Principia Discordia

Principia Discordia => Techmology and Scientism => Topic started by: Brother Mythos on July 07, 2019, 05:12:49 am

Title: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Brother Mythos on July 07, 2019, 05:12:49 am
What To Do in the Event of an Alien Call?

As per the article:

ďIn the age of fake news, researchers worry conspiracy theories would abound before we could figure out how ó or if ó to reply to an alien message.

The answer to this question could affect all of our lives more than nearly any other policy decision out there: How, if it all, should humanity respond if we get a message from an alien civilization?

And yet politicians and scientists have never bothered to get our input on it.
 
At long last, thatís changing. A group of researchers in the UK this week released the first major survey on the question. The responses could help inform an international protocol for responding to first contact.Ē
 
Here's the link: https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2019/7/6/20680228/aliens-survey-seti-meti-scientists-extraterrestrial-message

I'm all for hiding behind the curtains, not answering the door, and waiting for them to go away.

Please Note:

Alien contact was discussed, earlier this year, in ďThe aliens haven't contacted us becauseĒ thread, as per this link: https://www.principiadiscordia.com/forum/index.php/topic,38575.0.html. I started a new thread because now we're getting Officially Sciencey about it.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Cain on July 07, 2019, 07:43:25 am
Ghost them.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: TastyCle on July 07, 2019, 12:56:20 pm
If they know where we live we gotta move.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: chaotic neutral observer on July 07, 2019, 04:01:05 pm
----------
Alternative #1
----------

I encounter a colony of ants.

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that the ants become aware of my presence, agree on a course of action, decide on a first message, and present it in a form that I notice, recognize as an attempt at communication, and can actually understand.

I'm not going to take whatever the ants have to say seriously.  I'm just going to keep mowing.

Conversely, the notion that I would attempt to communicate with the ants is just silly.  They're just ants.

----------
Alternative #2
----------

Person A:  What if something BIG happened?  What would you do?
Person B:  Exactly what kind of thing are we talking about?
A:  I dunno.  This is all hypothetical.
B:  I'd find a scapegoat.  You can never go wrong with having a scapegoat.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on July 07, 2019, 07:40:56 pm
Answer.

It's not like they're actually going to come here, what with the vastness of space. If somehow they have managed getting around the speed of light using physics we don't understand yet, they don't have any idea with how they will be able to tolerate Earth's millions of microbial species, since their immune systems didn't evolve to keep Earth microbes in check.

The ants analogy is somewhat of an inept one, I think. Aliens aren't necessarily going to be more advanced than us, especially if they can't manage interstellar travel, and if they're less advanced than us, we're not going to hear from them anyway
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: chaotic neutral observer on July 07, 2019, 07:56:59 pm
The ants analogy is somewhat of an inept one, I think. Aliens aren't necessarily going to be more advanced than us, especially if they can't manage interstellar travel, and if they're less advanced than us, we're not going to hear from them anyway
This thought experiment is predicated on the aliens contacting us.  I think that, compared to a species that can communicate and/or travel across interstellar distances, we would likely be little more than ants.  And even if they aren't very different from us in terms of intellectual capacity, they would likely view us as a primitive people purely because of the technology gap.  (And interstellar technology is a hell of a gap, compared to where we are now.  Larger than the gap from a stone hammer to a smartphone, I think).

Aliens that can't contact us aren't really in the scope of this thread.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Frontside Back on July 07, 2019, 08:46:11 pm
There's always the 0.000000000000000000342286% chance that alien equivalent of the Voyager probe just happens to fly by ISS window. Sadly it's still more likely to be the russians :c
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on July 08, 2019, 02:58:54 am
The ants analogy is somewhat of an inept one, I think. Aliens aren't necessarily going to be more advanced than us, especially if they can't manage interstellar travel, and if they're less advanced than us, we're not going to hear from them anyway
This thought experiment is predicated on the aliens contacting us.  I think that, compared to a species that can communicate and/or travel across interstellar distances, we would likely be little more than ants.  And even if they aren't very different from us in terms of intellectual capacity, they would likely view us as a primitive people purely because of the technology gap.  (And interstellar technology is a hell of a gap, compared to where we are now.  Larger than the gap from a stone hammer to a smartphone, I think).

Aliens that can't contact us aren't really in the scope of this thread.

The thought experiment has them contacting us which means they don't consider us like ants
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: chaotic neutral observer on July 08, 2019, 03:22:22 am
The ants analogy is somewhat of an inept one, I think. Aliens aren't necessarily going to be more advanced than us, especially if they can't manage interstellar travel, and if they're less advanced than us, we're not going to hear from them anyway
This thought experiment is predicated on the aliens contacting us.  I think that, compared to a species that can communicate and/or travel across interstellar distances, we would likely be little more than ants.  And even if they aren't very different from us in terms of intellectual capacity, they would likely view us as a primitive people purely because of the technology gap.  (And interstellar technology is a hell of a gap, compared to where we are now.  Larger than the gap from a stone hammer to a smartphone, I think).

