Recent discovery of an object by NASA’s Kepler telescope around a star, some 1500 light years away that cannot be explained by typical exoplanet properties, has raised speculation that it may be an artificial structure, created by advanced intelligence to garner energy from the star. A simpler explanation, such as a fragmented comet could be more valid, but certainly less interesting. Astrophysics, quickly degrading into bedtime stories of fancy, may yet have a long way to sink in conventionalism, before it could make a contribution.
Humans, seeking intelligence elsewhere, with attributes similar to theirs, seem to forget that their own experiences clearly show that intelligence is a network process. The mighty bacterium, able to dance with billions in unison, appears much more intelligent as a system than humans could ever be. By substantially increasing the diversity and the probability of favorable mutations at the micro-level, the system is able to evolve and adapt faster in a universe that appears hostile in every direction. Harnessing energy in such systems will be an internal process and may not require structure-building or star-domination, only phenomena humans are able to understand fully. Granted, finding such intelligence will remain outside human capabilities for the foreseeable future, if not for ever.
The recent fervor in seeking extra-terrestrials, is symptomatic of the limited understanding of humans of the formation, development and propagation of intelligence.