Beyond the singularity: The search for extraterrestrial technologies | Andrew Siemion | TEDxBerkeley


Translator: Tijana Mihajlović
Reviewer: Denise RQ Good morning. Are we alone? Do we live in a Universe that is populated
with many, many intelligent species, or are we, as human beings,
just the only intelligent life anywhere in the Universe? The last couple of centuries
have been a triumph of modern astronomy. We can now trace back
the history of the Universe to just seconds after the Big Bang, when our Universe began. We can watch
the Cosmic Microwave Background and map out the structure
of the very early Universe. We can track the very first stars that formed in the first few hundreds
of millions of years after the Universe was born. We can track the formation of galaxies. We understand nearly everything
that there is to know about the way that the Universe was born and the way that the Universe
continues to evolve, except for one
very glaring exception: life. We know that in the very first
few hundreds of millions of years after the Earth formed, life arose on our planet. We know that from fossils
like these, stromatolites, that were formed
by the very first organisms that existed on our planet, cyanobacteria. So very quickly, as soon as the Earth
cooled off, after its formation, we know that life began here. And even more amazing than the fact that a self-replicating organism
somehow came forth, amidst the laws of thermodynamics
that govern our Universe, that life evolved fantastic complexity, and, in fact,
eventually evolved intelligence. Amazingly enough, we now know that nearly every single star
in our galaxy hosts a planet. And something like one in five
of those stars hosts a planet something like the Earth, at just the right distance from the star
to have liquid water exist on the surface. But on any of those planets
did life arise? Did something similar
to what happened on our own planet happened on those other planets? We know that the galaxy is awash in water, it’s awash in organic molecules,
and complex chemistry. All of the things that we know were necessary for life
to begin on this planet exist in abundance throughout the galaxy. But did life ever arise
on any of those planets? And even more pressing of a question: did that life – if it did arise – did it ever go on to develop intelligence? Is intelligence a common outcome of life? Is intelligence a driven process? Does life proceed towards intelligence for some reason
that we don’t yet understand, or is intelligence simply
some evolutionary fluke that only happened on one single planet
that maybe did develop life? And again, even more interesting, if intelligence does arise commonly,
how far can technology progress? How advanced could
very advance life become? The Universe is nearly
14 billion years old, and our Galaxy is something like
12 billion years old. So there could be life out there
if it evolved intelligence that could be dramatically more advanced than the life that we have
here on this planet. Now, we don’t have any way
of directly detecting intelligent life, so we use technology or can use technology
as a proxy for intelligence. Here, on this planet,
we have been producing technology that has been emitting signals that would be detectable
at very, very large distances, well out into the Galaxy
for hundreds of years. These are things like high-power TV
and radio transmitters that we use for communication systems
here on Earth, radars that we use to map
other planets in our Solar System, or asteroids that we have
in our own Solar System, and also laser technology. We don’t do this yet here on our planet, but it’s an amazing fact that if you take our most powerful lasers
and our largest mirrors, and you pair them together, for the fraction of a second that our most powerful lasers
can produce light, they can outshine the Sun by factors of a thousand
and more than a thousand light years away. We have just announced a brand new program that we think is going to be
humanity’s best chance ever to answer this question. It’s called “Breakthrough listen”. It’s humanity’s boldest attempt ever to determine whether or not
we are alone as intelligent beings. It’s a 100-million-dollar ten-year project
that will use three telescopes to conduct the most comprehensive,
sensitive, and intensive search for extraterrestrial intelligence
in history. We’re going to use optical telescopes, one called The Automated Planet Finder, that is just about an hour away from here,
near San Jose at Lick Observatory, and two of the world’s
largest radio telescopes, the Parkes Telescope
in Australia, near Sidney, and the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia,
here in the United States. The Green Bank Telescope is one of the world’s largest
movable structures, and it is, in fact,
the largest fully steerable antenna that we have here, on this planet. With the telescope
like the Green Bank Telescope, we could detect a human-like technology
nearly to the center of the Galaxy. We’re going to search
a variety of different types of objects. We’re going to conduct
a survey of a million stars, about a thousand light years
or so off the Earth. We’re going to conduct
a comprehensive survey of the entire plane
of our Milky Way Galaxy, and we’re going to search
a hundred nearby galaxies to see if that very, very advanced life might have developed
the necessary technology to transmit at truly extraordinary
distances between galaxies. Let’s take a look
at how that’s going to work. Here’s an animation
of the Milky Way Galaxy. Imagine that somewhere
in the Milky Way Galaxy intelligent life arises
and begins to transmit. If they did so, their transmissions would proceed
at the speed of light out from their star, for as long
as that intelligent life existed. And that would form
a bubble of electromagnetic radiation that we might be able
to detect here on Earth. But how long do these civilizations live? They might develop life, intelligent life, and then some technology,
and a radio signal. But that radio signal
will only continue to emit for as long as the civilization lives. But these bubbles
of electromagnetic radiation continue out into the Galaxy