Aliens that can't contact us aren't really in the scope of this thread.

The thought experiment has them contacting us which means they don't consider us like ants

I guess I did not express my meaning clearly.  I meant contact in the sense of them sending a message we are capable of receiving, or in visiting this planet, not in the sense of establishing some sort of meaningful two-way communication.  Any message they sent would be intended for species they believed to be their equals, and I doubt we would qualify.

I have personally made contact with ants, and I still considered them to be ants afterward.  I do not think this contact was a positive experience from the ants point-of-view (if they can be said to have such a thing).
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Doktor Howl on July 08, 2019, 05:02:38 am
I can't decide if I want to answer aliens or not.

Option 1:  Fuck 'em.  We have enough assholes as it is.

Option 2:  Answer back with insults. 

Option 3:  Invite them in, fuck them up.

Option 4:  attached to this message.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Doktor Howl on July 08, 2019, 05:05:50 am
Expanding on option 3:  Twilight Zone episode-ish.  We send them cordial invitations to visit, but then it goes all The Hills Have Eyes on them when they do.  Or maybe we just invite them in and describe our history in a really positive tone, like we're all proud of it.  Send them home with a complex.

Expanding on option 3 some more (this is pretty much repost):

"Come on down 'galactic space brothers', Doktor Howl has something for ya."
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on July 08, 2019, 05:15:26 am
Expanding on option 3:  Twilight Zone episode-ish.  We send them cordial invitations to visit, but then it goes all The Hills Have Eyes on them when they do.  Or maybe we just invite them in and describe our history in a really positive tone, like we're all proud of it.  Send them home with a complex.

Expanding on option 3 some more (this is pretty much repost):

"Come on down 'galactic space brothers', Doktor Howl has something for ya."

 :lulz:

I seem to remember writing something here once describing humans in a way that would be terrifying to aliens, among which were things like, "they intentionally consume disinfectant for fun" and "they speak to entities that you cannot perceive" with the sense that humans are so convinced of their gods and ghosts that they *must* exist and it's the aliens' deficiency that they can't see or hear them
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on July 08, 2019, 05:19:25 am
The ants analogy is somewhat of an inept one, I think. Aliens aren't necessarily going to be more advanced than us, especially if they can't manage interstellar travel, and if they're less advanced than us, we're not going to hear from them anyway
This thought experiment is predicated on the aliens contacting us.  I think that, compared to a species that can communicate and/or travel across interstellar distances, we would likely be little more than ants.  And even if they aren't very different from us in terms of intellectual capacity, they would likely view us as a primitive people purely because of the technology gap.  (And interstellar technology is a hell of a gap, compared to where we are now.  Larger than the gap from a stone hammer to a smartphone, I think).

Aliens that can't contact us aren't really in the scope of this thread.

The thought experiment has them contacting us which means they don't consider us like ants

I guess I did not express my meaning clearly.  I meant contact in the sense of them sending a message we are capable of receiving, or in visiting this planet, not in the sense of establishing some sort of meaningful two-way communication.  Any message they sent would be intended for species they believed to be their equals, and I doubt we would qualify.

I have personally made contact with ants, and I still considered them to be ants afterward.  I do not think this contact was a positive experience from the ants point-of-view (if they can be said to have such a thing).

Why do you doubt that we would qualify? If we were capable of receiving, deciphering, and responding to their message, not only are we roughly their technological equals, but they're also thinking like us.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on July 08, 2019, 05:20:42 am
One of the many things that I find fascinating about humans is the weird idea that we must be savages compared to alien civilizations, when we might very well be the most advanced species in the galaxy and that's why we haven't heard anything yet.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Doktor Howl on July 08, 2019, 05:59:32 am
Expanding on option 3:  Twilight Zone episode-ish.  We send them cordial invitations to visit, but then it goes all The Hills Have Eyes on them when they do.  Or maybe we just invite them in and describe our history in a really positive tone, like we're all proud of it.  Send them home with a complex.

Expanding on option 3 some more (this is pretty much repost):

"Come on down 'galactic space brothers', Doktor Howl has something for ya."

 :lulz:

I seem to remember writing something here once describing humans in a way that would be terrifying to aliens, among which were things like, "they intentionally consume disinfectant for fun" and "they speak to entities that you cannot perceive" with the sense that humans are so convinced of their gods and ghosts that they *must* exist and it's the aliens' deficiency that they can't see or hear them

I just tripped across that thread.  I shall try to dig it up this week.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Doktor Howl on July 08, 2019, 06:00:35 am
One of the many things that I find fascinating about humans is the weird idea that we must be savages compared to alien civilizations, when we might very well be the most advanced species in the galaxy and that's why we haven't heard anything yet.

Yeah.  WE are the Ancient Ones, and when they dig us up, they will develop theories about what noble beings we had to have been.

