Fermi's Paradox and the Psychology of Galactic Empires | Matthew O´Dowd | TEDxTUWien

  • Опубликовано: 9 авг 2017
  • We now know that the Galaxy is full of potentially habitable planets. So why do we see no signs that any civilizations have come before us? Matt O'Dowd, astrophysicist and host of PBS Space Time, explains why Fermi's paradox really is so surprising, and he offers a new piece of evidence that may point towards the solution.
    Astrophysicist Matthew O’Dowd spends his time studying the universe, especially really far-away things like Quasars, super-massive black holes and evolving galaxies. He completed his Ph.D. at NASA´s Space Telescope Science Institute, followed by work at the University of Melbourne and Columbia University. Currently he is a professor at the City University of New York´s Lehman College and an Associate at the American Museum of Natural Historys Hayden Planetarium.

    Thumbnail © Nadja Niemiec
    This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at www.ted.com/tedx

Комментарии • 1 329

  • Tobias Sippl instagram.com/tobiassippl

    good job!!! never fall asleep so fast

  • Tidex
    Tidex День назад


  • Réal Morrissette
    Réal Morrissette 10 дней назад

    I believe that the immense distances between stars are an impediment for any would be visitors from another stellar system. If that is not a problem for an advanced intelligent extraterrestrial civilization, then they probably have a non-intervening policy cause they are smart.

  • Arjun
    Arjun 13 дней назад

    Fermi paradox is absurd. We simply don't have enough data to call this a paradox. We tend to want answer NOW! and that is not how all this works. detecting life, let alone intelligent life is going to be a process and I think they best way is to find habitable planets. The Webb telescope should help with that.
    Step 1: Find planets outside the solar system - Done
    Step 2: Find small, rocky planets outside the solar system - Done
    Step 3: Find Earth like planets amongst the small, rocky worlds - In progress
    Step 4: Determine if planets share tell tale signs of civilization/life - Pending

  • Reverse Flash
    Reverse Flash 14 дней назад

    His PBS research and script writing team took the day off.

  • Danie van der Westhuizen
    Danie van der Westhuizen 15 дней назад

    Fermi paradox: We’ve scooped up thousands of cups of water from the ocean, and still no whales. Obviously whales don’t exist or are so rare as to not occur in our galaxy.

  • L Ca
    L Ca 15 дней назад

    The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence

  • John McGlynn
    John McGlynn 15 дней назад

    Life forms may be common, but intelligent life forms may be very rare indeed. After all, it took 4 billion years (that's about 1/3 of all the time the universe has existed) to arrive here, and to a great degree it here is the result of the accumulation of many random chance events in evolution and random environmental selection factors. We are probably very very alone. All the more reason to care for each other and for this world that created us.

  • The Daves I Know
    The Daves I Know 16 дней назад

    Climate change, superbugs, space junk, virtual reality time dilation - all good candidates for a Great Filter. That's if you keep the nukes aside.
    On the cheery side, vast stores of fossil fuels followed by humans are the special thing that other planets might not have. And those that have them are too far apart.

  • lindhacker
    lindhacker 17 дней назад

    The are a couple of glaring falacies in the Talk by Matthew: 1. He assumes that we have the technology to detect an advanced civilisation. We do not fathm what kind of communication is invented in the future... Radiowaves are probably not the future of communication. 2. We make too much noise on earth to detect any signals. We need arays that can cancel earth noise out. Back side of the moon would be a prefered place to have the arays..

  • Charles Darwin
    Charles Darwin 21 день назад

    trappist-1 is 39 lightyears away*

  • J3hudi
    J3hudi 22 дня назад

    maybe artificial intelligence is the great filter, that no civilisation has overcome. technical evolution inevitably leads to this point. a civilisation has to be really clever to stop the development of ai. with advancing technologie the development of artificial intelligence is almost unavoidable. and chances are really good, this is the end of mankind.

  • lifesentence
    lifesentence 23 дня назад

    Howard Hughes was the first private space entrepreneur. People forget about him.

  • Eph Imp
    Eph Imp 24 дня назад

    I can imagine an advanced civilization that has gone full virtual - they build giant computers, they transition into AI that runs on those computers, they create virtual worlds for themselves where they rule like gods. Why bother colonizing some dusty world several light years away when you can be a galactic god in your virtual world?

