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imported_Ziggy
2004-Aug-28, 05:53 PM
Science fiction is filled with stories about how first contact with aliens "wakes up" the human race and turns Earth into an "Utopia." Usaully there's a big war and after the fighting humanity is trying to rebuild but is on the verge of being wiped out. Then, either a radio signal is recieved or aliens actually land and this has a profound effect on the way people think about the bigger picture and everything gets better. While other stories are about how contact with ET causes the human race to self destruct because we loose our sense of dignity and "suppriority" over all other life forms. In a article that I recently read, some SETI researchers predict that we should get our first signal from ET before 2026 (don't ask me how they estimated that). If you were working with SETI and tommorow night you got a signal that was an authentic alien transmission, and you could decide if you should tell the world or not, what would you do? Most would tell the whole world about it, but don't think so quickly. In the past humans have exterminated entire species because we thought we were "better" and "smarter." There would be a chance that the civilization we got our signal from is way in advance of us. If you look at acient history, entire societies have self destructed when they came in contact with a more advanced and more powerful society. Then again, the potential good contact could do is enouromus. Corruption, war, mitirialism, and nationalism could virtually be wiped out. Technological and social progress could well exceed predicted horizons. Think of it as a game of Russian Rullet. If you win, you win big time. If you loose, you loose big time. So, if you had a choice of telling the world or keeping it a secret, what would you do? And more importantly, what do you think would be the outcome?

ASEI
2004-Aug-28, 05:56 PM
I'd rather be contacting them in a few hundred years than have them contacting us. That way, we are in control of the situation, and our interests are promoted, rather than the other way around.


If you were working with SETI and tommorow night you got a signal that was an authentic alien transmission, and you could decide if you should tell the world or not, what would you do? You bet I would tell the world. Willful blindness is not a survival enhancing trait.


While other stories are about how contact with ET causes the human race to self destruct because we loose our sense of dignity and "suppriority" over all other life forms. If we lost our sense of "superiority" I would think it would be motivating, stimulating us to work harder and advance faster.


Corruption, war, mitirialism, and nationalism could virtually be wiped out How so? I think the only way that happens is if humanity is also wiped out.

I think that there may be danger if we lose our will for greatness, and our ambition. The way to win would be to lose some aspects of our pride while retaining others. We cannot lapse into a misanthropic episode like so many of the futurists seem to do. The objective, after all, is the survival and promotion of humanity. We need to be willing to learn as much as possible though. We should strive to learn as much as possible about the alien civilization: their culture, their organization, their technology (important, but not most important, after all the Native Americans aquired guns, but not the industry or organization for armies and city-state society). We should figure out how they work, what is good and bad about their system, then launch programs to emulate everything we can about their level of civilization, programs to develop and build, not merely purchase their technology. It would have to be a full scale WWII style conversion mode effort, but if we are successful, we may end up much more advanced and powerful enough to exercize some control of the situation if we ever made contact.

Bobunf
2004-Aug-28, 10:24 PM
“what would you do”

Well, of course, you should tell the whole world immediately for two reasons:

ET very probably knows we’re here already. There is the possibility that they intend to initiate contact on a big scale real soon (the thousand member study and trading vanguard will arrive tomorrow, for instance). In that case we really need to be as prepared for contact as possible, and the more time we have the better to absorb the news, think it through, and work on the modalities.

Second, we’ll have a lot to learn and a lot to gain from contact with ET, and the sooner we start the better. The best minds humans have to offer need to work on this immediately. The stakes will be very high.

I don’t see any of the downsides you mention.

“In the past humans have exterminated entire species because we thought we were ‘better’ and ‘smarter.’"
“If you look at acient (sic) history, entire societies have self destructed (sic) when they came in contact with a more advanced and more powerful society.”

I must have missed those events. When did that happen?

Also, I think we'd have a real tough time exterminating any species on an exoplanet any time soon. Or if that's what ET intends, we'd best start doing what we can to thwart that intention right now.

As for us self-destructing--I wouldn't bet on it.

Bob

StarLab
2004-Aug-28, 10:45 PM
We hide. Then a few people come out. If the aliens don't kill them, we do not kill them back. It's that simple.

Tom2Mars
2004-Aug-29, 06:24 AM
Usually, when I try to talk to people about simple, cost-effective, off-the-shelf technology, people freak-out and run away screaming.

If we were contacted by a clearly superior alien civilization, there's no telling how folks would respond. :P

Bobunf
2004-Aug-29, 03:58 PM
“Usually, when I try to talk to people about simple, cost-effective, off-the-shelf technology, people freak-out and run away screaming”

I think I’d work on your presentation, maybe your hair-doo; something.

I’ve never had anybody ran away screaming no matter what I said. Rolling on the floor laughing, maybe.

