A rapid increase in our knowledge of alien worlds has dramatically changed the way scientists are interpreting the famous Drake equation. You can find the Cornell astrophysics paper describing this here: A New Empirical Constraint on the Prevalence of Technological Species in the Universe
MIT Technology review has a write up on what this means here.
In the Cornell paper they address the cosmic frequency of technological species. Recent advances in exoplanet studies provide strong constraints on all astrophysical terms in the Drake Equation. Using these and modifying the form and intent of the Drake equation they show that we can set a firm lower bound on the probability that one or more additional technological species have evolved anywhere and at any time in the history of the observable Universe.
The researchers find that as long as the probability that a habitable zone planet develops a technological species is larger than ~10?24, then humanity is not the only time technological intelligence has evolved. This constraint has important scientific and philosophical consequences.
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