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Why We'll Never Meet Aliens

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the probably-immigration-laws dept.

Space 629

iggychaos writes "The idea that aliens will come visit us is fundamentally flawed. Paul Tyma ponders the technology that would be required for such an event and examines how evolution of that technology would preclude any reason to actually make the trip. He writes, 'Twenty years ago if I asked you how many feet were in a mile (and you didn't know) you could go to a library and look it up. Ten years ago, you could go to a computer and google it. Today, you can literally ask your phone. It's not a stretch at all with the advent of wearable computing that coming soon - I can ask you that question and you'll instantly answer. ... How would you change if you had instant brain-level access to all information. How would you change if you were twice as smart as you are now. How about ten times as smart? (Don't answer, truth is, you're not smart enough to know). Now, let's leap ahead and think about what that looks like in 100 years. Or 1000. Or whenever it is you'll think we'd have the technology to travel to another solar system. We'd be a scant remnant of what a human looks like today. ... The question of why aliens might 'want to come here' is probably fundamentally flawed because we are forming that question from our current (tiny) viewpoint. The word 'want' might not apply at all to someone 1000 times smarter than us."

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629 comments

We've already met one (3, Funny)

Sigvatr (1207234) | about a year ago | (#43559967)

It's Steve Urkle.

Re:We've already met one (5, Funny)

christopher240240 (633932) | about a year ago | (#43560245)

Wrong. It was only like Urkel. The alien has a sweet, heavenly voice... like Urkel! And he appears every Friday night... like Urkel! Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a report to type up on my invisible typewriter.

Re:We've already met one (4, Funny)

CaptainLard (1902452) | about a year ago | (#43560357)

The 1980's called, they want their family friendly pop culture zingers back.

Re:We've already met one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560387)

So, did you warn them?

Neighbors (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43559987)

Oh I thought the fact that they wouldn't come over was personal.

First! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43559991)

Dear Linux Advocate,

Money doesn't grow on trees. And, Linux Advocates is growing. Naturally, we anticipate operating costs and hope to be able to meet them.

But, any amount you feel you are able to donate in support of our ongoing work will be most surely appreciated and put to very good use. Your contributions keep Linux Advocates growing.

Show your support by making a donation today.

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Dieter T. Schmitz
Linux Advocates, Owner

http://www.linuxadvocates.com/p/support.html

BRRR, its cold outside!! Must be frosty pizz! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43559999)

Bow down and worship minions!

Why is this here? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560017)

I mean seriously, If i wanted this I would talk to my friend on mushrooms. This is not new in any sense of the word.

Re:Why is this here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560255)

This is not new in any sense of the word.

I, for one, blame the G.O.P.

Re:Why is this here? (5, Insightful)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about a year ago | (#43560273)

The saddest part is the self contradiction:

How would you change if you had instant brain-level access to all information. How would you change if you were twice as smart as you are now. How about ten times as smart? (Don't answer, truth is, you're not smart enough to know)

Then tells us how THEY know

Re:Why is this here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560403)

What's even worse is the somehow equivalence of "knowing some random fact" and "being smarter." Wikipedia makes it easier to be smarter, but it also makes it MUCH easier to believe you are smarted... but really you're just lazy.

the only thing worth coming for (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560019)

resources

Re:the only thing worth coming for (2)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | about a year ago | (#43560277)

I don't see the economics of that. It's going to take a lot of resources for somebody to get from another habitable planet to here.

Re:the only thing worth coming for (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560343)

Exactly! And once they use all those resources to get here, what do you think they are going to need more of? Resources! Do you see how your argument eats itself?

Re:the only thing worth coming for (2)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#43560355)

Even if it doesn't take all that much resources (i.e. someone discovers some kind of short-cut drive that is cheap to operate), chances are most systems are going to have pretty much the same raw materials.

Though such a move would probably be rooted in political or social priorities rather then strict economical ones, getting away from rules or consequences for instance. There is also the question, of course, of how common are habitable planets... I imagine any creature that makes it to space has enough of a mental need to spread out that they might like the fact there is a whole planet that is not registered anywhere in their list of deeds and thus is legally unowned.

