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If we discover alien society...who do we send?

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Posts

  • truck-a-saurastruck-a-sauras Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Nostregar wrote: »
    Drake wrote: »
    Who do we send?

    Gary Fuckin' Busey.

    *snip*

    I thought we wanted them to like us.

    I thought we'd want to send out some kind of expendable red shirt type guy first sorta like the royal taster guys who get to die from poison so we know that shit ain't safe to eat. So Busey may be a good choice, see how they react to F'n insanity. We don't want to paint some pretty picture of how awesome we are and then they find out our bad side. Give the worst up front and it can only get better from there. Getting along with others is a test to see if you can handle their faults and still accept them, so we go in guns blazing Busey style and see if he survives, if he does we may be able to co-exist with these aliens, if no then war time. Nobody kills our Busey other than us.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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  • NostregarNostregar Registered User
    edited November 2009
    Ject wrote: »
    Send a team composed of the world's best negotiator, linguist, mathematician, biologist, anthropologist, and astrophysicist. That should pretty much cover the bases.

    And a poet.

    I considered putting some sort of artist on the list, but for a first contact scenario I honestly don't see the point. Aliens are unlikely to even perceive the universe in the same subset of any of the various spectra we do. If they have hearing it's likely to be effective over a different register of frequencies. If they have vision it probably won't be the visible spectrum as we consider it. If we are able to achieve contextual, linguistic communication at all rather than communicating purely via mathematical logic statements I cannot imagine a case where, at first meeting, either side will be capable of appreciating the poetry of the other. Their music or visual arts may be aesthetically pleasing but they're just as likely to be completely meaningless. Consider a painting done by an artist whose visual range overlaps with yours only for 20% of the visual spectrum and whose vision is a composite formed by three eyes with prismatic rather than focal lenses. It would look like a red (or blue) mess. Consider a poem written by a person with linguistic aphasia who speaks a language you've never heard but with the auditory register of a bat. Honestly, what use would a poet serve?

    If they don't see in the same spectrum, hear in the same spectrum, or really perceive the world in any way similar to us...

    how do we communicate even mathematical logic statements?

    Like, I hear people say that whenever this discussion comes up. But nobody ever explains how, exactly, you'd convey the mathematical statements to them.

    Spoiler:
  • CouscousCouscous Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Ject wrote: »
    Send a team composed of the world's best negotiator, linguist, mathematician, biologist, anthropologist, and astrophysicist. That should pretty much cover the bases.

    And a poet.

    I considered putting some sort of artist on the list, but for a first contact scenario I honestly don't see the point. Aliens are unlikely to even perceive the universe in the same subset of any of the various spectra we do. If they have hearing it's likely to be effective over a different register of frequencies. If they have vision it probably won't be the visible spectrum as we consider it. If we are able to achieve contextual, linguistic communication at all rather than communicating purely via mathematical logic statements I cannot imagine a case where, at first meeting, either side will be capable of appreciating the poetry of the other. Their music or visual arts may be aesthetically pleasing but they're just as likely to be completely meaningless. Consider a painting done by an artist whose visual range overlaps with yours only for 20% of the visual spectrum and whose vision is a composite formed by three eyes with prismatic rather than focal lenses. It would look like a red (or blue) mess. Consider a poem written by a person with linguistic aphasia who speaks a language you've never heard but with the auditory register of a bat. Honestly, what use would a poet serve?

    So send a hooker. I'm assuming they have the same goal of fucking everything in the universe like humans.

  • Capt HowdyCapt Howdy Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Morgan Freeman and Jason Mewes.

    Morgan since, well, he's Morgan Freeman. Also, he'll be able to smooth over and explain why Mewes is there, and what he's doing to the alien leaders wife.

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  • JustinSane07JustinSane07 __BANNED USERS regular
    edited November 2009
    I think if we send Shatner then we pretty much are sending a hooker.

    hqdefault.jpg

  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Nostregar wrote: »
    Ject wrote: »
    Send a team composed of the world's best negotiator, linguist, mathematician, biologist, anthropologist, and astrophysicist. That should pretty much cover the bases.

    And a poet.

