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Communications The Internet

How To Talk To Aliens 525

Frederic Friedel writes: "In their efforts to talk to alien civilizations human beings are currently engaged in sending pictures based on a rectangular array of dots, arranged from left to right and top to bottom. But is this stategy sound? For instance what if the aliens do not see in pictures at all, or if they think in vector graphics rather than bitmap? On grandmaster John Nunn proposes sending them a trading machine instead."
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How To Talk To Aliens

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  • by suso ( 153703 ) * on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:08AM (#11998867) Homepage Journal
    One potential problem I think we face is that the potential aliens that we could talk to will have a wide timeframe of technological development. Some of them may be incredibly advanced and maybe already communicating with many other civilizations themselves (call this time C). So the question then becomes, why would they bother listening to us or would they even care what we are saying? On the other hand, there may be life out there, but it might be underdeveloped (call this time B) and cannot even hear us yet.

    Although I think that it is highly likely that their are other civilizations out there, I think that the number of such civilizations that we can currently contact that are between times B and C may be small.

    Right now the human race seems to think that whatever they say is worth listening too, much like stories posted by people on slashdot, in their webblogs, or this very comment. But sufficiently advanced minds aren't always interested in these things.

    So I think a better way to go about it is, what could we send to an advanced civilization that would be interesting to them? Not to us.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:13AM (#11998924)
      First Interstellar Spam:
      Boost your engine efficiency by 300% - Contact EARTH!!!!11
    • by Richie1984 ( 841487 ) on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:16AM (#11998965)
      But sufficiently advanced minds aren't always interested in these things.

      That's just how I feel when reading about these efforts at communicating with alien civilisations, and recieving their signals. Just because the human race has had a tendancy to explore the unknown, doesn't mean an alien race will feel the same. For all we know, they could be well aware of our existance, but not care one bit.
      • by Meagermanx ( 768421 ) on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:41AM (#11999292)
        I always thought that curiosity and scientific advancement went hand in hand. If these aliens are so advanced, then wouldn't they be inclined to be curious about other species?
        • by Richie1984 ( 841487 ) on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:50AM (#11999410)
          Why should they be? Perhaps their scientific advances were forced by wars? Or perhaps they were just given their knowledge from another race? It really is impossible to discuss so many hypothetical situations. The point of the matter is that they are alien. Our ways of thinking may not apply to them in the slightest.
          • by Anonymous Coward
            None of this bs even matters. If they are not interested in us, then they are not really the ones that we want to talk with anyway.
          • by gadget junkie ( 618542 ) <> on Monday March 21, 2005 @02:39PM (#12002060) Journal
            "[...]Or perhaps they were just given their knowledge from another race?"

            ...It has already been done, time and again, here on mother earth.
            First, the greek-latin culture founded the basis for the modern science; after that, the arabs copied and expanded modern science as we know it,, whilst western europe wallowed in the middle ages. after some time, the pendulum swung.
            The problem is, no civilization can "teach" another one scientific progress. If a culture is interested, it will try and learn whatever others have learnt, PLUS it will eventually add some original content of its own. On the other hand, a civilization that does not want to learn most probably won't.

            I always recall the story about the crab nebula. it contains a pulsar, the rotating remains of a supernova, and progressively the rotation is slowing down. it one of the basis of the discovery that you can date novas by timing the rotation of the pulsar remains. We were able to ascertain that, because we know the exact date of the explosion. records say that it could be seen clearly even by day, for days on end. Point is , these records are chinese []. no records are available from western europe or arab sources.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21, 2005 @12:07PM (#11999620)
        Your post reminded me of this funny little short story. []
    • by pbranes ( 565105 ) on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:16AM (#11998969)
      But how can we possibly conceive what aliens *want* to hear before we have met one? We can only go by what we, as humans, know. What we know is that if we were on the receiving end, we would like some coordinates, some pictures, some sounds, etc.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      At least someone in any civilisation would be interested in us.

      After all, there people on earth interested in the behavioural patterns of bacteria... and movie stars.
    • Well how many people run SETI at home?

      Time A aliens may well be listening for other aliens, just are we are running SETI at home.

      Someone, not sure who, descided that we should look for FM signals perticular wave band because that was the easiest way to send a signal accross space so that's what we should look for. I think they use the same reasoning with the send out messages which seems fair.