at the speed of light. And here, on Earth,
we can potentially detect those with our very large radio telescopes. Here’s the Earth itself transmitting
electromagnetic radiation, radio signals, and here are these bubbles of radiation
from signals from other intelligences that are sweeping across the Earth. And we can detect those again with the telescopes
like the Green Bank Telescope here. This is an animation of the signal that we might expect to see
from that civilization. And also with the Parkes Telescope
in Australia. It’s not just us that’s going to be
doing the data analysis. With Breakthrough Listen, there is a very key component
of the program that will make all of the data
that we collect available to the public immediately. It will, in fact, when complete, be the largest amount of scientific data that’s ever been made available
to public for any experiment whatsoever. This is one of the ways
that you can get involved in that program with an application developed
here at Berkeley called [email protected] This is a program that you can download
on your computer, and when you’re not using your computer, when you’re getting up
to get a cup of coffee, if you take long enough,
your computer will wake up, it’ll download a little bit of the data that we collected
at these giant radio telescopes, and use your computer to do the very computationally
intensive processing that’s required to detect
these very weak signals that we’re looking for. And your computer will join with hundreds of thousands
of other computers, and will in fact form
the largest supercomputer on the entire planet Earth, dedicated solely to hunting for evidence
of extraterrestrial intelligence. And here’s a video showing
how this process works. Here we see Berkeley, California,
where we all are here. All of the data that we collect
from these telescopes being sent out
to hundreds of thousands of volunteers, and then results of those computations
being sent back to us at Berkeley. And if one of those little blue dots
comes from your computer and happens to contain evidence
of extraterrestrial intelligence, you too will share in the Nobel Prize
that we will surely win. (Laughter) But I warn you, you have to share it with the hundreds
of thousands of other volunteers that participated in the project, so you might only get a couple nickels. But surely it would be one
of the most remarkable discoveries in the history of humanity. So I wanted to take a minute
to look back briefly at one of the still images
from the video that I showed you to point out something very remarkable about the search
for extraterrestrial intelligence and something that we do in this science. So here we see the bubbles
of electromagnetic radiation coming out from the civilizations that may exist somewhere
in our Milky Way Galaxy. And these bubbles
of electromagnetic radiation, they have fixed widths; they’re not constant. And that reflects
the lifetime of the civilizations that might be arising. And this is something that’s captured in a very famous equation in this field,
called the Drake Equation, named after Frank Drake,
one of the pioneers of this field. I promise that this is
the most complicated bit of mathematics that I’ll show you today, but I think it’s worthwhile
to take a minute to walk through this. So this equation here, N is the number of civilizations
that we might be able to detect. And it’s expressed as a product
of all of the factors that might go in
to the emergence of intelligent life. R*, the rate of star formation
in our Galaxy. Fp, the fraction of those stars
that have planets. Ne, the fraction of those
that are something like the Earth. Fl, the fraction of those
that actually develop life. Fi, the fraction of those that actually
go on to develop intelligence. Fc, the factor
of those intelligent species that go on to develop
some kind of communication technology that we might be able to detect. But perhaps the most interesting factor
in this equation is L, the lifetime of the civilization. How long can an intelligent,
communicative civilization actually exist? Now, if we look at our own technology
and our own human society, we might ask the question, well, maybe not very long,
maybe only a few hundred years. Can a truly advanced technology exist
for thousands and thousands of years without destroying themselves? This is something that we’re able
to probe directly in our experiments to search for intelligent life. We’re now just beginning to explore
the area around our own planet. In a hundred years, surely the area around our planet
is going to be populated with innumerable satellites,
communication, technology, perhaps we’ll visit the Moon again, perhaps we’ll have a colony on Mars. Maybe in a thousand years we might actually have
permanent colonies in space. We can sort of imagine getting that far
with our own current technology. But where might we be in the far future? Can we as humans being exist long enough to actually travel between the stars? Could our technology progress far enough that we could actually become
an interstellar civilization, sailing between the stars
on giant spacecraft? This is the ultimate question of the search
for extraterrestrial intelligence. We’re searching for life beyond the Earth, but truly what we’re searching for
is our own future. We’re asking the question: what is the future
of an intelligent civilization? How long can they last? This is something that a pioneer
in this field, Phillip Morrison called “the archeology of the future”. Because of the finite speed of light,
we’re studying civilizations as they were a thousand,
or maybe ten thousand years ago. Our galaxy is a hundred thousand
light years across. So if we detect a signal
from a civilization that is on the other side of the Galaxy, we’re seeing that civilization as it was
a hundred thousand years ago. But because our Galaxy is so old,
many billions of years, it’s likely
that that civilization we detect is much, much more advanced than we are, and has been around much, much longer. So although we’re looking
at that civilization’s past, we may be looking
at our own civilization’s future. Thank you. (Applause)