    I considered putting some sort of artist on the list, but for a first contact scenario I honestly don't see the point. Aliens are unlikely to even perceive the universe in the same subset of any of the various spectra we do. If they have hearing it's likely to be effective over a different register of frequencies. If they have vision it probably won't be the visible spectrum as we consider it. If we are able to achieve contextual, linguistic communication at all rather than communicating purely via mathematical logic statements I cannot imagine a case where, at first meeting, either side will be capable of appreciating the poetry of the other. Their music or visual arts may be aesthetically pleasing but they're just as likely to be completely meaningless. Consider a painting done by an artist whose visual range overlaps with yours only for 20% of the visual spectrum and whose vision is a composite formed by three eyes with prismatic rather than focal lenses. It would look like a red (or blue) mess. Consider a poem written by a person with linguistic aphasia who speaks a language you've never heard but with the auditory register of a bat. Honestly, what use would a poet serve?

    If they don't see in the same spectrum, hear in the same spectrum, or really perceive the world in any way similar to us...

    how do we communicate even mathematical logic statements?

    Like, I hear people say that whenever this discussion comes up. But nobody ever explains how, exactly, you'd convey the mathematical statements to them.

    The assumption is that by some means or other we're able to determine what they're capable of perceiving and set up a method to show them things. From there we assume that they've reached some of the same basic mathematical conclusions we have: integers, the existence and importance of prime numbers, basic set operations. If you can communicate "one thing", "one other thing", "one thing and one other thing together", "one thing, a symbol, one other thing, a symbol, one thing and one other thing together", "one thing, that second symbol, one thing and one other thing together, a new symbol, the 'one other thing'", and "one thing, that second symbol, and the same thing again" you've effectively defined sets, unions, differences, and equality. From there you can build up all of mathematics. Add a symbol for 'not equal' and you have the foundations of mathematical logic.

    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Jesus, people. This thread is like a running gunbattle with stupid bullets.
  • TerrendosTerrendos Decorative Monocle Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    First off, the way that the "Vs" introduced themselves was really stupid (though that may have been partly their intention.) Flying your ships down over every major city in the world and broadcasting via huge TV screen is the best way to have people try and shoot you down.

    Naturally the first thing to be done would be to analyze transmissions coming from the planet (probably radio waves) and figure out the method by which they communicate. Hopefully they would spot our huge arrays of radio telescopes or at the least realize by deduction that's how we're looking at the universe. From there it's a simple matter of sending a signal of a pattern that scientists would recognize, determine where people respond, and initiate contact from there. Ideally they'd send a coded signal of some kind to scientists, who would go straight to their governments and from there to the UN or something.

    Concerning actual "first contact" with the rest of the world, communication via text or possibly speech prior to initiating personal visual contact would probably be the best, so that we as a people know what they're like before we risk some crazy person assassinating a leader and starting interstellar war.

    Sig1.png
  • NostregarNostregar Registered User
    edited November 2009

    The assumption is that by some means or other we're able to determine what they're capable of perceiving and set up a method to show them things. From there we assume that they've reached some of the same basic mathematical conclusions we have: integers, the existence and importance of prime numbers, basic set operations. If you can communicate "one thing", "one other thing", "one thing and one other thing together", "one thing, a symbol, one other thing, a symbol, one thing and one other thing together", "one thing, that second symbol, one thing and one other thing together, a new symbol, the 'one other thing'", and "one thing, that second symbol, and the same thing again" you've effectively defined sets, unions, differences, and equality. From there you can build up all of mathematics. Add a symbol for 'not equal' and you have the foundations of mathematical logic.

    I mean, I understand the idea, I just think that those are pretty big assumptions.

    What if we can't figure out what/how they perceive? That's a pretty big problem.

    A bigger one, though, is that we assume they use math the same way we do. What if they never developed symbolic mathematics? That would fuck up our plan. What if for whatever reason, they think symbolic math is "evil"? Well, that's a pretty bad situation to be in for us.

    Ridiculous, perhaps, but it seems like even the communicating via math idea is making some huge and unfounded assumptions.