Re:the only thing worth coming for (2)

invid (163714) | about a year ago | (#43560375)

I think that we can safely assume that people 1000 times as smart as us will want to continue living. And chances are pretty good that they will be nigh immortal. Nigh immortal beings need lots of resources over time. But another factor will be to limit competition for resources. Immortal, highly intelligent creatures will want to make sure that other immortal, highly intelligent creatures won't come along and take their resources. It all comes back to survival. Being 1000 times as intelligent as humans doesn't mean squat if you're dead.

Re:the only thing worth coming for (4, Funny)

smartin (942) | about a year ago | (#43560417)

No, food. Human is a delicacy in some regions of the galaxy.

The Dolphins and Mice ... (3, Funny)

perpenso (1613749) | about a year ago | (#43560021)

The dolphins and mice demonstrate that they do want to come. ;-)

Flying Cars (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560025)

This train of thought sounds like how people in the early 20th century predicted flying cars and bases on the Moon by the year 2000. Transportation was the driving force of technology then and people extrapolated and came up with these crazy ideas. Now we are in the information age and people are extrapolating computers implanted in our brains. I don't think it will happen.

Re:Flying Cars (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560359)

What people don't realize is a fundamental change in technology. In the past decade, technology hasn't advanced much for people. However, technology made to contain/alert/report/log/monitor/spy/lock out people has been the main push by most companies, be it DRM, data mining, data sold to advertisers, click tracking, sifting through E-mail and other communications for keywords, locked down devices and so on.

We may not have moon bases, we may not have brain implants, but if one can extrapolate from today's technology, what will be the thing that we will have is shackles and prisons unimaginable today. Perhaps Dune style pain-amplifiers which are turned on should someone pass an opinion threshold, or mandatory "re-education", Clockwork Orange style should someone dislike the latest celebrity by a certain margin.

The '70s were about tech. The '90s were about networked communication. This decade seems to be about control, surveillance, and containment of the population.

Re:Flying Cars (0)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#43560399)

To build off that, there is also a pervasive idea that science will simply continue on and that there will always been increases and improvements, when it is possible that we will hit some physical limits that there is no getting past. We could reach a point where, at least on the lower (math, physics, chemistry) there simply is nothing left to figure out and no new capabilities/technologies will ever come out of those domains again.

Wow, this is stupid. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560035)

"We have no idea how supertechnologically enhanced superscientific aliens would think. THEREFORE, we can be sure that we'll never meet any aliens. Because we don't understand anything of their thought processes. So we can say with certainty they won't find it logical to make the trip."

Re:Wow, this is stupid. (4, Funny)

David Gould (4938) | about a year ago | (#43560115)

Ah, but see, the point of the article is that, unlike all the rest of us, this guy actually is smart enough to predict exactly how our 1000-times-smarter hyper-advanced post-human descendants will think.

Re:Wow, this is stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560159)

Ah, so his 'logic' is so advanced it's incomprehensible to us mere mortals.

Re:Wow, this is stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560129)

It's worse, actually...

It's more like, "Because I say we have *ABSOLUTELY NO WAY* to know how these hypothetical aliens might think, or what they might value, I can say with certainty that they will have no interest in us whatsoever."

Re: Wow, this is stupid. (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about a year ago | (#43560139)

And who is to say they want to meet us? I mean they may want the planet instead for natural resources. Maybe to house their criminals.

Re: Wow, this is stupid. (5, Insightful)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | about a year ago | (#43560227)

Based on how horrible we as humans can be as a collective, that may have already happened ;)

Re: Wow, this is stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560239)

Maybe to house their criminals.

Who is to say this hasn't already happened?!

Re:Wow, this is stupid. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560397)

Indeed. This article is a bit drab.

If they have the curiosity needed to develop the technology, then it follows that a civilization has the curiosity enough to want to see what is out there.

While it is unlikely that anything has gotten any of our transmissions yet, but when they do and they can reach us, I'd wager they might be curious enough to stop by for a visit.

Can we tag articles as !news or opinion please? (3, Interesting)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about a year ago | (#43560037)

I'm really not interested in opinion pieces (especially ones that ramble on as much as this one) and would like to filter them off my front page.

