Why We Should NOT Look For Aliens – The Dark Forest

Why We Should NOT Look For Aliens – The Dark Forest

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The Universe is incredibly big and seems full of potential for life, with billions of habitable planets. If an advanced civilization had the technology to travel between the stars, at just 0.1% of the speed of light, It could colonize our galaxy in roughly 100 million years. Which is not that long given the billions of years the milky way has existed – so in principle any spacefaring civilization should be able to spread rapidly over huge sectors of the galaxy. And yet we see nothing, hear nothing, the universe seems empty. Devoid of others. This is the Fermi Paradox, which we have discussed in more detail in other videos.

Confronted with the seemingly empty universe, humanity faces a dilemma. We desperately want to know if we are alone in the Milky Way. We want to call out and reveal ourselves to anyone watching but that could be the last thing we ever do. Because maybe the universe is not empty. Maybe it’s full of civilizations but they are hiding from each other. Maybe the civilizations that attracted attention in the past were wiped away by invisible arrows. This is the Dark Forest solution to the Fermi paradox.

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42 Responses

  1. Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell says:

    If this video made you curious and you like reading great and long sci fi books, check out the three body problem by Liu Cixin, who formulated the dark forest idea for the first time. And with that, we say good bye to the year 12,021. It truly was a wild time, and passed so, so quickly. For us at the Kurzgesagt team it was full of changes and achievements and we learned so much and tried so many new things. And we have so many exciting ideas and projects that we can’t wait to share with you next year! I know I say this often but doing Kurzgesagt really is just such a joy. We only can do this because of you, so thank you so, so much. We appreciate it more than you might imagine. Have wonderful holidays and get safely into the year 12,022. We’ll see you on the other side! – Philipp
    PS: And if you want to help us do what we do, check out our store with sciency products made with love: https://kgs.link/shop

    • José Colón says:

      Pleasssse make a book about the Fermi Paradox, I’ll buy it too! My hole family is so hooked with your Immune book that I had to buy a second!!!

    • FairyRat says:

      Blindsight by Peter Watts and Gateway by Frederik Pohl are also great “dark forest” series.

    • Arthur Kimes says:

      “check out the three body problem by Liu Cixin, who formulated the dark forest idea for the first time. ”
      “The Killing Star”:

    • Jackarriss says:

      Love your videos, it’s really entertaining and enducating 👍

    • Caz.B_ says:

      The Three Body Problem trilogy is one of the best sci-fi series ever and you should definitely read it! The Dark Forest Theory comes from the second book. The novel is literally life-changing and you won’t regret reading it.

  2. Scouthedog1 Animations says:

    I feel like the Hunter in the technological forest could spin-off to its own Internet show.
    I’d watch that

  3. Animagician says:

    the art style in this video is perhaps my favourite of any kurzgesagt video so far. the way you guys have animated, portrayed, and narrated (!) aliens is stunning and thought provoking – kudos!

  4. Daniel Piamonte says:

    I feel as they explored technological ways to attack civilizations, its logical to think there would be deffense sytems as impresive if not more to be safe from retativistic weapons… or are we humans and possibly aliens just better at destroying than at preserving? Love the video!

    • TheLaubum says:

      @Hey, Taxi! So instead of hitting the planets they blow up the star. You can always imagine a more advanced civ with better methods for complete destruction.

    • Tommaso Ludovici says:

      @Thalassaer I don’t know if you’ve read the books or not, but creating black holes is essentially the only “solution” to the Dark Forest Liu Cixin suggests in his trilogy.

      Basically, if you could somehow limit the speed of light in a region of space, say for example your solar system, to anything just below the escape velocity, then you’ve essentially transformed that region into the inside of a black hole. This means two things:
      1. You’ve essentially waived the only true white flag in the universe, because if your civilization is encapsulated in a black hole nothing you could ever create could ever be sent outside of it again, so you literally cannot “fire” against other civilizations.

      2. Once you pass the event horizon of a black hole you cannot escape, however, you also will never reach the black hole. Because of space-time warping, the closer you get to the black hole the more time slows down, so it takes you an infinite time to get from outside a black hole to its surface. This means that if any other civilization were to fire at your black hole-d solar system, whatever they throw at you will take an infinite time to hit you, so you’re safe from any external attack for eternity.

      Basically the author says that closing your entire civilization in a black hole is the only universal and honest way of saying “I come in peace”, but the obvious downside is that you’re limiting your entire species to a tiny region of space for eternity, and that you’re essentially reverting yourself to something even worse than stone age, because such a slower speed of light also means much less energy available.

    • Hey, Taxi! says:

      @TheLaubum…. Shit.

    • Jared Lapierre says:

      @phantom walker hey numb one, there’s no aliens on earth. that’s fake as hell

    • 暗知能 says:

      @Michael Pitts You find its exact trajectory, and launch a missile (or shoot a high-powered laser) towards it in order to prematurely detonate it.
      Though of course this would require absurdly precise calculations which we are not capable of making with our current technology.

  5. MMT-Games says:

    You can see that they tried something diffirent in this video, animation, the way narrator talks and the sound design. They are all in a diffirent style of Kurzgesagt and personally, i like it very much. Kurzgesagt is still and probably will stay as my favorite channel ever.

  6. Pedro Augusto Ferraz Sampaio says:

    I thought it was impossible to love even more the art style of this channel, and I was wrong! I don’t even know what has changed. Why is this video so delightful?

  7. Evo says:

    Thank you, you’ve helped me get through these last 2 years. I lost the closest to me person, and gone through a very painful breakup. Thanks to you I find myself learning, researching and having fun through science. I deeply appreciate that, hope you have a wonderful 12 022 and keep up with the amazing content.

  8. KoutetsuSteel says:

    Oh look, another beautifully illustrated/narrated Kurzgesagt video to give me existential nightmares 😀

  9. KoutetsuSteel says:

    I mentioned it last time as well, but holy heck do I want to play a simulation/strategy game that has the art/design team from Kurzgesagt.
    Especially after the strategy game-esque animations we were shown in the middle of the video.

  10. Pepper says:

    This reminds me of The First Contact War in the Mass Effect series. Effectively, Humans began colonizing other planets around the galaxy until the Turians found them and attacked them on site, simply because the humans activated a Mass Relay they weren’t supposed to activate. This escalated into full on war until the Citadel Council negotiated a peace treaty between the Turians and Humans a couple months later. 💚💚💚

    It was all down to a misunderstanding. The Turians were just doing their jobs of acting as the police and enforcing Council laws, but the Humans, who at this time didn’t even know the Council existed, thought that this alien species meant to wipe them out.

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