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Old 02-14-17, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by BlackHawk View Post
Interesting article.

Hollywood always oversimplifies what communicating with extraterrestrials might be like. It might actually be extremely us trying to communicate with ants...or even a more intelligent species like dolphins. Can we decipher ET's language if we can't even decipher dolphins language? What if extraterrestrials communicate at an exponentially faster rate than us? We would be clueless. IMO, it would be mostly up to the extraterrestrials to figure out how to communicate with us, not vice versa. Communicating is going to be a huge obstacle, if we ever meet.

Eastisbest mentions math. That's what scientists are hoping will be the truly "universal" language. The famous (infamous?) Arecibo message in 1974 included sending the Fibonacci sequence via radio waves (in binary format) towards a huge cluster of stars, hoping to attract aliens. Is there anybody home? Pretty scary stuff, since we have no idea what the intentions of a technologically advanced alien species would be. Maybe it would be "to serve man".
I think the argument cuts both ways. Sure communication may be enormously difficult but on the other hand depending on the degree (if any) to which higher order intelligence is similar communication might turn out to be straight forward.

Consider the likely similarities between two space faring civilizations should they meet up. Math of course would be one but I think there are several even better ones including the common technologies involved in space travel (propulsion, sealed environments, tools, atmosphere locks, etc.); the labeling of cosmic features (suns, planets, moons, black holes, etc.); chemistry; physics; and quantum states.

It might be that only aliens with shared experiences, like interstellar travel, would be able to find enough in common to communicate with each other. But if we travel to another world and discover an intelligent lichen based civilization communication may never be possible - we would be to different.

Or it might turn out that the development of intelligent life is strictly controlled by natural forces and limited in it's diversity. In this case communication between alien civilizations might be easy, or even natural. On the other hand if intelligent life can evolve in an infinite number of ways the enormous diversity may doom any hope for communication.
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