Compassion? (1)

oscord (866106) | about a year ago | (#43560041)

Maybe they'll do it out of compassion, to find someone to help to?

Re:Compassion? (1)

emho24 (2531820) | about a year ago | (#43560081)

The article attempts to rule out any logical reasons for aliens to visit us. What if they are just cthulhu style evil and wish our destruction / consumption? Not as fun to think about compared to your compassionate aliens.

Re:Compassion? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560237)

The article attempts to rule out any logical reasons for aliens to visit us. What if they are just cthulhu style evil and wish our destruction / consumption? Not as fun to think about compared to your compassionate aliens.

Or that they planted us here thousands of years ago and are returning to harvest when we reach around 8-10 billion "Units".

Re:Compassion? (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#43560259)

cthulhu style evil and wish our destruction / consumption

Cthulhu doesn't wish our destruction or consumption. He just doesn't care how many people get stomped on or consumed, because people are utterly insignificant and unimportant in the grand scheme of things.

Re:Compassion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560133)

Maybe they'll do it out of compassion, to find someone to help to?

To help to..... write grammatically correct sentences?

Re:Compassion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560253)

Clearly that error was typographical and not grammatical...

That's right, you just got mistake-nazi-nazi'd

Re:Compassion? (1)

Saethan (2725367) | about a year ago | (#43560137)

Probably more out of boredom, like blowing up GI-Joes with firecrackers.

lame (3, Insightful)

HPHatecraft (2748003) | about a year ago | (#43560053)

The question of why aliens might 'want to come here' is probably fundamentally flawed because we are forming that question from our current (tiny) viewpoint. The word 'want' might not apply at all to someone 1000 times smarter than us.

Who cut the cheese? This can so easily be turned on it's head. It would be just as easy to posit that said aliens, because of their intelligence and enlightened nature, have made it their life's purpose to seek out primitive cultures and assist in their evolution.

Or seek out life forms and destroy their plants. Sort of the galactic equivalent of driving down the highway and shooting road signs. Highly populated, spherical road signs, with significant mass (and gravity).

Re:lame (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560235)

Sort of the galactic equivalent of driving down the highway and shooting road signs. Highly populated, spherical road signs, with significant mass (and gravity).

I prefer to imagine it more like whacking roadside mail boxes with a baseball bat.

Re:lame (0)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a year ago | (#43560389)

It's more like some silly liberal wet-dream going on here. "Oh in the future, we'll all be enlightened and socialist and help each other and there will be no 'want' and no lust and no violence!" Automatically, alien species must be not-warlike because "they've evolved and become enlightened". So, with no drives, they do what? Sit around, meditate, and die off slowly? Or have they discovered immortality and allowed society to stagnate, which will eventually lead to ruin anyway?

Even the Chozo know aggression and desire. They have a deep sated hunger for the truth, for knowledge. They reached an 'enlightened' state in which they merged technology with nature and sought to cohabitate with the natural state of a planet they chose, yet they desired power--they desired knowledge, growth, evolution. They saw other races as young, or as evolved near-equals, or as fools who want that which none should obtain.

People imagine that future humans and any aliens would be like small children. "Enlightened" such that they will not understand aggression or desire, that these will be foreign to them--as a child who is attacked by a stranger he never knew to fear, and doesn't understand why. They believe that, in the future, facing aggression, thievery, and base lust will be a strange and confusing experience which cannot be reconciled, instead leaving the mind paralyzed with no ability to understand such alien things.

People are so stupid.

Bacteria (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560055)

We aliens are spending tons of money to find really stupid (no intelligence) bacteria on Mars. Why wouldn't some super smart aliens want to find us?

Skimmed TFA - not worth more of my time.

Going back down to that STEM article ..

They will still come... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560071)

...because we taste delicious

Re:They will still come... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560205)

Did you know that, in Japan, a rack of lamb signifies insufficient memory?

Re:They will still come... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560395)

If you keep trying to out-bullshit the article with one-liners like that, you'll never meet aliens.

