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What do you say to an alien? (seti.org)
19 points by robdoherty2 on Feb 13, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 20 comments

"The fact that you can understand this is terrifying; please don't kill us."

Is that the message they send us once we decrypt their communications?

Sooo what do you think? Vim or Emacs?

Doesn't matter what we say, they can already read our thoughts.

Far more concerning, they've probably read the comments at YouTube or overheard the conversation that occurs on XBox Live during a round of Call of Duty.

What's the favorite color of the entity communicating with us?

This may seem silly, but there are a lot of interesting implications to the answer.

Does the alien have a concept of color? We learn about biology. If we know about their star and habitable zone, we can surmise a lot about not just them but their environment.

We learn something about their aesthetics. Maybe we can't understand them or they are relatable to us.

The point is, ask a question which can provide lots of other info.

Aesthetics might be more appropriate. Ascetics are likely to not care much about colors ;-)

Why is there an overwhelming assumption that alien life is going to be in any way more remotely intelligent than say, the average earth cockroach? I've always assumed that if we meet alien life, it's going to be smaller and dumber than humans. Perhaps I'm just pessimistic, but this seems a legitimate assumption.

Because if we meet them, it's because they got here thus they're a lot more technologically advanced than we are?

(Though there's a fun short story from way back that ends with aliens who have FTL travel wanting to buy our high-reliability computing/robotics tech, because they've never developed any for themselves :-)

The pessimistic assumption would be that they are smarter, because if they are they can beat us in war... which is what happens when two different species collide (heck, it even happens for differences in the colour of the skin... i cannot imagine what would happen if is the full shape)

Judging strictly from observations, that's the most likely scenario, but it never hurts to have a plan B.

∙ ∙ ∙∙


Hopefully said aliens are visual in nature and understand spacing.

If they do, this works also: ○


One thing that struck me was how pessimistic many messages were. They were somewhere along the lines of "don't land!", "save me!", and "please save me!".

What do you say to an alien?

"I figured you'd be an alien, babe, because your ass it out of this world".

Nerdy pickup lines never work.

Worked with every alien I've met!

I've used similar lines and had to play dodge the beer bottle. Good for you :)

OK, I'll venture more into the OT, but I think the "pickup lines don't work" misses the point.

The point is, if you are a stud and the girl is attracted to you, almost anything works, even borderline sexist stuff.

If not, then yeah, you need a lot more work that some pickup line. But it's not like they rejected you because you used a lame line.

"Hello Mr. Gingrich"

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