Should Humans Try to Contact Alien Civilizations?

Should Humans Try to Contact Alien Civilizations?


When I was a kid growing up in the Midwest I’d go out look in the night sky and you know I would see all of these stars and I thought maybe there are other intelligent beings out there there are places everywhere that life could exist but now the big question is life originated hasn’t gone on to become intelligent and then have those intelligent beams decided to send us an intentional signal My name is Doug Vakoch and I am president of SETI international. Since the 1960s astronomers have been using radio telescopes to look for signals from other worlds and the assumption has always been that the benevolent aliens are out there sending these missives for our benefit. For over 50 years SETI scientists have been searching for extraterrestrials but METI International was founded to take the next step. I worked for the SETI Institute for 16 years and I was the director of interstellar message composition there but about a year ago I finally made the shift away from the SETI Institute and devoted my full attention to our new organization METI International. Our goal is by the end of 2018 to craft messages that could be understandable by another civilization and begin beaming them out to nearby stars either using powerful radio transmitters or it could be creating a new laser facility that would send out these brief laser pulses that would be detectable as something that is not just our own communication with one another we assume that the aliens will pick up our radio and TV signals but it’s something that stands out more powerful. If we send a radio signal it would be just a stream of pulses of two slightly different frequencies. There’s a baseline frequency that each transmitter uses and then some oscillation around that. So to have any chance of communicating to an extraterrestrial we need to figure out what is it that is most basic. Each week we get together to discuss very concretely what kind of messages will we be sending. Hey Carl it’s Doug I see you there okay okay can you hear us op sorry yeah yeah okay good we’ve made contact. You know a lot of the past messages have been great but you have to get that they’re this two-dimentional representation and here’s how we picture objects but in some ways this gets around it. The question about what would we say to represent ourselves to another world is something that can’t be decided just by a handful of astronomers Steven Hawking has said whatever you do if you get a signal from the aliens do not transmit because they may come to Earth and strip-mine our planet. What could be a more vivid image of first contact than Stephen Hawking saying when Columbus came to the new world they decimated the indigenous people and that might be what it will be like for an alien civilization to come to earth. In my view there is no reason at this point in our history to send a message proactively into space. This is not science this is diplomacy it’s unauthorized diplomacy. The question comes up as to why do we need post-detection protocols for and what currently exists. The simple answer is there doesn’t exist a lot. There’s something called the first protocol that SETI scientists normally adhere to our generally adhere to which basically says that if there is a detection everything should be transparent the second major principle of it is that there should be thorough confirmation but the third general principle is that before we respond to that signal from another star that there be broad consultations whatever that means presumably that means that the United Nations Security Council might take a boat to determine whether to respond and what to respond and so forth there’s nothing stopping anybody from responding to a signal from ET and there’s nothing stopping anybody from initiating a signal to a star that they think ET may be on so the very principle that all of Earth should decide in unison and some sort of coherence whether when and what to communicate back to ET is completely undecided and it’s a wild west open situation at the moment What Hawking is ignoring is the fact that any civilization that really has the ability to travel between the stars could already pick up I Love Lucy or other leakage television or radio signals that are already screaming out into space so anyone who’s saying that we should fear an alien invasion because of our METI signals I think is really missing the point the point is that we want to send an intentional message something that stands out from the cosmic static and that maybe it’s signaling our intentionality that will make the critical difference as we look for targets for our METI transmissions very enticing to look close to home one great example that was just recently discovered the star called Gliese 411b it’s one of the closest stars to earth it’s only eight light-years away so that means if we sent them a message we could get a reply back in just 16 years by human timescales a long time I think it’s doing something that won’t pay any benefits for 16 years but on a cosmic scale it’s just a blink of the eye. Nobody can take it back it’s going at the speed of light it’s gone and they have encumbered generations unborn with the results of that action to send intentional messages ultimately gets at the soul of who we want to be as a species we want to continue to explore do we want to continue to say we don’t know what our future is but we have enough hope that we’re going to reach out we have enough hope that we want to hear a response.

100 thoughts on “Should Humans Try to Contact Alien Civilizations?

  1. Man: hello is there anybody there?
    Alien #1: commander do a background check on this planet called Earth.
    Alien #2: shows alien #1 a picture of Kanye West
    Alien #1: good heavens! The horror!! We must alert all others on other stars to never contact this planet..

  2. It seems wise to me to perhaps evolve a little further before we give away our position.
    We should settle in another solar system, so we can loose one if contact would be hostile.
    I am all for contact, aslong we make sure we can survive it.

  3. What is the ultimate goal after contact? Pat ourselves on the back and call it a day? Do we develop a way to travel and meet for interstellar coffee? What's the goal?

  4. If we contacted aliens, they would turn humans into slaves just like we did to the blacks when they were discovered in Africa.

