Humanity won't be ready for "First Contact" for a long long time


Projects like active SETi which are trying to make contact with intelligent non-terrestial life seem a bit dangerous and I think they should be outlawed to be perfectly blunt. Its a huge huge assumption that alien life would be interested in scientific discovery or whatever and they could just as likely be malevolent (kinda like the Combine from Half Life 2 or something TLDR : Systematically turn humanity into will-less cyborgs for its military and strip the planet of its resources)

Then you have to consider that humanity isn't exactly at peace with itself, people are still killing each other over things like what form of theology is right, racial supremacy, being part of a minority or just being different. How can a species at war with itself possibly have proper relations with another (assuming the other species is not malevolent)

IMO we should be trying to avoid sending transmissions into space ( I have no idea how though) or something


  • 3 years ago

    SETI is more about listening than speaking it turns out that virtually all of our radio broadcasts from back in the day blends into background white noise in a couple of light-years of distance. You know, square cube law. Basically, if aliens aren't literally on our doorstep there's no chance SETI will do anything, but SETI projects improve our understanding of space and telecommunications. So, even if SETI has a 0% chance of discovering intelligent alien life it's still worth investing some stuff into.

    I don't think that's it's possible or desirable to stop fighting amongst ourselves before we know whether or not we need to be fighting them. Why should we turn ourselves into peaceful, enlightened versions of ourselves and allow military skills and technology to atrophy in the long peace when we need it to fight that one in a hundred hostile alien race? As long as we keep ourselves together enough to not ally with the hostile aliens against other humans we'd be best off.

    Can you define what "proper relations" even are? We can get along pretty easy. All we need is something to do. We stir up trouble and get caught up on things that don't really matter when we don't have something grand to accomplish. It'd be super easy for aliens to keep us peaceful (towards them) by giving us a foe to defeat and a great task to accomplish.

    I think that if we were located in the ass end of nowhere galaxy wise that might have happened already.

    • 🎤Author
      3 years ago

      There is SETI which is passive but there is also ActiveSETI which involves sending transmissions

    • 3 years ago

      Thanks to fundamental laws of physics the signal is 1/4 as strong every time you double the distance. The strongest broadcasts from Earth are functionally undetectable if you aren't around the seven nearest stars. Given that there are no artificial structures around any of those stars (and we've looked at them pretty hard), there's basically no chance that anyone will stumble across our signals while they're strong enough to be noticed.

      Besides, radio is probably completely obsolete to aliens to the point where they don't bother to check. We look at radio so heavily because it's so fresh in our minds and it's really good for looking at natural phenomenon, it's neither rich nor fast enough to be a good interplanetary or interstellar communication medium.

  • 3 years ago

    The world is a sink or swim place. We were ready for agricultural revolutions? Were we ready for nuclear weapons?

    That's what's great about humanity. We try and make the world linear - like in order for this to happen, you need to meet these hygiene factors.

    In reality, we always are sort of figuring out things as we go along. In fact, sometimes making changes when you're not ready really help make us better.

    So don't think of us getting 'ready' for First Contact. Think about First Contact making us ready for positive change.

    • 3 years ago

      A civilization that has sufficient technology to conquer us already knows we are here. If they don't we have nothing to worry about. As for building relationships, just knowing they exist doesn't really create grounds for a relation. We don't have the means for communication, no means of travel. It's just a novelty at this point. Besides, if we don't explore now, we will never be ready to make contact. This small attempts at creating technology that might reach aliens are what will build the means to intergalactic travel. You can't say hey we are ready now, let's contact those good folks at Krypton. In order to be ready, you must constantly send transmissions, spaceships, whatever so you can develop the technology. Another point, any civilization that is smart enough to not only contact aliens but travel millions of light years to us, will with high probability have an abundance of resources and technology to create a war with us. If you don't need land or labor their is no need for a war.

      • 3 years ago

        Wait, I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be trying to change here. Is it that we just won't be ready for the contact, or that we should be actively trying to avoid sending transmissions into space?

        • 3 years ago

          I've always thought it was absurd to assume that alien life would parse reality in remotely the same way as we do.

          Now, there is an argument against this, that perceiving time in a certain spectrum, being able to perceive light/ sound, having a concept of self- perhaps some of these are adaptive on many planets. Who knows.

          • 🎤Author
            3 years ago

            I am assuming that intelligent life would have a form of sentience

          • 3 years ago

            I'm not sure I want to reference it without spoiling the book, but there is some scifi that contests this.

