Water/Hycean Worlds & Oceanography

A Bayesian Analysis of Technological Intelligence In Land And Oceans

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
July 10, 2023
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A Bayesian Analysis of Technological Intelligence In Land And Oceans
The probability P(L|TI) for TIs corresponding to LBHs as a function of the emergence rate of TIs in LBHs (units of Gyr−1 ). The vertical line is an estimate of the median value of this rate, based on the data from Earth — astro-ph.EP

Current research indicates that (sub)surface ocean worlds essentially devoid of subaerial landmasses (e.g., continents) are common in the Milky Way, and that these worlds could host habitable conditions, thence raising the possibility that life and technological intelligence (TI) may arise in such aquatic settings.

It is known, however, that TI on Earth (i.e., humans) arose on land. Motivated by these considerations, we present a Bayesian framework to assess the prospects for the emergence of TIs in land- and ocean-based habitats (LBHs and OBHs). If all factors are equally conducive for TIs to arise in LBHs and OBHs, we demonstrate that the evolution of TIs in LBHs (which includes humans) might have very low odds of roughly 1-in-103 to 1-in-104, thus outwardly contradicting the Copernican Principle.

Hence, we elucidate three avenues whereby the Copernican Principle can be preserved: (i) the emergence rate of TIs is much lower in OBHs, (ii) the habitability interval for TIs is much shorter in OBHs, and (iii) only a small fraction of worlds with OBHs comprise appropriate conditions for effectuating TIs. We also briefly discuss methods for empirically falsifying our predictions, and comment on the feasibility of supporting TIs in aerial environments.

Manasvi Lingam, Amedeo Balbi, Swadesh M. Mahajan

Comments: 23 pages, 4 figures. Published in ApJ, March 2, 2023
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM)
Cite as: arXiv:2305.05989 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2305.05989v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
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Journal reference: The Astrophysical Journal, 945, 23 (2023)
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Submission history
From: Amedeo Balbi
[v1] Wed, 10 May 2023 08:54:24 UTC (322 KB)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