PHOTOS: Top Exoplanets for Alien Life
Okay, okay: let's just say, for the sake of argument, that techno species are pretty common and that humans are a pretty good analogue for most technological aliens out there. There is still the problem of time. The universe is not only spacious, but it's awash in oceans of time against which a century or two of radio transmissions - or a few decades of listening to radio transmissions - are a tiny fraction of the blink of a cosmic eye. What would be the chances that two technological species on distant worlds will blink at exactly the same moment (adjusted for the speed of light, of course) so they detect each other?
I'm no bookmaker, but I'd guess the odds are something like a five billion to one, or worse. Meanwhile, the lottery is merely millions, or tens of millions to one - way better odds (although still terrible).
Then again, against all odds and rationality, SETI might report back in a few months that they have detected a hilarious alien television sitcom from Kepler-62. I sure hope so, because that would be the biggest event in all of human history. But I'm not betting on it.