They would come to earth for the same reason (2)

mark_reh (2015546) | about a year ago | (#43560083)

people left Europe to come to the new world- first for GOLD, gathered under the excuse of converting the natives to Christianity, and later because people couldn't stand their proselytizing any more.

"Any soul is worth saving, at least to a preacher".

Re:They would come to earth for the same reason (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year ago | (#43560181)

I prefer the scenario postulated in the film Liquid Sky. Aliens would come to Earth looking for drugs.

Re:They would come to earth for the same reason (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a year ago | (#43560411)

Troy Rising?

Re:They would come to earth for the same reason (1)

fermion (181285) | about a year ago | (#43560327)

This is what I was thinking. The assumption is that at some point we would become so intellegent that would no longer have social differences, or breed excessively, or be curious to meet other people.

What we know is that when travel is difficult, few people do it. What we also know is that even when travel is near impossible, and even deadly, a few want to do it anyway. So we know, at least from the human point of view, if space travel every become a real possibility, meaning more than a few people to a satellite or neighboring planets, we will have people who will jump at the chance. If it ever becomes easy, people will pay for it. This wil happen because of curiosity or because their options are limited.

What we don't know is if any space faring life that might exist outside Earth is anything like, thinks anything like us, is recognizable.

This post just makes me sad, because it means even if we don't otherwise perish, in 5 billion years, whoosh, we will be gone because we have become too smart and lazy to care.

Paul Tyma will be proven wrong in 20 years. (2, Funny)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about a year ago | (#43560085)

It is not a matter of IF but WHEN. i.e. When is the human race going to grow up and look outside their myopic & arrogant view that they are the most important lifeform on the universe? Oh that's right, they finally have proof.

Contact has _already_ happened. It is just NOT allowed on the global scale - yet.

If I'm wrong I'll be just another idiot ranting that you won't remember. :-)

But if I'm right you'll be more interested in knowing that the limits to knowledge are not artificially limited by Science; there is another path to Knowledge.

Beside, the real interesting question is not "Are we alone?" but "Why the hell do we look so similar??"

Re:Paul Tyma will be proven wrong in 20 years. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560233)

I get this feeling like, if I got really close to you that I would hear the sound of faint radio static and maybe someone playing a saw blade with a violin string

A man carrying soup may assure you not to fear the Orbs, believe him

Re:Paul Tyma will be proven wrong in 20 years. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560381)

Thanks

Depends on what they want (2)

JoeCommodore (567479) | about a year ago | (#43560087)

Earth has more than a bunch of rocks minerals and elements. there are surely unique organisms here not only that there is your culture and inventions. There's many ways to do things or to express ourselves, I don't think any advanced civilization has already thought of all those things. Most likely they are just as screwed up as we are and pick the first idea that works... not always the best.... so they would be in the market for different stuff, styles and ways of thinking that can be easily exported.

Re:Depends on what they want (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | about a year ago | (#43560283)

Earth has more than a bunch of rocks minerals and elements. there are surely unique organisms here not only that there is your culture and inventions. There's many ways to do things or to express ourselves, I don't think any advanced civilization has already thought of all those things. Most likely they are just as screwed up as we are and pick the first idea that works... not always the best.... so they would be in the market for different stuff, styles and ways of thinking that can be easily exported.

You are right. My prediction is, we *will* be visited by aliens. Aliens with the intent to serve man...

Meanwhile, in Vogsphere (1)

tanujt (1909206) | about a year ago | (#43560093)

While we're pondering how advanced or 'cybernetic' our apelike species is becoming and what that implies for alien contact, the Vogons are drafting legislation to setup a committee to analyze the ramifications of setting up a committee to analyze the ramifications of building a space-highway through the Solar system. We're not going to be able to ponder much longer.

Just a few hundred years, given how lightning fast committees are.

Concept Applies To God as Well (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560103)

Just as you can't predict how you would be different if you were twice as smart as you are now, or determine the desires or an alien 1000 times smarter than us, it is silly to decide that a god (in whatever form you like) most likely does not exist simply because he/she/it doesn't run the universe in a way that makes sense to you. Everyone is free to believe what they will about God's existence, but to pretend that a projected value judgement is the same as logic is not a valid approach.

