Imagine super-intelligent aliens could answer your questions
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11-08-2017, 06:06 PM
RE: Imagine super-intelligent aliens could answer your questions
(10-08-2017 05:50 PM)undergroundp Wrote:  This is an idea I've been working on and need some help with realistic replies to the questions that will follow.

Highly intelligent extraterrestrials of a very advanced civilization have made contact with Earth, publicly and globally announcing that you can contact them in written form (through a phone number or a website or whatever) and they will gladly answer any questions you may have about the universe.

1. What would your questions be? (Can be more than one)

How many intelligent "alien" species are there?
Can they help us communicate with intelligent animals on our planet?
What do they want?
Why have they contacted us?
Do they have a concept of love/empathy?
Do they understand war?
Do they have a concept of morals/honor/law/ethics?
How do they govern themselves?
Do they have a sense of humor?
As a species, how fucked up are we?
No, you can't have a continent for some glass beads.
Do you have politicians and are they are as fucked up as ours?
Do they have a concept of religion?

(10-08-2017 05:50 PM)undergroundp Wrote:  2. Would you be scared, suspicious, unconvinced?

I think the scenario you describe, verified First Contact with an intelligent, extraterrestrial species, would be one of the defining moments in the history of our species, or at least for our civilization.

Fear and suspicion would be natural, but should only be allowed to temper our response, not dictate it. Cautious and skeptical, but hopeful.

Contact with an advanced species of alien visitors with technology, vehicles, and knowledge far superior to ours? Sounds like what happened to the Incas...

(10-08-2017 05:50 PM)undergroundp Wrote:  3. If unconvinced, what would it take for you to believe it's really aliens?

For purposes of your post, I'll assume that we have sufficient proof to establish their authenticity.

(10-08-2017 05:50 PM)undergroundp Wrote:  4. How do you think people would react? What are some specific reactions you would expect?

People would react like the group of poorly evolved primates that we are. Some would handle it well, others, not so much. Are you familiar with the "War of the Worlds Hoax"? I think that would still hold true for some folks. How many folks? I can't say.

I think to some extent we are more accustomed to the idea of aliens, but in other ways the idea is just as terrifying as it ever was.

(10-08-2017 05:50 PM)undergroundp Wrote:  5. What kind of answers do you think we would get that could benefit humanity?

Technology, the sciences, medicine, etc., all would likely benefit. Sociology? Maybe. Space travel and computers probably.

The idea is equal parts of fascinating, exciting, terrifying and mind-boggling.

Help for the living. Hope for the dead. ~ R.G. Ingersoll

Freedom offers opportunity. Opportunity confers responsibility. Responsibility to use the freedom we enjoy wisely, honestly and humanely. ~ Noam Chomsky
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12-08-2017, 03:35 AM
RE: Imagine super-intelligent aliens could answer your questions
(11-08-2017 04:40 PM)unsapien Wrote:  
(11-08-2017 01:45 PM)undergroundp Wrote:  Having empathy only towards ourselves is what could destroy us.

I agree, that's one of the reasons I think we're not ready yet.

...or that might be one of the reasons it's time we got some help.

(11-08-2017 04:40 PM)unsapien Wrote:  I again agree, except for the only thing that, as far as we're aware, this planet has that we haven't found anywhere else...life, other then that anything else that is on the earth is just laying around on billions of uninhabited worlds. That's one of the reasons I'd be so suspicious if contact were made with us today in our current state.

That still doesn't mean they would be hostile. Why are we searching so desperately for alien life? To destroy it? We're spending millions to this cause. We have found so many other possibly habitable (yet possibly uninhabited) planets. Why couldn't a more advanced species be curious about us too?

(11-08-2017 04:40 PM)unsapien Wrote:  Let me put it this way...have you heard of Star Trek & the Prime Directive? I agree with this philosophy and think we should institute something very much like this when we get into space.

I think that there might be life in our own solar system (unintelligent life, microscopic probably) and I hope we find it, learn from it, let our species become comfortable with the real fact that it's out there .

In fact this might be the best way for advanced aliens to make contact, just plant a bit of microbial life on some planet that they know we're going to visit soon, and gauge our reaction.

Then as we become ready to make a real attempt at leaving our system, they can pop by in their spaceship and say "howdy, just noticed that you're going to go out and visit the neighbourhood...we just thought we'd stop by and give you a few tips, and also we didn't want you coming across us by accident and go ape-shit."