      I don't think they send out messages any more just incase the alines are of the vorgon destroyer type. But I thin
    • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:26AM (#11999102) Homepage
      But sufficiently advanced minds aren't always interested in these things.

      I dunno.... I'm usually pretty interested in my dog's attempts to communicate. We study ancient/primative cultures. There's no reason to think that aliens wouldn't find us cute.

    • Exactly!

      Communicating with us humans might be the same to the aliens as it is for for us humans to interact with ants. We are simply not interested in interacting with primitive lesser lifeforms such as ants; why should any hypothetical advanced aliens have any interest in interacting with us, when changes are that they are far more advanced?

      Especially considering if these advanced aliens are probably already used to "extrahomeworld" lifeforms. - "oh, another planet with near-bacteria-level-lifeforms (hum
    • they don't see in Bitmap. I just accidentally sent a picture of Goatse up.
  • by mickyflynn ( 842205 ) on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:08AM (#11998873)
    SHOUT A WHOLE LOT. It makes you easier to understand.

    first post.
  • by null etc. ( 524767 ) on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:09AM (#11998878)
    I sure hope someone figures out how to talk to aliens sometime soon. I keep asking the IT guys to fix my computer, but I've not yet gotten a response.
    • And you've yet to grasp the obvious significance of this. Let's see. We send information to aliens and get no response, we send information to IT guys and get no response, therefore IT guys=Aliens.
    • Wait a second, you're on /. and you don't know how to fix your own computer?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    We trade'em some pr0n.
  • by aznxk3vi17 ( 465030 ) on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:10AM (#11998890)
    What if they're a communist society? Certainly they shall be disgusted at our capitalist ways.

    This is why we need to send them what everybody loves...

  • by mfh ( 56 ) on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:10AM (#11998895) Homepage Journal
    But is this stategy sound?

    No. Aliens will look at the pictures and wonder what:
    "ÿØÿà" means, when they open it in a text editor. Simply put, there is no easy way to communicate with Aliens. Here's an example of what I'm talking about:

    Imagine you're on a mountain top and you want to send a communication to someone else on another mountain top. What form of communication do you use? If you're trying to reach another human being you might be able to send smoke signals, and it would help to know what language that person speaks, or the communication won't work -- they will see the smoke but interpret it incorrectly.

    If you fire up a short wave and start sending broadcasting, the other party would only be able to listen if they have the same equipment or at least the ability to listen and understand what you're sending. So high tech is dependant on the odds that your independent civilizations went in the same direction in their research and development, which statistically is likely implausible.

    The bottom line is that we might send information into space that will provoke the wrong response, or worse -- we might cause the aliens to believe that there is a strange natural phenomena on Earth that is not worthy of scientific study, and cause them to ignore any future attempts at communication. We should be attracting aliens by producing a stable intergalactic fleet of killer robot ships. They will want to trade with us if we have heavy firepower. It's a status thing, really.

    If the aliens are evil, they will respect us. If they are peaceful, they will want to come and try to enlighten us. If we have massive intergalactic firepower, it's a win / win.

    If we are weak, the evil aliens will subjugate us into slavery and good aliens will skip us because they have more pressing matters to attend to - such as the rise of a new threat in another quadrant of space they need to try and enlighten.

    Therefore, the missile defense program would benefit Canada and the US - because of the aliens!

    Sending signals into a void won't be successful.
  • Meh ... (Score:5, Funny)

    by jdwest ( 760759 ) on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:11AM (#11998900)

    I bet they don't support PNG, either.
  • AppleTalk? (Score:3, Funny)

    by sczimme ( 603413 ) on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:11AM (#11998913)

    Could happen. Hey, it worked for these guys [].
  • Easy (Score:5, Funny)