  • Nihil Sustinet
    Nihil Sustinet Месяц назад

    I think there is plenty of life out there, we just dont have the means to detect it. we are just looking at specs of light from hundreds of millions of years ago in some cases. its really not as much to go on as he implies.

  • Klaus Gartenstiel
    Klaus Gartenstiel Месяц назад

    humans will be disappointed when they learn that their frail biological bodies were never meant for space.

  • Jesse
    Jesse Месяц назад +3

    Matt is being pretty optimistic in assuming we stop pumping greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere and don't set off a runaway greenhouse effect and fry us all

  • toothless tiger
    toothless tiger Месяц назад

    why SETI and goldilock planets hunters are deliberately ignoring available evidence from astronauts air force/airline commercial pilots and reliable ground observers[regular folks] about ET. We are spending hundreds of millions just for some soft radio signal when the proof is right here with us some disclosed some not but truly its very annoying in 2019 that researchers are ignoring compelling facts.

  • Jason Axford
    Jason Axford Месяц назад +1

    We just want there to be alien life so we have something else to compare our penises to. It's true. I watch Rick and Morty.

  • Leo Boss
    Leo Boss Месяц назад

    Absolutely amazing talk.

  • John Smith
    John Smith Месяц назад +1

    a lecture about nothing, basically

  • Lakatos Gergő
    Lakatos Gergő Месяц назад +1

    What an interesting topic, what a dull and boring delivery. Can't even pay attention to it.

  • Kim Welch
    Kim Welch Месяц назад

    Unfortunately, it's more likely the exponential growth of technology that outstrips the capacity of a society to control it that is the final filter. The fact that we are just reaching the knee of the curve is not comforting. Consider when any individual can 3-D print a gun or something even more dangerous. While we all enjoy having all this technology in our own hands, it doesn't make for a stable civilization.

  • Cree Moon
    Cree Moon Месяц назад


  • Tim Sullivan
    Tim Sullivan Месяц назад

    Given the geometric progression of technology, might the electromagnet evidence for any one failed candidate civilization have maybe only a 100-200 yr window for detection? There might be many before or in the future,just none at THE SAME TIME as our ability to detect them before WE ourselves fail.

  • mc2w
    mc2w Месяц назад

    very interesting, well put thoughts. enjoyed it even more than I thought I would.

  • denunci mesmo
    denunci mesmo Месяц назад

    I really like the way he thinks, and if we foment the former, what responsibility, beyond treading our path will we be able to help others develop?

  • Nal Molen
    Nal Molen Месяц назад

    Great speech. It's nice to be optimistic about not being alone, it's just as good or even better to view things realistically, based on available evidence.

  • Seekthetruth3000
    Seekthetruth3000 Месяц назад

    They are already here.😮😮😮😮😮😮😮😮

  • lab rat
    lab rat Месяц назад

    Fantastic, I am finally on a team that's in first place

  • Mike Treker
    Mike Treker Месяц назад

    It will be a few dedicated individuals with some science background, working out of a garage, that will discover ET life. It will not be Scientists. Science even though it is objective, has made up it's mind on this subject. A few other points:
    * There are more suns than there are grains of sand on all the beaches on earth. Statistically in is immensely improbable that humanity is alone. Do the math!
    * Advanced Civilizations may have decided to avoid predator/parasite civilizations.

  • Felipe Abrigo
    Felipe Abrigo Месяц назад

    LOL "Borg Space" xD

  • sean soblixe
    sean soblixe Месяц назад

    we chose to go into space because of competition...good or bad

  • CMatY29
    CMatY29 Месяц назад

    I think the filter is Artificial Intelligence ( not allowing it to obliterate us )

  • Tom Saxton
    Tom Saxton Месяц назад

    what are the chances of an Alien. civilization evolving at the same time.10000 years is a blink of the eye. Crossing time paths is also highly unlikely.For example our radio waves are only 150 Years old.Not much space has been covered in cosmic terms.But then again possibly aliens are here now.If so we are being observed with a species or several species that have chosen not to communicate with us.Possibly if we find out why these aliens have chosen not to communicate and enlightened us in the process it will give us a clue to why we kill each other for little or no reason.They may be afraid of us.I would be.