Just sayin' (to no one specific)

Why spend lifetimes getting to other stars (2)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | about a year ago | (#43560109)

when you can stay here and play Angry Birds?

Most idiotic reasoning ever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560111)

Under that reasoning human beings would have no need to venture to the depths of Ocean or the Moon.

They will come, for a snack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560117)

How do you think these aliens achieved 1000 times the brain mass of us humans? By eating every species's brains on every planet they found. They will eventually find us.

Andy Rooney (2)

decipher_saint (72686) | about a year ago | (#43560123)

I read this article in Andy Rooney's voice (though I'm quite sure it would work in Seinfeld's as well)

"and another thing, just WHO ARE these ALIENS anyway?"

I think I need a time out

*fumbles with 12 oz soda can because it's too much*

we're already here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560135)

....and have been so for the last century running the show and pulling the strings behind the scenes. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Micheal Jackson, George Carlin....all aliens. You humans are a bunch of suckers for a cheap disguise :)

Why We'll Never Meet Aliens (1)

kc8hr (633502) | about a year ago | (#43560141)

Maybe the Earth is a sort of intergalactic game preserve, and visitors from elsewhere are prohibited by law from visiting or interfering with us in any way, like the Prime Directive in Star Trek.

Re:Why We'll Never Meet Aliens (1)

stevedog (1867864) | about a year ago | (#43560299)

I've heard we're protected by The Doctor.

This article made me dumber (1, Insightful)

Alcoholic Synonymous (990318) | about a year ago | (#43560143)

How can we ever understand how aliens think if we have articles like this making our entire species dumber by the letter?

Yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560145)

Yet so many things mankind does have no better motives than: "because we can", or "just for the challenge of it".

Self defeating argument (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | about a year ago | (#43560149)

The author of this opinion piece claims that people 1000 times smarter than we currently are might not want the same things we want (such as meeting aliens), but since he is not 1000 times smarter, he really isn't in the position to tell us.

What a load of crap. (5, Interesting)

gurps_npc (621217) | about a year ago | (#43560155)

We can't predict the future, or the desires of any alien race, therefore we can predict they won't want to visit us.

Duh. If you can't predict then you can't say what they WON'T do.

The reason why aliens would come and visit are numerous. Here are the top 3 that I thought of while reading his poorly thought out article.

1. They are running out of space on their home world, and earth has some nice views, good water, nice temperature. Perfect place to raise a family without bumping into your neighbor (i.e. they don't want to steal just our gold, they want to steal everything)

2. They want to learn about alternate biologies cultures, psychology, etc.

3. Religion. We must spread the word of Latter Day Saints/Allah/etc. etc.

The main problem is the fool thinks the future will be just like the recent past, rather than the distant pass. He assumes our technology will continue to grow dramatically, rather than incrementally.

Right now, the most logical way to do star travel is to increase lifespans to 200+ years and develop a nice cryo-statis type thing.

Which means travel is possible in just about 80 years of technology growth or so, (at least to Alpha Centauri) plus another 100/200 years of cry-sleep transit.

The original article was written by someone that saw way too many bad sci-fi shows and think the most dramatic, silly inventions are likely, and that we/aliens will wait till everything is all settled till we go exploring.

Re:What a load of crap. (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year ago | (#43560229)

Generational ship > cryo-stasis ship imho

And in spite of all of that (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about a year ago | (#43560163)

We'd still have the desire to explore, to go places, to see new things, to go where no one has gone before. To actually have an experience. No matter how smart I'll become, I will always prefer exploring a cave system to reading about exploring a cave system, let alone another planet, especially one with aliens on it. I also like the lack of awareness displayed by the author about his own argument. If you're going to claim claims about the future are inherently untrustworthy because of our limited viewpoint and intelligence, don't follow it up with a claim about the future.

Congrats! (1)

sunking2 (521698) | about a year ago | (#43560165)

You've made the running for the most assinine Slashdot submission of the year.

We would, so why wouldn't they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560171)

If we discovered life on Europa we'd send a manned mission before long. In several decades, if we discovered life in Alpha Centauri, we'd send a manned ship there as well. Obviously we can't know for sure, but not knowing includes having no reason to believe that this trend will stop as we advance or that an alien intelligence wouldn't share it.

