I don't really find Fermi's paradox to be at odds with the finding of exoplanets and the increasing intrigue around panspermia. We're pointing dishes at the heavens with SETI based on the idea that intelligent life necessarily acts the way our 20-21st century civilization would, and use radio to communicate.
Already, we're looking at quantum teleportation and entanglement and non-broadcast communications. We're already moving past the means of communication we expect other advanced civilizations to be communicating with. That wasn't the first assumption.
Other prior assumptions have included that we are the one intelligent species on this planet. Why, because we use tools? So do caledonian crows. Because we have organized warfare? Chimpanzees have been observed in the wild sharpening sticks and moving in formation. Because we have language? Humpback whales have callsigns at the beginning and end of their songs that will actually cause consternation amongst other humpbacks if spliced and played back around another's song. There's even evidence to suggest that dolphin's sonar is a form of visual language: they're literally sending ultrasound holograms to each other, which would explain why their brainstem has roughly twice the "bandwidth" ours does.
Slime mold solves mazes. Plants hooked up to electromagnetic sensors hooked up to MIDI synthesizer units can figure out how to play ordered music instead of send random signals, and even play in styles "by ear" - one anecdote I've heard has it that a group of them at Damanhur played ragas for two weeks after a classical Indian musician visited. Bees tell each other where to find the flowers. Ravens have a theory of mind.
There are many forms of intelligence, and we've been hung up on the fact that we have symbolic language and tell stories about the past, future, and fictional as a litmus for one form of it. We are just beginning to recognize the many degrees of intelligence living on Earth with us. The Inuit have a proverb: "Every animal knows something more than you do." There's some truth to that.
When we expect to find life out there that is necessarily a magnified form of 20th century Westerners, we're starting with what we know, but let's prepare for a huge level of diversity on the theme of life, and what kind of technology (if any) other life would actually use. I'm pretty sure it's out there, and IMHO, it's almost certainly going to surprise us in many ways when (if?) we finally run into it.