  • Dustin P
    Dustin P 2 месяца назад

    How common are pathocracies

  • mahmoh
    mahmoh 2 месяца назад

    He needs a sip of water :-)

  • JCAH1
    JCAH1 2 месяца назад

    I wish he would have talked more about things that delayed advanced life forms from appearing on Earth. For example, cyanobacteria slowly transformed Earth's atmosphere to contain a significant Oxygen content over a 2.5 billion year period (going from memory). Advanced life forms require Oxygen, because photosynthesis and other bio-energy producing mechanisms can't produce energy fast enough to support advanced life. And before that, planetary tides from the newly formed Moon tore the heck out of the Earth for countless eons (the early Moon started out orbiting only 2 diameters away from the Earth; now it is 30 diameters away). So, if early conditions had been different, the Earth could have hosted advanced life forms billions of years earlier than it eventually did. This should be kept in mind when estimating the probability of intelligent life forms in our galaxy. The second thing I wish he would have covered, is that we can not know what the next quantum leaps in theoretical physics will be, but we can be absolutely certain that they will occur. In the past, nobody predicted the steam engine, the internal combustion engine or the turbine engine, and the many ways that they would revolutionize the world. Similarly, nobody predicted the various antibiotics and their planetary impact. Nobody predicted nuclear weapons or nuclear power, and nobody predicted supercomputers or instant, planet-wide communications. Despite nobody "knowing" about them in advance, they all happened, as did much, much more. Despite this history, at any given point in time the average person is pretty certain that no more quantum leaps can possibly occur. OF COURSE they will. They might include artificial gravity, super-luminal travel, inter-dimensional travel, time travel, or who knows what else. Science fiction writers have been the best at guessing future technologies, such as inertial dampening, tachyon communication technology, etc. The third thing I wish he would have covered, is that there are hundreds (thousands?) of old Top Secret internal military memos that have been uncovered via the Freedom of Information Act, that openly discuss tracking UFO's, analyzing UFO's, occasionally attacking UFO's, occasionally recovering UFO's, and dealing with intelligent aliens face to face. Most of these old memos were written before the Freedom of Information Act existed, so the Colonels and Generals who wrote them and the Colonels and Generals who read them, never thought the memos would be available to the general public, so they felt free to speak openly. If intelligent aliens have been visiting Earth, it has to been enabled by super-luminal travel, inter-dimensional travel, and/or time travel. The distances between the stars are just too vast for any other explanation. How could they store enough food, air, and fuel for a 5000 year long trip? What if there were any mechanical failures when they were centuries or millennia away from any planet? Who would volunteer for such a trip? Would their great, great, great...……..great grandchildren even remember what the original mission was, or even care? Based on their behavior on Earth, it is clear that none of the alien visitors want to deal openly with, or even be seen by, everyday Joes. The only explanation I can think of for all of the CETI radio dishes being silent so far, is that the various alien civilizations long ago abandoned using radio as their communication technology, because it is impossibly slow for traversing the vast distances between the stars. Nearly all space-themed science fiction books and TV series have a super-luminal communication technology of some kind. Perhaps some civilizations that are hundreds to millions of years older than mankind, have actually developed it. After all, look at how incredibly far we have advanced in just 100 years.

  • Armen Berberyan
    Armen Berberyan 2 месяца назад

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  • Eric P
    Eric P 2 месяца назад

    We can’t rule out that we are the most intelligent life in the universe (so far). The odds of a life-sustaining planet are infinitesimal; the odds of one of those lifeforms will evolve to be spacefaring is even slimmer.

  • Danny Harris
    Danny Harris 2 месяца назад

    cant watch this whole thing with this dudes mouth sounding like he is chewing on a plastic paper. Drink some god damned water for christ's sake

  • TurnTimeTable
    TurnTimeTable 2 месяца назад

    Why is my mildly critical comment supporting the presence of UFO's now well BELOW older comments that are not critical of the talk?

  • Mike Plummer
    Mike Plummer 2 месяца назад

    Does anyone consider that evolution is still a theory.

  • Mike Plummer
    Mike Plummer 2 месяца назад

    This guy has been greatly indoctrinated by Academia.

