Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Process and Speed

The revelation of extraterrestrial life will be a huge moment in human history. The process by which that revelation occurs is important. The timing of that process is critical.

The most likely scenario would be a SETI based First Contact with an extraterrestrial civilization. Due to the nature of communications that process would be relatively long and drawn out, leaving plenty of time for people to be accustomed to the new, busier universe.

Direct First Contact would speed up that process in what could be as quick as a day. By process I mean the method of revelation and the subsequent scientific confirmation of that revelation. Nothing will be taken at face value, nor should it. With a SETI based contact scientists have established protocols for peer review confirmation and notification of governments and the public. Direct First Contact has no such protocols, primarily because it is still not taken as seriously. Direct First Contact is tough to imagine because it could happen in so many different ways.

The purpose of this blog is to propose a method and process for revelation. I believe that First Contact should leverage the world news media and satellite communications to reach the entire world at once. I go into more depth in the proposal, which has a link on the right hand side of the screen. The method and process takes into account human communication systems, public relations, government response, scientific response, and public reaction. Most importantly it must put forth a method of scientific confirmation.

In a sense a Direct First Contact event is like pulling the band-aid off your arm. In Direct First Contact with an extraterrestrial civilization, the speed of revelation is important. It must be done quickly, publicly and in a way that confirmation can occur with similar speed. The longer it takes to confirm that First Contact is real, the more time available for human politics to interfere with the process. First Contact with an extraterrestrial civilization can be a singular event for the entire planet or it can become a protracted political football, with many nations fighting for control.

Revelation and confirmation could take place in less than a day. An address, in some form or another, to the General Assembly of the United Nations could occur within a week. The speed of this process would help to prevent any one government seizing control of First Contact. The revelation would leave the world stunned, hopefully long enough for scientific confirmation to occur. This period of awe won’t last long. Political forces will move into action soon after. It is critical that revelation and confirmation occur quickly so the process can move like a freight train speeding the down the tracks, leading to organized diplomacy and a strong response by the United Nations.

Alien First Contact must take into account world reaction and occur in a way that will help prepare humanity for an important new relationship.

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