That sounds cool, actually. I didn't really specify how exactly the first contact would be made, but this could be it, and the questions would still apply I guess Smile

(11-08-2017 04:49 PM)Brian37 Wrote:  Theism already partakes in speculation, I dont think skeptics need a si fi version.

Is there other life out there? Considering the size of the universe, that is a very high probability. But even if that life was more advanced, it would still suffer travel problems and most likely be stuck locally like we are even if their range is a bit larger due to their advancements beyond ours.

The universe is a gigantic place. At best I can see us if we dont blow ourselves up over politics and religion or kill ourselves off over pollution, if we focus on science, I can see us communicating with other life. But since we know there is a huge gap between the atom macro world and the sub atomic particle world I dont see how any other life at our macro level is going to defeat that gap. I think math can certainly explain the difference. It gave us the CERN which lead us to the Higgs Boson, but I do not see, knowing how universal the universe is, how any other life can travel space the way si fi fantasizes about. I can only admit a slightly longer range because who knows. But if anyone wants me to say there will be a day when we can use a wormhole or teleportation to suddenly get to the other side of the universe? Nope, not there yet.

I don't think we have enough knowledge about the universe to know what we can or cannot do, let alone know what a super-advanced alien civilization could do. Also, the "when" is a bit irrelevant to the topic. The questions I'm asking could be asked at any point in human history I believe.

(11-08-2017 05:16 PM)Brian37 Wrote:  I am a fan of Sagan. While he said in his Pale Blue Dot Speech that the possibilities are there, he also said currently earth is our only home as a species. It does our species no good to speculate about Mars much less getting out of our solar system if the world is involved with war and murdering each other over mythological deities nobody can prove to be real.

And of course, I never mentioned humans leaving the Earth, just aliens contacting us. If you are a Sagan fan indeed, you might have read or seen Contact. To me, it's the perfect example of how and why aliens would contact us.

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12-08-2017, 07:13 AM
RE: Imagine super-intelligent aliens could answer your questions
(12-08-2017 03:35 AM)undergroundp Wrote:  
(11-08-2017 04:40 PM)unsapien Wrote:  I agree, that's one of the reasons I think we're not ready yet.

...or that might be one of the reasons it's time we got some help.

If and when we ever encounter intelligent alien life (or any alien life) either on Earth or out in the rest of the universe, it will be whatever it is, not what we want it to be. They will not be compassionate, or benevolent, or helpful to us just because that is what we need them to be. Nor will we be necessarily kind or helpful to them, even if that is what we imagine in our heads. We can't just make up the aliens that we want and magic them into existence. That's what religions do - make up gods that are kind and compassionate and all-knowing and helpful to us. Science has to deal with reality, which might turn out to be either hostile, indifferent, or oblivious. Even highly intelligent aliens may not be able to communicate with us in any way we would understand, or even perceive us as anything more than a parasite on the planet's surface that needs to be eradicated.

We know that dolphins are highly intelligent and have a complex language, but we still only communicate with them at a very rudimentary level. And humans and dolphins share a common evolutionary path, have very similar brains, and have almost identical DNA with a variation in only a few genes. If we can't work out a common language with intelligent life on our own planet, what is the possibility that we will be able to communicate with life that evolved elsewhere with completely alien DNA, brain patterns, concepts, ideas, and perceptions? The idea that some super-wise, benevolent alien race will show up at our doorstep to take us by the hand and guide us is possible, but very, very unlikely.

One of my favorite SF books about aliens is Isaac Asimov's The Gods Themselves - if just for the intelligent aliens that are actually alien.

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12-08-2017, 08:00 AM
RE: Imagine super-intelligent aliens could answer your questions
(12-08-2017 07:13 AM)Rockblossom Wrote:  If and when we ever encounter intelligent alien life (or any alien life) either on Earth or out in the rest of the universe, it will be whatever it is, not what we want it to be. They will not be compassionate, or benevolent, or helpful to us just because that is what we need them to be.

Well, yeah. But the premise was "imagine super-intelligent aliens could answer your questions."
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12-08-2017, 08:09 AM
RE: Imagine super-intelligent aliens could answer your questions
(12-08-2017 07:13 AM)Rockblossom Wrote:  
(12-08-2017 03:35 AM)undergroundp Wrote:  ...or that might be one of the reasons it's time we got some help.

If and when we ever encounter intelligent alien life (or any alien life) either on Earth or out in the rest of the universe, it will be whatever it is, not what we want it to be. They will not be compassionate, or benevolent, or helpful to us just because that is what we need them to be. Nor will we be necessarily kind or helpful to them, even if that is what we imagine in our heads. We can't just make up the aliens that we want and magic them into existence. That's what religions do - make up gods that are kind and compassionate and all-knowing and helpful to us. Science has to deal with reality, which might turn out to be either hostile, indifferent, or oblivious. Even highly intelligent aliens may not be able to communicate with us in any way we would understand, or even perceive us as anything more than a parasite on the planet's surface that needs to be eradicated.