        • 3 years ago

          First I'd like to mention that, for any species capable of visiting us, we have absolutely nothing they would want that they couldn't get some other way much more easily. We do offer a diverse biosphere (at the moment) that would be worth studying, though to do so wouldn't require them to contact us. For example, if we wanted to watch primitive tribespeople on an island in the Pacific, we could easily do so without them even knowing.

          Not only are we ready, but I think first contact would be beneficial. For the first time, in all of recorded history, humans can have an "us v.s. them" moment where the "us" includes all of humanity. Also we would know that it is possible to survive potential great filters that are ahead of us, if they are more technologically advanced, as well as have a "mentor" to help us overcome our current set of problems (assuming they aren't bound by some form of Prime Directive and we are willing to accept their help).

          • 3 years ago

            Let me try to change your view in a different regard. your question is bogus to start with. it doesnt matter if we are ready or not for something we have zero control over and have no idea what it will be like. we can't predict in any regard what will happen, and we don't know when. how can we prepare for it? are we preparing for black hole to creep up and swallow us any second? of course not. its out of our control. being 'ready' or not is not a good question.

            • 🎤Author
              3 years ago

              We can influence it however.vThere have been projects like active seti where they have send transmissions designed to contact intelligent life into space.

              Also every TV and radio broadcast has been blasted into space, maybe there could be some way to jam it outside of Earth or something.

            • 3 years ago

              all i'm trying to say is that 'will we' or 'will we not' be ready when contact is made with aliens is not a good question. i'm not trying to be mean. i'm just saying that it's impossible to argue that we will or will not be ready for when contact is made. we have no idea what contact really means in the first place with something like aliens. and we also have no idea what 'being ready' could contain. maybe being ready would be having a steak dinner ready for them. maybe have five fingers on your hand is offensive to them so they murder us all. we have no idea what 'contact' or 'ready' means in context wth your question. that's why you need to word it differently. or else people will not understand what you are asking.

          • 3 years ago

            There is a huge problem with your assumptions. First, it assumes the civilization we meet will be much more advanced than we are... we are significantly far away from being able to dominate other planets. Meaning any threat of danger presupposes that they are able to do this (the problem with assuming this is that you would expect that we would see some evidence of them coming - ie significant RF signals or large space deployments) It is completely possible, through the quirks of fate, that within our local group we are the first to achieve this level of technology.

            Second, you are assuming that communication through space is even meaningful. The chance that we actually find a decent signal in the next century is quite low, the chance that we can meaningfully communicate back is practicably 0. Like 10-18 low.

            Third, the idea that there is civilization out there that could attack us but doesn't know about us yet is probably not accurate. I mean right now humanity is eyeing Mars for a mission in the next 5 years. Not for a colony, not so we can build a settlement... just like wouldn't it be cool to send someone there....

            Imagine how hard it would be to send some to Pluto. Now imagine sending an army and settlers.... Take into account that technological progress isn't isolated - imagine what kind of communication technologies we will have in 10 years... now try to imagine 100 years...

            Like the technology to move a large number of people from one solar system to another probably will require space/time manipulation.... if they are capable of that they probably have some killer telescopes

            • 3 years ago

              Active vs Passive is basically irrelevant.

              Lets say we are that evil race of Space Nazis. We decide that the Milky way is ours full stop, and nobody else should be allowed to become space-fairing. Our goal is to play whack-a-mole with any civilizations that pop up.

              How do we go about policing the galaxy, and finding these upstart races before they crawl out of their gravity well? Humans went from raw nature to space fairing in about 10k years. That's an eyeblink in deep time. How to zap them fast enough?

              If you ask anybody who has done serious thinking on the subject would suggest that a Von-neumann probe. Send out a probe and a few million years later, there is one in every system watching for civilization. This is efficient and elegant for the purpose.

              Either this has or hasn't happened. If it has, we should have been wiped out already, probably before we really got the hang of monument building.

              Since that hasn't happened, no such probe exists, and therefore neither do the galactic genocide orchestrating race.

              Cheer up though. There is every reason to assume we are living in a simulation, as it has the most explanatory value for what we know, and beat the alternative of us hitting the great filter sometime soon.

              • 3 years ago

                SETI doesn't broadcast anything. It listens.

                • 🎤Author
                  3 years ago

                  And I am the president of Algeria

                • 3 years ago

                  Good to meet you mr president. I'm glad you feel you know the experiences every other person has had so there is no need to have an open mind and can immediately dismiss what others claim as false as you know what they really experienced.

                • 🎤Author
                  3 years ago

                  Well an out of context quote from a claimed ex minister isn't going to change my view

                • 3 years ago

                  I too like to ignore things which don't fit my personal world view.