I want to haunt their bathrooms forever.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on July 08, 2019, 06:02:33 am
Expanding on option 3:  Twilight Zone episode-ish.  We send them cordial invitations to visit, but then it goes all The Hills Have Eyes on them when they do.  Or maybe we just invite them in and describe our history in a really positive tone, like we're all proud of it.  Send them home with a complex.

Expanding on option 3 some more (this is pretty much repost):

"Come on down 'galactic space brothers', Doktor Howl has something for ya."

 :lulz:

I seem to remember writing something here once describing humans in a way that would be terrifying to aliens, among which were things like, "they intentionally consume disinfectant for fun" and "they speak to entities that you cannot perceive" with the sense that humans are so convinced of their gods and ghosts that they *must* exist and it's the aliens' deficiency that they can't see or hear them

I just tripped across that thread.  I shall try to dig it up this week.

Nice!
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on July 08, 2019, 06:05:01 am
One of the many things that I find fascinating about humans is the weird idea that we must be savages compared to alien civilizations, when we might very well be the most advanced species in the galaxy and that's why we haven't heard anything yet.

Yeah.  WE are the Ancient Ones, and when they dig us up, they will develop theories about what noble beings we had to have been.

I want to haunt their bathrooms forever.

It would be a fitting tribute to our kind
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: chaotic neutral observer on July 08, 2019, 02:08:11 pm
I guess I did not express my meaning clearly.  I meant contact in the sense of them sending a message we are capable of receiving, or in visiting this planet, not in the sense of establishing some sort of meaningful two-way communication.  Any message they sent would be intended for species they believed to be their equals, and I doubt we would qualify.

I have personally made contact with ants, and I still considered them to be ants afterward.  I do not think this contact was a positive experience from the ants point-of-view (if they can be said to have such a thing).

Why do you doubt that we would qualify? If we were capable of receiving, deciphering, and responding to their message, not only are we roughly their technological equals, but they're also thinking like us.

It's the "deciphering" and "responding" parts that I have doubts about.  In Stanislaw Lem's "His Master's Voice", humans receive a message of alien origin.  However, they are unable to make much sense of it; the protagonist hypothesizes that the message was intended for a civilization at a much higher level of development, and that it was intentionally encoded such that unintended recipients would be unable to use the information in the message to harm themselves.

Responding to it was out of the question; we'd need to harness the entire power output of a star to do it.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: chaotic neutral observer on July 08, 2019, 02:17:12 pm
One of the many things that I find fascinating about humans is the weird idea that we must be savages compared to alien civilizations, when we might very well be the most advanced species in the galaxy and that's why we haven't heard anything yet.

If we buy the argument made by that copernican method guy in the next thread over (https://www.principiadiscordia.com/forum/index.php/topic,38673.0.html), half the alien civilizations should be ahead of us, and the other half behind.

But matters of probability aside, fantasizing about aliens that are more advanced than us is simply more interesting than the alternative.  We've already met aliens that were less advanced than us.  We generally kill a bunch of them, take their stuff, colonize their land, and then civilize them.  Been there, done that.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: TastyCle on July 08, 2019, 02:35:22 pm
One of the many things that I find fascinating about humans is the weird idea that we must be savages compared to alien civilizations, when we might very well be the most advanced species in the galaxy and that's why we haven't heard anything yet.

If we buy the argument made by that copernican method guy in the next thread over (https://www.principiadiscordia.com/forum/index.php/topic,38673.0.html), half the alien civilizations should be ahead of us, and the other half behind.

But matters of probability aside, fantasizing about aliens that are more advanced than us is simply more interesting than the alternative.  We've already met aliens that were less advanced than us.  We generally kill a bunch of them, take their stuff, colonize their land, and then civilize them.  Been there, done that.
That depends on the scale difference. Nowadays we tend to protect the miniscule amount of space tribes still inhabit. Aliens who could colonize us have probably no interest to.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on July 08, 2019, 04:30:39 pm
One of the many things that I find fascinating about humans is the weird idea that we must be savages compared to alien civilizations, when we might very well be the most advanced species in the galaxy and that's why we haven't heard anything yet.

If we buy the argument made by that copernican method guy in the next thread over (https://www.principiadiscordia.com/forum/index.php/topic,38673.0.html), half the alien civilizations should be ahead of us, and the other half behind.

But matters of probability aside, fantasizing about aliens that are more advanced than us is simply more interesting than the alternative.  We've already met aliens that were less advanced than us.  We generally kill a bunch of them, take their stuff, colonize their land, and then civilize them.  Been there, done that.
That depends on the scale difference. Nowadays we tend to protect the miniscule amount of space tribes still inhabit. Aliens who could colonize us have probably no interest to.

They're probably unable to do so, since they didn't evolve here. Microbes are wrong, food web is wrong, gravity is almost certainly wrong, as is atmospheric composition and pressure, unites they have technologies to mitigate pretty much everything
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on July 08, 2019, 04:33:30 pm
I guess I did not express my meaning clearly.  I meant contact in the sense of them sending a message we are capable of receiving, or in visiting this planet, not in the sense of establishing some sort of meaningful two-way communication.  Any message they sent would be intended for species they believed to be their equals, and I doubt we would qualify.