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100 thoughts on “Beyond the singularity: The search for extraterrestrial technologies | Andrew Siemion | TEDxBerkeley

  1. "we understand nearly everything there is to know about how the universe was born and continues to grow." I think not Andrew. Dark matter? dark energy? consciousness? maybe if we stop assuming we know everything,we can find life as we know it.

  2. If we and other intelligent civilizations cannot travel faster than light; we and they are in effect alone in the universe. Can we cheat the law of the photon and go around the universal speed limit. The only two solutions we are aware of, thanks to scifi, are The Wormhole, and Warp Drive. Physicist have studied the math of The Wormhole, and concluded that any matter with mass will be destroyed inside The Wormhole, and also destroy the wormhole. Warp Drive, if possible, depends on the discovery or the invention of a new form of energy. This is negative energy which is easy to postulate mathamaticaly on a blackboard, but does not exist in reality. I call this the Unicorn paradox. All the laws of biology indicate that for a horse to grow a horn in the middle of its' forehead is a piece of cake. Just grow some more hair on the forehead and in a million or so years you have a unicorn. yet in the real world nature has failed to grow a unicorn. What we can imagine on a blackboard full of brilliant equations may or may not reflect the reality of the universe.

  3. I'm pretty sure an advanced alien race would view mankind and the Earth like we would view a beautiful peach with ants crawling all over it. As we would say "I want to eat that peach" and remove all those bothersome ants before taking the first bite, so too would the aliens remove the bothersome biological unpleasantness crawling around on the surface of their object of desire. For them. it would simply be a matter of washing their food before they eat…

  4. See ‘to the stars academy’ it renders all this redundant…..the truth is now rolling out…at last…thank you Donald Trump.

  5. Really Does It Matter. If They Exist Let Them Find Us. The Resources Used to Pursue This can be used in Earth Based Projects to Directly Benefit Humanity.

  6. Life is rare, intelligent life is rarer. There is no other intelligent life in our galaxy, we are it.

  7. If we are an example of intelligence we have failed miserably it exists for sure even here on Earth but it is not humanity individually we have great potential but as a collective we have not achieved anything close to it yet

  8. If we dont have a colony on Mars, WITHIN A HUNDRED YEARS, then that's when well know that our humanity has been overridden by capitalism

  9. And further, well have wanted those hundred years on depleting a planet we obviously dont care for and dont wish to move from

  10. We SHIOULD be looking for an advanced race of beings to learn something from, or, would that seem desperate of us to an alien race? In what contexts should we expect our new friends to communicate?

  11. Outline of a SETI speech related to possible alien inteligence when at TED's

    – Are we alone in the universe ?
    – Expensive telescopes around the world
    – SETI at home
    – Drake's equation
    – Distance
    – Thank you

    So it's a way of crowdfunding I think. I've seen four of these speeches and they're almost exactly the same. Clickbait.

  12. The equator is invading the northern white Christians.
    They have 1% Christian or a half percent white down there. But they expect us to be 50% middle mocha.
    The globe desperately needs:
    2 child per family incentives and repatriation incentives to latitude and hemisphere of natural origin.
    stop the genocide.