I think folks would respond in many different ways. Genetic diversity. It's really important for the species to have a large menu of responses to an approaching danger. That enhances the chances of at least some surviving.

Contact with a clearly superior alien species would be a very great potential danger, as well as opportunity.

Bob

rahuldandekar
2004-Aug-31, 07:46 AM
Right, Bobunf.

I think that if I discovered that aliens were signalling us, I would definitely tell the world, though not myself. A very influential political person, who the people trust, should be telling them.

We have to tell people the trith, even if they freak out. I think that we should make preparations for their arrival. We should do it fast. Hire the best decoders to decode their signals. We should call the best scientists to present our techology. We should call the best diplomats to welcome them.

And if aliens do contact us, and are coming here, then we can't avoid it. But we should tell the world the truth and fight ( if they wanna fight) and defeat them ( I sort of remember 'Independence Day' ).

Z28Jerry
2004-Sep-29, 01:31 AM
I have always given this "first contact" allot of thought. Keep in mind I am far under-educated compared to the vast majority of posters here, so drop your i.q. levels a few points and read on if you will...

I think the effect it has on the Human race and the measurable actions of the public would be dertermined to a certain degree by the method of contact or distribution of collected contact data.

For example, recieving an alien signal (that can be authenticated without question) would only cause us to ask more questions. It would not cause the great panic one would think. We don't have a chance to ask them questions and wait for a reply (lol) so the public at large would be forced to accept the fact that we are not alone, and at our current age of modern society that would not be a big leap at all for most people to accept. The general reaction would be along the lines of "well, we pretty much figured that, shame we can't take to 'em"

Now, if is was a first contact that involved communication then it's a whole different ball game. Lets say they are 10 light years away or something. So, during an average human liftime, there could be a "conversation" with the aliens. I think this would lead to more arguments in society about the questions we are asking, and the whole process would become ill-fated, and turn into a bunch of people trying to control the whole thing for self serving purposes.

BUT, lets say it is face to face contact and we are able to communicate effeciently. The public's reaction would be hard to gauge, I guess it would have to wait to see what the aliens would want to share with us. If they offered us the answer to life, the universe and everything or an advanced energy that renews itself (but we had to choose) there would be trouble. Can you imagine it they were advanced enough to know if there really is or is not a God? If we asked them that, would we really want to know the answer? I think face to face contact would bring our entire civilization to a momentary stop. After an adjustment period we would resume our normal lives.

I think I have made a little sense here, but I am sure one of you guys could elaborate on the above?

Jerry

rahuldandekar
2004-Sep-29, 07:38 AM
When you meet a freind on the net, who is from a much adavnced country than you do, you sort of think that he knows much more than you do. But then you realise that even he is just a normal person like you are, and much like you. You realise that even he doesn't know much.

So why do you think that aliens would know the secrets of the universe? Picture our earthlings on another planet which has life. We would have gone there to ask them about the secrets of the universe. What would be our reaction if they asked us the same thing? After all, they too are conscious beings. They too can be just like us. We should not expect that aliens would know everything.

ironpirate
2004-Sep-29, 12:16 PM
I think that we would be rewarded either way. If it were a more advanced civilization, we could hopefully learn from them. If it were equal to or less advanced than us, we could still share information. It would drive us to create better and faster means of communication and transportation. I quess a good example would be the rapid development of the Galleon after the discovery of the New World. Ship building, navigation tools, and technology in general took off to exploit the finds.
Hopefully we are advanced enough not to do it just for explotation, but, our society in general needs profit in an endevour to get the funding on large scale.
It's sad, but most funding would have to come from the corporate world, who would need to see, bottom line, profit.

Z28Jerry
2004-Sep-29, 11:22 PM
So why do you think that aliens would know the secrets of the universe?

That is a good point. I always fall into the thinking that if they can travel vast distances they must be so far advanced (like thier science would appear to be magic to us primitives, lol) But your point is very valid, they could be damn near our equal, just lucky enough in thier own society to place a different emphasis on exploration and maybe lucked thier way into inventing "warp drive" if you will, without have to be a million years smarter than us.

Z28Jerry
2004-Sep-29, 11:23 PM
It's sad, but most funding would have to come from the corporate world, who would need to see, bottom line, profit.

Isn't it funny that most sci-fi writers tend to depict future humanity not needing money? For that same reason I would assume;)

qraal
2004-Sep-30, 12:34 PM
Hi All

In Gregory Benford's novel "If the Stars are Gods" the interstellar aliens aren't more advanced than us, just differently motivated and thus able to spend 14,000 years in a Space Ark on a religious quest.

