# Hawking warns of alien contact

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by baftan, Apr 25, 2010.

1. ### soullustRegistered Senior Member

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As an emotionless machine could be yes.

But a machine could never have the experiences or the feelings that the human mind holds, so I would prefer be immortal by the means of cyborgs which can possibly preserve the human mind, and feelings.

3. ### cluelusshusbund+ Public Dilemma +Valued Senior Member

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O i see... well i thank it will be posible to duplicate those thangs in a machine... ie... biological not necesary.!!!

5. ### madanthonywayneMorning in AmericaRegistered Senior Member

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You're assuming an alien race that advances at about the same rate we do. Suppose we're dealing with an ancient race that, while more advanced than us when they receive the first radio waves, advances much more slowly than we do. To them, 2000 years might seem an insignificant amount of time. Harry Turtledove proposed just such a scenario in his World at War Series

7. ### Mr MacGillivrayBannedBanned

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The argument of logic will only work when we are dealing with two logical species in the scenario of extraterrestrial contact.

We already know that one of them isn't logical.

Then the argument also seems to be based that the alien lifeform will be intelligent. Why can't it be a superbug that eats its way through earth, like a flesh eating bacteria can eat through a human body? (A bug without a brain will act logically).

8. ### NasorValued Senior Member

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There is no telling what the alien threshold for detection is, or how far away they might be. If the aliens are fifty thousand years more advanced than us, and are "only" 100 or 200 light years away, this might be a very big problem. Perhaps our technology would be advanced enough for us to defend ourselves by the time they notice us and arrive here, but it very well might not be.
2000 light years seems like a pretty long distance. I would be more worried about whoever is within a few hundred light years.
There is no need for it to be a "massive armada," and no clear reason to think that such an expedition would be particularly expensive or resource-intensive for them. They might just send some inexpensive automated weapons to kill us with their much more advanced technology, with no more relative expense or hassle than if we were to launch a cruise missile at some little island we didn't like. Or, perhaps more likely, they will simply accelerate a "cruise missile" up to near the speed of light and crash it into the Earth. It won't matter what our technology is like when it arrives, because we won't be able to see it coming until the moment of impact. Or perhaps a combination; a near-light-speed missile to wreck Earth, plus a few automated weapons to destroy any colonies, space stations, etc.
You are trying to pull a straw man with your 2000 light year argument. What about 50 light years? What about 100? 150? There are about 14500 stars within 100 light years, and we have little idea what might be living around them. Within 150 light years, there are about fifty thousand star systems.
And I think that you are deliberately using silly numbers to avoid a serious argument. I would tend to agree with you that a race 2000 light years away isn't going to be a threat to us in the immediate future. But what about the many, many star systems that are much closer than that?

Last edited: May 5, 2010
9. ### NasorValued Senior Member

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Sure, we're no threat at the moment. Why wait a few thousand years to see what happens? Why not just kills us now? Again, there is no clear reason to believe that any aliens out there would place any value on our survival, or have any ethical issues with preemptively exterminating us. Sure, they certainly might have such ethical constraints, but they very well might not.

10. ### NasorValued Senior Member

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People tend to think of ten thousand years as a long time, but the human race is at least 200k years old. There could very well be aliens out there who are millions of years old. To them, a few hundred or even a few thousand years of technological advancement more or less might be considered trivial.

11. ### Search & DestroyTake one bite at a timeModerator

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i killed two greys, trust me they're tough

12. ### StryderKeeper of "good" ideas.Valued Senior Member

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There are no aliens... well other than those national's that live outside your countries borders, or sneak in illegally.

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It's obvious that we shouldn't contact aliens from a risk/reward perspective. Say I have $1mil. I can either hold on to it or pass it around the party hoping it gets back to me. 14. ### draqonBannedBanned Messages: 35,006 meeting aliens is like using those 1000$, after all you will use the money. You have no choice but to use the money. There are aliens, they will ultimate have a contact with us. It is only a choice for us how we treat those aliens. We cannot run away, there is no hiding.

If aliens are evil and we act as Hawking says to avoid contact, well they will find us and kill us all, period.

If aliens are good and we act as Hawking says to avoid contact, well they will not help us in any way and we will loose precious possibilities for advancement of civilization.

Our civilization has only one choice and solution, to regard all aliens as good and regard them with good intentions, this will give us most chance/probability of survival as civilization, rather than the idiot Hawking's suggestion to stay away.

15. ### DywyddyrPenguinaciously duckalicious.Valued Senior Member

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Assumption.

Right. Because that approach has worked out so excellently all the way through human history hasn't it?

16. ### NasorValued Senior Member

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This is completely unsubstantiated. It's entirely possible that a race of aliens could fail to notice us if we don't go out of our way to broadcast ourselves to them. Even if they do eventually notice us, if they are hostile it would probably be better for us to delay contact as long as possible. If we are advanced enough, we might be able to either defend ourselves or pose enough of a threat that they would be afraid to attack us.

17. ### John99BannedBanned

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Nasor, if they can reach us they, most likely, know we are here. I still say it is doubtful people from another planet can reach us.

18. ### NasorValued Senior Member

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Why? The difficulty in detecting something in space falls off as the square of the distance (unless you are deliberately broadcasting yourself to them in a focused way!), while the difficulty of traveling though space doesn't. Hell, we can reach the moon, but we don't currently have the technology to notice a car parked on the moon. It seems perfectly plausible that some aliens who are, say, 50 light years away might not notice us even if they had the technology to send stuff here.

19. ### joepistoleDeacon BluesValued Senior Member

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If they are hostile,they are no doubt scanning the heavens for other planets and signs of intelligent life as are we. And their technology is likely to be a lot better than ours if they are capable of long distance space travel. So the odds of them finding us would be quite high in my opinion.

So hiding under the covers would be silly. They should be perfectly capable of dectecting our quivering mass of flesh beneath our cosmic covers. So in the end we depend on their benevolence for our existence.

If they are of a mind to abuse us, we are screwed. The only hope would be for us to become as technically advanced as fast as possible. But that raises another question and other risks. How fast can we adapt to our technology without destroying ourselves? In becoming an technically advanced species, we may destroy who we are if we flat out don't destroy our flesh. And would we be better being a technically advanced species? I guess one needs to define the meaning of better in this context before that question can be answered.

20. ### NasorValued Senior Member

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First off, there is a big difference between "hiding under the covers" and simply not actively broadcasting your presence to anyone and everyone. And again, I see no logical reason to think that any alien civilization capable of reaching us would be able to detect us if we don't broadcast ourselves to them. Look up the inverse square law. If you double the distance between yourself and another object in space, the time needed to reach it doubles. This doubling of time might or might not constitute a doubling in the level of technology needed to reach the other object; if you're sending some automated weapons, it might only mean that they have to sit around doing nothing while they travel through space for twice as long, no higher level of tech needed. But that doubling of distance will cause the tech level necessary to detect something to increase by a factor of four thanks to the inverse square law. Again, this assumes you aren't deliberately broadcasting yourself to them.

Aliens who are 50 light years away will need technology 25 times more advanced to detect us than aliens 10 light years away, but assuming the same propulsion technology stays the same, the time needed to reach us only goes up by a factor of 5.

Last edited: May 20, 2010