NASA astronaut Nicole Stott has yet to meet an alien, but that doesn’t mean she’s never pondered their existence. Alien life has been a mainstay and fascination of science fiction, but who–or what–might actually be out there: biological life, artificial intelligence, or some combination of both? It took only 200,000 years—a blip on the cosmic timeline—for the first sparks of intelligent life to invent artificial intelligence here on Earth. And since space is big, and life is short—at least biological life as we know it—it may be that chatter on the cosmic airwaves is dominated by a spectacular spectrum of A. I. Join Lisa Kaltenegger, Caleb Scharf, Susan Schneider, and Sara Walker to wrestle with the subject of how life down here might be a thoroughly misleading guide to life up there.
The Big Ideas Series is supported in part by the John Templeton Foundation.