              • 3 years ago

                If we are assuming that alien life has the technology to travel the lightyears distance it would take to get to earth, then what resources would they gain from taking us over? Hell! Water is one of the most abundant compounds in the universe. The amount of resources they would use up going to war with us would be astronomically greater than anything the could home to gain. In all likelihood if they know we're here they'll either send small scouting vessels or drones to see whats up with our little blue spec and go on their merry way or just ignore us completely.

                • 🎤Author
                  3 years ago

                  I guess earth could have resources that may have ruin our in other planets or something

              • 3 years ago

                Projects like active SETi which are trying to make contact with intelligent non-terrestial life seem a bit dangerous and I think they should be outlawed to be perfectly blunt. Its a huge huge assumption that alien life would be interested in scientific discovery or whatever and they could just as likely be malevolent.

                I agree with you as an animal, and now let me talk to you as a man.

                We have a deep epistemological problem: There is a horizon very near to our faces, and it's the horizon of that which we know for sure. Most things are beyond what we know, including our own memories and experiences and ourselves, and things are also dynamic and in motion. Look, we even set up systems and mental disciplines as tools, just so we don't fool ourselves when observing the natural world; yet we're still fledgling. This is because of how we navigate through unknowns, and it so often isn't with authentic courage or wisdom or empathy, but with anticipation and bravado. We anticipate ourselves. We cast our expectations, hopes and anxieties over our own horizon. For SETI it's optimism, and for you it's caution, even the desire to criminalize the search for extraterrestrial life. And you're right, we don't know that what we would find would benefit our interests or destroy us for itself.

                However this is what I think sets man apart from himself, to make a man more than a biological unit that survives and spreads; it's an ability to have true courage and admit that he doesn't know, and brave the unknown.

                We need to search for us, because it's meaningful and it makes us better than we otherwise would be. It's an inheritance that makes all the wars and rumors and gods and bloodshed and horror not completely meaningless, resulting in a planet that just survives and limps along until it runs out of steam. Even in death, if we died nobly and with dignity then maybe someone somewhere out there would notice our courage, and turn a cruel alien empire around. Maybe it'd be a meaningless blip. Maybe maybe. However if all we wish to do is live in our heads, then we should shut down SETI and start growing lots of poppies and coca leaves. Indeed, earth has all we need for the body and even the mind, but it's the hope of a soul that must drive us to make First Contact in good faith and good will.

                • 3 years ago

                  There is abolutely no incentive to conquer Earth. It's nothing special resource-wise.

                  And you're assuming faster-than-light communication and travel is a possibility. If we were to receive a signal now and were to send an answer, or vice versa, that would take centuries at the very least.

                  • 3 years ago

                    If there is malevolent intelligent life out there, we stand absolutely no chance against a society even just a hundred years ahead of us in terms of military tech, let alone the potential billions of years of difference there may be.

                    Planetary scale warfare from a star faring race would be more like an extermination.

                    If this is the case with nearby intelligent life, it's pretty much inevitable, and we might want to surrender asap. If we're lucky, we might get to live as a slave or pet species.

                    Of course, if alien life is not malevolent, we should contact them asap, hopefully they'll give us some assistance with getting our species together and keeping our planet stable.

                    In short, evil aliens? We should surrender ourselves before they find us and destroy us for amusement. Good aliens? See the ending to lord of the flies.

                    • 3 years ago

                      Let's address your views point by point.

                      Then you have to consider that humanity isn't exactly at peace with itself, people are still killing each other over things like what form of theology is right, racial supremacy, being part of a minority or just being different. How can a species at war with itself possibly have proper relations with another (assuming the other species is not malevolent)

                      You're looking at this from the wrong angle. First contact is the catalyst that will ultimately unite humanity, and humanity will never be united until we have first contact. Humanity's conflicts are like sibling rivalry. We fight because we are slightly different, but when someone who is really different (aliens), we all stick out for one another. We have seen this principal act on various smaller scales throughout history. There's a reason we say that nothing unites people like a common enemy.

                      Now then, the question remains, "Is humanity ready to be united a global level?", and the answer to that is yes. Today is the most peaceful time in history. There have not been a major war in decades. Likewise, we have a framework which a planetary government could emerge. It's called the United Nations.

