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Thread: Hypothetical about first contact

  1. #1 Hypothetical about first contact 
    Forum Bachelors Degree GoldenRatio's Avatar
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    Just a fun little thought hypothetical for everyone. Here is the scenario

    An alien race 20 light years away has made first contact with us VIA radio wave transmissions. They are incapable of interstellar travel and it goes without saying, so are we. They have shared with us an ability to understand their language & means to send vast amounts of data. Lets say they are about on par with our technological level. Maybe 100-200 years more advanced.

    With a 20 light year gap, an average person will receive 2 messages from them in their lifespan & able to send 2 replies.

    My question is how do you see life changing on earth or the alien world & what do you feel should be shared?



    Should we be completely open & share everything, even the darker aspects of our history? should they do the same?

    What if they are a peaceful society & we introduce them to nuclear weapons, or vice versa they are very warlike & share with us advance technology for war, who should be privileged to this information?

    Crime, religion, fundamental understandings of science

    How do you see things changing?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
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    I think it would be a terribly boring chat room.
    You would likely be better to treat it as totally asynchronous, open at least two channels so one can recieve and send at the same time.
    Then both sides just start transmitting and receiving continuously instead of trying to trade messages in turns. You would avoid that 40 year loop and would likely have all your questions answered by analysing the information being sent and received.
    Any confusions can be corrected by inserting a query into your transmission which will recieve an answer in 40 years.

    I don't know if it would matter what the information being transmitted was. It might be the most mundane bits of information that have the most impact.


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  4. #3  
    Moderator Moderator Janus's Avatar
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    Send a message, wait for a reply is a very inefficient way of doing things. Here's how to properly set things up: Once two way communication is set up, you both start sending continuously. A mix whatever information you wish to share and questions you would like answers to. On each world, one team receives from the other, someone decides what information to send and one team transmits to the other world. This way each world is getting continuous stream of information and answers to questions without big gaps between messages.
    "Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feelings for the strength of their argument.
    The heated mind resents the chill touch & relentless scrutiny of logic"-W.E. Gladstone


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  5. #4  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    It would be a "one day wonder" essentially.
    It'd take multiple communications to establish a common language/ understanding: and at 40 years per question/ response cycle it could be hundreds of years before we got into "useful" stuff.

    I'd say that the most immediate (and obvious) effect would be the huge market exploited by woo peddlers. I certainly foresee a large sector claiming they're in "telepathic contact" and spreading (massively-received) bullshit, bullshit which is likely to attain a more "reliable" gloss because the existence of aliens would be an established fact.
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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  6. #5  
    Moderator Moderator Janus's Avatar
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    Looks like Dan was posting as I was writing.
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    "Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feelings for the strength of their argument.
    The heated mind resents the chill touch & relentless scrutiny of logic"-W.E. Gladstone


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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janus View Post
    Looks like Dan was posting as I was writing.
    Lucky me!

    Anyhow, about the question of being open and honest or sneaky and sly.
    I think any attempts to be dishonest or to try prying would be pointless.
    1) Since they are intelligent such tricks would be detected and would likely interfere with the information exchange. It is the same reason science needs open and honest communication here to progress.
    2) The situation renders such behaviour pointless too because it ends up as a Prisoner's Dilemma without any benefits for betrayal or punishments for loyalty.

    A bigger question might be whether the information gets monopolized by specific groups right here on earth. Depending on the percieved value of the information there might be struggles between people who want the information to be free and open, and people who want the information to be closed and under control.
    The concerns might be political, religious, corporate,etc but human nature almost certainly dictates there will be struggles over control of it.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Bachelors Degree GoldenRatio's Avatar
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    Agreed on 2 way communication & just have an active stream of information. Though the topic isnt really so much about how we communicate but more about how would it affect life. would it benefit us or harm us. What would be the repercussions of having our bubble shattered, ect.

    Interested on your thoughts what would change not so much whats the most effective means of communication.
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  9. #8  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
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    Personally, I love the sound of crashing paradigms in the morning.
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  10. #9  
    Forum Bachelors Degree GoldenRatio's Avatar
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    Go away.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldenRatio View Post
    Go away.
    It is a bot, report it.
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  12. #11  
    Northern Horse Whisperer Moderator scheherazade's Avatar
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    To receive confirmation that we are not the only inhabited planet in the universe is equally as terrifying as the thought that we are alone.

    If we are alone, there is no figurative cavalry to come over the hill in times of crisis.

    If there are others, do they mean us well or are they of a similar competative nature to our species?