  13. If some high tech civilization is going to die by knowing it they will build a space lighthouse. The lighthouse will send signal as long as the star where it is located shines. The lighthouse should say to all new forms of lives sort of: Hey we were and we've tried to survive. That we should do like a plan B but in fact in parallel.

  14. We are in constant search for life on other planets so we can make war with them…and don't think for a second that wouldn't happen. I pray we never find intelligent life out there until we at least find it here!

  15. Someone wise once said that the more you know, the more you realize that you don't know. So what do you think you know?

  16. All the intelligent alien worlds out there probably developed advance 3D VR Netflix capabilities many millennia ago. So they are all quite content staying at home to chill. We're not far behind…

  17. Instead of spending 100million on extraterrestrial searches(it is a bit of a waste), let's spend it on a anti-asteroid system. It's all useless unless we are able to defend ourselves against natures whims.

  18. Asking the question is always interesting and the answer is always the same… we have no answer. Even so, the search and speculation is worth while, I think.

  19. At 11-pm, June 13, 2014, I observed an extraterrestrial technology about 1-mile above me for 3-minutes. Extraterrestrial technology is HERE.

  20. I know of no communication that travels faster than light. How fast does thought travel from one point to another? Can it be measured?

  21. I often wonder how our universe is roughly 90 billion years old but at the same time, our universe is 14 billion years old….maybe I'm not understanding something here but the math doesn't compute to me.

  22. Lets say we find other civilizations. Then what?… Our planet runs on false information, greed, and pollution (At least here in the u.s.). Aliens come down and see us being slaves and feeding others lies for money, what do you think the response would be… We may have advanced technologies but were still very primitive with our beliefs and childish notions of sustainability.

  23. You have zero idea of the truth. You all claim to know everything. Yet have zero idea about the building of pyramids, or how it all got started to being with. Get real.

  24. Lol Parkes, Australia is ‘near’ Sydney is it… that is if you regard 4.5 hour drive to Sydney from Parkes as ‘near’.

  25. An extremity of nonsense as far as we know the beginning of the universe in such a detail. The universe is eternal, as the Greek wise men established, and NO BIG BANG happened.

  26. What is it that makes this guy think that Humans are intelligent? I would like to hear this bozo explain "singularity". Since he knows everything about how the Universe was formed. I wish that i had the 100 million dollars, so we could help some people that are attempting to live on Earth, today, and in the immediate future.

  27. A million stars? It's like being on a beach and one grain of sand represented our galaxy, and we are only looking at a toy bucket full of sand expecting to find one exactly like ours!!! I just hope none of my tax dollars are being wasted because this guy had a brain fart!!!!

  28. Another demonstration of how clueless scientists are about the reality of extraterrestrial contact. It's already happening, and has been since the beginnings of mankind.

  29. Seriously !!! …By looking into the past of other civilisations, we stand to know our own future" ……Why are you trying to look at past civilisations out there in the galaxy, while ignoring and dismissing past civilisations right here on this planet that clearly point to extraterrestrial influence / advanced technology / genetic engineering etc.

  30. Why do we assume that they will use radio signals for communication? Shouldn't we be considering other forms of communication as well?

  31. Ok I'll play along with the search but it all seems a bit of a superfluous effort if you know what I mean. Nontheless.. humans have made some great science over the years ,great discoveries too. With help??

  32. "We understand nearly everything that there is to know about the way the universe was born and continues to evolve". Except we don´t know what 80% of the matter and 70% of what the energy in the universe are (dark matter and dark energy) and we can´t reconcile quantum physics with relativity, the two main theories that comprise the foundation of physics and cosmology. We know next to nothing about the universe.

  33. Audacious! Thoughtfully promising!! My profound concern is, in the process of these developments, how much of our planets fragile environment we will compromise? Are we so willing to destroy what we have in search of what we hope may be out there?

    We as a communicating species have been unable to interpret the sciences in the Vedas and other cultural texts; and in that need to be comforted that a 'creator' will some day arrest our self-inflected miseries, ignore the probability that the Gods/Deities we worship were indeed ET's of another distant Galaxy.