Why are software engineers so arrogant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560197)

Why is it that software engineers constantly think their opinions about scientific matters are important? Why does everyone with a degree in CS think they are SMEs in astrophysics, nanotechnology, etc? You're just another idiot building web applications to let people buy meaningless trinkets. Go back to school and study hard sciences for a decade+ if you wish to be taken seriously.

Curiosity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560199)

Simple: curiosity.
After all, if we would know there are bacteria like life forms on let's say Titan, we will head to that quickly. This despite the fact that we are certainly smarter than basic life forms. Yet we do want to study them. And so I suspect aliens that are far smarter than we are would perhaps do the same: study, curiosity, exploration....

I'm not convinced. (3, Interesting)

greenguy (162630) | about a year ago | (#43560203)

We're hundreds of times smarter than the ancient Greeks and Romans -- and by "smarter," I mean we have vastly greater information available to us. And yet, I'd jump at the chance to go visit them in their time and place. Why? Because I think they were still pretty sharp, given their constraints. They did some pretty impressive stuff. Additionally, human nature makes for interesting drama, regardless of the level of technology. And that would map on reasonably well to any alien civilization capable of interstellar travel and communication with us. In other words, they'd have to have some order to their society, which we could learn in time. They'd likely have some form of metaphysical belief structure, and possibly several competing structures. They have to communicate somehow. They have to have advanced understandings of math and science. These are all things we could learn from them, or at least about them, just as an ancient Roman could learn to use a tablet computer, if they really wanted to. An advanced civilization would know that we are capable of advancing, and that would make us interesting to them.

One consistency throughout human history... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560213)

Based on the one consistency throughout human history, I posit that the driving factor for aliens exploring space, discovering our planet, and introducing themselves to us will be the search for and acquisition of some valued resource.

What resource might be valued enough to pay for the (literally) astronomical costs involved in finding and retrieving it from across the vast void of space? No idea, but I don't really see what's so valuable about a number of resources we spend loads of cash digging up from under huge volumes of dirt and rock, other than the fact that we've decided they're valuable. Heck, much of the stuff that 'we' decided was valuable, and then found *actual* uses for (eg: diamonds) can be synthesized at less cost, and with more consistent results, than digging them out of the ground, but for some reason 'natural' diamond is more expensive than 'created' diamond. Not because it's more useful, but because it's rarer due to import, export & production controls in place.

also important points to consider (4, Funny)

nimbius (983462) | about a year ago | (#43560215)

1. we cant even universally handle different colors or sexes of our same species, its absurd to think we'd approach aliens any differently.
2. we still use and condone physical violence at all social levels to solve problems despite it being scientifically ineffective and counterproductive.
3. no ones proven Gary Busey is not in fact an alien lifeform
4. it is statistically improbable any advanced alien lifeform would even remotely consider a presence on the same planet as snooki and perez hilton.
5. Most aliens probably called it off after they found out we quit manufacturing twinkies.

Reasons to make the trip (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#43560217)

- It's one thing to see plans for cool technology we might want to trade, it's another thing to actually have the object in question exactly as the other group designed it.
- Just to prove we can. That's why we went to the moon, it's a major reason we'll eventually go to Mars and beyond.
- Green-skinned Orion slave girls.
- Cultural exchange. It's one thing to see pictures and films and other information about a place, it's another thing to actually experience it.

Even if the aliens are far more technologically advanced than we are, or vice versa, there are benefits to this kind of trade.

We could meet aliens in 100 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560219)

If SETI finds a planet, and if they happen to transmit their version of the internet, and if we can get their gene sequence, and if their cellular biology is the similar/adaptable, and if we can genetically engineer their genes, we can have a colony of aliens here enjoying their own unique culture (think tv shows / entertainment captured by SETI relayed to them).

What if wow man like wooow? (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | about a year ago | (#43560243)

Actually if *anything* remains it might be the concept of "want", having goals is pretty central to the definition of intelligence.