    Spoiler:
  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Nostregar wrote: »

    The assumption is that by some means or other we're able to determine what they're capable of perceiving and set up a method to show them things. From there we assume that they've reached some of the same basic mathematical conclusions we have: integers, the existence and importance of prime numbers, basic set operations. If you can communicate "one thing", "one other thing", "one thing and one other thing together", "one thing, a symbol, one other thing, a symbol, one thing and one other thing together", "one thing, that second symbol, one thing and one other thing together, a new symbol, the 'one other thing'", and "one thing, that second symbol, and the same thing again" you've effectively defined sets, unions, differences, and equality. From there you can build up all of mathematics. Add a symbol for 'not equal' and you have the foundations of mathematical logic.

    I mean, I understand the idea, I just think that those are pretty big assumptions.

    What if we can't figure out what/how they perceive? That's a pretty big problem.

    A bigger one, though, is that we assume they use math the same way we do. What if they never developed symbolic mathematics? That would fuck up our plan. What if for whatever reason, they think symbolic math is "evil"? Well, that's a pretty bad situation to be in for us.

    Ridiculous, perhaps, but it seems like even the communicating via math idea is making some huge and unfounded assumptions.

    Well, yeah, all of those would screw us over pretty hard, but if we can't determine how they perceive or if their thought process is sufficiently alien that they are able to perform mathematical/logical operations at a technological level but in a manner fundamentally different from us then it's pretty unlikely that we will ever be able to communicate with them at all. If we can communicate with an alien species at all then math is probably a good starting point.

    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Jesus, people. This thread is like a running gunbattle with stupid bullets.
  • TerrendosTerrendos Decorative Monocle Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Nostregar wrote: »

    The assumption is that by some means or other we're able to determine what they're capable of perceiving and set up a method to show them things. From there we assume that they've reached some of the same basic mathematical conclusions we have: integers, the existence and importance of prime numbers, basic set operations. If you can communicate "one thing", "one other thing", "one thing and one other thing together", "one thing, a symbol, one other thing, a symbol, one thing and one other thing together", "one thing, that second symbol, one thing and one other thing together, a new symbol, the 'one other thing'", and "one thing, that second symbol, and the same thing again" you've effectively defined sets, unions, differences, and equality. From there you can build up all of mathematics. Add a symbol for 'not equal' and you have the foundations of mathematical logic.

    I mean, I understand the idea, I just think that those are pretty big assumptions.

    What if we can't figure out what/how they perceive? That's a pretty big problem.

    A bigger one, though, is that we assume they use math the same way we do. What if they never developed symbolic mathematics? That would fuck up our plan. What if for whatever reason, they think symbolic math is "evil"? Well, that's a pretty bad situation to be in for us.

    Ridiculous, perhaps, but it seems like even the communicating via math idea is making some huge and unfounded assumptions.

    I think if we're even considering contacting someone (or someone is considering contacting us) then they'll have done enough of their homework to understand what they're getting into. Do you visit Brazil without a Portuguese phrasebook?

    If it's someone contacting us, the odds that this is their "first run" are probably pretty low, anyway.

    Sig1.png
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Andrew_Jay wrote: »
    David_T wrote: »
    My vote goes to Morgan Freeman.
    Nelson Mandela.

    But seeing how he's already 91 and won't be around forever, my second choice would be Morgan Freeman impersonating Nelson Mandela.

    I was going to go with a brilliant mind that has never been politically involved. Stephen Hawking is fairly non-threatening, yet represents our achievements in helping each other overcome struggles we're born with to allow our greatest minds to support the whole.

    Morgan Freeman impersonating Nelson Mandela is way better, though.

    "Well, look at this. Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What's that make us?"
    "Big Damn Heroes, Sir."
    "Ain't we just."
  • KastanjKastanj __BANNED USERS
    edited November 2009
    Bill Clinton

    Yeah, that won't get us neutro-beamed at all - our ambassador bedding the alien representative's female-looking relatives.

    My general idea is to send either someone psychopathic or a genius. You need a different kind of brain to truly roll with the punches and assert reality in a situation you can't speculate about in advance.

