Now, is it a good idea that any dweeb with an internet connection could have potentially become the de facto ambassador of humanity to another sentient race? That's not something to worry about. Even the Talk to Aliens team acknowledged that with a range of only a few light years, there's very little chance any honest-to-Xenu extraterrestrials will ever respond. It's probably better anyway that the first message sent to aliens most likely remains the beautifully crafted olive branch recorded by a Carl Sagan. Better that than the first-ever galactic voyagers we meet thinking we communicate solely through dick pics.
Send The Aliens The Whole Damn Internet
If we do wind up contacting aliens, it's best we make a good first impression before their proton cannons make the impression for us. To do that, we have to present them with the best of what humanity has to offer. So do we show them our science? Our art? Maybe some Brahms will lighten the mood? No. The most promising way to draw in aliens is not by cherry-picking our best moments, but simply dumping every single bit of dumb information about of our existence into their laps at once. We're talking, of course, about the internet.
Arguing the case for sending our cat GIFs into the beyond is Seth Shostak, the director of the Center for SETI Research, who argues that the internet has become the most complete documentation of the culture and history of planet Earth (for better or worse). We could literally shoot the internet into space with a laser beam which could send out all of this data in a matter of days. It's also self-decoding; the amount of written and spoken language is repeated millions of times over, so it can be used to translate itself, sort of like a Rosetta Stone of dank memes.
Ivan Kopylov /Adobe StockCounter-proposal: Simplify the whole thing by sending this, which is a pretty spot-on summary.
Why is this such an attractive option to scientists? For one, it doesn't make any declaration of intent, and it doesn't invite any kind of response, meaning aliens would be much less likely to misinterpret it. It would also put an end to the endlessly debatable dilemma of what message to send by just saying, "Screw it, send them everything and let them figure it out." And for those of us worried about shouting millions of racist Facebook rants to alien races, it's unlikely that Gleep Glorps from the Crab Nebula will have any way of relating to our culture in such a detailed way with their wholly incomprehensible alien minds. Still, we should at least cut out all those forum posts making fun of the aliens in Independence Day to be safe.
You can find Marina Reimann at Gamefully Unemployed on Twitch (@gamefully_Un), as well as various podcasts about movies, games, and unpopular opinions.
The best aliens we'll ever see are from the 1979 classic.
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For more, check out 6 Space Projects That Will Guarantee Aliens Will Hate Us and 5 Insane Theories About Why We Haven't Discovered Alien Life.
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