Imagine NASA announced today
that they found aliens. Bacteria on Mars, weird alien fish
in the oceans of Europa, and also ancient alien ruins on Titan. Wouldn’t that be great? Well, no. It would be horrible news, devastating even. It could mean that the end of humanity
is almost certain and that it might be coming soon. Why? Why would the most exciting
discovery of our lifetime be bad? Let us imagine the development of life, from its inception to us today, as a flight of stairs. The first step is dead chemistry
that needs to assemble itself into self-replicating patterns,
stable and resilient, but also able to change and evolve. The second step is for our early life to
become more complex, able to build more complicated structures, and use the available energy
much more efficiently. On the next step, these cells combine
to become multicellular beings, enabling unbelievable variety
and further complexity. The step above sees the species
evolve big brains, enabling the use of tools, culture
and shared knowledge, which creates even higher complexity. The species can now become the
dominant lifeform on its planet, and change it according to its needs. First shy attempts to leave its
planet are happening. This is where we are now. It’s in the nature of life as we know it to reach out, to cover every
niche it can. And since planets have a limited
carrying capacity and lifespan, if a species wants to survive, it will look for more places
to spread to. So the steps above the current
ones seem logical: colonize your own solar system, then spread further to reach
other stars, to the possible final step:
becoming a galaxy-wide civilization. It’s very likely that this is a universal
principle for civilizations, no matter where they’re from. If a species is competitive and driven
enough to take control over its planet, they’ll probably not stop there. We know that there are up to 500 billion
planets in the Milky Way, at least 10 billion Earth-like planets. Many have been around billions
of years longer than Earth. But we’re observing zero
galactic civilizations. We should be able to see something… …but there’s nothing. Space seems
to be empty and dead. This means something is preventing living
things from climbing the staircase, beyond the step we’re on right now. …Something that makes becoming
a galactic civilization extremely hard, maybe impossible. This is the Great Filter. …A challenge or danger so
hard to overcome, that it eliminates almost every
species that encounters it. There are two scenarios: One means we are incredibly
special and lucky, the other one means we are doomed
and practically already dead. It depends on where the filter
is on our staircase: behind, or ahead of us? Scenario 1: Scenario 1:
The filter is behind us. We are the first. If the filter is behind us, that means that one of the steps we passed is almost impossible to take. Which step could it be? Is life ITSELF extremely rare? It’s very hard to make predictions
about how likely it is for life to emerge from dead things. There is no consensus. Some scientists think it develops everywhere
where the conditions are right; others think that Earth might
be the ONLY living place in the universe. Another candidate is the step
of complex animal cells. A very specific thing happened
on this step, and as far as we know, it happened
exactly once. A primitive hunter cell
swallowed another cell, but instead of devouring it,
the two cells formed a union. The bigger cell provided shelter, took care of interacting with the
environment and providing resources, while the smaller one used its
new home and free stuff, to focus on providing a lot of extra
energy for its host. With the abundant energy, the host cell
could grow more than before and build new and expensive things
to improve itself, while the guest became the
powerhouse of the cell. These cells make up every
animal on the planet. Maybe there are billions of bacteria-covered planets in the Milky Way, but not a single one, apart from us, has achieved our level of complexity. …or intelligence. We humans feel very smart and
sophisticated with our crossword puzzles and romantic novels. But a big brain, is first and foremost, a very expensive evolutionary investment. They are fragile, they don’t help in a fistfight with a bear, they cost enormous amounts of energy, and despite them, it took modern humans, 200,000 years to get from sharp sticks
to civilization. Being smart does not mean you get
to win automatically. Maybe intelligence is just not so great, and we’re lucky that it worked out for us. Scenario 2: Scenario 2:
The filter is ahead of us. Plenty of others died already. A Great Filter before us is orders of magnitude more dangerous than anything we encountered so far. Even if a major disaster killed most of us or threw us back thousands of years, we would survive and recover. And if we can recover, even if it takes a million years, then it’s not a Great Filter, but just a roadblock to an eventual galactic civilization. On universal timescales, even millions of years are just the blink of an eye. If a Great Filter really lies before us, it has to be so dangerous, so purely devastating and powerful, that it has destroyed most, if not all, advanced civilizations in our galaxy over billions of years. A really daunting and depressing hypothesis is that once a species takes control over its planet, it’s already on the path to self-destruction. Technology is a good way to achieve that. It needs to be something that’s so obvious, that virtually everybody discovers it, and so dangerous, that its discovery leads almost universally to an existential disaster. A large-scale nuclear war, nanotechnology that gets out of control, genetic engineering of the perfect super bug, an experiment that lights the whole atmosphere on fire. It might be a super-intelligent AI that accidentally (or purposely) destroys its creators. Or things that we can’t even see coming right now. Or it’s way simpler: species competitive enough to take over their planet necessarily destroy it while competing with each other for resources. Maybe there are runaway chain reactions in every ecosystem that once set in motion, are not fixable. And so once a civilization is powerful enough to change the composition of its atmosphere, they make their planet uninhabitable 100% of the time. Let’s hope that that’s not the case. If the filter IS ahead of us, our odds are really bad. What we can hope for. THIS is why finding life beyond Earth would be horrible. The more common life is in the universe, and the more advanced and complex it is, the more likely it becomes that a filter is in front of us. Bacteria would be bad, small animals would be worse, intelligent life would be alarming. Ruins of ancient alien civilizations… would be horrible. The best case scenario for us right now is that Mars is sterile, that Europa’s oceans are devoid of life, and the vast arms of the Milky Way harbor only empty oceans hugging dead continents. …That there are billions of empty planets waiting to be discovered and to be filled up with life. Billions of new homes… waiting for us… to finally arrive. How likely is it that we’ll find life outside of Earth that is similar to us? Well, that depends on how many planets there are out there in their star’s Goldilocks Zone– the area around the star where water can be liquid. Because stars come in all sizes and configurations, this zone is different for every star system and requires a little bit of physics to figure out. If that sounds like fun to you, this quiz from Brilliant helps to break down the maths for exactly how this is calculated. Brilliant is a problem-solving website that teaches you to think like a scientist by guiding you through problems. They take concepts like these break them up, into bite-sized bits present clear thinking in each part, and then build back up to an interesting conclusion. If you visit brilliant.org/nutshell or click the link in the description, you can sign up for free and learn all kinds of things. And as a bonus for Kurzgesagt viewers, the first 688 people will also get 20% of their annual membership. And if you DO find life on other planets, it may be wise to leave them alone for a while.

