Don't Blink or You'll Miss It
The Drake Equation notwithstanding, the folks over at SETI have realized it’s all a big waste of time.
Let’s assume for the moment that extra terrestrial intelligent life exists. The is Earth over 10 billion of years old and the universe billions of years older still. We’ve been broadcasting for just under 100 years, or roughly 1/100,000,000th of the earth’s existence. Comparatively, if I were the universe, at my current age that would mean that intelligent life living on (or in) me would have been broadcasting for about the past 10 seconds.
And we’re about to stop. Analog TV broadcasts are already dead in the U.S. The rest of the civilized world will follow suit soon enough. We’re turning to digital wired or low powered wireless signals. Those signals are increasingly becoming encrypted to top it all off. Any encryption algorithm worth it’s salt looks like random meaningless data. So even if we are heard, it will be indistinguishable from noise.
I’m not saying aliens don’t exist. Maybe the do, maybe they don’t. But we’ll never make contact.