I have personally made contact with ants, and I still considered them to be ants afterward.  I do not think this contact was a positive experience from the ants point-of-view (if they can be said to have such a thing).

Why do you doubt that we would qualify? If we were capable of receiving, deciphering, and responding to their message, not only are we roughly their technological equals, but they're also thinking like us.

It's the "deciphering" and "responding" parts that I have doubts about.  In Stanislaw Lem's "His Master's Voice", humans receive a message of alien origin.  However, they are unable to make much sense of it; the protagonist hypothesizes that the message was intended for a civilization at a much higher level of development, and that it was intentionally encoded such that unintended recipients would be unable to use the information in the message to harm themselves.

Responding to it was out of the question; we'd need to harness the entire power output of a star to do it.

I have my doubts that two alien civilizations would be able to decipher each other's signals even if they are of roughly equal technological development, and That's because outside of science and math, they're going to have no common frame of reference. It's like that thing where if a lion could speak you still wouldn't understand it
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on July 08, 2019, 04:37:12 pm
Nevertheless, if an alien civilization contacts us, why not give it a go?
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Doktor Howl on July 10, 2019, 12:16:50 am
Nevertheless, if an alien civilization contacts us, why not give it a go?

Because I hate aliens.  :crankey:
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Brother Mythos on July 10, 2019, 12:19:41 am
Nevertheless, if an alien civilization contacts us, why not give it a go?

Seriously, have you not seen any of those movies?!
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: chaotic neutral observer on July 10, 2019, 01:42:26 am
Nevertheless, if an alien civilization contacts us, why not give it a go?

This could lead to excellence
Or serious injury
Only one way to know
Go, go, go


   --TMBG (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aeOBZ7gVPY)
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on July 10, 2019, 03:36:52 am
Nevertheless, if an alien civilization contacts us, why not give it a go?

Seriously, have you not seen any of those movies?!

Yes, and they're almost all universally shite on basic science. You going to believe some capitalist dog from Los Angeles who doesn't understand basic science selling you stupid ideas and probably is just fucking rebooting something from 40 years ago to void actually being creative? Movies are fun to watch, but fuck them for actual real life applications.

Again: aliens who come here are probably committing suicide by horrible, tortuous means. What's the harm in a phone call?
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on July 10, 2019, 03:37:32 am
Nevertheless, if an alien civilization contacts us, why not give it a go?

Because I hate aliens.  :crankey:

This at least it's a proper answer
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: chaotic neutral observer on July 10, 2019, 04:10:45 am
Again: aliens who come here are probably committing suicide by horrible, tortuous means. What's the harm in a phone call?

I always thought the conclusion of "War of the Worlds" was nonsense.  How the hell could the aliens be advanced enough to build interplanetary spaceships and beam weaponry, but be ignorant of pathogens?

We barely had the technology to make it to the moon, but we still knew enough to be worried about the unknown, and put the first astronauts in quarantine when they got back.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: altered on July 10, 2019, 04:21:47 am
When it comes to sci-fi media and alien contact, my go-to is Greg Egan. Schildís Ladder and Diaspora cover it as awesomely as anything. Schildís Ladder more on the detailed ďhow to communicate sideĒ, Diaspora more on the ďhow weird could they beĒ side. Schildís Ladder has a particularly good idea for communication, but my memory is bad enough that Iím not up to pretending I remember it right.

Beyond that though, yeah. Just like AI and mass media is all fucking wrong, aliens and mass media is all fucking wrong.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Cain on July 10, 2019, 04:49:04 am
If aliens contact us, it would be an Outside-Context problem for humanity.

"The usual example given to illustrate an Outside Context Problem was imagining you were a tribe on a largish, fertile island; you'd tamed the land, invented the wheel or writing or whatever, the neighbors were cooperative or enslaved but at any rate peaceful and you were busy raising temples to yourself with all the excess productive capacity you had, you were in a position of near-absolute power and control which your hallowed ancestors could hardly have dreamed of and the whole situation was just running along nicely like a canoe on wet grass... when suddenly this bristling lump of iron appears sailless and trailing steam in the bay and these guys carrying long funny-looking sticks come ashore and announce you've just been discovered, you're all subjects of the Emperor now, he's keen on presents called tax and these bright-eyed holy men would like a word with your priests."

Any species sufficiently advanced to communicate with us should be considered carefully. If their technology is obviously more advanced than ours, then that's a significant power disparity. And I would question the reason why such a technologically advanced alien race would contact a lesser one, especially one which is not even united politically. They could be benevolent...but less charitable explanations come to mind.

How would Russia or China respond to an alien contact? Would they try to trade for technological and military advances? Would the US (of course it would). The mere presence of aliens could set off geopolitical tensions and an arms race with weapons we may not even understand the full impact of.

