Extraterrestrial life discovered within a decade – but is there anything intelligent out there?

We have some high hopes from British astronomers, who have told goverment ministers that they expect to discover the first evidence of simple extraterrestrial life with the next decade. While it’s easy to be cynical (after all, if your funding depends on being seen to be doing something worthwhile, it’s important to look like you are nearing some sort of definable goal), I personally feel it’s a much more likely scenario than that privately-funded Mars mission coming off. Six out of the seven astronomers also declared their belief that there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, which prompts Centauri Dreams to take another look at the SETI question, examining the notion that we may never find an advanced civilisation elsewhere because they’ve all retreated into species-wide uploaded navel-gazing.