    by kin_korn_karn ( 466864 ) on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:11AM (#11998916) Homepage
    You speak to them in Spanish.
  • As long as there is no proof of their existence, sending stuff equals wasting a lot of money. IMHO, we'd better use that money to do some other stuff that actually helps people on our planet.
  • Prime Numbers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NetNifty ( 796376 ) on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:13AM (#11998926) Homepage
    On a Star Trek TNG episode I seem to remember Picard tapping out prime numbers to show that he was an intelligent species to another species who were holding him captive, the theory being that maths is a universal constant. Dunno how that would work for communicating, but it would be a good way to show intelligence, or at least draw attention to ourselves if we so desired.
    • They stole this idea from Contact. The first layer of the signal was a list of the first so many prime numbers.
    • Was Picard reading Contact, by Carl Sagan, while he was being held captive?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:37AM (#11999239)
      Keeping other creatures captive is a sign of intelligence. I remember one SF story I read where 3 people were captured and put in basically an earth zoo. They tried everything to show the aliens they were an intelligent species but everything they tried failed. Finally, once they admitted defeat, they decided to at least make the zoo a bit like home so one of them created a basic cage and caught one of the mice in the zoo to keep as a pet. Once the aliens saw the mouse in the cage they promptly released the prisoners and opened the lines of communication.

      The moral, any idiot can makes noises (speech) or tap out prime numbers (lots of animals can count, at least subconsciously) but only an intelligent species will imprison what they consider unintelligent.

      If anyone knows the name of the short story let me know because I would love to read it again.

      • Keeping other creatures captive is a sign of intelligence.

        No it isn't. Spiders, termites, fish, many kinds of snake, bears, great cats, various kinds of bacteria and two kinds of creature in Angband keep other things captive.

        Trapping something is a sign of cunning. Cunning is not intelligence. Hunting animals all have cunning.
    • Re:Prime Numbers (Score:3, Interesting)

      Despite the obvious risk of referring to "The Next Generation" as a good science example to follow, you will remember that Picard's attempt had no effect whatsoever.

      He should have sent them a uuencoded video of Hitler in the 1936 Olympics instead.

  • by Interfacer ( 560564 ) on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:13AM (#11998937)
    We seem to try very hard to draw some inter galactical attention to ourselves, just like any restaurant wanting to attract customers.

    the only difference being: we do not sell the food, we are the food.

    anyone who has the means of traveling here from outer space outclasses us by several orders of magnitude. thus we are in no bargaining position if we have (or are) something they want.

    this raises the question: should we try to make ourselves heard, or should we try to detect others?
    • What could we possibly have that's so freaking special that these aliens would have to come here and take it from us? Resources? Plenty of asteroids and uninhabited planets out there. Food? Probably lots of planets out there teeming with life that somehow just never got the intelligence thing going.

      Sure, you can make up some horror movie reason for them to invade (They need our WOMEN! To BREED!) but I think most alien races who investigate us will mark us down as just another carbon-based bipedel lif
    • Yeah, we should definately turn off the multiple megawatt message lasers broadcasting peace, prosperity, and the hope for communication, because nobody's going to see the hundreds of gigawatts of waste light and heat generated by tokyo alone.

      Maybe you didn't realize this, but earth gives off more radiant energy than a brown dwarf. If we really want to hide, we need to do two things:

      1) build a wall around the entire planet
      2) get a really fast corvette and drive around collecting the radio waves we've been
  • by Zangief ( 461457 ) on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:14AM (#11998945) Homepage Journal
    With my old trusty rocketlauncher.

    I never leave home without it.
  • by oliana ( 181649 ) on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:14AM (#11998946) Homepage
    welcome our chess playing urg alkjdlkwmne
    'lo all, we hve descph3rd U'r lanugage from th!s thing U call the 'net.' We hoope U get our l33t! commun!casion. struth afk
  • Worse yet... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    What if what we are sending them translates as insults in their language?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:15AM (#11998955)
    ...then it's the fact that all aliens speak english, everywhere, be they green-blooded pointy-eared intrigant warmongers or some kind of vampiric drow-morlocks from another galaxy. OK, that was SG:Atlantis, but anyway, everyone speaks english. Except Klingons. Out of spite, I suppose.
  • Something to the effect of "Hello and welcome to the Earth. Please ensure you have filled out all necessary documentation and are carrying a valid Earth passport. Aliens that are not in compliance with current Earth visitation regulations will be sent back to planet of origin. Thank you."
  • The point of sending up any type of message is in hopes that the receiving party will recognize it as something of extraterrestrial (from the alien standpoint) origin and will investigate. That's why we look for radio waves with non accounted for sequences. The aliens could be trying to send us a picture, or a string of characters, or whatever, but we probably won't ever know it. We will however know that it is not natural and will further investigate. We hope that other intelligent life will do the same.
  • by Golias ( 176380 ) on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:17AM (#11998980)
    Stop announcing that we are here.