    Or just send Ace Dick. Punch in nose, establish superiority.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Terrendos wrote: »
    Nostregar wrote: »

    The assumption is that by some means or other we're able to determine what they're capable of perceiving and set up a method to show them things. From there we assume that they've reached some of the same basic mathematical conclusions we have: integers, the existence and importance of prime numbers, basic set operations. If you can communicate "one thing", "one other thing", "one thing and one other thing together", "one thing, a symbol, one other thing, a symbol, one thing and one other thing together", "one thing, that second symbol, one thing and one other thing together, a new symbol, the 'one other thing'", and "one thing, that second symbol, and the same thing again" you've effectively defined sets, unions, differences, and equality. From there you can build up all of mathematics. Add a symbol for 'not equal' and you have the foundations of mathematical logic.

    I mean, I understand the idea, I just think that those are pretty big assumptions.

    What if we can't figure out what/how they perceive? That's a pretty big problem.

    A bigger one, though, is that we assume they use math the same way we do. What if they never developed symbolic mathematics? That would fuck up our plan. What if for whatever reason, they think symbolic math is "evil"? Well, that's a pretty bad situation to be in for us.

    Ridiculous, perhaps, but it seems like even the communicating via math idea is making some huge and unfounded assumptions.

    I think if we're even considering contacting someone (or someone is considering contacting us) then they'll have done enough of their homework to understand what they're getting into. Do you visit Brazil without a Portuguese phrasebook?

    If it's someone contacting us, the odds that this is their "first run" are probably pretty low, anyway.

    Not necessarily. Depends on how many sentient races there are in the local galaxy. If we're pretty spread out then odds are good that any species we run into that's at a similar level of technological development will be first contact for both sides.

    I imagine that, unless our first contact is with some galactic federation who have long experience with the best way to contact virgin species, it will be a very tense, awkward situation. Space ship shows up in orbit, sits there silently for a while, we send back and forth the equivalent of sonar pings in various frequencies to figure out what each other's machines can even detect...

    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Jesus, people. This thread is like a running gunbattle with stupid bullets.
  • NostregarNostregar Registered User
    edited November 2009
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    Andrew_Jay wrote: »
    David_T wrote: »
    My vote goes to Morgan Freeman.
    Nelson Mandela.

    But seeing how he's already 91 and won't be around forever, my second choice would be Morgan Freeman impersonating Nelson Mandela.

    I was going to go with a brilliant mind that has never been politically involved. Stephen Hawking is fairly non-threatening, yet represents our achievements in helping each other overcome struggles we're born with to allow our greatest minds to support the whole.

    Morgan Freeman impersonating Nelson Mandela is way better, though.

    What if the aliens have a culture which condemns cripples (think the stereotype of Sparta)? If they know what we are "normally" like and recognize him as a cripple, they might think we're disrespecting them by sending Hawking.

    I'm really just playing devil's advocate in all this. I am of a mindset that if we ever contacted aliens, we would be simply unable to communicate with them.

    Spoiler:
  • enc0reenc0re Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    You'd send me. I'm clearly the best among us.

    Barring that, a case could be made for Hu Jingtao, leader of the most populous nation. Or perhaps the Queen of England, since arguably she has the most diplomatic experience out of anyone on the planet.

    But really? Bill Clinton is probably someone the world could agree on.

  • KastanjKastanj __BANNED USERS
    edited November 2009
    enc0re wrote: »
    You'd send me. I'm clearly the best among us.

    Barring that, a case could be made for Hu Jingtao, leader of the most populous nation. Or perhaps the Queen of England, since arguably she has the most diplomatic experience out of anyone on the planet.

    But really? Bill Clinton is probably someone the world could agree on.

    "Good day, Mr enc0re, we are the GOP and you've obviously never heard of us."

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Nostregar wrote: »
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    Andrew_Jay wrote: »
    David_T wrote: »
    My vote goes to Morgan Freeman.
    Nelson Mandela.

    But seeing how he's already 91 and won't be around forever, my second choice would be Morgan Freeman impersonating Nelson Mandela.

    I was going to go with a brilliant mind that has never been politically involved. Stephen Hawking is fairly non-threatening, yet represents our achievements in helping each other overcome struggles we're born with to allow our greatest minds to support the whole.

    Morgan Freeman impersonating Nelson Mandela is way better, though.