Religions would likely react even worse.

Picking up the phone is a significant risk. It should not be done lightly.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Brother Mythos on July 10, 2019, 04:52:45 am
Nevertheless, if an alien civilization contacts us, why not give it a go?

Seriously, have you not seen any of those movies?!

Yes, and they're almost all universally shite on basic science. You going to believe some capitalist dog from Los Angeles who doesn't understand basic science selling you stupid ideas and probably is just fucking rebooting something from 40 years ago to void actually being creative? Movies are fun to watch, but fuck them for actual real life applications.

Again: aliens who come here are probably committing suicide by horrible, tortuous means. What's the harm in a phone call?

If I come off sounding like I don't take any of this seriously, it's because I don't.

I've actually done the math. Not all of it, of course, but enough to be convinced that species capable of even our level of communications are exceedingly rare in the universe. Further, I believe the odds of an aliens species capable of communicating with us, and living close enough to do so, are incredibly, near infinitesimally small.

The math I've done, again not all of it, on the possibility of actual interstellar travel by living beings is even more discouraging. To to that, I found a significant portion of the possible energy production of an entire planet, if not multiple planets, would be required. So again, I believe there are near infinitesimally small odds of us ever being visited by aliens, or us ever visiting aliens capable of even rudimentary spaceflight.

I do find this to be a very interesting subject(s). But again, I do not take the possibilities/probabilities of interstellar communications with aliens, or interstellar visits from aliens seriously.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on July 10, 2019, 07:11:28 am
Again: aliens who come here are probably committing suicide by horrible, tortuous means. What's the harm in a phone call?

I always thought the conclusion of "War of the Worlds" was nonsense.  How the hell could the aliens be advanced enough to build interplanetary spaceships and beam weaponry, but be ignorant of pathogens?

We barely had the technology to make it to the moon, but we still knew enough to be worried about the unknown, and put the first astronauts in quarantine when they got back.

Astronauts that went to the Moon didn't expect life there and they went in space suits because they were temporarily in an environment that they didn't evolve in.

I also know a thing or two about biology.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on July 10, 2019, 07:22:11 am
Microbiology, specifically, but with a side of evolution
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: chaotic neutral observer on July 10, 2019, 02:15:51 pm
Astronauts that went to the Moon didn't expect life there and they went in space suits because they were temporarily in an environment that they didn't evolve in.
They didn't expect life, but the crew of Apollo 11 was nevertheless quarantined for 21 days following their return.  When they got back to their Moon-ship and took off their Moon-helmets, they could have been exposed to any Moon-contagions collected on the outside on their Moon-suits.  They stopped quarantining returning astronauts once they had confirmed there was no Moon-risk.

I consider it highly implausible that a civilization which had advanced to the level of interstellar travel would be unaware of and unprepared for differences in gravity, atmosphere, or protein chirality.

Also, everything Cain said.

Quote
I also know a thing or two about biology.
Hmm.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on July 10, 2019, 04:00:33 pm
Cain brings up good points about political consequences.

But re: Moon germs, and the like. We have to wear spacesuits whenever we go somewhere not Earthlike. Hell we have to basically wear the equivalent of spacesuits if we go to certain parts of our planet. We can't really survive somewhere that we're not adapted to live in. Neither can microbes. Microbes have limitations too.

We can't even culture most of the microbial species on Earth, for a variety of reasons, but a nontrivial part of that is that some species only thrive in multispecies consortia. We ourselves get pretty sickly if our microbiomes are out of whack. So among the challenges that an alien invader is going to face: bacteria that they're not evolved to handle, assuming that their environmental parameters match up with any bacteria from Earth, (or if their internal conditions are suitable) and that their offspring are probably not going to have the microbiomes they're supposed to
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: chaotic neutral observer on July 11, 2019, 12:21:57 am
We can't really survive somewhere that we're not adapted to live in.
Actually, I already survive somewhere that humans are not biologically adapted to.  When I go outside during winter, I could die.  But I overcome this with technology.  When the temperature drops, I wear a coat.

Why is wearing protective gear (space suits, encounter suits, whatever) a showstopper for alien visitors?  For that matter, why couldn't they alter their biology to match the environment?  We are much closer to modifying humans than to visiting the stars (some Chinese researchers are already trying to create HIV-resistant babies.)  Being able to modify one's biology significantly may even be a prerequisite to surviving interstellar travel.

There is also the possibility that the alien visitors are so alien, that our microbes wouldn't affect them at all.  If they were all robots, for example.

...yeah.  Actually, forget everything I just said, and let's go with that.  The aliens are all robots.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Doktor Howl on July 11, 2019, 01:38:48 am
I hate robots.  :crankey:
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: The Wizard Joseph on July 11, 2019, 04:29:42 am
I hate robots.  :crankey:

Okay so no aliens no robots... No humans kind of goes without saying.