    Odds are, there's nobody out there listening. Seriously. Space is really big and really empty. The nearest star with a planet is mind-numbingly far away, and the nearest star likely to have a planet which supports life as we know it is even farther away. It's a safe bet that one would need to go yet even farther to find a planet where even tool-users have evolved, let alone an advanced civilization.

    If anybody out there is able to get the and reply anytime soon, then they are probably sufficiently advanced that they would probably regard us as little more than animals. Very noisy animals. They will simply blow up the Earth to stop us from hogging bandwith with out SETI broadcasts.

    So please, for the sake of humanity, STFU.
    • They will simply blow up the Earth to stop us from hogging bandwith with out SETI broadcasts.

      So please, for the sake of humanity, STFU.

      Er...I thought SETI listens, not broadcasts.


    • Actually, the neareset star with a planet is approximately 93,000,000 miles from Earth.

      And, my prediction is that they will blow up the Earth to make room for a new intergalactic highway bypass. (Unfortunatly, it'll probabally get destroyed just 5 minutes before it completes running a program that will give us the ultimate answer... oh, it's been working on it now for almost 10 million years.)

    • by ari_j ( 90255 ) on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:38AM (#11999255)
      Population: 0
      It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them. However, not every one of them is inhabited. Therefore, there must be a finite number of inhabited worlds. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near to nothing as makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and that any people you may meet from time to time are merely the products of a deranged imagination.
  • I learned everything I know about alien languages from Celestia. You may know her as 'Anne Heche'... She has a primer for alien languages that is included as part of a Barbara Walters interview, and it rocks.

    It's all centered around what is called The Gospel Of Love. The doorway to Celestia's Heaven is in Fresno.
  • Ha! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Saint Aardvark ( 159009 ) * on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:17AM (#11998986) Homepage Journal
    The AI could be instructed to trade up to a particular level and then it would require authorisation from Earth confirming that the traded items had been received before proceeding. This would slow things down but it would still be a lot faster than working without the AI at all.

    ERROR: You do not have a client license for the feature NUCLEARFUSION. Please contact and report FlexLM error number 0x7008930B.

  • by perkr ( 626584 ) on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:18AM (#11998989)

    Even if we manage to send data in an understandable format, how do alies actaully go about and *understand* it. In communication studies they talk about common ground, two parts of a communiaction must share a basic notion of the primtive concepts. However an alien race might have completely different concepts to begin with. How do they see that they receive a message with our intent? There are patterns in everything, but you need some basic things to hold onto to seperate noise patterns from what you really want to see.

  • Won't work on aliens any more than it'll work on humans.

    If you send someone some information and the key to unlock that information then you haven't actually protected yourself.
  • All your base hmmm?
  • by AtariAmarok ( 451306 ) on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:19AM (#11999005)
    Remember, if you are communicating with Klingons, loudspeakers that playing recordings of properly-structured sentences is not enough. There must be a device to spray spittle at the same time the sound is output.
  • Over the top (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mmarlett ( 520340 ) on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:19AM (#11999015)
    How can he suggest that a bitmap image is too complicated but that having the aliens compile an AI we send them is easy cheesy? Why would we send them what would have to be a supermassive program full of mostly encrypted data and assume that they would figure out how to run it but not figure out how to crack the encryption. It's like saying, "Instead of sending them a photo of a submarine, let's send them the blueprints and the parts (but with some parts of the blueprints blacked out and those parts in a sealed black box)." It just doesn't make sense.
  • by PhilHibbs ( 4537 ) <> on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:20AM (#11999020) Homepage Journal
    For instance what if the aliens do not see in pictures at all, or if they think in vector graphics rather than bitmap?

    Huh? What method of visual representation do we "think in"? My brain does not work on bitmaps, or vectors, but on a pattern-analysing neural nework. In other words, my brain is not limited to a single representation scheme, and I seriously doubt that an alien culture capable of receiving these messages would be so limited.
  • by ardor ( 673957 ) on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:21AM (#11999038)
    If they can understand Perl, they can understand just about any human language.
  • Earth Girls (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Now we can find out if Earth girls are easy.
  • The AI program would continually check its own integrity and its ability to modify itself. If these checks failed then it could self-destruct. The aliens would then have to start again with a fresh copy of the program which would, at the least, be irritating. The data would of course be heavily encrypted, and the AI program would, in addition to being immensely complicated, be constructed with numerous layers of self-modifying code, so that effectively the only way the aliens could find out what the progr

