How Should We Deal With Alien Contact? A Survey.

mosaix

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Scientists wrestling with the delicate issue of how to respond should humanity ever be contacted by an alien civilisation have hit on a radical idea: a survey that asks what the public would do.
 

Toby Frost

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Apart from a focus group of psychopaths and dictators, I can't think of anyone I'd want to ask less than "the public". I'm sure we used to have people who specialised in things like this. They were called "experts", if I remember rightly.
 

nixie

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Apart from a focus group of psychopaths and dictators, I can't think of anyone I'd want to ask less than "the public". I'm sure we used to have people who specialised in things like this. They were called "experts", if I remember rightly.
I'm with Toby, also if there is ever any alien contact keep the general public in dark until the experts are sure of intent and solution.
 

Lumens

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I think we should panic. Yes, let's panic.
 

Venusian Broon

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Apart from a focus group of psychopaths and dictators, I can't think of anyone I'd want to ask less than "the public". I'm sure we used to have people who specialised in things like this. They were called "experts", if I remember rightly.
Experts in 'contact with non-terrestrial intelligent alien beings'? Do we have any? I really think we have zero. We need some experience first.

However, yes, I think there should be as much clarity on the intent of the message as possible. But our understanding may not be sufficient (and why can't aliens lie, just like us?). And then we have a problem.

However, assuming we can reliably interpret and trust a strong intent, our response has to be political and involve everyone, I feel. A small clique of scientists, say, shouldn't decide for all of us. They should present evidence and hypothesis, then give suggestions on what we could do next. And all of it should be open.

Of course I wouldn't go as far as saying we should have something like a direct vote on it, à la the farce that Brexit continues to be, but keeping it in the dark stores up problems.
 

chrispenycate

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In my collection of stage passes, identity badges and the like you might find some little pin-ons informing the world I am Chris Penycate - Expert (or sometimes 'experte', for Germanic gigs. Which would not make me the first person to call should extraterrestrials land on the Whitehouse lawn. In an unprecedented situation there are no experts except self-anointed ones, unless making up theories of ancient astronauts elevates one to this rôle. Hollywood's omniscient, benevolent scientists are extremely rare in laboratories worldwide, and specialists are rarely an answer to big problems.

And, little as I trust the democratic masses to come up with brilliant, well-considered action, you know who would end up with the responsibility, don't you. Politicians, and the military (frequently now difficult to distinguish between. And, at least in the country I'm living in now, these are not high on the list of people I'd like to see with the responsibility. Not that the people throwing stones at the UFOs and shouting 'Go back where you came from.' are any more rational, but the will of the people is at least fragmented and undecided. You can trust humanity to produce more opinions than available members. Nobody has the first idea abou what you can trust ETs to be, or do, or believe.

Best ask the outsiders to meet up with a small, intelligent and flexible human group - ask them to stop off in orbit next to the ISS, and chat to generally benevolent and geeky beings who will generally approve of them.
 

Venusian Broon

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Best ask the outsiders to meet up with a small, intelligent and flexible human group - ask them to stop off in orbit next to the ISS, and chat to generally benevolent and geeky beings who will generally approve of them.
Can we assume the aliens are always benevolent and friendly chums?

What if the message that is picked up is a transmission/detection from a relativistic 40km asteroid 'missile' that has been launched to wipe out all life from planet Earth?
 

nixie

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I vote we have a handpicked delegation from the chrons. I'll start the nominations, please explain why they would be the best representatives.
@chrispenycate ( see his above post)
@Toby Frost ( in his space captain Smith role)
@Venusian Broon ( being an actual alien)
@Jo Zebedee ( for expertise from when the aliens invaded Belfast, see Inish Carraig)
@Dave (I'm sure he has had contact, Ascifi did give alien rewards)


Sorry if I'm being too frivolous, the post can be removed if need be:)
 

CupofJoe

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Can we assume the aliens are always benevolent and friendly chums?
What if the message that is picked up is a transmission/detection from a relativistic 40km asteroid 'missile' that has been launched to wipe out all life from planet Earth?
If they aren't going to be friendly, then there is probably not much we can do about it. Unless they are in a ragged state or limited numbers then their technology [of all types] will probably be so far ahead of us that there won't be much we can do to stop them doing whatever they want.
 