Why Alien Life Would be our Doom – The Great Filter
Tagged on:                                                                                                                 

100 thoughts on “Why Alien Life Would be our Doom – The Great Filter

  • February 8, 2019 at 1:56 pm
    Permalink

    There's brand new stuff in the Kurzgesagt Merch Shop. Check it out here: shop.kurzgesagt.org

    Reply
  • August 10, 2019 at 1:35 am
    Permalink

    There… are significant arguments against the Great Filter, including the real possibility that the inevitability of stellar megastructures or galactic civilization is a faulty assumption — it's our own unique preconceptions that suggest this, and intelligent life usually develops along a different path that produces less obvious evidence, or evidence that's obvious, but in ways we don't know to be looking for.

    Reply
  • August 10, 2019 at 1:37 am
    Permalink

    WHOOOOOO!!! TEAM MITOCHONDRIA!!!

    Reply
  • August 10, 2019 at 2:25 am
    Permalink

    The Great Filter, in theory, can not exist because of the nature of life being the most efficient way of increasing the overall entropy of the universe

    Reply
  • August 10, 2019 at 3:22 am
    Permalink

    Screw it were still going to area 51 to find aliens

    Reply
  • August 10, 2019 at 3:36 am
    Permalink

    My mind is slowly collapsing

    Reply
  • August 10, 2019 at 4:56 am
    Permalink

    Nasa: launches rockets into some random hospitable planet to expand in to
    Planet: WHERE THE BLODDY HELL HAVE YOU BEEN IIVE BEN HERE WAITING FOR YOU FOR BILLIONS OF YEARS WHERE THE F#&@? HAVE YOU BEEN

    Reply
  • August 10, 2019 at 5:21 am
    Permalink

    This has to be related with área 51

    Reply
  • August 10, 2019 at 5:46 am
    Permalink

    what is kinda cool about alien life, is that were all scared of it, but if aliens exist and they found human life, they would probably be terrified of a toaster

    Reply
  • August 10, 2019 at 6:14 am
    Permalink

    these videos make me feel smarter

    Reply
  • August 10, 2019 at 7:11 am
    Permalink

    BIG BRAIN!

    Reply
  • August 10, 2019 at 7:58 am
    Permalink

    ( We are The Filter )

    Reply
  • August 10, 2019 at 8:26 am
    Permalink

    Area 51:
    Imma just walk away.

    Reply
  • August 10, 2019 at 8:34 am
    Permalink

    God be like: you believe in me and are the smartest thing in the universe?

    Let it die, let it die,! Let it shrivel up and die!

    Reply
  • August 10, 2019 at 12:35 pm
    Permalink

    Area-51 has no alien’s then maybe

    Reply
  • August 10, 2019 at 12:49 pm
    Permalink

    kurzgesagt videos are really good (:

    Reply
  • August 10, 2019 at 1:15 pm
    Permalink

    1:17 Not when Pewdiepie is playing Minecraft

    Reply
  • August 10, 2019 at 2:10 pm
    Permalink

    So basically, even if we find extremely friendly aliens that assist humans, we die? Makes sense.

    Reply
  • August 10, 2019 at 2:28 pm
    Permalink

    Black Knight?

    Reply
  • August 10, 2019 at 2:31 pm
    Permalink

    Aww come on when there's evil aliens there's The Doctor.

    Reply
  • August 10, 2019 at 2:33 pm
    Permalink

    Nah. This video is just making us not to raid area 51

    Reply
  • August 10, 2019 at 3:31 pm
    Permalink

    I WANT A PET ALIEN!!!

    Reply
  • August 10, 2019 at 5:27 pm
    Permalink

    Great logic… If aliens arent actually alien but are just like us…

    Reply
  • August 10, 2019 at 5:56 pm
    Permalink

    Another infomercial

    Reply
  • August 10, 2019 at 7:59 pm
    Permalink

    With advancements in computers and VR, maybe the obvious step for a civilization is to just exist solely in a cyber-universe where it doesn't have to deal with real life. It would be arguable easier to do and much more desireable.

    Reply
  • August 10, 2019 at 8:59 pm
    Permalink

    where is everybody? fermi

    Reply
  • August 10, 2019 at 10:02 pm
    Permalink

    6:26 – Googae or Google?! What the Heck!

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 1:58 am
    Permalink

    U bloody nt a imagine juz guess to judge😍

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 4:03 am
    Permalink

    Or aliens don't exist. Filter solved

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 4:55 am
    Permalink

    or maybe God created us all. * okay it isn’t that hard*

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 5:08 am
    Permalink

    Me personally, I think it's the complex cells

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 6:17 am
    Permalink

    and people still wanna raid area 51

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 1:35 pm
    Permalink

    What is some other life form didnt need water and oxygen to survive? We never think of that

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 1:59 pm
    Permalink

    Area 51?

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 2:20 pm
    Permalink

    We are the filter ourselves.

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 2:43 pm
    Permalink

    But what about the idea that the universe hasn't had enough time to develop a Type 3 civilisation. Isn't it the case that the creation of some elements requires multiple supernovae, which would imply a lot of time is required to get to a planet which has the elements to harbour complex life? Maybe the time is right around now and therefore it might not be surprising to see some form of life on other planets in our solar system too.

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 2:59 pm
    Permalink

    Spanish subtitles run fast and are hard to read

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 3:08 pm
    Permalink

    I like the music you play its relxin

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 3:11 pm
    Permalink

    That filter is definitely ahead of us, we bout to get clapped.

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 3:12 pm
    Permalink

    I can'c really understand why would the existance of life no other planets be a bad news, the filters are a sort of an explenation, why can't we find other life anywhere, it would mean nothing if we found it. Nothing would change, no new danher would appear.

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 3:30 pm
    Permalink

    Global warming = great filter

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 3:39 pm
    Permalink

    Maybe the great filter is the war that is inevitable between different species

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 4:25 pm
    Permalink

    The video says the more life there is in the universe the more likely there is a great filter. How come? Surely the more intelligent life there is means the less likely there is a great filter that gets rid of intelligent life? Could someone clarify for me please??

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 5:04 pm
    Permalink

    BIG BRAIN

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 5:09 pm
    Permalink

    Wish the Aliens are not like the British or Americans

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 5:39 pm
    Permalink

    The dislikes are from aliens from Area 51

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 5:39 pm
    Permalink

    I think you get it wrong, the big filter stops you from evolving, but does not kill you.