    What if the aliens have a culture which condemns cripples (think the stereotype of Sparta)? If they know what we are "normally" like and recognize him as a cripple, they might think we're disrespecting them by sending Hawking.

    I'm really just playing devil's advocate in all this. I am of a mindset that if we ever contacted aliens, we would be simply unable to communicate with them.

    Well, you can say, "What if the aliens have a culture which would be insulted by X" to any conceivable response. If X is the color blue we might just be fucked from the get go.

    However, if we encountered a culture which condemned cripples as weak regardless of intellectual capacity, yet had fully achieved interstellar travel technology, they'd have to be a hyper-scientific, super-logical or super-moralistic and probably militaristic people. During an initial encounter like that, being willing to see and take offense from a cultural slight without anticipating that the other side might not view things the same way would indicate that things just aren't going to go well for our discussions anyway. It's not a concern worth considering.

    "Well, look at this. Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What's that make us?"
    "Big Damn Heroes, Sir."
    "Ain't we just."
  • Salvation122Salvation122 Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Why in the blue hell would we send a person?

    Robots, dude. Robots with cameras, microphones, and speakers.

    sig.png
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Why in the blue hell would we send a person?

    Robots, dude. Robots with cameras, microphones, and speakers.

    Maybe a predator drone?

    "Well, look at this. Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What's that make us?"
    "Big Damn Heroes, Sir."
    "Ain't we just."
  • NostregarNostregar Registered User
    edited November 2009
    Darkewolfe wrote: »

    Well, you can say, "What if the aliens have a culture which would be insulted by X" to any conceivable response. If X is the color blue we might just be fucked from the get go.

    However, if we encountered a culture which condemned cripples as weak regardless of intellectual capacity, yet had fully achieved interstellar travel technology, they'd have to be a hyper-scientific, super-logical or super-moralistic and probably militaristic people. During an initial encounter like that, being willing to see and take offense from a cultural slight without anticipating that the other side might not view things the same way would indicate that things just aren't going to go well for our discussions anyway. It's not a concern worth considering.

    The problem with that is that it makes sense, but even just on our planet when contact between two human cultures has occurred that has not been the case. Look at the early contact between Japan and some of the European cultures. Nobody really went "Well, that's how the other culture functions and that's what they believe, so ok." The Europeans looked at the Japanese and thought they were sub-human in many ways and wanted to use them for profit, and the Japanese looked at the Europeans as barbarians who were barely human. Both sides took offense at things the other side did, simply because it was part of their culture.

    I think that we would like to think that we've matured past that point, but I'm not sure we have. In the US we still deny gay people the right to marry in many states.

    To say that more concisely, if we can't do something like that between human cultures, what makes you think we would be able to do it with an alien culture? Or that they'd do it with us?

    Spoiler:
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    Why in the blue hell would we send a person?

    Robots, dude. Robots with cameras, microphones, and speakers.

    Maybe a predator drone?

    If we're sending an unmanned military aircraft, we need to pick one from a nation that is less-threatening looking. A speaker could be handy too, potentially.

    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
  • mxmarksmxmarks Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    While Im absolutely loving the discussions that are coming out of this question, I never looked at it with quite as much detail.

    I was initially thinking about how powerful a first impression of a race of creatures you didn't even know existed would be. Going back to what I said, the hot girl from V. She's petite, doesn't look threatening. Nice soothing voice. Easy on the eyes. Pretty generic looking. You see her, and you think the rest of her race is more than likely going to be easy to deal with and friendly.

    As fantastic as an ambassador Stephen Hawking would be, and as well suited as he would be for the job, I unfortunately could never agree to make him the first thing the aliens see of us. I'd be really really afraid that before we could explain that our message is that he's a brilliant man who we have compassionately aided with technology to allow him to keep sharing his knowledge with us, that the aliens would already be planning on blowing up the Robot People from Earth.

    I think I'm putting the aliens on the same mental level as us, really. While you'd get some people who are cool with hearing them out, you'd get a lot more who are scared and think that they've got to be up to something.

    I honestly am shocked with how OK I am with Morgan Freeman, actually. He could calm any creatures fears about anything.