Is there anything that might potentially bear Consciousness that you don't hate? Like would you be cool if we discovered a terrestrial animal other than humans was conscious?
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: chaotic neutral observer on July 11, 2019, 04:55:27 am
Like would you be cool if we discovered a terrestrial animal other than humans was conscious?

The black bear used to be one of the most commonly seen large animals because in Yosemite and Sequoia national parks they lived off of garbage and tourist handouts.  This bear has learned to open car doors in Yosemite, where damage to automobiles caused by bears runs into the tens of thousands of dollars a year.  Campaigns to bearproof all garbage containers in wild areas have been difficult, because as one biologist put it, "There is a considerable overlap between the intelligence levels of the smartest bears and the dumbest tourists."

(Sorry, don't have attribution for that quote).
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on July 11, 2019, 09:13:01 pm
We can't really survive somewhere that we're not adapted to live in.
Actually, I already survive somewhere that humans are not biologically adapted to.  When I go outside during winter, I could die.  But I overcome this with technology.  When the temperature drops, I wear a coat.

Why is wearing protective gear (space suits, encounter suits, whatever) a showstopper for alien visitors?  For that matter, why couldn't they alter their biology to match the environment?  We are much closer to modifying humans than to visiting the stars (some Chinese researchers are already trying to create HIV-resistant babies.)  Being able to modify one's biology significantly may even be a prerequisite to surviving interstellar travel.

There is also the possibility that the alien visitors are so alien, that our microbes wouldn't affect them at all.  If they were all robots, for example.

...yeah.  Actually, forget everything I just said, and let's go with that.  The aliens are all robots.

Aliens are all robots is the most feasible.

And yeah, I'm well aware of the Chinese CRISPR babies. Thing is that comes with a lot of ethical problems for a reason. Not the least of which being that straight Mendelian genetics is just scratching the surface and altering one gene could disrupt multiple gene networks. I'm not a computer programmer, but I'm sure a computer programmer can easily spot an analogy here. It of course depends on exactly what's being done in genetic modification, but if you're so heavily modifying a genome to be able to handle alien worlds, those aliens might be aliens to the aliens that point
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Brother Mythos on July 11, 2019, 10:19:26 pm
I hate robots.  :crankey:

Okay so no aliens no robots... No humans kind of goes without saying.

Is there anything that might potentially bear Consciousness that you don't hate? Like would you be cool if we discovered a terrestrial animal other than humans was conscious?

As per the Wikipedia article on Consciousness, I do not believe the bar is set very high on attaining it.

For instance, as per the above referenced article:

ďAnother approach applies specifically to the study of self-awareness, that is, the ability to distinguish oneself from others. In the 1970s Gordon Gallup developed an operational test for self-awareness, known as the mirror test. The test examines whether animals are able to differentiate between seeing themselves in a mirror versus seeing other animals. The classic example involves placing a spot of coloring on the skin or fur near the individual's forehead and seeing if they attempt to remove it or at least touch the spot, thus indicating that they recognize that the individual they are seeing in the mirror is themselves. Humans (older than 18 months) and other great apes, bottlenose dolphins, killer whales, pigeons, European magpies, and elephants have all been observed to pass this test.Ē

Here's the link to the article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consciousness
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: altered on July 11, 2019, 11:44:04 pm
We can't really survive somewhere that we're not adapted to live in.
Actually, I already survive somewhere that humans are not biologically adapted to.  When I go outside during winter, I could die.  But I overcome this with technology.  When the temperature drops, I wear a coat.

Why is wearing protective gear (space suits, encounter suits, whatever) a showstopper for alien visitors?  For that matter, why couldn't they alter their biology to match the environment?  We are much closer to modifying humans than to visiting the stars (some Chinese researchers are already trying to create HIV-resistant babies.)  Being able to modify one's biology significantly may even be a prerequisite to surviving interstellar travel.

There is also the possibility that the alien visitors are so alien, that our microbes wouldn't affect them at all.  If they were all robots, for example.

...yeah.  Actually, forget everything I just said, and let's go with that.  The aliens are all robots.

Aliens are all robots is the most feasible.

And yeah, I'm well aware of the Chinese CRISPR babies. Thing is that comes with a lot of ethical problems for a reason. Not the least of which being that straight Mendelian genetics is just scratching the surface and altering one gene could disrupt multiple gene networks. I'm not a computer programmer, but I'm sure a computer programmer can easily spot an analogy here. It of course depends on exactly what's being done in genetic modification, but if you're so heavily modifying a genome to be able to handle alien worlds, those aliens might be aliens to the aliens that point

Please see Greg Eganís Diaspora. There is a character who does something along these lines just to communicate. Itís fiction, but Egan is about as hard as science fiction can get.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Doktor Howl on July 12, 2019, 12:42:12 am
I hate robots.  :crankey:

Okay so no aliens no robots... No humans kind of goes without saying.

Is there anything that might potentially bear Consciousness that you don't hate? Like would you be cool if we discovered a terrestrial animal other than humans was conscious?

