The Great Filter, in a Nutshell

Fresh from the oven, a colourful explanation of the Great Filter by Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell, and why finding intelligent aliens would not be good news (for us).

and for the sake of completeness, two previous videos with more details about the Fermi Paradox:


  1. Of course this is just speculation, but I liked the videos, particularly the third one.

    I personally think that the true filter is that there is no real reason to conquer the whole galaxy. The idea that life is always expanding is constantly disproved. Just look what animals (and us) do when they have their needs satisfied. They just sleep, get bored or surf the internet.

    So, the most likely scenario is that there are civilizations out there, not many, but they are not really interested and besides going to other stars is very difficult and not worth it (see the famous Zheng He’s story, or the fact that humans are not trying to fully colonize Earth). Of course, unless your star is going to collapse but this is a small movement.

    Knowing what is there would be interesting, but, most likely, (some) aliens already know of us.

  2. For some reason the subject has always interested me. Particularly, the famous Fermi’s paradox. I find it quite intriguing, that is why I liked the third video which provides a possible response beyond the infamous “unavoidable total nuclear war”.

    Note: I read your blog frequently. Your series on complexity theory are very good. May be this subject could also be related to the growing complexity needed to conquer the galaxy which makes it impossible for us. After all, I remember back in 1969 we all thought that going to Mars was just a question of 5 years. However, I think today both the lack of reasons and the difficulty seem to be winning the hand.

  3. I found all three videos interesting.

    However, I didn’t understand how the first one (or any of them) answered “why finding intelligent aliens would not be good news (for us)”. It just asserts that “the more common life is, the more likely it is that a filter is in front of us” without, as far as I can see, actually explaining it.

    Perhaps there are many filters ahead of us. In fact, surely that will forever be the case, no matter how many hurdles we cross? There are two ‘filters’ that spring to my mind: we have the Earth being swallowed up by the Sun when it finally gives up the ghost to ‘look forward to’ (we’d need to colonize other stars to have any chance of beating that), and then, much later of course, the heat death of the Universe itself (that one will be a real challenge!)

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