What if aliens turn up in Orion-style pulse-ships which take a millennia to get between stars (0.04 c ~ 25 ly between stops)? They stop off at Saturn to tank up and then blast their way off to a new system. They wander along Galactic Song-lines and, as a species, have been itinerants for 100 millennia. Their technology is static and they live in a closed-loop economy.

What could they teach us? Would we be patient enough to learn?

Qraal

Prime
2004-Sep-30, 07:23 PM
No Effect

http://community.webtv.net/WF11/DrDanFrysJuly41950

Prime

mark mclellan
2004-Oct-01, 07:00 AM
Any alien visitors will be today, by our standards, technically superior to us.
This will bring out in us all of the normal human emotions, wonder, curiosity,love, hate and fear. The last 2 tend to be the ones we react on immediately so that concerns me.
Some of us would want to welcome, and learn from any visitors......others will want to rebuff and probably kill them. These are not reactions that we should be suprised by, the history of our own planet tells us that is how we have reacted towards each other for thousands of years.

The one word we should keep asking ourselves if such contact is ever made is "why"........its a long way to come (from wherever) just to say hello.
When a so called civilised nation has gone and discovered/visited a so called less civilised people it has usualy meant the end of their way of life, and sometimes the end of them as a different culture altogher <_< :ph34r:

GOURDHEAD
2004-Oct-01, 01:13 PM
When a so called civilised nation has gone and discovered/visited a so called less civilised people it has usualy meant the end of their way of life, and sometimes the end of them as a different culture altogher

You can bet the lunch money&#33; Evolution will not deviate from its main theme. The universe will not permit stasis.

bunny
2004-Oct-01, 02:22 PM
Any contact would and should be hushed up. Remember there is a whole gamut of human responses, greed, fear and stupidity being prime examples.

What could the aliens teach us? If we attribute our own values to them they will either teach us &#39;peace&#39; and &#39;love&#39;, or likely annihilate us and sap our resources. But do they have our values? Regardless of their intentions human reaction will envariably be fight or flight, although mass panic and hysteria would more likely ensue. Anyone who knows even a tiny bit of psychology understands that what an individual might think or do (in reacting to this) is not how they behave in a mob, normally intelligent people can act mindlessly in a crowd or group.


As for sharing of technology, I am afraid I am once again being cynical as the only people likly to benefit from this are governments and big corporations who are more than likely to dribble advances to the general public at a rate that maximises profit and not benefit to mankind. I foresee dark ages rather than an era of enlightenment. Sorry.

ironpirate
2004-Oct-01, 04:02 PM
Yes, Goverment and Corporate will benefit. They are the ones that can exploit an opportunity. But, the technology to do so, will create bigger and better things for the common man like me. I use GPS almost daily on the water, I wouldn&#39;t have this wonderful tool without Goverment having developed it, along with big buisness, for the military. On a smaller scale, I wouldn&#39;t have my Tang without the goverments need. The only group that could make use of alien technology, just by sheer cost, is Goverment and Buisness.
And I don&#39;t think contact would create mass Panic. It would be more akin to the discoveries of new races in the new world. Curiosity, and in our time, not slavery. We have grown as a species, quite well I think, overall. I believe we are ready to meet our cosmic bretheren. I&#39;m sure we will stumble a little, big deal, so will they.

Duane
2004-Oct-02, 01:15 AM
They would have been getting our radio signals for quite a while now, so they would probably hide and move on without even saying hello.

Tom2Mars
2004-Oct-02, 04:28 AM
bunny, re-
I am afraid I am once again being cynical as the only people likly to benefit from this are governments and big corporations who are more than likely to dribble advances to the general public at a rate that maximises profit and not benefit to mankind.

I can understand the cynicism, but have hope&#33; If you are concerned about government and big corporations, then find a way to build yourself the most energy-efficient house you can. If you can save enough off of your utility bills to make one extra payment on your mortgage each year, you can cut your payment time in half. Save more, pay the house off faster. Do some labor to construct it yourself, or even with friends, like the Amish, Quakers, and Habitat for Humanity, and you greatly reduce construction costs.

Every time you save utility money, you starve a big corporation.

When your house is paid off, and you have low utility bills, you can work less, earn less, and then pay lower taxes...which means you starve the government.

Help your friends do the same. By this time you will also be well on the way to developing utility independent technology that will be useful for living on the Moon and Mars, where you can create a space colony, and set up a government and run successful businesses. :D

Betelgeuse
2004-Oct-13, 06:15 PM
Originally posted by bunny@Oct 1 2004, 02:22 PM
Any contact would and should be hushed up.* Remember there is a whole gamut of human responses, greed, fear and stupidity being prime examples.
Good point. Guaranteed the government would keep it "hushed up" as you say, but this is quite disappointing. It would be nice to actually KNOW if we&#39;ve had contact with life elswhere - it would answer so many questions and satisfy those of us with curious minds.