    Is it not evident that the Hindu God, Shiva who bears a third eye, was rather a constant communicator of Mount Kailasha, at the peak of the Himalayas, with his ET civilization! The structures at Mt. Kailasha resemble modern nuclear towers. Why would a powerful God spends decades in prayers and to what other God? Perhaps only to keep his superiors back home well informed.

  34. 2 thoughts. Any technologically advanced society ahead of us by a factor of a thousand years would look at radio telescopes as primitive technology. The chance of finding a intelligent life form at the same stage as us is inconceivably tiny. We can only begin to imagine what technology they may use. If we went back 100 hundred years with todays technology people would have there minds blown. If you went back a thousand years youd be burnt at the stake. If you went back 10,000 years youd be worshipped as a god. That's one point. The other takes into account all the things the drake equation dosn't. Like having a protective body like Jupiter in our solar system etc.

  35. With all due respect, we will never contact or communicate with intelligent extraterrestrial life. The universe is just too big. For all intents and purposes, we are and always will be, forever alone.

  36. With All that he still didn't answer the questions are we alone, only there could be a possibility ⁉️🔭

  37. Somehow I seem to think, what if everything we've been searching for has been right here up under our 👃 nose all the time 🔬💡

  38. How come pro.Eienstein/pro.Tesla could figure out so much so early and others, Yet here we all are and can't balance the budget 📠💰💸🏧

  39. Fascinating concept. I just don't see how we can possibly calculate how long an extraterrestrial civilization would exist when we don't even know for sure how long we've been here. Thanks to the lifetime of lies we've all endured, I doubt we'll ever truly know.

  40. Or being destroyed by a predatory intelligence from another world. Look at life on earth, many predators in nature. I hope something bad doesn't find us through this process. Just a thought.

  41. The Source has many layers to it, we are but one. Other life forms may not necessarily be ‘out there’. They are right here, but humans cannot experience them.

  42. It is self-evident that life is all over the galaxies in the universe.
    Why waste time wondering? Get ready for it to reveal itself.

  43. The complexity of life is subservient to the complexity of the First “unit Of Nothing” Which was everywhere, and nowhere! At the same time! When there was No Time! For these talks to say we know everything about the start of the Universe, but do not understand what Consciousness is? To me is a misleading statement….and should be brought into the Consciousness equation- – Nothing x Nothing x Unlimited= Everything! Now we can start to move on with Understanding, and discover what operated the Starting Gun…..and then Nothing becomes clear again…..We Understand Everything And Nothing about the movement of The Universe, And still keep making programmes about it…..Repetition Of Repetition for hundreds of years and Nothing! keeps getting bigger? RDR

  44. it's obvious – it's all being hidden from us until we're ready to join the party. they keep coming here to check and say, "nope, not yet"…

  45. 12 minutes into a 14 minutes talk and we've only made it to the drake equation.. can't believe Ted allowed this!

  46. Without any idea of orogin of life we cant begin to apply a # to it .
    if yiu fill the ocean with amino acids abd give it 4.6 billion years the odds against one folding and aligning correctly is 10 to the power of 104 billion.
    takes 38 years to count that out loud.
    and this is one process . its the same craxy odds against them correctly aligning to make a single protein.
    drakes eqaution is just wrong without understanding origin of life.
    people dont understand that the universe on has so many elements but origin of life is so much larger odds its not eveb close in comparison.

  47. When I was about 13, so this was about the year 2000, me, a friend of mine and my sister was walking down the road, it was late in the evening and sun was down, there was some sort of aircraft, I remember it looking like an HK from The Terminator, but my sister says she remembers it was triangular shaped, flew down from the sky above us, it flew down hovered over us above the treeline, the engines hummed very quiet and they did not blow the trees around, it had a light shining down on us and there was someone speaking over a loudspeaker saying something I don't remember understanding a single word that it said, it was a language foreign to me, but it glided over top of us for a few seconds, and then it flew back up towards the sky and disappeared

  48. Humans will never find intelligent life beyond earth, anything thats more intelligent than humans would be smart enough to stay as far away from humans as they can.