  • paul bowman
    paul bowman 2 месяца назад

    Part of the fermi equation shows the possible amount of planets , but they forgot to add to the equation possible amount of life bearing moons , which i guess must add to trillions , many of them moons are planet sized themselves

  • Alvaro Alvs
    Alvaro Alvs 2 месяца назад

    Even with many filters, we are not the first, maybe we came late.

  • Douglas Sourbeer
    Douglas Sourbeer 2 месяца назад

    He wants to be an entertainer, yet he is incredibly boring. An interesting subject and he kills it.

  • Carl CIFER
    Carl CIFER 2 месяца назад

    01010100 01001000 01001001 01010011 00100000 01001001 01010011 00100000 01001110 01001111 01010100 00100000 01000001 00100000 01010100 01000101 01010011 0101010001010100 01001000 01001001 01010011 00100000 01001001 01010011 00100000 01001110 01001111 01010100 00100000 01000001 00100000 01010100 01000101 01010011 01010100 The closer you are, the often you fight and try to destroy yourselves. Source: YOUR goddamn planet. 01010100 01001000 01001001 01010011 00100000 01001001 01010011 00100000 01001110 01001111 01010100 00100000 01000001 00100000 01010100 01000101 01010011 0101010001010100 01001000 01001001 01010011 00100000 01001001 01010011 00100000 01001110 01001111 01010100 00100000 01000001 00100000 01010100 01000101 01010011 01010100

  • india atkin
    india atkin 2 месяца назад

    goofs: 4:53 trappist 1 is actually 39-ish lightyears away...

  • TheFallenScathed
    TheFallenScathed 2 месяца назад

    What if the reason we haven't found other life is because other life wasn't built into the simulation?

  • Ricky Hand
    Ricky Hand 2 месяца назад

    drink some water mate

  • Starichigo
    Starichigo 2 месяца назад

    Maybe we can't see alien life in other planets because, just as the light from the stars we see today is of already dead stars so long ago, we look at planets and see what was there long ago

  • Francis Vachon
    Francis Vachon 3 месяца назад +1

    This is an insanely good talk.

  • Valeryan B Suto
    Valeryan B Suto 3 месяца назад

    Commander Shepard knows the answer to the Fermi`s Paradox...Reapers.

  • Larry Peacock
    Larry Peacock 3 месяца назад

    can we do better with the mics? every ted video i can hear the congealed saliva in their mouths. at least give em a drink!

  • Bandofmodernbrothers
    Bandofmodernbrothers 3 месяца назад

    Matt only just seen this video on RU-clip, please keep up the good work and I hope to see more of you on here.

  • Kyle Campbell
    Kyle Campbell 3 месяца назад

    The last statement reminded me strongly of Daniel Quinn's Ishmael.
    They came to the same conclusion it seems

  • nosuchthingasshould
    nosuchthingasshould 3 месяца назад


  • supahacka
    supahacka 3 месяца назад

    Fermi's paradox is no paradox at all ... it only seems like one for people who don't understand the nature of consciousness and the purpose of our existence within this virtual physical universe. Read "My Big Theory of Everything" by Tom Campbell on Google Books for free and you will understand how Fermi's paradox isn't a paradox at all.

  • Timothy
    Timothy 3 месяца назад

    Maybe other civilizations determined it was not smart to advertise your position.

  • helium73
    helium73 3 месяца назад

    There are several explanations: Prime Directive, They realize the danger of contacting other civilizations. A combination of the two where they are discouraged from sending beacons due to the fear of violent civilizations by a more advanced federation. Just the belief there is no one out there could manage to keep us from leaving and an earth that stays at home makes the universe a much safer place. What is the reason for the prime directive? To allow civilizations to progress normally or to control which ones enter space thus avoiding the mistake of allowing the Klingons to enter space.

  • dsakldlkada
    dsakldlkada 3 месяца назад

    Mediocre talk. Watching Arthur Isaac instead

  • Redshift
    Redshift 3 месяца назад

    So we assume we haven't been visited by any form of intelligent life? I think that assumption is where one would fall short.

  • Rune
    Rune 3 месяца назад

    He has big head 🐥

  • Gangerolf
    Gangerolf 3 месяца назад

    IF its so easy for life to start. why havnt we created life in the lab? exactly.. thats cus it ISNT that effin easy u moron

  • ritsukasa
    ritsukasa 3 месяца назад

    intelligent life was a mistake.

  • pirizzo
    pirizzo 4 месяца назад

    I just find it hard to believe that we are the first intelligent species that could colonize the galaxy, but even if that were the case, it's virtually impossible for me to believe that out of all the billions of galaxies that we are the only ones in the universe. In my mind, it's more reasonable to believe that once a civilization obtains ultra conscious status, it disappears from the physical world, at least from the perspective of a species in our position.

  • Aurav Walden
    Aurav Walden 4 месяца назад

    speculations, speculations..... some people have a lot of time!

  • georgina cowling
    georgina cowling 4 месяца назад

    he didnt even talk about the scary part though, what if everyone is being quiet like a squirrel in an owls forest?

  • Mark Furst
    Mark Furst 4 месяца назад

    I think that the only way to get past the elbow is to become an actual two-planet civilization to the point that this second colonized planet has a self-sustaining population. This would require sending enough resources (mainly, people/genetic variety) to that other planet. Perhaps this is the hurdle that is the most difficult to surmount with the home planet destroying itself before being able to properly colonize another planet.

  • Joerg Staude
    Joerg Staude 4 месяца назад

    What do you need a galactic empire for, when you are the galaxy?

  • sycias73
    sycias73 4 месяца назад

    Nice boots. Where can I get them?

  • Sean O'Neill
    Sean O'Neill 4 месяца назад

    Where is everybody?

  • JedStream
    JedStream 4 месяца назад +1

    What if the other galactic empires are in hiding, keeping their 'heads down', so they don't draw the attention of something other. Meanwhile we are loudly broadcasting our presence to all!

  • Bill
    Bill 4 месяца назад

    "We haven't seen any aliens" Eat more magic mushrooms bro. We are not alone.

  • Google User
    Google User 4 месяца назад

    Here's the thing. If any species was advanced enough to use electromagnetic energy to communicate, even if their star exploded the EM waves they used to communicate would still be radiating throughout the universe. Of the unfathomable number of stars that have been around long enough for their light to reach us, none of them have been found to be a source of any sort of sign of intelligent communication. Same for supernovae, if the evidence of their explosions has reached us, so should any evidence of advanced communication technology that may have existed before they exploded. We're it, for as far back as we can see, which is the entire age of the known universe. The only exception would be if every other advanced intelligent life in the universe is so young that their EM waves haven't reached us yet. Obviously it's evident that such intelligence is very unlikely in the universe. And that's just intelligent life. With our technology and understanding of the science of basic life, and our presumption to know what sort of conditions and chemical building blocks are required for life to "start from scratch," we are still unable to make life. If we can't do it on purpose by now, I'd say it's so highly improbable to occur by chance that it's very good evidence that life does not exist anywhere else.

  • joe gallo
    joe gallo 4 месяца назад

    "ramblings of a madman"

  • Yabba Dabba
    Yabba Dabba 4 месяца назад

    Go look at the night sky. Study it for days. You'd be surprised what you can learn all by your little SELF.

  • Yabba Dabba
    Yabba Dabba 4 месяца назад

    Every single star in the sky is an alien spaceship. I would highly call that rare.

  • Yabba Dabba
    Yabba Dabba 4 месяца назад

    His name should be Matthew O'Dumb.

  • Yabba Dabba
    Yabba Dabba 4 месяца назад

    Liars aren't going to make it into the future. That's one thing I can promise.

  • Yabba Dabba
    Yabba Dabba 4 месяца назад

    I've been out in the desert at night on a clear night. Never once saw a cloud like structure that was supposed to represent a galaxy.

  • Yabba Dabba
    Yabba Dabba 4 месяца назад

    TED TV, Leprechauns are probably real too.

  • WhiteLion
    WhiteLion 4 месяца назад

    If WE became a super-civilization, why would we care that there might be another civilization MORE or LESS civilized. Who cares, and who needs to expend the resources to find out? Instead, we should solve the mass extinction potentialities of our own galaxy, not try to find someone else and get embroiled in a lesser civilizations extinction problems or use them like our ancestors and colonize them.
    THIS undoubtedly is the mindset of any advanced civilization -- because they have NOT made themselves known to us.
    Why would they want to usurp our unique evolutionary growth curve and force our consciousness upon themselves? Only a subspecies would have such a low opinion of themselves that they would seek to find another. Advanced civilizations are quiet and don't reach out because they are more intelligent and more civilized than us, and knowing about them would only panic us or embolden us to do something foolish.
    Think of all the civilizations of our own species that have been destroyed by the "discovery" nations. Who in their right mind would search for or respond to the possibility of life out there that could be deadly to their lives?
    We are not worthy beings as a whole, and when we are worthy we will not consider it a worthy consideration, and we will not communicate. We would harness the natural resources of nearby moons or the meteors of the ORT cloud.

  • Crypto Gypsy
    Crypto Gypsy 4 месяца назад

    this frequency of manifested light energy is all we can handle, the others would be madness to us, AI will not encounter this issue.

  • Dave Conrad
    Dave Conrad 4 месяца назад

    woah he sounds pretty convinced its an alien megastructure, that's what my fruedian rader is screaming

    • Dave Conrad
      Dave Conrad 4 месяца назад

      did we think we could wipe out the natives and there would be blowback repercussions? we should have worried about the implications...

    I AM ANTI UTOPIAN IDEAS 4 месяца назад

    yall are daft. physics is a reflection illness for idiots like Einstein. I AM a blackhole son of the the living Void. 0. thats game. A game got no game

      I AM ANTI UTOPIAN IDEAS 4 месяца назад

      i bend time in a circle and all kinda other drugged out 9th grade dropout stuff. here catch. thats you "no no no he doesnt."

  • Voltaire Gaming
    Voltaire Gaming 4 месяца назад

    Understanding is the final frontier.

    Rocky MCMXXLIII 4 месяца назад

    Self replicating spaceships that populate the galaxy sounds a bit far fetched though. Only giant space ships with massive rocket boosters could travel fast enough. To replicate on that scale would take a lot of resources including landing on planets to mine the materials and then assemble them as complex spaceships. How long would it take? And then the actual desire for space nomads to travel at near light speeds after a long search for earthlike planets. As well as outbreaks of foreign viruses and diseases and constant farming sources and shelf space to create food. Nevermind the constant hunt for oxygen sources and build up of pollutants inside spaceships. Once you begin to break it down it would appear not an easy venture to traverse the universe at will.

  • Katie Kat
    Katie Kat 4 месяца назад

    So boring and hate the way he talks

  • The Merchandise
    The Merchandise 4 месяца назад

    We just have to wait of the arrival of The Traveller yo.

  • NNEKA A.
    NNEKA A. 4 месяца назад

    Protect the earth u live in .. u don’t plan B people

  • Rasmus Andersen
    Rasmus Andersen 4 месяца назад

    We need to bring dogs.

  • Cory Howard
    Cory Howard 4 месяца назад

    Have a glass of water for fucks sake. i can hear his mouth and it enrages me.

  • jim stv
    jim stv 4 месяца назад

    Guys just listen we can't see them and they can't see us its simple.Remember that is one thing that can't let us to see the alliens and what is that? TIME.
    Yeap time is the answer cause let me explain something,we have 2018 but the alliens if they look on earth they will see just a planet empty or with dinosaurs maybe but they can't see us now cause we are many thousands or millions or billions light years away of distance so its very obvious that they see earths past and we see them in the past

  • Brian Finnegan
    Brian Finnegan 4 месяца назад

    but the Earth is 6000 years old

  • iera
    iera 4 месяца назад +2

    Advanced species would have quarantined us

  • Chris pippin
    Chris pippin 4 месяца назад

    Awesome speech

  • Howard White
    Howard White 4 месяца назад

    we have no means of detecting a civilization in our galaxy operating at a level close to ours.
    we would need a civilization far advanced of us, deliberately trying to communicate with us, to have a chance of receiving them...
    and we have not even mentioned timing...
    our ability to detect any signal has only existed for a few generations, not that anyone was paying attention for most of that time...

    most of what he is talking about was in the realm of sci-fi in the fifties, not yet even a hundred years ago...

  • OldTimeGamerChannel
    OldTimeGamerChannel 4 месяца назад

    There might be a lot of planets with life on it. But what if simply that life is just not intelligent. What if all those planets are just full of Elephants and fish? Or if there was an intelligent life what if they just choose to NOT to go to space?