Introduction: Should We Search for Extraterrestrial Life? (06:07)
Moderator John Donvan outlines the topic and introduces panelists. Jill Tarter and Paul Sutter state their positions.
Resource Allocation (06:22)
Sutter questions opportunity cost and potential harm. Wealthy individuals provide funding at approximately $10 million a year; current technology provides astrophysical data, not data on engineered phenomena.
Are We Alone? (06:26)
What have we learned so far in the search for extraterrestrial life? A small hot tub compared to all the Earth's oceans represents the amount of space volume scientists have searched. Sutter believes that volume is a detriment.
Technology Advancement (03:45)
Tarter believes we will develop new ways of explaining properties of the physical universe, resulting in a better understanding of what is non-physical. She discusses recognizing when a search is fruitless.
Appearance of Life (08:49)
Sutter believes that searching for the appearance of regular life on surfaces other than the Earth's is a more promising avenue than searching for intelligent life. Tarter asks, how far away can that be found?
Space and Technosignatures (04:58)
Searching for any kind of life increases the odds of success; Sutter cites an incident involving the light curve of a star. Donvan questions distance and civilization longevity; the longevity of the technology is important.
Planetary Options (07:55)
The distance between stars and the energy to travel among them is so vast that the ability to reach a habitable world is beyond reasonable projections of technological progress. Laboratory synthetic biology may allow us to imagine life in a new way. Sutter argues for constraint.
Unambiguous Signal (05:22)
Detecting evidence of extraterrestrial technology will change self-perception, philosophy, and possibly some religions. We need to decide what to do with limited resources. Donvan thanks panelists.
Intelligence Squared (01:35)
Donvan thanks listeners, encourages continued funding of the program, and cites the names of key individuals. IQ2 works to combat extreme polarization through civil discourse.
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