                      Its a huge huge assumption that alien life would be interested in scientific discovery or whatever and they could just as likely be malevolent

                      You're right, but even without this assumption, all that is added is one more precondition before deciding to make first contact. Do we have the capabilities to try and defend ourselves? We will never know the answer to this until after we make first contact. However, at some point in time, you must decide that you are ready and jump into the pool, and we reached that point during the cold war. We my not have a stick as big as many other species out there, but we still have a decent sized stick to defend ourselves with. We may lack a navy to project power, but we have a decent amount of firepower to defend earth with. There are currently 15,695 nuclear weapons in the world, and we have delivery systems (ICBM) that can be easily modified to bring them to orbit. Likewise, we have a advance terrestrial military that should be able to hold its ground against most alien invaders planet-side.

                      • 3 years ago

                        We're under interstellar quarantine because of our leaders' commitment to nuclear deterrence on-planet. By the time we get rid of nukes I think we'll be alright.

                        • 3 years ago

                          If a intelligent lifeform came the millions of light years to our world, they'll probably not care about traveling a few more for whatever resources they want.

                          • 3 years ago

                            First point: The problem is you're basically saying "this could go bad, let's not risk it" but we have no idea what the risk actually is. If you're saying it might lead to the human race being wiped out entirely, it might also prevent us from being wiped out and we have no idea which is more likely. Maybe some space tidal wave we've never observed, and therefore can't prepare for, is coming towards us and it'll kill us all, but our alien neighbors have the technology to survive it, then if we don't meet the aliens we all die. Or what if we run out of resources faster than we find solutions on our own and will wipe ourselves out, but aliens have solutions that we miss out on because we don't seek them out? There are "aliens save us from being wiped out" scenarios just like there are "aliens wipe us out" scenarios and there are also "aliens didn't save or cause our extinction but promoted/demoted our civilization".

                            Second point: The reason why it's evolutionarily advantageous to have explorers is because the long term probability of survival will be worse if we never step into the unknown. When a cave man never went far from his cave, sure he was less likely to get eaten by a smilodon, but his tribe might die out because he didn't notice the forest was dwindling and they'd need to move, or that there is another bigger and better cave 50 miles away, or another tribe that has discovered an herb with medicinal value (not sure if that specific scenario is legit since I'm no expert on prehistoric life but you get the idea). Having a few pioneers that braved the wilderness was useful for our long term survival. The same applies here, but since we can't fly out there yet, the best we can do is wave a flag and hope some passersby notice.

                            • 3 years ago

                              How can a species at war with itself possibly have proper relations with another (assuming the other species is not malevolent)

                              Define "proper"? Do a dog and a person have a "proper" relationship? Even though the dog does something dumb like chewing on a rock and the human has to take them to the vet to have it repaired?

                              Lets assume that what you aptly term our "not exactly peaceful" nature, combined with rising technological empowerment, risks our species' survival. Lets also assume that humans do some pretty remarkable and cool stuff. Might it not be that a particularly tasteful advanced species finds some value in the expense of a trip to the vet?

                              • 3 years ago

                                I respect your opinion, but let me tell you why you're wrong about the assumption that we should not look into the skies for intelligent life.

                                First thing, even if we do discover intelligent life, there will be no physical contact for many many many years to come.

                                Second, it would be extremely humbling for humanity to realize that what they were fighting for all along is almost negligible when looking at the bigger picture.

                                Therefore we should not stop at anything to find what humbles us and could quite possibly unite us as a race.

                                • 3 years ago

                                  I don't think we will ever reach a time where every nation on this planet is truely at peace. There will inevitably be differences of how each nation would approach contact from extra-terrestrial life, which in itself may cause a war. It would not surprise me if the US took hostile action against them for self-preservation from the unknown and I am sure there may other nations that would willingly contact them back to quench a once in a blue moon curisotiy.

                                  • 3 years ago

                                    SETI is listening to radio waves coming from space. If they find a radio signal of extra-terrestial origin that can definitively be attributed to intelligent life, then this means nothing other than "aliens exist". It does not make "first contact". If SETI discovers them, that means if the aliens were interested at all, they too could have been listening to our radio communications for the past 50 years and known about us.

                                    • 3 years ago

                                      Much like parenting, there'll be reasons why humanity will never be ready.

                                      If it happens, it happens, and then we can man up and deal with it. But Itll probably be a radio signal or some deep space probe or something that we get first and noone will believe it anyways!

                                      • 3 years ago

                                        SETi projects are about finding out if there is any intelligence off the Earth. This could only add to our knowledge. It does not necessarily entail any attempt to contact the others.

                                        • 3 years ago

                                          SETI only listens, it doesn't broadcast. Plus we're already broadcasting with all our tv, radio and cell phones. So we better make all those illegal too.