We know that dolphins are highly intelligent and have a complex language, but we still only communicate with them at a very rudimentary level. And humans and dolphins share a common evolutionary path, have very similar brains, and have almost identical DNA with a variation in only a few genes. If we can't work out a common language with intelligent life on our own planet, what is the possibility that we will be able to communicate with life that evolved elsewhere with completely alien DNA, brain patterns, concepts, ideas, and perceptions? The idea that some super-wise, benevolent alien race will show up at our doorstep to take us by the hand and guide us is possible, but very, very unlikely.

One of my favorite SF books about aliens is Isaac Asimov's The Gods Themselves - if just for the intelligent aliens that are actually alien.

Woah, well.

I think at this point I should mention that I've been working on this as an idea for a script. I didn't want to say what it was meant for so that I could get some realistic answers and not what would be "cool" for a movie. I thought I made it clear that it's not what I believe or hope for or whatever by saying it's an idea I've been working on.

I didn't say aliens must be one way or the other, I was just offering counter-arguments to people saying that they could only be hostile. It's not some kind of religion I've thought up to make me feel warm and fuzzy. It's just a conversation to give me ideas on how people would naturally react to such a situation so I can build my script upon this.

As for the dolphins, let's not pretend that humans are not different from all the other animals on planet earth. No dolphin could ever understand math or think about interstellar travel. That's something we would definitely have in common with a possible alien civilization.

It's funny though how some replies make me seem like this silly person who thinks aliens are our saviors and they'll come to our rescue just because I asked a hypothetical question and challenged the idea that aliens could only be hostile or that they could never master interstellar travel. Tells me way more about humans than it does about aliens.

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12-08-2017, 08:32 AM (This post was last modified: 12-08-2017 08:36 AM by unsapien.)
RE: Imagine super-intelligent aliens could answer your questions
The one thing I always think about when talking about intelligent alien life is the time scales of the universe and how advanced the aliens would be...we're not talking about a couple of hundred years more advanced, we're talking 100,000 years, millions of years more advanced.

When I imagine advanced alien life I'm thinking about them re-igniting failing stars, I'm thinking about them building their own custom star systems & scouring nebulas for exactly the right elements they need to do it.

Imagine our astronomers looking into the universe and seeing a proto-star system inexplicitly forming 10,000 times faster then any other they've ever seen! Watching planets forming out of dust rings in "real" time. That could be both an amazing sign of advanced intelligent life, and yet far enough away that our species doesn't poop our collective pants.

EDIT: To replace solar with star. Blush

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12-08-2017, 08:50 AM
RE: Imagine super-intelligent aliens could answer your questions
I always wonder about time perception.

Like, if these aliens live 1000 years, to them we live as long as dogs appear to us.

But perhaps their perception of time is even more extreme, and we look like 1 day flies to them.

Or - the other way around, of course.

I would imagine that a lot of what happens depends on perception of time.

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12-08-2017, 08:51 AM
RE: Imagine super-intelligent aliens could answer your questions
Here's one to toss into the mix... Did you know that pigeons are the only non-mammal species who can recognize themselves in a mirror? As well as all 26 letters of the alphabet? So maybe the aliens could show up with pigeons that humans assume are pets, when in reality the pigeons are the highly advanced intelligent species and the "aliens" are just THEIR pets. In other words, a twist on false assumptions and first appearances.

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12-08-2017, 09:34 AM
RE: Imagine super-intelligent aliens could answer your questions
(12-08-2017 08:51 AM)outtathereligioncloset Wrote:  Here's one to toss into the mix... Did you know that pigeons are the only non-mammal species who can recognize themselves in a mirror? As well as all 26 letters of the alphabet? So maybe the aliens could show up with pigeons that humans assume are pets, when in reality the pigeons are the highly advanced intelligent species and the "aliens" are just THEIR pets. In other words, a twist on false assumptions and first appearances.

Sounds kind of like the dolphins in So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.

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12-08-2017, 09:42 AM
RE: Imagine super-intelligent aliens could answer your questions
(12-08-2017 08:50 AM)Dom Wrote:  I always wonder about time perception.

Like, if these aliens live 1000 years, to them we live as long as dogs appear to us.

Like old people see the excitements of youth....

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