Scientist warns ‘imminent’ alien invasion means ‘plan for diplomacy’ with ETs is needed | Weird | News
Contrary to popular belief, interstellar space – quite literally, the space between the stars – isn’t just empty space. It’s packed full of hydrogen and helium, and, according to an increasing number of scientists, advanced alien civilizations.
One of those scientists is a man by the name of John Gertz, the author of a new paper aptly titled “Interstellar Diplomacy.” Gertz has been involved in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) community for years, and has written a few compelling pieces for Scientific American.
Although humans are not ready to embark on interstellar travel just yet (it would take tens of thousands of years to reach the nearest star), other, far more advanced civilizations could be. In fact, as you read this piece, they could be on their way to us right now, hurtling towards Earth at an unimaginable speed. What are we going to do if and when “they” arrive?
In the paper, Gertz argues that “contact with aliens may be imminent,” and for this reason, he suggests, world leaders must come together and develop a formal plan for diplomacy with intelligent extraterrestrial life.
“There has been no planning among nations for the aftermath of a first detection,” writes the author. Take note of the word ‘aftermath,’ which refers to the after-effects of a significantly distressing event.
If Gertz is to be believed, a deeply unpleasant visit from Extraterrestrial Intelligence could be on the cards “The classic SETI paradigm has been challenged by myself and others who have argued that ET’s better strategy for making contact would be to send physical probes to our Solar System for that purpose,” he notes.
With the rise of ChatGPT, it’s easy to imagine a much more advanced system or form of intelligent life, many times smarter than mere mortals, making contact with us — perhaps even taking over our planet. Theoretically, a technologically advanced civilization could already be familiar with the English language, or all 7,000 languages currently used by humans. Why would “they” have any interest in learning our languages? To facilitate contact with humans, of course.
According to Getz, an “alien probe might enter into dialogue with Earth in near real-time, rather than with a star-to-star back and forth measured in centuries or millennia.” In other words, we should be prepared for first contact.
Frans von der Dunk, a professor of space law at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, College of Law, told Daily Express US that defining ‘interstellar diplomacy’ is not as easy as one might imagine. “Not wanting to be facetious, but since this is not a well-established term or concept it can be whatever you want it to mean,” says the academic.
However, he adds, the word ‘diplomacy’ “is normally understood as a tool to communicate between States (the legal word for ‘countries’ or ‘nations’) in order to protect national interests and to avoid international conflict as much as possible.”
So, it seems, the most logical meaning of ‘interstellar diplomacy’ would probably involve “communication between, on the one hand, the States on Earth, possibly collectively (whether through the United Nations or otherwise) and any entity comparable to a State on Earth somewhere outside of the solar system.”
In short, says van der Dunk, “‘interstellar diplomacy’ does not exist yet, since we have not been in touch with any such extraterrestrial entity.”
However, Avi Loeb, a professor of science and director of the Institute for Theory & Computation at Harvard, urges readers to ignore the fact the term doesn’t exist yet, and instead focus on the possibilities of interacting with advanced alien civilizations.
“We should welcome the opportunity to learn from extraterrestrial visitors, because they may represent our technological future,” suggests the esteemed scientist. “The greatest pleasure of intelligent beings,” he believes, “is to learn the unknown. And there is no better way to accomplish that than meeting a messenger from far away.”
What, in his opinion, would these “messengers” look like?
“I have no idea,” responds Loeb. “I prefer not to imagine but to explore. When you go out on a date, it is better to stay open-minded than to look at the mirror and imagine someone just like you because you are likely to be surprised or disappointed by developing expectations ahead of time.”
But, if they do come, how will we communicate with them? After all, just because humans have mouths and we use these holes to communicate with one another, this doesn’t mean that advanced alien civilizations, if they even exist, communicate in a similar manner. Loeb agrees.
For this reason, he thinks we might have to turn to AI for assistance. “We might need to employ our own artificial intelligence (AI) systems to interpret their AI systems,” says the Israeli-American theoretical physicist. That’s because “our AI might feel kinship to their AI more than to us. We have already developed an alien mind on Earth in the form of large language models, like ChatGPT.”
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