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Using Game Theory to search for Intelligent Extraterrestrial Life

The search for extraterrestrial life has been a hot topic for some time now in astronomy. However, recently many researchers have been negative that there are other intelligent life that we would have the ability to communicate with. This arises because it seems less and less likely that our own galaxy contains intelligent life. The caveat is that we may be able to detect life outside the Milky Way but not necessarily communicate with them. One of the possible ways to detect this life is by looking at incoming data from the merger of two neutron stars. This is because it is possible that an intelligent lifeform has learned how to use this merger to send radio signals across large distances. This would involve knowing the exact moment this merger was going to happen and making sure that the data that was supposed to be transmitted was at the right place at the right time. With the recent detection of gravitational waves which were evidently created by the merger of two neutron stars it is realistic that we can then find any radio signals that may be traveling along with the light waves of the interaction. The setbacks associated with this are that the chance that a civilization is around at the right moment to be able to utilize this technique is very slim given the overall short lifespan of civilization in the grand scheme of the universe. The other setback it that civilizations  may not try to be open about announcing their existence if they were worried about other civilizations  attacking them.

This article relates to the course when discussing where the signal will exactly be sent by the galactic civilization. The article mentions how the timing and direction of the transmissions would be determined by using methods from Game Theory, namely the Schelling Point which involves a solution that people find natural in the absence of communication. As a result, these civilizations may notice how the neutron star merger will be the best way to send their signal since it is a natural amplifier. If this facet of game theory holds than continued observation of signals from merging neutron stars may prove to be fruitful in discovering intelligent extraterrestrial life. However, even if we are able to detect it, as stated above, it will be very difficult to communicate back with them because their signal will have taken a very long time to reach us and by the time we may be able to send something in return they may no longer exist for some reason.


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