    XBL: MXrox - PSN: mxmarks - twitch.tv/mxmarks - "Yes, mxmarks is the King of Queens" - Unbreakable Vow
  • ZampanovZampanov You May Not Go Home Until Tonight Has Been MagicalRegistered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Send Bruce Campbell. If they love him then they are acceptable. If they don't, I'm sure he can still swing a chainsaw.

    kravensig.gif
    PSN/XBL: Zampanov -- Steam: Zampanov
  • MrMisterMrMister Valuing scholarship above all elseRegistered User regular
    edited November 2009
    What do you mean, who do 'we' send? Who are 'we?'

    The planet doesn't fall under one single political, social, or cultural group. If I wanted to send shortwave radio signals up to our grey brethren, who could stop me and by virtue of what authority?

  • enc0reenc0re Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Kastanj wrote: »
    enc0re wrote: »
    You'd send me. I'm clearly the best among us.

    Barring that, a case could be made for Hu Jingtao, leader of the most populous nation. Or perhaps the Queen of England, since arguably she has the most diplomatic experience out of anyone on the planet.

    But really? Bill Clinton is probably someone the world could agree on.

    "Good day, Mr enc0re, we are the GOP and you've obviously never heard of us."

    If aliens visited tomorrow and the world needed to choose an ambassador, what the GOP wants would be next to irrelevant.

  • ChanusChanus Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    MrMister wrote: »
    What do you mean, who do 'we' send? Who are 'we?'

    The planet doesn't fall under one single political, social, or cultural group. If I wanted to send shortwave radio signals up to our grey brethren, who could stop me and by virtue of what authority?

    Do you have your radio license? :P

  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    mxmarks wrote: »
    While Im absolutely loving the discussions that are coming out of this question, I never looked at it with quite as much detail.

    I was initially thinking about how powerful a first impression of a race of creatures you didn't even know existed would be. Going back to what I said, the hot girl from V. She's petite, doesn't look threatening. Nice soothing voice. Easy on the eyes. Pretty generic looking. You see her, and you think the rest of her race is more than likely going to be easy to deal with and friendly.

    As fantastic as an ambassador Stephen Hawking would be, and as well suited as he would be for the job, I unfortunately could never agree to make him the first thing the aliens see of us. I'd be really really afraid that before we could explain that our message is that he's a brilliant man who we have compassionately aided with technology to allow him to keep sharing his knowledge with us, that the aliens would already be planning on blowing up the Robot People from Earth.

    I think I'm putting the aliens on the same mental level as us, really. While you'd get some people who are cool with hearing them out, you'd get a lot more who are scared and think that they've got to be up to something.

    I honestly am shocked with how OK I am with Morgan Freeman, actually. He could calm any creatures fears about anything.

    I would be highly suspicious of an alien species who presented themselves with one or more attractive human-looking creatures. As mentioned in the thread and even on the show, the odds of them looking like us and having similar aesthetic sensibilities are vanishingly small. The obvious reason for their spokesperson to be attractive is to put us at ease and engender feelings of good will toward them. If they came out and admitted, "We engineered a spokesperson/disguise that we thought you would be comfortable with" then fine, but a species of randomly beautiful humans but from another planet? That would require some explanation before I stopped being deeply suspicious of their motives.

    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Jesus, people. This thread is like a running gunbattle with stupid bullets.
  • MikeManMikeMan Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    my favorite analogy in discussions like these is the following

    what if instead of humans elephants had become the dominant species? with their large brains and their incredible tusk, they could manipulate tools and started an industrial revolution

    they would turn their gaze to the heavens, asking each other what manner of elephant aliens would be

    would they be long-tusked gigantic elephants from a cold planet? or slim, svelt elephants from a tropical planet? what manner of elephant-ships would they have to transport their elephants through the stars?

    the question seems silly to us because why would aliens resemble elephants? there's nothing particularly exemplary about elephant evolution, it's just one pathway along a tangled and twisted genetic chain, one potential body form

    asking if aliens would be humanoid is equally silly

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  • DrakeDrake Blow it all up ForeverRegistered User regular
    edited November 2009
    You know, just for the record, but when I was reading your OP, Morgan Freeman was the first name that popped in my head.