  5. Of course we should try to contact ET, after all they must have been here already because nobody has discovered the missing link so how can you explain our jump in intelligence.
    However the powers that be may not want this to happen for many reasons, one of them is that suppose the aliens were to show us how to have free unlimited power like a zero point system or how to travel from A to B in a flash or how to stop us humans being such parasites. Those who supply us with food and energy really don't want to lose that power because they would lose all of the investments in time, energy and resources plus the materials already expended.
    Bring it on, we need to take the power away from Darth Cheney and his ilk.

  6. I also am growing increasingly worried with the idea that we just set up a giant neon sign in space saying "here are we, come here and conquer us because we have lots of resources!" The fact is das Hawking isn't wrong when he said that most first contact between different species turn out bad.
    Im absolutely not completely against it; finding other intelligent beings would be the best Thing in my life – but we should be very careful what exactly we do. If the hypothetical Alien civilisation is anything like ours, they have at least a potential to be dangerous to us.
    And when I hear this guys reasoning….he assumes a lot on this hypothetical Alien civilisation. What if they think of our message as an Insult? what if they are crazy religious like most humans and start crusades, like we did? there are a lot of unknown factors here; and while im not against contacting them, this guy is intentionally pushing the possible risks aside; which in my eyes isn't really scientific.
    Guy is a Politician rather than a Scientist…sorry mate.

  7. Wait. Craft messages that can be understood by other intelligent life? And exactly how do you know another planet's civilization would understand the message?
    Given that roughly 20% (give or take) only speak english on this planet, what possible message could be crafted so that other (meaning one or more) planets with intelligent life could understand? And these messages if intelligent life is there, encrypted, understood, then resond, and we receive their response, most of the people on this planet right now will have already died. I hope it works, really I do, but the factless claims and confident based crossed fingers for luck isn't going to make it happen

  8. We should not try to contact them. If they are anything like us but more advanced technologically, they may be highly exploitive if presented with the opportunity to dominate and manipulate mankind. Why take the risk. Plus, humans probably could not psychologically deal with the fact of highly intelligent aliens whose biological appearance may seem frightening, even if they were good guys. In the end, if they have differences of opinions with humans, the potential for conflict is always there to deal with between both species.

  9. no advanced civilization would dare want to touch us. we are vermin. look at how we treat each other and this earth?

  10. We are definently going to make contact with Aliens, in like 2260 when hopefully we arent as…..dumb

  11. I really want to sit down with Dough Vakoch. Great minds like his I like to be around and dig in to. Id fit in well at METI.

  12. This is absolutely stupid because if aliens were "bad people" they would have already come here and to fuck us! and if they have not come here because of two reason;

    1. No advance technology to visit us yet.
    2. If they are highly advanced that means they have already know we exisit and they are peaceful people who dont give a fuck about earth affairs.

  13. 00001001111000101000010000001111110000000011111111100000000111000021111100000000111111100011100001111111000000011111130000091111111200000011111111

  14. no. well, at least not yet. once we open that can o' worms there's no going back and wherever the cards fall they fall. right now we don't have a snowball's chance in a blast-furnace to defend ourselves from an alien invasion fleet if they were to send one (more than likely). if they do then XCOM becomes real life and no it would not be nearly as fun as the games. we should wait until we've developed some capability of defending ourselves first so we don't look like complete push-overs.

  15. Solution 1: Pretend that we have ridiculously improbable technology and that we will share it with any other species that will join our "galactic consortium" or something. Actually advanced civilisations will avoid us thinking it some kind of trap and wouldn't risk even sending probes that might be traced back to them. Less advanced species like ourselves will most likely reply as they will have fringe groups like meti.

    Solution 2: Broadcast a warning that a blackhole is approaching and will arrive in 1000 years. They will probably ask where?

  16. I definitely would welcome any alien being that wants to help change the destructive ways we're heading,, always open to be the student to learn something new

  17. So what if they're life us and they see opportunity to occupy a feeble race to get the resources. Just like how the Spaniards did to the America, or British to Asia.. What then?

  18. Question: Should Humans Try to Contact Alien Civilizations? First of all that depends.

    Examples below

    Example One: An Alien civilization not nearly advanced as us? O.K., so let them be as we observe them?

    Example two: We are searching for higher intelligence above us? O.K., so we've sent signals but if they are much more advanced and have been watching us all along? Then all we can do is wait!………..What do think we think we can do? Fly out there light years away? No! All we can do is wait! Either way you look at it, is, we have to stand by and watch or wait:-)

    If we push for an answer from an advanced civilization they'd probably ignore us as Hostile.

    If we contact a civilization less advanced as us? We'd probably use them and cause major problems once they've understood our technologies or we just used them for many years for ourselves; Either way; The way our Civilization is today is not ready to do either of the above and so? We won't have either for some time to come as we are still like Cavemen!!!!!! That is a Fact! No one person can stand on their own yet, and therefore we are all still what? Say it again: Cavemen!

