Shostak, Seth SETI Institute, Mountain View, California.
Last reviewed:January 2019
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- Scientific rationale
- Search schemes
- Drake equation
- Fermi paradox
- Consequences of discovery
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Postulated entities beyond Earth with a level of intelligence and comprehension at least equal to that of present-day humans. Whether alien life—and especially intelligent alien life—exists is one of the profoundest mysteries in science. Extraterrestrial intelligence is usually envisioned as an advanced civilization, populated by creatures that evolved via Darwinian evolution on a planet vaguely similar to Earth. However, extraterrestrial intelligence could conceivably be artificial in nature, having been initially created by biological beings. The search for extraterrestrial intelligence is a subset of astrobiology, which encompasses all aspects of the existence of, and search for, extraterrestrial life. Considerations of technology, engineering, and the limits of physics also figure prominently in the efforts to detect evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence (Fig. 1). See also: Artificial intelligence; Astrobiology; Organic evolution
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