Flawed Logic... (1)

TimO_Florida (2894381) | about a year ago | (#43560251)

Paul makes a very common mistake: trying to imprint his logical understanding of the motivations an alien race we've never met. Even humans had numerous motivations for leaving their countries and spending years to travel to foreign lands. Anyone who insists that it CAN'T happen is probably as wrong as the scientists who insisted in 1902 that Man will never fly.

"Aliens" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560261)

So what you're saying is - "Game over, man! Game over!"

I call bullshit... (1)

chaoskitty (11449) | about a year ago | (#43560263)

If there's one thing we can generalize about truly intelligent people is that they are always curious. The geniuses can come up with questions nobody else can.

Butterflies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560265)

We enjoy looking at and studying beautiful butterflies and other interesting fauna and we are 1000 times smarter than butterflies. It might be really insulting to us but aliens might come to study a primitive being and primitive cultures. Our brightness minds might even make trainable pets for them.

Matter clearly consists of tiny strings! (1)

geraldkw (534863) | about a year ago | (#43560293)

Of course this whole scenario with super 1000x intelligent beings you concocted is just as far fetched as aliens travelling here to meet us.

Space Tourists (3, Interesting)

Freddybear (1805256) | about a year ago | (#43560295)

Maybe they'll just stop over here for a roadside picnic. ;)

Because it is there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560301)

Why do people climb Mt Everest? Been done before. Got lots of pictures. They aren't advancing Science.

They do it because it is there.

Even 1000 times smarter, this reason is good enough.

3 reasons (4, Insightful)

dpilot (134227) | about a year ago | (#43560305)

1 - Curiosity - Maybe they can predict us, but what are untested predictions worth. Think Doc Smith's Arisians and their "Visualization of the Cosmic All." They still needed Samms' lens on-site to test their prediction.
2 - Charity - Arguably we could certainly use some assistance.
3 - Boredom - When you've solved that many problems, and when you've run out of "Gilligan's Isolated Stellar Cluster" reruns, you need something to do.

Really, we have no idea how rare the Earth is - or isn't, and that would affect the likelihood of being investigated by a more advanced type of life. We've been finding planets in the Goldilocks belt, and some of those are nearly Earth-sized. But at the same time we're learning more about how critical Jupiter and the Moon are to our development, so OUR requirements were actually quite complex, not that that needs to be universal.

But the rarer the circumstances for intelligent life to develop, the more likely it gets that we will be investigated. That assumes that that puts us in the bucket of "interesting things", and that that bucket is smaller than it would be if the galaxy were teeming with life.

I do have to agree with the article's assertion and reasons that there won't be an invasion force. If there were to be any hostile actions by aliens, it would almost have to be xenophobic fear - get us before we get the technology to get them. If that were the case, we'd never see an invasion force - comets and asteroids are much simpler, easier, cheaper, less risky, and at least as effective.

They want to study us the same way we study ants (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560307)

Because they can.

your assuming something ridiculous (2)

maliqua (1316471) | about a year ago | (#43560347)

your basing it on the assumption with greater intelligence comes lowered ambition and curiosity, this has always proven to be the opposite, the more we learn the more outrageous and unbelievable our next endeavours become. We will always seek to understand the unknown that is our nature and i think a fundamental part of us that intelligence / evolution will never strip away. p.s. someone tell me how to put cariage returns in a /. post for the love of god why does it never show up right

You're projecting , too. (1)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | about a year ago | (#43560363)

The author is projecting his own value system on alien's motivations too. I agree they probably wouldn't want to turn us into batteries ala Stephan Hawking / Matrix largely because why? - you can already create anything we could possibly have.

OTOH it's not IMPOSSIBLE that advanced creatures have an advanced morality / compassion / values that causes them to CARE about the fate of things not themselves.

Why we ourselves show some primitive forms of this on occasion.

Speaking of tiny viewpoints.... (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about a year ago | (#43560365)

The philosophies, politics, religion and entertainment of today has hardly changed since the dawn of recorded history.

Technology has changed, certainly; instead of watching Greek drama in a theater, we now watch Greek drama in a theater with CGI effects. But history has time and again proven that new toys do not qualitatively change mankind.

