SETI and Sanity
What are the chances for Breakthrough Listen?
On 20 July 2015, Russian entrepreneur, venture capitalist and physicist Yuri Milner announced that he was putting $100 million over ten years into the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) in the form of two initiatives: Breakthrough Listen and Breakthrough Message.
With such a major injection of funding, SETI science will receive a tremendous boost. People the world over will be inspired to look up at the skies, and those elusive beacons announcing the presence of ET will surely soon be found. What’s not to like?
Agreed: any project which spreads public awareness that humans are a very small part of an overwhelmingly vast universe is to be applauded. We need that perspective when addressing mundane problems on Earth, if those problems are not to overwhelm us.
But what about the specific search for beacons or signals from alien civilisations which are aimed at attracting our attention? Is it in fact reasonable to expect any to exist?