Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Narrow Set of Assumptions

Extraterrestrial First Contact is an incredibly broad subject. It could occur in a million different ways. It might not occur at all. It could happen next week. It could happen a thousand years from now. Much of the variance is due to a couple of simple facts: we have no idea who might be out there, and if they are out there are all. We also have no idea what they might be like.

One group has done a great job of trying to answer some of these questions. Contact has organized the Contact: Cultures of the Imagination Conference since 1983. Scientists and writers get together and discuss topics such as: intelligence, understanding Others, globalization, space colonization and space exploration. It’s held at the NASA Ames Research Center. The conference is an incredibly wide ranging exchange of ideas, which certainly befits such a huge subject. Most of the discussion involves using current science to help explain what could be out there in the universe and how we might fit into that wider universe. Just the idea of having scientists and science fiction writers in the same room, thinking about these issues on a regular basis, is quite reassuring. Now if only the United Nations and world nations would start to take up the discussion. If First Contact does occur it will be a profound change for our civilization. We need to prepare ourselves and our society.

I’ll admit right now that I don’t have the credentials of the folks at the Imagination Conference. My background is in communication and public relations. That’s one reason that this blog has such a narrow focus. It is the only perspective I feel comfortable discussing.

So, what are the assumptions that act as the framework for this blog?

-I assume that an extraterrestrial civilization would travel here for a purpose

-I assume that an extraterrestrial civilization would be interested in saying hello

-I assume that they would spend some time analyzing our civilization before
establishing First Contact

-I assume that they would have the disciplines and technology to decipher our languages

-I assume that they would study our biology, psychology, social organization and culture

-I assume that they would want to say hello to the entire planet and not communicate with individual nations

-I assume that they are not here to destroy us or conquer us

I don’t even necessarily believe that those assumptions are true. It is simply the scenario I am most interested in discussing.

From those assumptions I examine the following subjects:

-How might an extraterrestrial civilization stage a successful First Contact?

-What issues would arise in the planning and execution of First Contact?

-How do we need to prepare for a Direct First Contact event?

-What would be the impact of a Direct First Contact event on our society?

-What declarations need to be made before we meet extraterrestrial neighbors?

-How do we protect ourselves from harm to our civilization as a result of First Contact?

I know many of these subjects have been covered before and probably by much greater minds. I don’t think you’ll find anything radically new in this blog. It’s just a different perspective. For me, First Contact is the greatest of all public relations questions. Communication is at the heart of First Contact. How it is carried out will set the pattern for the most important new relationship in human history. If it occurs within the narrow set of parameters I have just discussed, these are some ideas to get us started.

First Contact Extraterrestrial Alien Proposal Idea Hello Introduction Space Visitors

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