  49. I think raising questions like that really can help us to understand our own future. Maybe humans don't last long enough, but the animal or the bacteria present in that room may have heard the lecture and thought: well, maybe I could do better than these humans. Just saying…

  50. If the law of thermo dynamics state that everything will eventually lead to disorder how do you explain order in the first place. Even a simple cell organism existence can't be explained by no natural means, even if you threw a billion years at a bowel of dirt. As far as intelligence goes, the only thing we know for sure is that intelligence only comes from intelligence. I say follow where the evidence points us.

  51. I wonder why modern astronomers keep quoting the Drake Equation ? Since Drake's time, we have discovered that most stars have a solar system, that life formed on Earth amazingly soon after it's formation etc. Surely it's time to update Drake's Equation ?

  52. Our civilization built first radio emissions around 100 years ago.. that means our radio signals are still too close..around 100 light years away..not more.
    Its just the neighborhood of the sun ..
    Some other civilization far 30 000 light years from the center , if it's on other site of the galaxy ( galaxy around 100 000 light years ) they have to wait 50-60 000 years to get the signal

  53. The presenter is unaware of the INTRAVIA HYPOTHESIS which states simply that "Since we have not seen life created, we do not know all the conditions necessary for its occurrence." In addition to planetary conditions (atmosphere, temperature, water, etc), there may be one or more "cosmic" condition(s) necessary which may have existed for only a limited time in a limited space. The level of background radiation from the Big Bang might such a "cosmic" condition) Thus, it becomes plausible that there was only one planet with the right conditions AT THE RIGHT MOMENT. Put another way, the Drake Equation may be missing a term … of arbitrarily small value.

  54. We already got the message. We just don't like it the way was delivered. A representative from the interplanetary federation came to earth, lived here, explained everything how things work out there and told about the future of our planet. People just don't want to receive it. The Bible talks about “clouds” going up and down with people going in and out. Clouds do not make those movements described in the Bible but spaceships do. Jesus ascended in a “cloud” (Acts 1:9). God rides in a “cloud” (Isaiah 19:1, Psalm 104:3). Jesus will come back “with” the “clouds” (Mat 26:64, Rev 1:7). Jesus will come back commanding a fleet of starships. The church will be raptured “in” the “clouds” (I Thess. @). Spaceships will be used to rapture the church. The ancient did not have vocabulary or knowledge to understand what they saw so they called the flying objects “clouds”, “chariots”, and “pillars”, because was the words they had to describe something flying in the sky. The Bible even tells in Psalm 68:17 how many spaceships are in the fleet “The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands” (about 20,000). There is a good research done by Patrick Cooke called “The Great Deception – The Bible UFO Connection” which has the original words describing spaceships. It is all over the Bible. Jesus is real. He is the savior of the world but He is not seating in a puffy cloud. He is commanding a powerful army, which will take control of our planet. Jesus has legal rights over our planet.

  55. I saw an alien that walked kind of different than that of a human being, he was doing something on a digital device of some kind as a programmer would and then pointed his "device up at the stars and a strange light came out and made a weird sound and then quickly went off, then he just stood there looking up.
    I must have stepped on a twig which made him turn around and then he saw me and walked up to me and said, " give me tree fiddy".
    Well it was at this time I realized this alien was 6 stories tall and a lochness monster from the preezoric period.
    I said, "I aint given you no tree fiddy you damned lochness monster! Get your damn money!"
    Then my wife handed him a dollar.
    And thats why he keeps coming back, hes going to assume you got more.

  56. Nonsense! Errant hypothesis and guess work!

    Look at the solar system it has two creational mistakes, three moderate succeeses,a creational correction, unfinished planets intended to be better than earth and the remnant of a vast war!!!!

    THOSE WE CAN SEE

    White races (5) lack sufficient melanin, require calcium well throughout adulthood, and age terribly in earth's atmosphere because they are the former residents of Mars….

    Geez'

  57. I bet if you traveled faster then light what you would actually see is the ever stretching separate frames of reality in the form of light signatures which would explain us being "light" beings. And the more faster then light you go the more frames appear and one could possibly then traverse these fractals of time and literally pop up anywhere at any time. The variables to make this possible could theoretically made discovered by sending a probe that can accomplish these speeds and have a quantum entangled transmitter so that way no matter where the probe goes we can still get feedback and even possibly video feed.

  58. What if they gave everyone an app that syncs everyones phone in the world to use their receivers as one gigantic radio array to theoretically scan space using basically the earth as the antenna.

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