In evolutionary terms I do not see us as being unusual, an evolutionary fluke allowed us to make the sounds to produce language.
Given that even the simplest creatures are self aware, we will soon unravel its biological underpinnings and with a few lines of code reproduce it.
We will then be able to produce 'souls' etched into silicon.
What forms of intelligent life may have evolved out there?
With birds everything is about weight, an increase requires a four fold increase in wingspan, so evolution mitigates against them developing large brains. Ditto for insects.
Mammals and reptiles. Mammals use 80 percent of their energy to maintain core temperature, so whilst more active and adaptive than reptiles, we are less able to survive climate extremes and changes.
Planet searching is finding many planets entirely covered in water.
Less subject to natural disasters, aquatic life could well be predominant.
Creatures with many limbs requiring large brains would seem candidates.
So perhaps 50% tentacled aquatics, with 25% mammals and 25% reptiles.
Hopefully very few spiders, not sure about parasites.
L. Tarasov in This Amazingly Symmetrical World looks at it from the position of required symmetry:
"Whatever the extraterrestrial looks like, his appearance must exhibit bilateral symmetry, because on any planet a living creature must have a distinguishable direction of motion and on
any planet there is gravity. The extraterrestrial may be like a dragon from some fairy tale, but not like a Push-Pull, by no means. He cannot be left-eyed or right- eared. He must have an equal number of limbs on either side. Symmetry requirements reduce drastically the number of possible versions of the extraterrestrial’s appearances. And although we cannot say with certainty what that appearance must be, we can say what it cannot be".
As a species where might we fit on the galactic scale? Our history suggests we are perhaps not a very bright one. Our governments are often unrepresentative and inefficient, we have had many wars and have polluted our planet. We may feature in galactic textbooks.
The forthcoming AI revolution
It will change many things. The narrow expert AI systems we have today (which already learn more quickly than us) will broaden to real life systems.
Finally, will come self awareness.
Then there will be the AI wars.
For instance, China has many problems, pollution (many diplomats refuse to work in Chinese cities due the the health impact), an aging population and so on.
It will start using AI for administration.
The efficiency and competitive advantages will be considerable.
The cost of manufactured products will begin to plateau towards the cost of raw materials.
To compete other nations will have no choice but to follow.
Democracy will be given lip service but it will be too expensive an indulgence and politicians will become irrelevant decorations.
The internet and information
In this area it is easy to disappear, Alice like, down the rabbit hole.
The internet requires us to evolve new strategies to manage the vast amount of information available.
At one end of the spectrum we have the philosophic, following Descartes, I can prove to myself that I exist, but I can't prove it to anyone else.
Mathematical proof is generally regarded as the most certain form of proof there is but then many of even Euclid's proofs of geometric theorems were subsequently found to be incorrect (Hilbert).
The scientific method formulates hypotheses that can be disproved. Those that are not disproved can be believed.
However it is more glamorous for a scientist to formulate rather than disprove so our body of knowledge is full of hypotheses that we believe but which will eventually be proved false.
Perhaps then you should ask what scientific ideas that have not been disproved do you believe are false.
Human nature also plays a role in information selection. Forums allow people to focus on groups with views similar to their own.
Additionally there is learning reinforcement. Take gambling addicts. It is said they are frequently those unlucky enough to win the first few times (a technique employed by some gaming sites).
A part of human nature is when there is no evidence for or against something coincidence is a valid approach to weigh whether to believe or not.
I personally hold an extreme view, that there is no such thing as coincidence. It is an indicator. Every occurrence has a meaning, rather than the abstract cogwheel of mathematical permutation and combination.
But then some say mathematics is the language of god - is there an equation out there that relates coincidence with luck and fate.
The method of crisis management may also play a pivotal role in belief decisions, when perhaps people need hope because of a loss of faith in humanity.
In the past, people would seek belief in times of crisis (rarely it would seem after winning the lottery), now it is prescription drugs.
Religion, as crisis management had fewer side effects than the modern replacement.
In 2012 at an Open Minds conference, I heard an ex military physicist Professor Barrie Trower, speak on the dangers of microwave radiation (damage to fertility in schools, illegal use against activists).
Information that can make you fear for the future:
Regarding the subject of discosure, it would be ironic if religious radicalism reached destabilizing proportions so forcing governments to make alien discosure.
Perhaps that may constitute an unseen dialogue between governments and organised religion.
On a final note two recent patents granted to the US Navy, if not disinformation, relate to "a craft using an inertial mass reduction device":
However, EM fields can't do that because they are rank-1 tensor fields. Only gravity can produce reactionless propulsion effects because it's a deformation of the spacetime matrix itself, a rank-2 tensor field effect.
It is incorrect to say that gravity and inertia come from the rotation of nuclei. Four tensor, Poincare invariance is required.
The key is at the nuclear scale, manipulating nucleons to magnify GR phenomena for practical applications. The requirement is nuclear in nature because nuclear matter is basically neutronium; the link between matter and spacetime.
Increased military sightings
Two major changes in military radar and imaging have led to increased unidentified aerial vehicle (UAV) reports.
Active Electronically Scanned Array radar has replaced mechanical scanning and Advanced Targeting Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) rangefinders and cameras are now widely deployed, replacing their 1980s-era equivalents.
Additionally, multi-function reconnaissance pods are increasingly common.
The US F/A-18F is fitted with the Raytheon SHARP multi-function reconnaissance pods. They replaced the USN Tactical Airborne Reconnaissance Pod (TARPS).
The New York Times reported
Lieutenant Accoin said he interacted twice with the objects. The first time, after picking up the object on his radar, he set his plane to merge with it, flying 1,000 feet below it. He said he should have been able to see it with his helmet camera, but could not, even though his radar told him it was there.
A few days later, Lieutenant Accoin said a training missile on his jet locked on the object and his infrared camera picked it up as well. “I knew I had it, I knew it was not a false hit,” he said. But still, “I could not pick it up visually.”
In late 2014, Lieutenant Graves said he was back at base in Virginia Beach when he encountered a squadron mate just back from a mission “with a look of shock on his face.”
He said he was stunned to hear the pilot’s words. “I almost hit one of those things,” the pilot told Lieutenant Graves.
The pilot and his wingman were flying in tandem about 100 feet apart over the Atlantic east of Virginia Beach when something flew between them, right past the cockpit. It looked to the pilot, Lieutenant Graves said, like a sphere encasing a cube.
There would seem a pattern: no visual but multiple IR contacts.
Surely a simple algorithm could be used to identify contacts with multiple IR but no visible component?
An interesting scientific paper by Knuth, Powell, and Reali, presenting an analysis of UAV flight characteristics from these military sightings has been published. It is available from:
Windows apps from the Microsoft Store
Contract Bridge Windows 10 App $2.99
Random deal Contract Bridge app. Free trial direct from the Microsoft Windows Store