    Then Gary Busey showed up. Now it's just Busey, Busey, Busey.
    Spoiler:

  • Andrew_JayAndrew_Jay Registered User
    edited November 2009
    The aliens wouldn't be able to handle Busey. He's too real.

  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    MikeMan wrote: »
    my favorite analogy in discussions like these is the following

    what if instead of humans elephants had become the dominant species? with their large brains and their incredible tusk, they could manipulate tools and started an industrial revolution

    they would turn their gaze to the heavens, asking each other what manner of elephant aliens would be

    would they be long-tusked gigantic elephants from a cold planet? or slim, svelt elephants from a tropical planet? what manner of elephant-ships would they have to transport their elephants through the stars?

    the question seems silly to us because why would aliens resemble elephants? there's nothing particularly exemplary about elephant evolution, it's just one pathway along a tangled and twisted genetic chain, one potential body form

    asking if aliens would be humanoid is equally silly

    A trunk couldn't be used to make the kind of small precise mechanical instruments needed for industrializations. Also, being herbivorous with like no real natural predators (once fully grown anyway) the evolutionary pressure to develop serious tool-making just doesn't exist.

    While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.
  • MikeManMikeMan Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    MikeMan wrote: »
    my favorite analogy in discussions like these is the following

    what if instead of humans elephants had become the dominant species? with their large brains and their incredible tusk, they could manipulate tools and started an industrial revolution

    they would turn their gaze to the heavens, asking each other what manner of elephant aliens would be

    would they be long-tusked gigantic elephants from a cold planet? or slim, svelt elephants from a tropical planet? what manner of elephant-ships would they have to transport their elephants through the stars?

    the question seems silly to us because why would aliens resemble elephants? there's nothing particularly exemplary about elephant evolution, it's just one pathway along a tangled and twisted genetic chain, one potential body form

    asking if aliens would be humanoid is equally silly

    A trunk couldn't be used to make the kind of small precise mechanical instruments needed for industrializations. Also, being herbivorous with like no real natural predators (once fully grown anyway) the evolutionary pressure to develop serious tool-making just doesn't exist.
    just what are you arguing here? it doesn't have to be actual modern elephants, it could be hypothetical elephants with even more articulated trunks or whatever

    methinks the point of the analogy went right over your head

    HOW DO YOU FUCK UP BAGELS. YOU BOIL THE WATER. PUT IN THE NOODLES
  • Andrew_JayAndrew_Jay Registered User
    edited November 2009
    Drake wrote: »
    You know, just for the record, but when I was reading your OP, Morgan Freeman was the first name that popped in my head.

    Then Gary Busey showed up. Now it's just Busey, Busey, Busey.
    Spoiler:
    Busey could at least guide the aliens here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifUFLoM4Mxc

  • SliderSlider Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Definitely Leonard Nimoy.

  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    Chanus wrote: »
    Slider wrote: »
    Definitely Leonard Nimoy.

    Hey, maybe there will finally be a use for Esperanto.

    I'd imagine Lojban would be a better choice as a 'aliens' first human language' choice.

    OptimusZed wrote: »
    Jesus, people. This thread is like a running gunbattle with stupid bullets.
  • mxmarksmxmarks Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    mxmarks wrote: »
    While Im absolutely loving the discussions that are coming out of this question, I never looked at it with quite as much detail.

    I was initially thinking about how powerful a first impression of a race of creatures you didn't even know existed would be. Going back to what I said, the hot girl from V. She's petite, doesn't look threatening. Nice soothing voice. Easy on the eyes. Pretty generic looking. You see her, and you think the rest of her race is more than likely going to be easy to deal with and friendly.

    As fantastic as an ambassador Stephen Hawking would be, and as well suited as he would be for the job, I unfortunately could never agree to make him the first thing the aliens see of us. I'd be really really afraid that before we could explain that our message is that he's a brilliant man who we have compassionately aided with technology to allow him to keep sharing his knowledge with us, that the aliens would already be planning on blowing up the Robot People from Earth.

    I think I'm putting the aliens on the same mental level as us, really. While you'd get some people who are cool with hearing them out, you'd get a lot more who are scared and think that they've got to be up to something.

    I honestly am shocked with how OK I am with Morgan Freeman, actually. He could calm any creatures fears about anything.

