Well if we can see them using the technology that we have [nowadays] I am sure there are at least three or more races that are watching us too. I think some of them are even visiting us due to their advanced technology. That makes it easy for them to hide from our observations and detections.
This would assume that they are at the same evolutionary stage as we are. I would guess that life being at the same stage as we are and in a position to use their science would be about a trillion trillion to one. Now, I could believe life far more advanced than us are observing us, but who knows what mean they are using since it hasn't been invented or even thought about here yet.
They are sing long range scanners on s while sitting up there in their ships. Think Star trek here. We have some of this stuff I bet and may even be having regular communications with them but the common people are being kept in the dark about this stuff. I have even more theories but that would be for another day.
Any sufficiently advanced technology and all that aside, the universe would be a pretty harsh place if there was only us around. That being said, any alien race would have to be near our own evolutionary level to actually need to travel to encounter us. With today's quantum theory, there's even more likelihood that any advanced race can see us and observe us from an unlimited distance, without physically being present. Whether a robot probe hiding as a black body in orbit, linked with quantum-entanglement communications, or a micro-wormhole connection passing visual, audio, etc across the galaxy/universe/reality there really isn't a need for any sufficiently advanced race to fly to meet us. But there are umpteen billions of planets in our universe, and even with all the randomness needed to produce intelligent life, there is still a great chance that there are races currently in existence that are looking outwards, just as we are.
Great post, filled with a lot of useful information and well thought out. I never considered that they really wouldn't have to travel here to observe us. Isn't that interesting. I hope if they are advanced enough to do this they are friendly and don't need our resources or to turn us into a zoo. Although, we may already be a zoo. And if they are advanced and peaceful maybe one day they'll come here and teach us how to be peaceful as well.
AB, I like to look at our own progress as a species as a trend for most possible intelligence. Already we are developing 3D printing, solar power, optic data transmission, stem cell medicine. Each of these technologies have potential to incredibly alter our way of life as we currently know it. 3D printing can be considered the baby steps toward energy to matter - we are learning how to create objects from raw materials, even food itself, as a relatively simple manufacturing process, available to a consumer. Bring your old car/chair/clothes in, drop it into a recycler, and print out something new.
Solar power can meet the entire world's energy needs in the net area of a 300 km by 300 km square solar field, in a desert. Optic transmission of data has reduced our EM footprint and seems to be heading towards near zero broadcast, thus removing us from the detection of other intelligences that may be listening, just like SETI is. The small window of our EM wave is likely to only be around 150 years, and then all our communication outwards to the Galaxy will be deliberate and not just signal bleed.
And lastly stem cell medicine quite seriously has the near future potential to perform human regeneration, allowing us, as individuals, to live for as long as we wish, as long as no sudden death occurs.
All these technologies we've developed in our short years as a civilization, if extrapolated further and applied to possible other intelligent life, seem to foretell civilizations that have no need to conquer other worlds, they just build their own, where ever and whenever they want.
Fascinating and I hope this is our future. If true, and we don't annihilate ourselves as a species first, this will do away with conflict and war in time. I just hope we have the time before some nutcase with a trigger decides it's been too long since the last world war and decides watching it time for the next one and this time with nukes. That would push us back to the dark ages, not technologically but certainly socially.
We are already above just simple solar panel cells for a energy source. We can provide abundant energy to every household free if we wanted to. We can explore the planets in our solar system easily right now if the government will release these technologies. But they like holding us captive to their wills like good slaves.