Sunday, April 25, 2010

Would Intelligent Aliens Wipe Us Out?

I can see his point, I've read tons of science fiction over the years, and the most realistic stories involving alien contact always ended up with human nature getting in the way and causing all sorts of problems.  I saw District 9 last year, and it really tackled that question, it was an uncomfortable movie to watch, but it was riveting, that's for sure!

There's no reason to not assume that whatever 'alien nature' turns out to be, it could have a dark side that wouldn't bode well for the human race!
He compares humanity meeting an alien race to the coming of Columbus to North America...  An exploitation of the resources with no regard for the people that are already in residence.  If you stop and think about it, we've been getting this message quite a bit through the decades, in one form or another....  The problem here is that we can't step outside of ourselves and project our motivations onto the external.  Meaning that we think aliens would react as we would react in a first contact situation, and human nature takes over and it's downhill from there.

If you've ever read Robert J. Sawyer's novel 'Calculating God', he tackles that perspective issue elegantly.  He proposes that humans could not conceive of the motives of aliens.  They'd be as alien to our thinking as their physical bodies are to our perceptions! 

I think Hawkings is right though, we do send out a lot of information, some on purpose, but the bulk of it isn't on purpose. would stop anything that was technologically advanced from tapping into our broadcasts?  And the next question that comes to my mind is what kind of picture do we paint of ourselves with what is sitting on the airwaves? 

Probably a pretty accurate one when you get right down to it.  I hate to say that, but your character is always most exposed when you are unaware you have an audience.  An even more accurate study into human nature at it's basest could be done when you are under stress, this would probably make 'Survivor' very educational for aliens!  With all of the 'reality TV' that's popular programming now, it would definitely give them a widely diverse picture of humanity. the underlying problem here is that cheerful things, things that don't reflect the darker sides of humanity, just don't make interesting viewing or reading.  It would probably leave out our lighter side if TV and video was used exclusively to build a picture of humans...

Mind you, if they swallowed our entertainment media as the truth, it could ultimately work in humanity's favour!  Just think, we could seem to have paranormal powers, extremely advanced technology, and other way-out things that would make us intimidating to invade.  Hopefully, it would scare them away and Hawkings would never be proved right!

Then we wouldn't be wiped out after all.  Saved by the junk on TV, how ironic!

Art Images by Teresa Young:
1. Stained Glass Entity - Mar.2009,  2. Under The Surface - Jun.2009,  3. SF Girl - Jan.2008,  4. Force One - Jul.2001.

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Tamara said...

Was JUST watching them talk about this on CNN. Much more interesting to read about it here. I love the way you write, but moreso I love what you write about. Hasn't been a post that didn't completely capture me. Much like your paintings.

I can't believe how far behind I am on your posts (what planet have I been on?). I will have some catching up to do as I wouldn't want to miss ANY. Incredible work Teresa!

Love the irony of your point/question at the end... hilarious to think that Star Trek and Independence Day might save us all - might have already! Shame we'd never know if such a thing were ever to be - perhaps the 'global' chorus of laughter would be heard 'out there' as well.

Keep writing... you're amazing!

Dalifan said...

Thanks Tamara!

Dalifan said...

This interesting comment was posted on Facebook and I'm pasting it here as it's quite interesting!


Rod Martens commented on your post:

"Well his take is about as accurate as Sagan's. Hawkings thinks the aliens would be like Conquistadors, Sagan thought they would be like him. :)

Sawyer is probably right, they would be unknowable. I sometimes worry about some paranoid AI that just sends out probes to toss comets at any planet that looked like it might produce a rival AI. But I have no idea what an AI would find worthwhile doing."

SF Girl said...

This is an age-old question that has fascinated and been written about time and again by SF writers because it suggests another question perhaps more relevant: who are we and how would we look to the "other"?... and, ultimately, what is our place in the universe? And will we ever know our place?

Cool post, Teresa!

Dalifan said...

Hi Nina,

Those questions are the true fodder for many great science fiction novels! And it's like the meaning of life question we all struggle with in our teens... It's a fundamental question that we can't answer definitely always fascinates...

Thanks for the great comment!