  • by theolein ( 316044 )
    There are so many basic assumptions in communicating with possible aliens, such as assuming they even use radio, that it seems patently wasteful to try and second guess what an alien civilisation would or would not understand. If one is going to use radio messages, wouldn't it simply be the easiest to beam a pattern that is obviously artificial, repeated endlessly. The actual content of the pattern should be as simple as possible, but needn't even contain anything meaningful, since anything meaningful is pr
    • Addendum (Score:5, Funny)

      by theolein ( 316044 ) on Monday March 21, 2005 @12:03PM (#11999577) Journal
      It just occured to me that the only way you can make anything, and I mean thing, not person, aware of you is by making a large signal in the form of "yoohoo, hallooo, hey!". In other words by making a very big bang visible over light years in most of the wavelengths of the EM spectrum.

      Maybe blow up Jupiter :D
  • Have they tried talking to dolphins, who we are pretty damn sure are intelligent?

  • Why confuse the poor bastards by assuming that their cognitive apparatus is so radically different than ours, when it's most likely not? Chances are that they evolved somewhere basking in enough stellar energy to support complex life, so it's highly doubtful that they would have achieved space travel without having at least evolved the ability to percieve light and discern imagery. So just show 'em some pictures of the kids, a newspaper or two, and maybe some porn. All this geometric and binary crap is just
  • by PepeGSay ( 847429 ) on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:27AM (#11999125)
    Check out this little gem "I think there are good ways round the first objection. The AI program would continually check its own integrity and its ability to modify itself. If these checks failed then it could self-destruct. The aliens would then have to start again with a fresh copy of the program which would, at the least, be irritating.

    The article starts off pretty good, but devolves into some rather circular and odd logic. He does bring up an interesting problem, but he should have just given us an outline of the solution... instead of the drivel that finishes the article.
  • by WormholeFiend ( 674934 ) on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:28AM (#11999128)
    How are they going to moderate it?

    Troll? Offtopic? Flamebait? Interesting? Funny? Insightful?

    The aliens I would really like to communicate with are the more ancient ones who are going to metamoderate...
  • by AtariAmarok ( 451306 ) on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:30AM (#11999155)
    There is a way you can talk to aliens AND enrich the bottom line. Just send them space spam:

    "I am Gugvunt Blaharn,the only son of late former Grand Dominator, Chief Gugvunt Vader Sr of Vulcan Diamond and Mining corporation.

    I must confess my agitation is real, and my words is my bond, in this proposal. My late father diverted these space-credits meant for purchase of ammunition and General Products hulls, for my homeworld, during the peak of disastrous civil war in our planets, now he has deposited the money in the BANK in Tattoine, where I amresiding under political asylum with my mother Mary Many-Tentacles and younger brood sister.

    Now the war in my country is over with the help of Romulan soldiers, the present government of Vulcan has revoked the passport of all officers who served under the former regime and now ask star empires to expel such person at the same time freeze their account and confiscate their asset, it is on this note that I am contacting you, all I needed from you is to furnish me with your bank particulars:

    1) Account name
    2) Account number
    3) Number of tentacles
    4) Enumerated psychic powers that can be used as weapons
    5) Bank address, telephone and fax number, and # of P.O. box on Vogon homeworld.

    For you to assist me transfer these credits your private bank account, the said amount is $17.5 Million or equivalent weight in gold-pressed latinum.

    I am compensating you with 20 % of the total credits, now all my hope is banked on you and I really wants to invest this money in your planet, were their is stability of government, spontaneous mutations Borg colonization, political and economic welfare.

    Honestly I want you to believe that this transaction is real and never a joke. My late father gave me the certificate of deposit issued to him by the BANK on the date of deposit, for you to be clarify because, I do not expose my self to anybody I see, I believe that you are able to keep this transaction secret for me because this money is the hope of my life, it is important."

  • by syntap ( 242090 ) on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:30AM (#11999156)
    normal language based on misspellings, like "stategy", or will be staunch right-wingers and understand Bush's "strategery".
  • All your chess belong to us
  • by Saggi ( 462624 ) on Monday March 21, 2005 @11:55AM (#11999490) Homepage
    Communicating with aliens.

