A SETI physicist predicts that humans will encounter aliens by 2036

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The year is 2036, and the veil between humanity and a technologically advanced extraterrestrial society is destined to thin, or so says the prophecy of astronomer Seth Shostak from the renowned SETI Institute.

His vision is not cast in the shadows of mere speculation but takes root in the relentless march of computational power, a force that doubles its might every few years. As the computational behemoth continues to grow, so does our ability to penetrate the cosmic enigma.

“Considerable computing resources are the key to deciphering the cryptic messages whispered across the cosmos,” Shostak declares. With the rise of machines, the pace of analysis quickens, and the veil between worlds becomes thinner.

By 2036, our computers will have evolved into interstellar detectives, deciphering the cryptic signals that herald the presence of distant civilizations.

Technosignatures, those esoteric imprints of advanced technological endeavors, will serve as our cosmic breadcrumb trail. Among these, radio transmissions are the most familiar, a quest pursued by SETI researchers over the span of decades. Yet, the galaxy’s secrets are boundless, with countless more cryptic signs awaiting our decryption.

Laser emissions, possibly used for optical communications or as enigmatic propulsion systems, await discovery. Megastructures, long theorized, stand as silent witnesses to their creators, their shadows cast upon the mysteries of cosmic dimming, such as the enigma of Tabby’s Star. And then there are the atmospheric riddles, a cocktail of carbon dioxide, methane, CFCs, and other earthly concoctions, lurking amidst the cosmic abyss.

To unveil these cosmic enigmas, millions of star systems must be meticulously combed through. The astronomer’s words echo in the cosmic silence, reminding us that even if we decipher the cosmic cipher, it is no guarantee that we shall commune with those who inscribed it.

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