    I would be highly suspicious of an alien species who presented themselves with one or more attractive human-looking creatures. As mentioned in the thread and even on the show, the odds of them looking like us and having similar aesthetic sensibilities are vanishingly small. The obvious reason for their spokesperson to be attractive is to put us at ease and engender feelings of good will toward them. If they came out and admitted, "We engineered a spokesperson/disguise that we thought you would be comfortable with" then fine, but a species of randomly beautiful humans but from another planet? That would require some explanation before I stopped being deeply suspicious of their motives.

    Exactly, which is why I became so fascinated by how the hell any society could deal with this situation in ANY way.

    I mean, all the rational thoughts (because more than likely, one country would just go say hi before consulting with the rest of the globe) aside, I just was thinking of the hypothetical situation where as a planet, we decide we have to say hello. We have to present ourselves, and we don't want to start a fight.

    How the hell do you pull that off? You cant seem too perfect - they'll suspect things. You can't seem too odd, they'll suspect things. It's nearly a no-win situation, but I just thought it created a really interesting scenerio.

    Lets say years from now this becomes a reality - we discover a planet full of life, like ours, and they haven't discovered us yet. We have to make the first move. Who do you send?

    My brother went with the Dali Lama.

    XBL: MXrox - PSN: mxmarks - twitch.tv/mxmarks - "Yes, mxmarks is the King of Queens" - Unbreakable Vow
  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    MikeMan wrote: »
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    MikeMan wrote: »
    my favorite analogy in discussions like these is the following

    what if instead of humans elephants had become the dominant species? with their large brains and their incredible tusk, they could manipulate tools and started an industrial revolution

    they would turn their gaze to the heavens, asking each other what manner of elephant aliens would be

    would they be long-tusked gigantic elephants from a cold planet? or slim, svelt elephants from a tropical planet? what manner of elephant-ships would they have to transport their elephants through the stars?

    the question seems silly to us because why would aliens resemble elephants? there's nothing particularly exemplary about elephant evolution, it's just one pathway along a tangled and twisted genetic chain, one potential body form

    asking if aliens would be humanoid is equally silly

    A trunk couldn't be used to make the kind of small precise mechanical instruments needed for industrializations. Also, being herbivorous with like no real natural predators (once fully grown anyway) the evolutionary pressure to develop serious tool-making just doesn't exist.
    just what are you arguing here? it doesn't have to be actual modern elephants, it could be hypothetical elephants with even more articulated trunks or whatever

    methinks the point of the analogy went right over your head

    Any technologically advanced alien race is going to have to have similar abilities to us in terms of manual dexterity, mental capacity, etc. It's also going to have occupy a roughly similar niche in the ecosystem as our ancestors so that technological development is going to be selected for.

    So while humans with rubber ears are unrealistic, the wildly exotic claims of floating gas brains and crazy shit like that is equally unrealistic. Any aliens we meet will have hand-analogues and probably eye-analogues and ear-analogues and so forth.

    I'd say squid and octopuses might be a good candidate, because they are smart and have highly dexterous tentacles, but their problem is that the underwater environment is not conducive to combustion which is a fundamental aspect of almost all modern technology. Which probably means that stuff no living in an atmosphere that behaves somewhat like our own is also not a real possibility.

    EDIT:

    On the actual topic topic, I think you would enter the edge of their solar system and send some kind of obviously mechanical signal (basically just the same thing repeated over and over again, maybe start doing some stuff with like listing primes ie 1 pulse, break, 2 pulses, break, 3 pulses, etc) and that should be fairly non-threatening to the vast majority of alien civilizations. Have them come meet you half way sort of thing.

    EDIT EDIT:

    I recommend the Foreigner books if any is interested in some good first-contact type Sci Fi, just FYI.

    While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.
  • ChanusChanus Registered User regular
    edited November 2009
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    I'd say squid and octopuses might be a good candidate, because they are smart and have highly dexterous tentacles, but their problem is that the underwater environment is not conducive to combustion which is a fundamental aspect of almost all modern technology. Which probably means that stuff no living in an atmosphere that behaves somewhat like our own is also not a real possibility.

    Mind Flayers?! We're screwed.

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