IF IT'S POLAR BEARS, OUT THEY GO!
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: The Wizard Joseph on July 12, 2019, 05:47:57 am
I hate robots.  :crankey:

Okay so no aliens no robots... No humans kind of goes without saying.

Is there anything that might potentially bear Consciousness that you don't hate? Like would you be cool if we discovered a terrestrial animal other than humans was conscious?

IF IT'S POLAR BEARS, OUT THEY GO!

 :lulz: :lulz:
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on July 12, 2019, 01:37:48 pm
We can't really survive somewhere that we're not adapted to live in.
Actually, I already survive somewhere that humans are not biologically adapted to.  When I go outside during winter, I could die.  But I overcome this with technology.  When the temperature drops, I wear a coat.

Why is wearing protective gear (space suits, encounter suits, whatever) a showstopper for alien visitors?  For that matter, why couldn't they alter their biology to match the environment?  We are much closer to modifying humans than to visiting the stars (some Chinese researchers are already trying to create HIV-resistant babies.)  Being able to modify one's biology significantly may even be a prerequisite to surviving interstellar travel.

There is also the possibility that the alien visitors are so alien, that our microbes wouldn't affect them at all.  If they were all robots, for example.

...yeah.  Actually, forget everything I just said, and let's go with that.  The aliens are all robots.

Aliens are all robots is the most feasible.

And yeah, I'm well aware of the Chinese CRISPR babies. Thing is that comes with a lot of ethical problems for a reason. Not the least of which being that straight Mendelian genetics is just scratching the surface and altering one gene could disrupt multiple gene networks. I'm not a computer programmer, but I'm sure a computer programmer can easily spot an analogy here. It of course depends on exactly what's being done in genetic modification, but if you're so heavily modifying a genome to be able to handle alien worlds, those aliens might be aliens to the aliens that point

Please see Greg Eganís Diaspora. There is a character who does something along these lines just to communicate. Itís fiction, but Egan is about as hard as science fiction can get.

Does what to communicate, robots or gene editing?
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: altered on July 12, 2019, 04:30:26 pm
Becoming ďaliens to the aliensĒ. The whole sequence is so well done that saying more would ruin it. Just read it, itís well, well worth it.

Egan handles the most out there ideas so casually and effortlessly that it makes me jealous. He does more with one seemingly off-the-cuff word than I can do with four paragraphs and a committee.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Frontside Back on July 12, 2019, 04:45:56 pm
Just read it, itís well, well worth it.
I'd strongly advise against reading anything that hasn't gone through a tester.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on July 12, 2019, 07:00:43 pm
Becoming ďaliens to the aliensĒ. The whole sequence is so well done that saying more would ruin it. Just read it, itís well, well worth it.

Egan handles the most out there ideas so casually and effortlessly that it makes me jealous. He does more with one seemingly off-the-cuff word than I can do with four paragraphs and a committee.

You say just read it like I don't have a backlog of pleasure reading and more importantly, required reading.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on July 12, 2019, 07:09:56 pm
Like, I'll do it but it might be months if not years
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: altered on July 12, 2019, 07:18:16 pm
The correct thing to do is to simply add it to your pleasure reading backlog, silly.

Unless you donít like hard sci-fi, in which case I guess you can spoil yourself, but thatíd be a major disservice to that story and Iíd rather let others around here be able to go in blind on it. PM me if you want the spoiler.

EDIT: wrote the above up veeeery slowly, while distracted, before your second post. To be clear here, I have books Iíve been meaning to get to since 2005. I only just finally got around to reading The Thread That Binds The Bones this past September, and well... Thatís one Iíd meant to read since 2003. I fully expect people to read stuff years after I suggest it to them, itís inevitable. A simple hazard of existing in information overload: even once you sort the noise from the signal, you still have far more to consume than you ever can possibly hope to.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on July 12, 2019, 07:26:16 pm
The correct thing to do is to simply add it to your pleasure reading backlog, silly.

Unless you donít like hard sci-fi, in which case I guess you can spoil yourself, but thatíd be a major disservice to that story and Iíd rather let others around here be able to go in blind on it. PM me if you want the spoiler.

EDIT: wrote the above up veeeery slowly, while distracted, before your second post. To be clear here, I have books Iíve been meaning to get to since 2005. I only just finally got around to reading The Thread That Binds The Bones this past September, and well... Thatís one Iíd meant to read since 2003. I fully expect people to read stuff years after I suggest it to them, itís inevitable. A simple hazard of existing in information overload: even once you sort the noise from the signal, you still have far more to consume than you ever can possibly hope to.

There's a downside to academia. I've been trying to finish the entire expanded Dune for years. I'm about 20% through Chapterhouse and have been for months. I'm probably going to have to start from the beginning. And then there's the two sequels to that.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: altered on July 12, 2019, 07:32:46 pm
Wasnít Chapterhouse the last Frank book?

