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Old 04-26-2010, 03:14 AM   #1
Smellyoldgit
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Anybody Out There?

The sheer humungousness of the universe would suggest (to me anyway) that it’s highly unlikely we’re the only semi-intelligent beings inhabiting the place. Setting aside the rather fundamental problems of travelling the unimaginable distances involved, we’ve been putting our message out for quite some time – primarily via this lot.

The much respected electro-voice now suggests that it may not be in our interests to even bother trying.
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Aliens almost certainly exist but humans should avoid making contact, Professor Stephen Hawking has warned.
Part of me would really enjoy the prospect of learning loads of “stuff” from vastly intelligent creatures – whereas the reality gene suggests we could well end up as a mining colony or a carbon based snack for a less than friendly visitor.

I wonder how we’ll see this in a few thousand years – if we survive that long?!

Stop the Holy See men!
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Old 04-26-2010, 07:31 AM   #2
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I wonder how we’ll see this in a few thousand years – if we survive that long?!
Lots of books, films and TV shows have speculated about this. If other intelligent life is out there, I suspect the chances are good that we'll be in conflict should we ever hook up, especially if they're anything like us.

Either we will need to fear them or they would be wise to fear us.

"So many gods, so many creeds! So many paths that wind and wind, when just the art of being kind is all this sad world needs."
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Old 04-26-2010, 08:30 AM   #3
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On some levels, I agree with Hawking. Humans, as genetic constructs, have existed for something like 200,000 years, and have a recorded history of about 15,000 years or so (depending on how you define "recorded"). Can you imagine interacting with a species that has a recorded history (and requisit advances) stretching back a million years? A billion? We might literally have more in common with an ant than with them. The prospects of developing a health relationship seem limited, unless evolution has led their sentience to be not utterly dissimilar from our own.

On the other hand, if a species can jaunt from system to system, I doubt resources are much of an issue for them. Once you're able to get into space easily, there's basically an infinite amount of resources (e.g., moon-sized diamonds). The only thing that makes Earth "special" resource-wise is life and its by-products, which would probably have little or no value to them as a resource in the traditional sense. Anything earth life could produce, could probably be done by the aliens themselves (e.g., generating oxygen), so turning Earth into a mining colony would probably be a waste of time.

The worst case scenario would be for a species, having an extremely long view of the future, to perceive humans (or any other non-homeworld life) to be an inevitable threat and wipe us out. Given how different we might (will) be, it may well be less meaningful to them than kicking over an ant hill.

A guide to first contact has been proposed. Study it carefully oh yee guinee pig.

"When science was in its infancy, religion tried to strangle it in its cradle." - Robert G. Ingersoll
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Old 04-26-2010, 08:47 AM   #4
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Old 04-26-2010, 09:19 AM   #5
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On the other hand, if a species can jaunt from system to system, I doubt resources are much of an issue for them. Once you're able to get into space easily, there's basically an infinite amount of resources (e.g., moon-sized diamonds). The only thing that makes Earth "special" resource-wise is life and its by-products, which would probably have little or no value to them as a resource in the traditional sense. Anything earth life could produce, could probably be done by the aliens themselves (e.g., generating oxygen), so turning Earth into a mining colony would probably be a waste of time.

The worst case scenario would be for a species, having an extremely long view of the future, to perceive humans (or any other non-homeworld life) to be an inevitable threat and wipe us out. Given how different we might (will) be, it may well be less meaningful to them than kicking over an ant hill.

A guide to first contact has been proposed. Study it carefully oh yee guinee pig.

Have you read 'Footfall' by Niven and Pournelle? also their 'Mote in God's Eye' - puts forward a different scenario re resources

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Old 04-26-2010, 09:19 AM   #6
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exactly!!

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Old 04-26-2010, 10:33 AM   #7
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Have you read 'Footfall' by Niven and Pournelle? also their 'Mote in God's Eye' - puts forward a different scenario re resources
I haven't read them, but the plots described in wiki look interesting. The threat of pre-emptive extermination could be realistic if some species declares us unsustainable (i.e., we would be a plague on the galaxy). Of course given the 2nd law of thermodynamics, all life as we currently define it is unsustainable if you zoom out far enough into the future, making resource scarcity inevitable.

That is to say, extermination could be logical depending on how much of a self-absorbed prick species you are. Hence my advice to whatever species first stumbles upon our lovely system is: Run. If you value your future, run!

"When science was in its infancy, religion tried to strangle it in its cradle." - Robert G. Ingersoll
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Old 04-26-2010, 11:15 AM   #8
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On some levels, I agree with Hawking. Humans, as genetic constructs, have existed for something like 200,000 years, and have a recorded history of about 15,000 years or so (depending on how you define "recorded"). Can you imagine interacting with a species that has a recorded history (and requisit advances) stretching back a million years? A billion?
Yes but ...

In another sense, "we" have been evolving for 3.5 billion years. That's a sizable chunk of the known universe. For all we know, ours are the oldest forms of life in the whole shooting match, assuming we're not the only ones ...

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Old 04-26-2010, 11:51 AM   #9
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Yes but ...

In another sense, "we" have been evolving for 3.5 billion years. That's a sizable chunk of the known universe. For all we know, ours are the oldest forms of life in the whole shooting match, assuming we're not the only ones ...
This is also true; however, for most of this 3.5 billion year period we certainly we're the dominant species on the planet, we were well integrated into the food chain as both predator and prey. We were slime, slugs, fish, amphibians, rats, apes, and eventually humans (yes, I've probably just botched our evolutionary history, I know). I'm saying that a species that first started exploring space a billion years ago is probably going to be awfully advanced. That would be about on par with you trying to interact with slug. Neither party is likely to find this beneficial, and one may end up on the wrong side of a salt shaker.

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Old 04-26-2010, 12:20 PM   #10
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Old 04-26-2010, 12:39 PM   #11
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Old 04-26-2010, 12:49 PM   #12
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jesus fuck, when humans encounter other slightly less technologically advanced humans they waste no time ass raping their culture and enslaving them. What the hell is going to happen when we are the weaker party? They'll throw a blanket of smallpox over the whole fucking planet. Unless they are, you know, enlightened beings, in which case they will probably just plant a mostly harmless sign and be on their way.

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Old 04-26-2010, 02:53 PM   #13
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jesus fuck, when humans encounter other slightly less technologically advanced humans they waste no time ass raping their culture and enslaving them. What the hell is going to happen when we are the weaker party? They'll throw a blanket of smallpox over the whole fucking planet. Unless they are, you know, enlightened beings, in which case they will probably just plant a mostly harmless sign and be on their way.
My favorite scenario is probably that of The Road Not Taken, wherein an alien race with warp drives and anti-gravity invades the earth, only to find their pointy stick level weaponry utterly outmatched. Their dying thoughts are of the horror they have unleashed on the universe by giving humans access to interstellar transit technology.

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Old 04-26-2010, 06:32 PM   #14
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They might come to serve humans.

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Old 04-27-2010, 03:20 AM   #15
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Unless they are, you know, enlightened beings, in which case they will probably just plant a mostly harmless sign and be on their way.
More likely, they, who have the technology to travel to us, would refuse to touch this shit. They might watch us with some faint amusement, just like we watch the dungbeetles labouring with their dung balls.
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