Last week, NASA announced that they found 7 Earth-like planets just 39 light years away, with 3 of them in the goldilocks zone. This could probably be the most exciting news of 2017 (non-work related).
The chance of meeting another civilization in the universe that happens to be in the right timeframe between the beginning and the extinction is pretty slim, but if we were to meet another, this could be both exciting and terrifying. Considering how much human civilization advanced within the past century or so, it’s hard to imagine where we will be in 100 years from now. This kind of advancement are almost always non-linear in nature. Where will we be in 1,000 years? 10,000?
Of course, from cosmic scale, a mere 1,000 years is a minuscule slice of time, so if we were to bump into another civilization, the chance of them being at the same level of technology to ours is slim to none. They could easily be 10,000 years ahead or behind our civilization. But even with them having a lagging technological development, their physical and mental capability may have gone through an extra million year of evolution far surpassing the human race.
On top of that, if there are numerous civilizations that we will encounter throughout the lifespan of our kind, the chance of meeting a few that are far more advanced than us is going to be pretty high. We look at a couple of generations ago and laugh at the times when we still rode horses, died frequently at sea, still couldn’t fly, had slow-loading guns that fired 1 shot every 10 seconds. An alien life that looks at us from 10,000 years ahead of where we are today, we would seem archaic from their perspective.
This is both very exciting and terrifying.