Either way, Herbert hasnít aged well. I read Dune in 2012 and loved it, all the way through Chapterhouse. I reread it all about six months or so ago and it was painful. Joe Biden defending his record on racial segregation painful.

Okay, bit of an exaggeration there. Unlike Biden, when judged as a product of its time, itís fine or better. Today, though, it just comes off as horny for dominatrices at best, and everything goes downhill from there. Shame, really: the cultural elements outside of the Bene-connected stuff (G or T, irrelevant really) holds up strong as nails, still some of the best worldbuilding Iíve seen done.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on July 12, 2019, 07:33:03 pm
I'm indirectly bitching about a needing a better work/life balance. I apologize for getting a little cranky at you
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on July 12, 2019, 07:34:22 pm
Wasnít Chapterhouse the last Frank book?

Either way, Herbert hasnít aged well. I read Dune in 2012 and loved it, all the way through Chapterhouse. I reread it all about six months or so ago and it was painful. Joe Biden defending his record on racial segregation painful.

Okay, bit of an exaggeration there. Unlike Biden, when judged as a product of its time, itís fine or better. Today, though, it just comes off as horny for dominatrices at best, and everything goes downhill from there. Shame, really: the cultural elements outside of the Bene-connected stuff (G or T, irrelevant really) holds up strong as nails, still some of the best worldbuilding Iíve seen done.

I agree with your assessment. It's hard to get through and frankly I prefer his son's additions to the series more readable
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on July 12, 2019, 07:37:20 pm
The weird focus on sexuality is why I couldn't get through Heretics when I was, laughably, in my 20s (I turn 38 in a few weeks).
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: chaotic neutral observer on July 12, 2019, 07:44:02 pm
The Dune series goes downhill pretty quickly after God Emperor, IMO.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: altered on July 12, 2019, 07:51:16 pm
God Emperor is definitely the high point. Leto II is a horrible/wonderful character, and itís the most convincing writing about precognition in the series. Full agreement with you there.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on July 12, 2019, 07:52:21 pm
The Dune series goes downhill pretty quickly after God Emperor, IMO.

I mean, it goes Downhill after Dune. Children was pretty good because it was Dune-like
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on July 12, 2019, 07:53:02 pm
God Emperor is definitely the high point. Leto II is a horrible/wonderful character, and itís the most convincing writing about precognition in the series. Full agreement with you there.

I'll agree, but even God Emperor had parts that were hard to get through
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on July 12, 2019, 07:54:53 pm
I really enjoyed the prequels though. It was fun to see the origin of the Bene Gesserit, Mentats, and Navigators, as well as the Butlerian Jihad
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: altered on July 12, 2019, 07:56:31 pm
Mm, fair. Iíd say it had the highest high points, at least. When God Emperor was on, it was rock solid through and through. The scene with the advisor and the ghola in the catacombs remains lodged in my mindís eye, I doubt Iíll ever forget it.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on July 12, 2019, 08:03:01 pm
Mm, fair. Iíd say it had the highest high points, at least. When God Emperor was on, it was rock solid through and through. The scene with the advisor and the ghola in the catacombs remains lodged in my mindís eye, I doubt Iíll ever forget it.

It was a solid novel, but parts of it were definitely... It was like a solid TNG episode in writing but also pacing
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Doktor Howl on July 13, 2019, 05:16:45 am
The Dune series goes downhill pretty quickly after God Emperor, IMO.

I mean, it goes Downhill after Dune. Children was pretty good because it was Dune-like

It goes downhill after the copyright notice in Dune.

It is the second worst science fiction ever written, and Frank Herbert's grave should be desecrated.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Nephew Twiddleton on July 13, 2019, 08:44:25 am
The Dune series goes downhill pretty quickly after God Emperor, IMO.

I mean, it goes Downhill after Dune. Children was pretty good because it was Dune-like

It goes downhill after the copyright notice in Dune.

It is the second worst science fiction ever written, and Frank Herbert's grave should be desecrated.

 :lulz:
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Cain on July 13, 2019, 07:46:32 pm
We shouldn't call them back, but we should use caller ID to see if a phone number for Rachel, Nevada, comes up.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: altered on July 13, 2019, 07:49:53 pm
Explanation? I feel like I should know what you mean but I do not.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: Cain on July 13, 2019, 08:27:05 pm
Rachel, Nevada is the closest town to Area 51. Probably.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: altered on July 13, 2019, 08:42:55 pm
I really should have known that. Thanks.
Title: Re: If aliens call, what should we do? Scientists want your opinion.
Post by: on October 27, 2019, 10:37:47 pm
Won't happen, so don't worry about it.

After Mr. Trump became President, 1/3 of the Galactic Council wanted to nuke Earth to put us out of our misery, another 1/3 just wanted to cancel their field trips here (with the motto, "Beam us up, EkUrgxDds, there's no intelligent life down here."), and the rest were asleep. So if you run across a Grey in the next few years, it's a dwarf in a costume.