    I use to play a game with some friend a long time ago. Basically it was about the concept of communicating with aliens. You create two teams. (And keep one or two persons as referee). Now one team had to come up with the concept of an alien race. They would line up their basic way of living and their primary way of communication. The other team should compose a message and a way of sending it to the other team. The referees would then listen to the two parties and deciding how the communication would work (or not).

    This little game is a good way to explore the issues faced by communicating into space. Sometimes the races would be underwater sea squid-type of monsters the communicated with sound waves. Other times they used tactile or chemical communication. The last is an obvious way of communicating, as most parts of our body uses this way of communication internally.

    Sometimes we would put some special requirements, like the race should have long range communication abilities or should be able to do space travel. The last requirement forced the race team to explain why and how the race would pursue the space quest.

    We always faced the core issue of how to transmit the message. It is obvious to uses certain radio frequencies. (There are some wavelengths that are fairly silent in our universe, that would be obvious to use. But check out some of our attempt to locate alien, like SETI for further references of these).

    To get their attention it would be obvious to send something out of the ordinary. We have looked fore some time into space now, and have a fairly good idea of how things should look. Now anyone interested would pickup anything that would not be familiar. They would then try to determine if it was intelligent (us?) or some new phenomenon. Sending primes would be good. But anything will really work.

    Then the issue as stated in this Slashdot bullet comes next. How to encode the message. Out group quickly found some common issues. If the race communicated with light (sight) they should fairly easy be able to decode an image. Send some basic images, square, circle etc. to define how you have encoded you image. Any intelligent species (and anyone listing to space would probably be), would fairly quickly be able to decode the image. Any race not using sight would probably never decode an image! The same goes for basically all the other weird kinds of communication we came up with. Sound (ears) indicated waves...ect. Basically the message should hold several (identical) encodings of the same message.

    But other issues arose in our discussions. Would it be communication? The answer is no. It would be a one-way message. To do communication would be stupid. Wait 50, 100 or more years to answer? So any kind of "How is the weather over there?". "Do you have a cure for cancer?" (Laugh) - would be really foolish. The message should be a one-way (but might be a long one).

    But what should we send. The most obvious (if images would be used) would be sending an image of a man and woman. (Where did I hear that before). But to any alien this would be completely without any kind of content. What would these two shapes be? The outline of a gas could in space to guide the way. (No they would not like to travel so far). They might be able to guess... this is how the aliens (us) looks like. Many images with this familiar shape. A good guess. But they would never know. Let's say there was images of cars. (I think we have a lot of that kind of images if we send thousands of images to the in order to tell about us. This familiar shape from before? Is it born from this other shape that we sometimes see it inside. Or do the biggie eat the four-pointy thing with the knob? See?

    Try to pick 10-15 images and try to guess what it is if you were an alien? No this was the second part of our two team's effort. How did they interpret the message from the human team? It's a quite funny game, but also quite serious for those who wish to communicate with aliens.
  • by 5n3ak3rp1mp ( 305814 ) on Monday March 21, 2005 @12:08PM (#11999637) Homepage
    There are many instances of so-called "convergent evolution" in nature. Perhaps due to the fact that the laws of physics are (likely) pretty much the same throughout the universe, and that the phylogeny out there is due in part to those laws (two eyes and two ears to see and hear in stereo, nose below eyes and mouth below nose in most creatures, 2 limbs on each side of the body, bilateral symmetry etc.) My conclusion is that perhaps, the way we communicate is *more likely than you think* to be similar to the way a completely independently-developing intelligent race of beings might communicate.
  • by mr_z_beeblebrox ( 591077 ) on Monday March 21, 2005 @12:12PM (#11999689) Journal
    The AI program would continually check its own integrity and its ability to modify itself. If these checks failed then it could self-destruct. The aliens would then have to start again with a fresh copy of the program which would, at the least, be irritating.

    Windows 98 used a similar strategy to prohibit productivity. You would be almost done with a word document and the PC would lock tight.
  • Duh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Viking Coder ( 102287 ) on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:25PM (#12000870)
    1) Create an AI and email it to aliens
    2) ???
    3) Profit!

    All kidding aside, this article is lame. Starting from the premise of an AI is - how should I put this? - poop. At this point, presuming that we can create AI (computable on a Turing machine, no less) is no more plausible than finding aliens to communicate with.

All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly