with some sort of undetectable technology not known to ETIs.
Ultimate Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. ^
Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence |
Age of species
All ETI models draw heavily on Earth civilization as typical and so for the sake of argument, Earth civilization is sometimes referred to as an ETI rather than as a special case of intelligent life.
This is the primary work in the prediction of ETIs and was done by Fermi and Drake. Rather than projecting Earth civilization into the future they approached the problem from a statistical standpoint. This work was expanded to include the entire universe and shows ETIs to be a virtual certainty in Calculating the Number of ETIs.
After the concluding that there must be other civilizations, Fermi asked “where are they?” He advocated the position that there weren’t other civilizations or Earth would have been contacted by now. Fermi’s mistake was his underlying assumption of anthropomorphism based on current trends in Earth civilization. The desire to explore, contact and conquer are not necessarily part of humankind’s future.
The Great Filter assumes that all ETIs destroy themselves before developing inter-stellar flight. It’s primary contention is that if there were highly developed ETIs they would have contacted Earth or left some evidence of their existence. This theory is too pessimistic. Its assumption of self destruction is rooted more in modern perspectives and problems than in a historical model of rise and fall with incremental progress in civilization.
This model of future development focuses too much on cybernetics. While this will definitely be a part of achieving the ultimate state, it is only a small part. The ultimate state requires complete advancement in society, art and genetics as much as science and technology.
This theory of future humankind speculates that animals and plants will eventually be considered equal to humans. There are clear differences in the brains of humans and animals. The UETI will still have a human brain even in the ultimate state. Plants and animals do not have the sophistication to develop further.
The underlying assumption is that all life, whether natural occurring or seeded, will be DNA-based life. Eventually all life will tend to evolve into a kind of anthropomorphic human and then to the same ultimate state of the UETI.
Accepting the possibility of the ETI seeding the Earth is not an opening for Creationism. The existence of the first ETIs leads to accepting the existence of a natural pathway for life to spontaneously develop on suitable planets.
Three levels of intelligent life are defined as follows.
In the Primitive level there is a raw intelligence within a species of life. However, until the civilization can transmit radio waves it does not meet Drake’s classical definition of an extra-terrestrial civilization or ETI.
In the ETI level there is an established technological civilization. The basic definition of an ETI is that it can communication with radio emissions. Earth civilization is at one end of a continuum of ETI development which at the other end becomes the UETI.
After a sufficient amount of time the ultimate state will be reached. The UETI has all possible technologies. The only question for whether the UETI has a technology is the feasibility of the specific technology. The following technologies are assumed feasible and will serve as a definition of the UETI. Any ETI with all of these technologies will be defined as a UETI.
Extremely long life is not the same as immortality, see Appendix A
Once achieved the ultimate state will always be reached by every individual.
With each level of technology a greater invisibility has and will be obtained
The ultimate state is zero emissions and zero gravitational field
The UETI is completely undetectable whenever it chooses.
Societal Simulation with Individual Member Analysis
The UETI can predict societal trends down to individual behavior through predictive simulation and can thereby exert small corrections early in time. Similar to diverting an asteroid, the earlier a correction is made – the smaller intervention needed.
Remote Molecular Sensing
This is the largest leap in technology assumed feasible and is included because they would be necessary in order for the societal simulation to fully account for every individual’s contributions to a civilization’s direction. It must be done with the UETI’s ability to sense and communicate without radio waves or other emissions.
Faster Than Light Travel
This is necessary to be everywhere in the universe and is therefore part of the ultimate state. The cosmic horizon is expanding faster than the speed of light and the entire universe can not be reached by sub-light-speed travel only.
Action at a Distance
After determining an ETI is on a path undesirable to the UETI this technology is needed to introduce corrections. Small, almost coincidental, efforts could greatly affect a civilization if properly designed. It is used to explain how the ETI behavior of not contacting Earth civilization could be coordinated even without agreement from all of the ETIs.
Answer to the Fermi Paradox
In answer to Fermi’s Paradox, the reason that we have not been contacted by an ETI or UETI is that there is an orchestrated effort to avoid contact. The presence of the UETI allows for and manages this coordination. As Earth civilization advances, more and more precautions to avoid detection could be taken by the UETI. The UETI’s ability to predict the future through simulation means they would never be taken by surprise by new detection technology.
The UETI would have no need for Earth’s resources nor would it be threatened by Earth civilization. It needs nothing from any ETI and literally has technology which could be triggered by the blink of an eye to wipe out any threat. It is above need and fear.
The UETI is any gender, or even genderless, as a matter of choice. All individual ETIs will follow convergent artificial evolution and end with virtually identical genomes. This includes all race variants. Therefore, any individual UETI can be expressed in the same form as any other individual. The UETI can be described as “he”, “she”, “it” or “they”. By now they have merged their memories, minds, personalities and emotions to whatever extent of integration they choose. If the choose to fully merge it would mean every UETI individual will think exactly like every other UETI individual.
The UETI is benevolent to life and the creative processes that lead to sophisticated and intelligent beings. This can be surmised by the UETI’s protecting Earth from contact with any predatory ETIs. While the UETI can be assumed benevolent, other ETIs can not be assumed as such. There are probably some ETIs bent on destruction as demonstrated by Earth civilization’s worst historical tendencies.
Finer Classification of ETIs
ETIs range from Primitive Intelligences to the UETI. AT each level of ETI development a technological capability must be achieved to qualify a civilization as being at a specific Level. Further, each ETI may be benevolent(+), ambivalent or malevolent(-) in its approach to other ETIs. The ambivalent case is akin to a distant benevolence and will not be treated separately. Levels of ETIs can be definevd based on the technological advances that will eventually qualify it as a UETI, as shown in Figure 2.
ETI Level |Technology Acquired |Threat Level
A+ |Primitive intelligence |Threatened by all
A- | |Threatens other PIs on the home planet
B+ |Radio |No threat
B- | |Not a threat to other ETIs due to distance
C+ |Immortality |No threat even with possible contact
C- | |Significant threat without the UETI
D+ |Faster than light travel |No threat because of close alignment to UETI
D- |Faster than light travel |Immediate threat without protection of UETI
E+ |Action at a distance |Proven benevolent or Earth would not exist
The UETI is a E+ level and Earth civilization is a B-. The conclusion that Earth would be malevolent to other ETIs is based on the historically recent subjugation of indigenous humans, or PI, on Earth.
This Solution is intended to answer the Fermi paradox in an optimistic manner and therefore is quite different from the Great Filter solution. The middle answer of no Great Filter and no UETI has been demonstrated unlikely by the lack of documented ETI contact.
The impact of this paper is in answering Fermi’s Paradox with an optimistic bias. It can open the door way to a new mode of crisis management. One where Earth civilization does everything it can to take care of itself while resigned to the idea that not everything is under humankind’s control at this point in time.
The limitations of this approach are obvious. It is so speculative as to border on pseudo-science or religion. The lack of ETI contact means every theory in this field is highly speculative. The religious impacts of the UETI need to be explored in greater depth.
Immortality – Cybernetic vs Biological
With whole mind emulation the brain and brain-body connection are replaced with a computer. To truly copy the human brain and body would require the ability to map every molecule in an individual and then using known biochemical processes to simulate the working of the the living brain and brain-body connection.
This High-Fidelity human intelligence can be predicted based on what is known about current human behavior. Artificial-Intelligence and Low-Fidelity human copies can not be accounted for in this anthropomorphic model.
In biological immortality a living brain and presumably body is kept alive for millennium and can be replaced while retaining an individual’s consciousness. Long term biological life could be attained in many ways but will eventually hit a wall of the brain’s aging and eventually death. What is needed are the same tools as cybernetic life and one more. After mapping the molecules of an individual it could be processed to removed all the defects from aging, cell-by-cell, DNA-by-DNA strand, even molecule-by-molecule. The most important part of the rejuvenation process is to maintain the brain’s neural interconnectivity while rejuvenating the neurons themselves. At this point the molecule map has to be reconstructed into the the real world. Conceptually this would be done by some sort of molecule printer.
One note in particular. Biological immortality requires more steps and therefore will be achieved second. But in the eventual case of biological immortality the brain will be physically unable to hold all of the memories generated. Therefore, a cybernetic component will be needed even in the case of biological immortality.
The technologies discussed in immortality are also useful in other devices. For example, molecule mapping and printing leads to replicators, machines capable of making copies of anything desired.
As part of the biological immortality process two machines are needed. The Rejuvenation machine has already been discussed and is essentially a transporter which carefully edits the molecular patterns between mapping and printing. A second device is need in the case of accidental death. If a copy of an individual is saved that person could be resurrected at their last save point. The individual’s brain development between mapping and death would be lost. Note this would not the case for the UETI. It is defined as being able to remotely scan the brain and therefore could keep an up to date copy of any individual.
Finally, once both forms of immortality are achieved, individuals would be able to transfer in and out of cybernetic reality and biological reality all while maintaining a single stream of consciousness. Ultimately billions or trillions of individuals could be living both in biologic and in cybernetic form.