  19. 4:00 Unauthorized diplomacy? A handful of humans in North America taking it upon themselves to speak for all of humanity. So arrogant. I hope we do send signals and a life form somewhere else finds us.

  20. We can't even tolerate and respect our own human races and animals, how are we going to coexist with a different species from another world?

  21. What's the benefit of contacting a foreign civilization we don't understand when on earth we can barely get along. Why not use that money to advance our civilization instead? What is the purpose?

  22. If we can’t even take care of our world why even try to send a message to space come and visit us when we are the ones killing our planet.

  23. Well well well seems like they might have jumped the gun on that one first if Oumuamua really is an interstellar object.
    It's still somewhat deeply unnerving, even if it can be proven as false. We are not prepared, lol.

  24. the problem is you might not make contact with an official part of another civilisation. We might contact the the alien version of the east india company, a private corporation that works by its own rules

  25. Any alien race advanced enough to destroy us would be to logical and civilised to do so. Just as we often regard animals as uncivilised so to would we be regarded by a highly intelligent alien race. The fact that we think aliens would be anything like us is a prime example of humanities arrogance, self-centredness and lack of intelligence.

  26. I know for a fact how to . M.I.B DRAFT ME . DONT KILL ME I CAN DO IT IF ITS NOT DONE ALREADY. MAY BE YOU GOT THE WRONG GUYS I AM THAT GUY THAT CAN GET A POSITIVE CORPORATAIVE CORRESPONDS GOD JUST SAYIN

  27. What if they are here with us. Just like two waves could co-exist in the same space-time superimposing on each other. There might be other dimensions co-existing with our owns. The alien we are talking of might be at a reach of your hand but are masked out. Same for them….just some thoughts.

  28. 1] Due to the with lightspeed expanding Universe, we will never receive signals from other life's nor will our send signals ever being received by them.
    2] Due to the above and the "wall" of stars and other objects, signals will be blocked, the night sky might look "open" but we can only see a pinpoint on the Eiffel Tower from off the moon, this as a comperresand. as a part from the whole Universe we see.

  29. I contacted that individual a few years back, but regardless, I think it is no benefit. At the end of the day, we are lucky, and here by chances, I quite doubt there is any life going to be able to understand or send a signal this way. The galaxy is vast. The only way to determine life anywhere is to send a mission. That isn't realistic.

    So life on another world is really for another generation or century or probably never.

  30. Dr Doug vakoch is a Thug who cares only about his money at the cost of entire humanity. Reasoning that he gave about aliens who can travel fatser will already have means to detect weak television signal from random location in space is foolish and absurd. Such guys should be put in jail

  31. Don't do it it's too risky we don't know for sure if they are friendly or not. People claim to see UFOs this must mean they are extremely intelligent and are nothing like us. Leave them alone because if they are hostile then there is no going back, basically we are screwed.

  32. They can see our old TV shows? Why can't I get TV stations that are more than 50 miles away with an antenna designed to pick up the broadcast frequency, aimed directly at the station?

  33. this guys way to egocentric. I dont trust his intentions. why put the world in that kind of jeopardy for this guys ambition. tell this over ambitious misguided dork to go study something else. How about communicating with ants or dolphins.

  34. No, we should not try to contact aliens because things are so bad on Earth we have people hating on other humans how are we ever going to meet Aliens? We have issues with racism and kindness and we want to try to meet Aliens? That's the dumbest thing ever

  35. He was abducted by aliens,brainwash and then anal probed and then told to send continuance signals to his alien masters.

  36. Those other are going take over the earth no contact please they are going to take our food and natural resourced.

  37. Maybe the alien boss told them to stay away from the humans incase we infected them with our selfish behaviour

  38. Imagine for a second that we found an alien species in the vicinity of Sirius A, but the civilization is only in a stage of stone age development, would you come to the planet, no, you wouldn't want to interfere with the advancement of the species. this is exactly what would happen if aliens intercepted our message, they are either just as advanced as we are and couldn't reach us, or they are more advanced than us, and don't think we are ready for them.

  39. Whatever gets our message, it will probably be at close to the same technology level as we are. And it most likely will not understand or care. It will most likely just get missed or written off as "it's not aliens until it's aliens". So the idea of sending a message in hopes of a response is pointless. And if it is technologically advanced enough to be able to recognize it, understand, and respond, god help us all.

  40. I say just for it. After all, it's already to late to avoid detection, and nothing we need to be afraid of ever needed radio signals to find us.

  41. If we find aliens, watch them carefully, and don't broadcast your existence. You don't know what aliens are like, no one does. The safest course of action is to avoid them and hide, observe from a distance, so as to avoid being potentialy destroyed.

  42. Push on! Gods in control, so if we make it it's meant to be and we'll excell to the furthest point we know. I dont believe we were intended to leave this planet but am open to, and find space travel or higher intelligence very possible and exciting due to facts and stories over my lifetime.

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