    Yes, we should be afraid if they are a mere 20 light years away. I expect such a discovery would divert a lot of funding toward both interstellar travel and global defense if history is any indicator.
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  13. #12  
    Forum Bachelors Degree GoldenRatio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by GoldenRatio View Post
    Go away.
    It is a bot, report it.
    did. the bots and trolls are just getting redickulous around here. Cant we ip ban or get stronger security measures? guh. frustrating lol
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  14. #13  
    Forum Bachelors Degree GoldenRatio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    To receive confirmation that we are not the only inhabited planet in the universe is equally as terrifying as the thought that we are alone.

    If we are alone, there is no figurative cavalry to come over the hill in times of crisis.

    If there are others, do they mean us well or are they of a similar competative nature to our species?

    Yes, we should be afraid if they are a mere 20 light years away. I expect such a discovery would divert a lot of funding toward both interstellar travel and global defense if history is any indicator.
    dunno 20 lightyears is very vast distance, though in the grand scheme of things its just outside our front door. doesnt mean that its a possible journey though.

    I also have a strange feeling if there is a civilization out there, they are atleast 100 ly away. Otherwise they would of received our broadcast & said hello. Thus they are not there or they have a strong urge to remain silent, or they are not technologically advanced enough to talk to us.
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  15. #14  
    Northern Horse Whisperer Moderator scheherazade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldenRatio View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    To receive confirmation that we are not the only inhabited planet in the universe is equally as terrifying as the thought that we are alone.

    If we are alone, there is no figurative cavalry to come over the hill in times of crisis.

    If there are others, do they mean us well or are they of a similar competative nature to our species?

    Yes, we should be afraid if they are a mere 20 light years away. I expect such a discovery would divert a lot of funding toward both interstellar travel and global defense if history is any indicator.
    dunno 20 lightyears is very vast distance, though in the grand scheme of things its just outside our front door. doesnt mean that its a possible journey though.

    I also have a strange feeling if there is a civilization out there, they are atleast 100 ly away. Otherwise they would of received our broadcast & said hello. Thus they are not there or they have a strong urge to remain silent, or they are not technologically advanced enough to talk to us.
    Or perhaps we are not technologically advanced enough to detect them and we are (and have been) under observation for some time already.
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  16. #15  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    Yes, we should be afraid if they are a mere 20 light years away. I expect such a discovery would divert a lot of funding toward both interstellar travel and global defense if history is any indicator.
    Dang!
    The human aspect got away from me.
    Yeah, I'd imagine (after being reminded) that there'd be quite a bit of fear 1.
    And equally, er, baseless calls for interstellar travel/ global defense 2.

    1 Although for the life of me I can't see why....
    2 Neither is a practicable option with what we know today.
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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  17. #16  
    Northern Horse Whisperer Moderator scheherazade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    Yes, we should be afraid if they are a mere 20 light years away. I expect such a discovery would divert a lot of funding toward both interstellar travel and global defense if history is any indicator.
    Dang!
    The human aspect got away from me.
    Yeah, I'd imagine (after being reminded) that there'd be quite a bit of fear 1.
    And equally, er, baseless calls for interstellar travel/ global defense 2.

    1 Although for the life of me I can't see why....
    2 Neither is a practicable option with what we know today.
    When has 'practicable' ever entered into the collective decision making process of those in power?
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  18. #17  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    When has 'practicable' ever entered into the collective decision making process of those in power?
    I'm using the word in its strictest sense: able to be done or put into practice successfully.
    We simply cannot do it.
    ANY measure along those lines will be nothing more than (phenomenally expensive) lip service to the concept.
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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  19. #18  
    Northern Horse Whisperer Moderator scheherazade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    When has 'practicable' ever entered into the collective decision making process of those in power?
    I'm using the word in its strictest sense: able to be done or put into practice successfully.
    We simply cannot do it.
    ANY measure along those lines will be nothing more than (phenomenally expensive) lip service to the concept.
    I am quite aware of the difference in meaning between 'practical' and 'practicable', yet my comment still stands.

    Albeit that this is a hypothetical thread, our species is given to mass hysteria and given the proliferation of movies along the theme of alien invasion and meteor collision it would be rather interesting to see just what 'collective wisdom' our species should display were we to make contact with an extraterrestrial civilization.
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  20. #19  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
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    I have to accept that Sheherazade has a valid point.
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  21. #20  
    Forum Bachelors Degree GoldenRatio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    Or perhaps we are not technologically advanced enough to detect them and we are (and have been) under observation for some time already.
    Thus goes to my statement of they have decided to remain silent. Our broadcasts have been leaking off earth for about 200yrs. any civilization as advanced or more advanced than us in this are A, not in this bubble. B not advanced. or C choose to remain silent.

