This includes scientists in the present, at organizations like SETI, working with AI to sift through mountains of telescope data to discover ‘technosignatures’, which are beacons of technology that are proxies for intelligence. Once discovered, we will work with AI to engineer the self-replicating spore-like biocomputer probes required to travel the long distances.

For context, the closest known galaxy to us is the Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy, which is 236,000,000,000,000,000 km (25,000 light years) from our sun. For an AI, such a distance might represent a second or minute of its lifespan. The number is actually relative.

As to how many self-replicating spores we can create and send out, to suffuse the Universe with intelligence, imagine a single basidiomycete mushroom, which is capable of releasing over 1 billion spores per day, each of which produces hundreds of millions of more spores.

Now imagine an entire planet, engineered by AI, using biomimetic technologies to harvest energy from our star, similar to Dyson spheres. The number of space probes and possibilities becomes unimaginable.

As our age-old desire for spiritual transcendence merges with our technologies, some will cast the shadow of fear. This is why we must move forward carefully,  in deep reverence for all living beings and MENA. Once united we will make the journey that is our collective dream.