Thursday, December 20, 2007

SETI And METI: Should We Broadcast Our Existence To The Universe (Without Thinking About It A Bit First)?

Canis Major sends me this extremely interesting piece from the Lifeboat Foundation. Apparently some folks associated with SETI want to move from "passive SETI" to "active SETI" or "METI" (Messages to Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence)--that is, they want to radically crank up the volume on some of our transmissions into space in the hopes that ET will notice us. Here David Brin makes a very sensible argument that we really ought to at least think about this a bit first--something that the folks behind this effort seem unwilling to do.

I certainly don't have a firm position on this after reading only one piece on it, but it is fairly alarming that the METI folks are seemingly unwilling to even seriously discuss the wisdom of this plan. Perhaps consequential interstellar travel really is impossible--but perhaps not. And there is certainly no reason to presuppose that no advanced civilizations are evil. (Among the more humorous facts contained in the Brin piece: the official position of the USSR was that all advanced extra-terrestrial civilizations must be socialist. The architect of this fascinating doctrine? Our old friend T. D. Lysenko...)

Anyway, fruity though this all might sound, I actually think it kinda warrants our attention. Not as much as, say, diabetes does...but some.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

David Brin's blog is at Usually fairly lively discussion ranging from topics like above to discussions about current politics.

12:26 AM  

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