top of page

AI Just Extended the Drake Equation

The Large Language Model, ChatGPT, has gave us an extended version of the famous drake equation.

The advent of artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to significantly impact our understanding of in other fields. AI has already proven to be a powerful tool in various scientific fields, including astronomy, physics, and astrobiology, by assisting in data analysis, pattern recognition, and simulations.

AI can facilitate communication and collaboration among scientists and researchers across the globe, enabling the exchange of ideas, data, and models that can lead to new insights and discoveries. AI can provide theoretical physicists with advanced tools for generating hypotheses, analysing complex equations, and exploring novel concepts in cosmology and other scientific fields.

N = R* × fp × ne × fl × fi × fc × L × F × Mv × El × Ab × Im × Et × Tdp × Psy


N = The number of communicative civilizations in our galaxy

R* = Average rate of star formation

fp = Fraction of stars that have planets

n = Average number of habitable planets per star with planets

f = Fraction of habitable planets that develop life

f = Fraction of developed life that evolves into intelligent civilizations

f = Fraction of civilizations that develop advanced communication technologies

L = Average length of time that civilizations actively communicate

F = Additional factors that may affect the emergence of communicative civilizations

Mv = The existence of a multiverse

El = Exotic forms of life

Ab = Advances in astrobiology research

Im = Interstellar messaging

Et = Advanced extraterrestrial technologies

Tdp = Time-dependent parameters

Psy = Possibility of communication via psychedelics

Now, what exactly did the Large Language Model have to say about these additional considerations?

  • Mv = The Existence of a Multiverse: Recent advancements in theoretical physics and cosmology have led to the proposition of the multiverse theory, which suggests that our universe may be just one of many universes in a "multiverse." If the multiverse exists, it could significantly impact the likelihood of communicative civilizations arising in our galaxy, as it may affect the conditions necessary for life to emerge.

  • El = Exotic Forms of Life: Our understanding of life is primarily based on the biology and biochemistry of life as we know it on Earth. However, there could be other forms of life that are fundamentally different from what we currently understand. Exotic forms of life, such as silicon-based life or life based on biochemistry that is completely different from Earth's, could exist in our galaxy and may have unique means of communication that we have yet to comprehend.

  • Ab = Advances in Astrobiology Research: Advancements in astrobiology research, including the discovery of new habitable planets, the characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres, and the detection of biosignatures, could greatly impact our understanding of the likelihood of communicative civilizations. As our knowledge of the potential habitability of other planets grows, it could inform our estimations of the number of civilizations capable of communication.

  • Im = Interstellar Messaging: The concept of sending intentional messages across interstellar distances has been explored through initiatives such as the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) program. If interstellar messaging is successful in the future, it could open up new possibilities for communication with extraterrestrial civilizations, potentially increasing the likelihood of detecting communicative civilizations in our galaxy.

  • Et = Advanced Extraterrestrial Technologies: The possibility of advanced extraterrestrial technologies, beyond our current understanding of physics and technology, could greatly impact the ability of civilizations to communicate across interstellar distances. If advanced technologies, such as advanced forms of communication or faster-than-light travel, are developed by extraterrestrial civilizations, it could significantly affect our estimations of the number of communicative civilizations in our galaxy.

  • Psy = The potential for communication via psychedelics, which are known to alter perception, cognition, and consciousness, could be a factor in the Drake equation. If advanced civilizations have developed the ability to use psychedelics or other altered states of consciousness for communication purposes, it could impact our ability to detect or understand their messages. This factor could be relevant to the fraction of civilizations that utilize psychedelics for communication (fpsy) and the detectability of their messages through conventional means.

  • Tp = Extraterrestrial civilizations that may possess advanced telepathic abilities. It suggests that advanced civilizations could potentially use telepathy as a means of communication across vast distances of space, bypassing the limitations of traditional electromagnetic signals or physical technologies.

"Note that this is a hypothetical equation and the inclusion of factors such as psychedelics and telepathy is speculative, as there is currently no scientific evidence supporting their role in communication and their role altogether with extraterrestrial civilizations. Further research and evidence would be needed to accurately estimate their potential impact on the number of communicative civilizations in our galaxy." - GPT

The DMT ‘elves’ people meet while tripping - Big Think

Does AI have the potential to revolutionize our understanding of the universe? As AI continues to advance, it may unlock new frontiers of knowledge and provide us with unprecedented insights into the mysteries of the cosmos. In real life cases, this has already happened such as in the recent enhancing of the black hole location in the Supergiant elliptical galaxy, located 53 million light-years away.

Skynet is being used in bioinformatics to analyse genomic data, predict protein structures, and model complex biological systems. And uses in the likes of drug discovery, virtual screening, and personalized medicine to develop new treatments and therapies for diseases.

In large datasets, that AI has scanned from telescopes, such as the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), could help identify patterns and anomalies that could help in understanding the structure and evolution of the universe, including the detection of distant galaxies and dark matter. And in the field of astrophysics, AI is being used to model and simulate astrophysical processes, such as star formation, galaxy formation, and supernova explosions. AI can also help in predicting gravitational wave signatures, analysing cosmic ray data, and studying the properties of black holes. The uses of AI extend to analysing astronomical data for object classification, event detection, and anomaly identification. AI generated algorithms can also help in identifying exoplanets, predicting their properties, and searching for signs of habitability.

In Environmental Science, it's used to analyse satellite data, climate models, and sensor data to understand and predict changes in the Earth's climate, ecosystems, and biodiversity. And is also being used in conservation efforts, such as wildlife tracking, habitat mapping, and illegal poaching detection. Maybe those people that signed that petition to halt AI for 6 months have been watching too many sci-fi movies after all?

AI has and is currently used in brain imaging and mapping, analyzing neural activity data, and predicting brain connectivity patterns. Also it's used in the field of neuroinformatic to model brain circuits and understand the underlying mechanisms of cognition and consciousness.

By incorporating AI into our investigations of the universe, we can harness its capabilities to accelerate our understanding of the cosmos and potentially uncover new insights into the existence and communication of extraterrestrial civilizations. The additions to the Drake equation that GPT provided may not be far-fetched, especially if we remove "psy" and "tp". The other ones certainly provoke thought and scrutiny, but at the same time offer intriguing possibilities for gaining insights.

Is this serious? I'm simply having fun with GPT and pondering the insights it could bring, while giving examples of real-life uses of AI. However, I do have serious personal work in my astrophysics research where I have developed, and am currently developing, an AI that searches for fractals and fractal-like geometry within the cosmos. It's definitely a more practical use of AI. I hope this isn't seen as kind of 'sh*tting' on this famous equation, but rather as fun pondering.

bottom of page