“The Futuristic Shift: How Human Communication Will Transform by 2120”
In the grand tapestry of life on Earth, data exchange is the music that keeps it all in harmony. From the melodious songs of birds in your backyard to the secret conversations between forest trees, information sharing is vital for life’s existence and evolution. Humans, being part of this grand dance, communicate through friendly chats over morning coffee, attention-grabbing newspaper headlines, and entertaining TikTok videos created by teenagers.
But something intriguing is on the horizon: Human communication might soon dominate the exchange of data on Earth. This shift could have profound implications, not only for our planet but also for our quest to discover extraterrestrial life. Quantifying the exact rate of data exchange among Earth’s living organisms is a daunting task. However, we can make a rough estimate to understand the scale of this exchange. To do this, we consider the number of living cells, particularly bacteria, which make up a significant portion of life on Earth. Research suggests that there are approximately 10^29 prokaryotic cells on Earth, and they exchange one bit of information roughly every three hours. In very broad terms, Earth’s biosphere exchanges about 10^24 bits of information per second.
In contrast, the technosphere, which encompasses all digital data exchanged by humans, is somewhat easier to estimate. Based on Internet data exchange, our data rate is about 10^15 bits per second, which is a billion times smaller than the biosphere’s rate. However, the critical point is that while the biosphere’s data exchange remains relatively stable over time (except for occasional mass extinctions), our digital data is growing exponentially.
If this trend continues, the technosphere could surpass the biosphere in less than a century. So, why does this matter in the search for alien civilizations? Data exchange requires energy, whether it’s through chemical reactions, optical fibers, or electrical circuits. Currently, the majority of this energy is dedicated to biosphere-related data exchange. But there’s a possibility that the technosphere could soon take over, dramatically altering the energy dynamics of a planet. If this scenario is common among advanced civilizations, planets with intelligent life may emit a thermal signature that is distinctly synthetic, making them stand out to potential observers.
But even if we set aside thoughts of extraterrestrial life, the rapid growth of the technosphere will have significant consequences for life on Earth. Human activities already have a substantial impact on Earth’s biodiversity and global temperatures. If our exponential growth continues unchecked, we could deplete vital data resources for non-human life. This topic the Futuristic Shift: How Human Communication Will Transform by 2120 that deserves our attention and discussion as we navigate the path toward the year 2120.