Dave

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I think we should panic. Yes, let's panic.
I'm busy lighting my flaming torch at this moment.
Can we assume the aliens are always benevolent and friendly chums?
No, but if the predictions are correct, they will have travelled an awfully long way just to wipe us out!
Unless, they have come for our oceans of water or iron core - aren't those the usual reasons?
They certainly wouldn't have come all that distance just to have an intelligent conversation! (and won't get any either!)
...their technology [of all types] will probably be so far ahead of us that there won't be much we can do to stop them doing whatever they want.
There is this too, would we ever stop what were doing to attempt to have a conversation with an ant? If we stepped on the ant accidentally, would we even be concerned about the effects, or the other ants that came to look? Would we feel we had missed out on the great library of ant knowledge and culture by missing speaking to them?

As for having a committee of experts to speak with them - I think it is a valid point to question what 'kind' of expert is required. A linguist for certain, but what if they don't communicate in words we can translate into language? What if (as in Close Encounters of the Third Kind) they communicate by music? What if they communicate only by mathematics or by geometric shapes? Or something we are as yet unable to conceive? The panel will need to be made up of the most diverse group of expects we can possibly think of.
 

Lumens

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There is this too, would we ever stop what were doing to attempt to have a conversation with an ant? If we stepped on the any accidentally, we we even be concerned about the effects, or the other ants that came to look? Would we feel we had missed out on the great library of any knowledge and culture by missing speaking to them?
Actually, we have learned a lot from ants and their behaviour, but I still take your point that the ants are probably unaware of that.
 

dannymcg

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Our only hope is one massive strike as they're landing.
If any survive them hack them to pieces and send those pieces back as a warning to keep away from Earth
 

Dave

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Actually, we have learned a lot from ants and their behaviour, but I still take your point that the ants are probably unaware of that.
Yes, we can be astounded by their ability to socialise and to build structures, and learn something we can apply ourselves, but we won't be worried about a nuclear or cyber attack from them, and will still build the motorway straight through their anthill - shades of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy there.
 

Vertigo

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Unless, they have come for our oceans of water or iron core - aren't those the usual reasons?
This sort of harvest idea always winds me up. There's only one think that's abundant on Earth that's not abundant on millions of other uninhabited celestial bodies and that's life. Why go to the hassle of dealing with a load of messy life when you could get your iron, water or whatever much more easily elsewhere. On the other hand if your intent is to harvest life then it makes loads of sense.
 

Venusian Broon

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Yeah the 'they want our water' trope is such tripe. It is among the most abundant molecule in the universe and there is unimaginable amounts of the stuff (sprinkled with other lovely elements) just floating about in low-Gee conditions, more-or-less everywhere for an advanced space faring race.

Hell, a number of Saturn's moons contain more water than the whole of the Earth.
 

Toby Frost

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I think it’s inevitable that there would be attacks on the aliens. Religious lunatics would inevitably see them as demons and try to kill them. The problem would be persuading the aliens not to retaliate too strongly. Given that there is probably at least a 50% chance that mankind would attempt genocide on these creatures, their best plan for them would be (at the very kindest) to take complete control. The purpose of aliens appearing might well be to inform us that we're in quarantine - although I'm not sure why they'd bother saying. Frankly, if I was an alien, I’d just hand out commemorative hats with either human-destroying viruses or mind-control devices hidden inside.

One option might be that what found Earth was a sophisticated probe – an AI, basically. I’m not sure how this would change things, except that it might be slightly more reasonable than a living being. Or slightly more relentless in its efforts to destroy all humans.
 
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Jo Zebedee

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I vote we have a handpicked delegation from the chrons. I'll start the nominations, please explain why they would be the best representatives.
@chrispenycate ( see his above post)
@Toby Frost ( in his space captain Smith role)
@Venusian Broon ( being an actual alien)
@Jo Zebedee ( for expertise from when the aliens invaded Belfast, see Inish Carraig)
@Dave (I'm sure he has had contact, Ascifi did give alien rewards)


Sorry if I'm being too frivolous, the post can be removed if need be:)
I'd just blast them. On principle. :D
 
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