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 6:41 pm
    Permalink

    There is an additional "Great Filter" which prevents civilisations from developing into interstellar space-faring civilisations. The root cause of the "filter" is that evolution is not a steady upward progression, it is a process of optimisation for an environmental niche. As such, the average intelligence of a species will never evolve above what is the optimal level necessary for the successful self-replication of it own members. This universally applicable truth puts a hard limit on how smart humans and any aliens will ever be. As the technology level increases to make the environment more benign (e.g making food plentiful, and killing all the predators) then people can then survive and reproduce without ever needing the ability to do any complex problem solving. This evolutionary negative-feedback stabilises the intelligence of the species, and prevents it advancing further that a set level.
    Whilst certain individuals may be smarter than the average (e.g. top scientists, engineers etc), their global influence is always dragged down to that of the (democratic) average of the population who cannot (on average) progress beyond a level of short-term parochialism, ignorance, and irrational thinking, which is incompatible with achieving the level of global cooperation and political-will required for becoming an interstellar space-faring civilisation. (or to solve any other problems requiring whole populations to exhibit rational thought and cooperation, e.g. Nuclear weapons, Global Warming etc, etc.)

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 7:21 pm
    Permalink

    Thanos is coming

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 7:37 pm
    Permalink

    Oh yah it’s 1:17 time

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 8:43 pm
    Permalink

    2 filters?

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 8:53 pm
    Permalink

    We.
    Are.
    The.
    FILTER.

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 9:39 pm
    Permalink

    But is there really a filter? Or is this just a theory?

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 9:42 pm
    Permalink

    What if aliens are evolved humans from the future ?

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 9:52 pm
    Permalink

    As a Dutchman, G E K O L O N I S E E R D

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 9:52 pm
    Permalink

    This may seem really inappropriate given the subject matter but doesn't the format of this video remind anyone else of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? I can't be the first or only one who's thought this.

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 10:07 pm
    Permalink

    1:17

    Pewdiepie would like to know your location

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 10:41 pm
    Permalink

    Nobody:
    Evolution: BIG BRAINS

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 11:30 pm
    Permalink

    Lets get the great filter, and push it somewhere else.

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 11:39 pm
    Permalink

    This would be a great concept for a sci-fi RPG.

    Reply
  • August 11, 2019 at 11:43 pm
    Permalink

    Or maybe there’s loads of civilisations out there and they all develop the concept of ‘enough’

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 12:06 am
    Permalink

    the great filter is anti spirals

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 12:30 am
    Permalink

    I have a theory. I think people themselves are the great filter. Hear me out. The reason that our species has managed to advance thus far because we have been constantly competing with each other towards progression. Other people being ahead of us has always pushed people to go farther themselves, and that has always been enough to keep us pushing our selves to the next level of our civilization. This being as we are a naturally dominant species with no natural predators, so we compete with ourselves and this is what has made us great.
    But I think this only works to a point. Eventually separated efforts by individual groups of a species is no longer enough to push the species forward. This would come around where we are now. As a species, we have become so naturally divided and are so naturally used to competing that we don’t have the resources to push ourselves into space. The competition thing worked for the moon, but I think that is as far as it’ll get us. To go farther we need to come together and put all of our efforts in one place to try and be the species that makes it to another planet.

    So that’s my theory: the great filter is the competitive nature of people keeping them from working together to reach space.

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 12:50 am
    Permalink

    And they will blame UPIC. this Civilization ain't bad. smh

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 12:52 am
    Permalink

    Yo that dude at 7:32 is totally taking a rip off a bong

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 1:09 am
    Permalink

    Before starting this comment I'm the 33,001th one!

    Regardless of how ostensibly common life may be based on our own observations it stands to reason that intelligent life is either an incredibly rare or an incredibly long drawn out process. To elaborate, the fact that we haven't received any sort of communications from the Universe (this doesn't definitively prove the rarity or time consumption of intelligence evolution, because there aren't definitive rules as to what may constitute as life or not) is a clear indication that we're the first of many or we're one of many few and far between.

    Either way life is the most incredible thing in the Universe, the fact that a small part of itself may peer outward and ponder upon itself, that everything else in existence we know of follow formulae and laws and that we seemingly are vectors of randomness, chaos and choice. Life is extraordinary despite its rarity.

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 1:12 am
    Permalink

    Colonizing the universe: That’s going to be something fun to watch.