(p.s. - ironically, our imminent ascendance to godhood is another of those ideas that has been around forever...)

nosubject (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560367)

I wouldn't mind knowing who is Paul Tyma.

In other related news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560377)

My showerhead is scalding me when I turn it all the way hot and back down. Since someone 1000 times smarter than me would simply avoid getting dirty in the first place, this problem can never be solved.

Access to machine knowledge is weakening us (4, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#43560379)

When I first started driving, I bought maps... first the cheap ones, then the really good street atlas books with indices. From there, I was able to plot my way to my destination pretty quickly though it required I step myself through each turn, street name and all that. But in the end, I learned where I was at any given time, felt I knew generally where anything was relative to my own position and about how far and how long it would take me to get there. None of this was as fast or efficient as a car GPS with traffic signal reception, of course. So after I moved away from my home area to another state, I finally broke down to get a GPS with traffic and all that. The new location was far more challenging to drive in and missing turns were far more costly in terms of time and frustration -- it was a much older area and so the roads are much more complicated, unpredictable and unforgiving.

But now that I have been using GPS all this time, I find that my ability to learn my way around and know where I am has diminished significantly. I have grown extremely reliant on GPS navigation. I have lost the skills and knowledge I once had. (My knowledge not actually lost... I'm still familiar with my original area and know my way around quite well still)

I think most people will find the same problem where other technological improvements are concerned. Even the practice of typing instead of writing has had affect on our ability to write by hand for many of us and remembering simple things like phone numbers? I used to have dozens in my head. Now I have just a few and the rest are comfortably in my phone where I have ready access to them. Tech has definitely made us all soft even if it's more efficient. It makes us horribly dependent.

So what if we went to the next levels? Brain interfaces? Computer data completely replacing our own memories? With intelligent decision making telling us "the best choice" in any given situation? The things we can allow machines to do for us is probably beyond my imagination, but even what I can imagine is pretty frightening when you think about it. What will we become when we become symbionts with the machines?

Giving up what little I have already lost is reason enough for me to reconsider how much I should rely on technology. But to imagine what humanity might become is certainly reason to consider blocking certain things to prevent our own failure.

Consider what might happen if we all matrix ourselves until the first outage we experience cuts us off from all knowledge. We instantly become as useless as a 5-year-old.

Perhaps this is a bit off-topic, but the summary was enough to release a collection of thoughts which have been gathering over the past few years.

Re:Access to machine knowledge is weakening us (2)

seebs (15766) | about a year ago | (#43560429)

Yeah, and civilization means most of us no longer get all our own food from scratch. So?

Fallbacks are nice, but keep in mind that many of these "failures" are still way above what we could have done without the technology in the first place. They just look worse because we're used to better.

Tried to leave a comment on the blog... (2)

Saethan (2725367) | about a year ago | (#43560391)

Comment moderation has been enabled. All comments must be approved by the blog author.

This is why we only see 7 comments, all of which amazingly support the author.

Why? Its common knowlege (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about a year ago | (#43560407)

The reason that aliens want to come here is that they need suitable hosts in which to insert their larvae.

This is... really dumb. (1)

seebs (15766) | about a year ago | (#43560409)

Yeah, we can't meaningfully talk about things that are wholly unlike us, but... So far, nothing appears to have changed the existence of "wanting" as a concept, and it's inconceivable that anything would. Which means there's not much point arguing about it; this is off in "what if everything big became small, and everything small became big" territory.

The big problem is:
"We don't know what X is like" is not evidence that X is unlike us.

So, how is this argument different? (1)

Radagast (2416) | about a year ago | (#43560415)

How is this argument different from "The singularity, because reasons, and beyond that, nothing is knowable"?

We don't WANT to meet aliens (1)

bwindle2 (519558) | about a year ago | (#43560431)

Think about it; if M-class planets are so rare, and this alien species can fly faster-than-light to our planet, they likely want to take over our planet (and wipe us out in the process). Why else would they bother showing up? Besides, the author makes a key logical fallacy; having information does not make one smarter, it makes you better informed. Just because you can instantly pull up the equation for gravity or the schematics of a rocket, doesn't mean you'll understand it.
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