    Though i could see earth doing the same, shutting up and not talking. I mean SETI is very active, very expansive but METI? its almost nonexistence. we have only bothered to send out a handful of messages & usually to stars that wouldn't receive the signal for over a century. Voyager 1 is awesome to show how far we have come as a civilization, but as a message to aliens it is a joke

    Still, i think religion would be effected. they will have there own religion that conflicts with our own, that should be interesting to see. Jesus, muhammad, buddha, these figures would not be present on an alien world, they would have entirely different gods.

    What if they have been more lucky than us & have had contact with other civilizations. Maybe we can get on the intergalactic internet.

    I really dont see humans in general going psycho, but i do see many fundamentals changing. They probably have discovered the same science as we have but they will have many different theories than us. Maybe their home planets have vastly different structures than us in terms of composition, orbit, atmosphere, ect.

    Perhaps they have not discovered micro processors or transistors & there computer base is still made of massive complicated machines but work better than ours. We could share how to reduce size, they could share upgrading processing power.

    Crime i think would be effected, in terms of both criminals using knowledge to commit crimes & law enforcement using knowledge to improve preventive measures.

    An interesting thought, a whole new world with its own culture, history, advancements to share.

    Would we still give credit to our ground shakers? Would Einstein still be credited as e=mc2, or if they found it first would we include a citation of *on earth?
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  22. #21  
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    I think a part of the data exchange would include astronomical observations. Having a 20 lightyear baseline should make for some very accurate observations, even if you had to wait 40 years for the results of them.
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  23. #22  
    Forum Bachelors Degree GoldenRatio's Avatar
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    I agree dan, that is a very good & intresting point I had not considered.
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  24. #23  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    [I am quite aware of the difference in meaning between 'practical' and 'practicable', yet my comment still stands.
    Hmm, okey doke.
    All I was saying that any call, or attempt, to implement, such measures would be futile.
    They may have some sort of placebo effect, initially, but some enterprising reporter will make it public that any such measure is useless.

    Albeit that this is a hypothetical thread, our species is given to mass hysteria and given the proliferation of movies along the theme of alien invasion and meteor collision it would be rather interesting to see just what 'collective wisdom' our species should display were we to make contact with an extraterrestrial civilization.
    I'm glad this is a hypothetical thread, otherwise I'd take you task for use of the term "collective wisdom".
    OTOH I do wonder at the vast preponderance of films that do give themselves over to the "hysteria view".
    It's nearly always "they're here and they're [really] bad" 1,2.


    1 Which also lends a somewhat skewed view to science fiction in general. SF literature doesn't rely anywhere near as much as "not us" = "intent on enslaving/ eating/ destroying us".
    2 Then again, Hollywood does tend toward the Frankenstein complex and generally promotes a "there are some things man is not meant to know" attitude.
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  25. #24  
    Forum Bachelors Degree GoldenRatio's Avatar
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    i dunno. ET wasnt a bad alein. Though if ET really looked like ET i would shoot him myself on sheer principle. frak his glowing finger.
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  26. #25  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldenRatio View Post
    i dunno. ET wasnt a bad alein.
    While ET himself may not have been bad the film itself definitely was 1!
    My premise stands.

    1 And the novelization was even worse - I refuse to read anything else by that author.
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  27. #26  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Lie. Lie consistently. Lie effectively. Lie as if your life and all life on Earth depended on you lying. Later, if it turns out to be unnecessary then apologise. You can blame it on me.
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  28. #27  
    Forum Bachelors Degree GoldenRatio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Lie. Lie consistently. Lie effectively. Lie as if your life and all life on Earth depended on you lying. Later, if it turns out to be unnecessary then apologise. You can blame it on me.
    I always did wonder how you made moderator XD
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  29. #28  
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Lie. Lie consistently. Lie effectively. Lie as if your life and all life on Earth depended on you lying. Later, if it turns out to be unnecessary then apologise. You can blame it on me.
    I made a discovery one day that it didn't matter if I lied or not because people don't usually believe the truth when you tell it to them anyhow.
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  30. #29  
    Forum Bachelors Degree GoldenRatio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan hunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Lie. Lie consistently. Lie effectively. Lie as if your life and all life on Earth depended on you lying. Later, if it turns out to be unnecessary then apologise. You can blame it on me.
    I made a discovery one day that it didn't matter if I lied or not because people don't usually believe the truth when you tell it to them anyhow.
    Thats why i usually give people an option, especially if its bad news i ask them "well, I can lie to you and make you feel good. Or tell you the truth and piss you off"

    That or if i think they wont belive me. Just tell em "You wouldnt belive me if i told you the truth" there response is always that they will, then tell em and add "hey, its the truth. belive it or dont" makes em look like a liar if they dont belive ya
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