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 1:38 am
    Permalink

    Trump is are filter

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 2:55 am
    Permalink

    God its so satisfying watching these kind of vids in 1080p60 HD

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 3:26 am
    Permalink

    The act of a cell swallowing another cell probably happened twice: both for mitochondria and for chloroplasts/plastids.

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 3:50 am
    Permalink

    if aliens give me the power to mine bedrocks and teach me how to speak enchanting table, well idc

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 5:23 am
    Permalink

    Monkeys are not less evolved than us. 😓😓 disappointed

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 5:28 am
    Permalink

    Or the great filter theory is crap

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 6:41 am
    Permalink

    what if we are the alien that brings the doom to other life on planets….whoa

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 7:04 am
    Permalink

    1:53 Did Kurzgesagt suggest we should colonize gas giants?

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 8:00 am
    Permalink

    If u believe earth is the only living planet in the universe i seriously wanna try the drug you be smoking!😂😂👀

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 9:04 am
    Permalink

    So the filter is AHEAD of us or not, we were born to die right??

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 9:34 am
    Permalink

    Aliens are there on our own planet

    Our eyes are like a filter, we see what we are made to see, we cant see those creatures living here

    There are creatures which are completely made up of heat energy

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 11:01 am
    Permalink

    What if the great filter is a supremely advanced alien civilization, the first one of its kind, who wipes out anybody capable of interstellar colonization?

    Elon musk is killing us all people.

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 11:42 am
    Permalink

    Area 51..

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 11:59 am
    Permalink

    If there is a filter it would most likely be behind us, if it were infront of us it's certain we would have found atleast some life at another planet by this point… there is plently of life here on earth and have been for a long time making it seem like it's mainly the enviorment that decides if life may begin

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 12:01 pm
    Permalink

    Eurer sicher, für mich sind es "Gäste".

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 12:03 pm
    Permalink

    Es sind nur religiös Abgefahrene, welche aus diversen Gründen vor den Wächtern "Angst" haben (müssen).

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 12:07 pm
    Permalink

    Life existed on Earth for billions of years without creating a lifeform like us humans capable of spaceflight. It could be that just such a development is very difficult, so the universe could be filled with relatively "primitive" lifeforms without having what we consider "intelligent species"

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 12:17 pm
    Permalink

    Why do your videos always scare ne

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 12:28 pm
    Permalink

    I'd argue thatvwe wouldnt recover from something that us back 1000 years because the resources we needed to get here are gone. I dont think there would be enough fossil fuel left to fuel civilisation till we get to the point where we can have renewable energy again.

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 12:50 pm
    Permalink

    മലയാളികൾ ലൈക്‌ അടി

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 12:59 pm
    Permalink

    Imagine Nasa announced today that they found aliens Bacteria on Mars, weird alien fish in the oceans of Europa, and also ancient alien dildos in uranus. Wouldn't that be great?

    Well, no. It would be horrible news… Devastating even. It could mean that the end of humanity is almost certain.

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 1:23 pm
    Permalink

    You just assume there is only one of these "great filter"s. i think that concious life is extremely rare, but i doubt our planet will be alone. Maybe we are the first, probably not, the universe is still very young.

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 1:37 pm
    Permalink

    Great. Thanks for adding to my existential dread. Imma kill myself now

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 3:00 pm
    Permalink

    Global warming is our filter

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 3:02 pm
    Permalink

    Well…. I guess Area 51 will have to wait…

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 3:47 pm
    Permalink

    0:09 Cause of Extinction: overpopulation.

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 3:51 pm
    Permalink

    Was the alien on 7:30 smoking a bong?

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 4:02 pm
    Permalink

    Stupid everybody knows we all humans came from WAKANDA.

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 4:23 pm
    Permalink

    Exoplanet with oil: Exist

    America: “ We’d like to make a investment. “

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 4:27 pm
    Permalink

    this seems like weird manifest destiny tier logic that life is predetermined to expand passed it's origin planet. If we became smart enough to stop dying at age 25 then maybe we can become smart enough to not kill ourselves via ecological chain-disasters.

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 5:39 pm
    Permalink

    what if other aliens find us and think that it is their extinct?? 🤔🧐

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 5:58 pm
    Permalink

    Go ahead Pass the great filter I will be Fine here with my blanket 🙂 and actually end up being Fine would be sooo funny and sad at the same time lol (snoopy anyone)

    Reply
  • August 12, 2019 at 7:15 pm
    Permalink

    Ahhh but there probably is no filter… This sounds like human black and white logic!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *