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Why would aliens be aware of us?

Viaterum Orbis

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Just read "Rama" a while ago, by Arthur C. Clarke, and been thinking about this (besides, I want to write an alien saga myself).

Being space that big, what if aliens send a robot/AI probe instead of "manned" (?) missions? If so, maybe they just want resources or research the Sun... But, assume this is the case, and that the probe, instead of ignoring us, it's interested on us (maybe because of radio waves). How would be a flyby plan or something?
 

Polaris

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This is all assuming "aliens" are similarly developed to humans. Such an anthropocentric way of thinking about it. AI or our antiquated robots might not even be a necessary concept in their intelligence. They/It may not even have physical manifestations. They/It may even already be here, as mirror images in a parallel universe, in a timeless dimension, or like an underlying consciousness. They/It may even represent our unconscious. They may even be God, which means they won't be alien, just a transcendent presence representing the collective consciousness of all matter, space and time.

Woo.
 

Viaterum Orbis

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Well, very advanced tech is almost magic, plus we have the space travel capacity, so...

However, I was working on that assumption, that AI thing (that's what I started writing). I find it more interesting than it might be realistic.
 

Polaris

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Well...if you find it interesting, you will find a way to make it interesting to others. Arthur C. Clarke is not a bad threshold for your standards.
 

Cognisant

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It all depends on what technology they have, if they have wormholes or hyperdrives they'll quickly survey the galaxy and there will probably be a probe in our system somewhere watching us, ours being just one of the hundreds if not thousands (perhaps even millions) of life bearing planets in this galaxy.

We may not be particularly unique or interesting.
 

Viaterum Orbis

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Sure. If they have that tech, we might be as interesting to them as ants to us (oh look! They have a society-like system! So cute!)...

What if we receive a radio signal? How would be respond?
 

Serac

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yeah, to make a parallel case to Polaris', we humans think about other beings in terms of our own biologically built-in incentives; we either want to socialize with people, or destroy them and take their resources, or use them as a resource in their own right. Aliens might (and probably do) have a way of living we cannot even comprehend, with completely alien motives and incentives. This was portrayed pretty well in the movie "Annihilation" where the alien was an advanced organism without any other discernible incentive than just mirroring its environment and mutate into various forms. In the director's words, it was an "alien alien".

 

moody

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I've also been really fascinated by aliens. I've looked into some short readings from scientific magazines online about theories on why we've yet to make contact with aliens (to our public knowledge), and what alien life could look like.

One main theory about why we haven't come into contact with aliens is due to a sort of capping limit--all life dies before we can even be able to reach one another. It's called the Fermi theory, and it's best to read about yourself because I'm probably explaining it wrong. Here are several less biased resources I've found on it:

moz-extension://b1e8413f-fffa-6a4d-ab46-129c475959d9/content/web/viewer.html?file=http%3A//www.astronomy.ohio-state.edu/~pogge/Ast141/Unit5/Lect42_Fermi.pdf ; https://www.cs.mcgill.ca/~rwest/wikispeedia/wpcd/wp/f/Fermi_paradox.htm

Another theory I recently found on the internet is the "zoo theory." It reminds me a lot of startrek, so it's very possible it could be true in some way (never understimate the predictions of startrek!) It's basically proposing that there are aliens aware of us (or like a galactic council of aliens), and have decided not to contact us. Here's some reading about that: https://arxiv.org/abs/1608.08770

Serac also makes a good point; we don't know if there's alien life out there that is comparable to us. Though the conditions for life would most likely lead to life that doesn't look not completely unlike the life we've seen on earth (animals like in the deep sea also taken into account), the galaxy is so vast that no one could really know.

I'd love to witness what alien life looks like, what they're environment(s) are like, their adaptations, what kinds of intelligence they have, etc., but I can acknowledge that it's probably for the best if humans never come into conscious contact with aliens. Look what we've done to our own kind, and that of the other life on our planet; if I were an alien, I'd stay far away. We're the warmongers, and we're trashing our OWN planet. We've also proven ourselves unable to collectively have an awareness or respect for other intelligence, which is another reason for anything different to stay far away. (i.e., the dolphin: http://www.bigear.org/CSMO/HTML/CS06/cs06p02.htm).

Though this has more of a conspiracy rep to it, it IS possible aliens have already been here and influenced our race and cultures. Who's to say the basis of some religions don't come from extra-terrestrial visitations, or the pyramids weren't really built by martians? Usually conspiracies are derived from some truth...and you know, the US government has never really told us what they did or funded in Roswell, so there's that as well.
 

Polaris

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Though the conditions for life would most likely lead to life that doesn't look not completely unlike the life we've seen on earth (animals like in the deep sea also taken into account), the galaxy is so vast that no one could really know.

Who's to say aliens would constitute our definition of life? In my mind, alien would be something different and quite incomprehensibele to humans - hence 'alien'. I wouldn't really call something alien if it was life-based (excluding non-life objects which are still understandable to us) . However, that's just my interpretation.
 

moody

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@ Polaris
I get what you're saying, but I think that depends on whether or not you're using alien as a noun or as an adjective. If something is alien, then it's incomprehensible, but if something is AN alien, it doesn't necessarily mean it WILL be incomprehensible. The creatures that inhabit the marina trenches and the abyss are pretty alien to me, but (as far as we know) they aren't aliens and originate from earth.
 

Polaris

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^ Yeah, we're meandering into philosophy and semantics territory here. It's also subjective - I don't experience deep sea creatures - or any creature for that matter, as alien.
 

moody

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^ Yeah, we're meandering into philosophy and semantics territory here. It's also subjective - I don't experience deep sea creatures - or any creature for that matter, as alien.
(This is how I think of it) The fact that I have a hard time finding this face beautiful means it's beauty is alien to me:

4255
 

Polaris

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Hmm, yeah. I can understand that. I guess I see it a little differently. When I saw the image, I didn't even think about it in terms of beauty. (Having a very visual orientation, I saw the image first and then read your comment). Only after reading your comment, and even then, I had a hard time deciding how I actually perceive it. It's more like "Wow - I wonder what that is. Need to find out more!"

I might just have a bad case of curiosity killed the cat, haha.

Edit: So, of course I had to do a reverse image search and I found this:

4256


http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/images/image/IdiacanthFascNORFANZ.jpg

The image you posted is a preserved (which would explain its skeletal appearance) relative to the Serpent Black Dragonfish, which are equipped with a bioluminescent antenna. It even lives in the Tasman Sea near Australia. I find it pretty cute actually, but I probably wouldn't want it too near my toes...
 

Viaterum Orbis

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One main theory about why we haven't come into contact with aliens is
due to a sort of capping limit--all life dies before we can even be
able to reach one another. It's called the Fermi theory
I've read about this too, and looking to mankind it might seem pretty
true (we're about starting space exploration at the very same time
climate change treatens our planet, and even if it feels 'old' -i.e.
XX century-, there's always the possibility of nuclear destruction).

Still, even with this 'capping', statistically speaking, there should
be a few civilizations out there who already passed it. Could we
detect them? Probably not, space is huge.

Another theory I recently found on the internet is the "zoo theory."
It reminds me a lot of startrek, so it's very possible it could be
true in some way (never understimate the predictions of startrek!)
It's basically proposing that there are aliens aware of us (or like a
galactic council of aliens), and have decided not to contact us.
The Prime Directive!
I recently read a short book featuring it, it's called Way Station , by Clifford D. Simak. In the novel, some aliens of the galaxy
have agreed to unite under some kind of federation and have a way to
travel across planets similar to teleportation. However, in order to
continue their expansion trough the Orion spiral, they needed a "base"
on Earth (although they considered our planet as not ready for joining
the federation); so they built one in secret.

Serac also makes a good point; we don't know if there's alien life out
there that is comparable to us. Though the conditions for life would
most likely lead to life that doesn't look not completely
unlike the life we've seen on earth (animals like in the deep sea also
taken into account), the galaxy is so vast that no one could really
know.
I don't know... Sure, alien life is probably going to look WAY strange
and we're never going to imagine it beforehand, but I don't think this
implies that we couldn't understand it under the right circumstances.
Think about Japanese culture during the blockade. Europeans knew
nothing of them (especially about their beliefs), but when they
finally opened, the two cultures were able to communicate and
understand themselves, even more, they could find common ground and
similar patterns (japanese feudalism).

Would I be overestimating our species if I think humans could
understand aliens if we had the chance? We passed from believing Earth
was a flat disk on space to understanding a fair amount of the
universe in just a few centuries.

Though this has more of a conspiracy rep to it, it IS possible aliens
have already been here and influenced our race and cultures. Who's to
say the basis of some religions don't come from extra-terrestrial
visitations, or the pyramids weren't really built by martians? Usually
conspiracies are derived from some truth...and you know, the US
government has never really told us what they did or funded in
Roswell, so there's that as well.
plays The X-Files theme

I admit it, I've played with this idea for years (although I've been
starting to refute it). Why would aliens limite themselves? If they
actually show interest in our species, I doubt they'd stop there. And
why all the secretism? Is normal in humans, but not necessarily in
them.

I stick to my original premise. Even if we can't imagine the complex processes behind evolution in another planet, if we get to actually manage to study a sample, we could learn about it and even think of it as normal.

@ Polaris
I get what you're saying, but I think that depends on whether or not
you're using alien as a noun or as an adjective. If something is
alien, then it's incomprehensible, but if something is AN alien, it
doesn't necessarily mean it WILL be incomprehensible. The creatures
that inhabit the marina trenches and the abyss are pretty alien to me,
but (as far as we know) they aren't aliens and originate from earth.
All right, that's weird and so interesting at the very same time.
 

Guardia

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Technically we are an underdeveloped civilization by their standards, considering that they might have faster than light technology, or an equivalent in term of traveling speed. I think they are lurking in the background waiting for us to develop a similar technological level.
 

Niclmaki

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I doubt we would be very interesting considering how big space is, and how many stars/planets there are.

Even if an alien civilization was insatiably curious it would be a very very very very very long time before they got to us, even if we were exceptional.

I imagine they’d be sending out probe droids to the most interesting places first before they would do a star-by-star approach.

And when they eventually do have a probe in our solar system, what could even be noteworthy to take note of? Possibly all the liquid water our planet has? Nuclear reactions in the atmosphere would be a remarkable one if they came by during the cold war.

I am making the assumption that life isn’t all that uncommon in the universe, otherwise that’d be on the list. I think that’s reasonable.
 

moody

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Would I be overestimating our species if I think humans could
understand aliens if we had the chance?
I think humans are very capable of being understanding, in a comfortable position with like-minds. However, we life in societies where we operate quite like bees; it would be hard to establish connections with extraterrestrials without any third party worming their way in to monopolize the situation.
Though I hate to repeat myself, I am going to refer back to the dolphin as a reference for an alternate use of intelligence. You make a good point when bringing up the collaboration with the Japanese and Europeans, but they were both human. We have much better chances of understanding being who have mental facilities that are close to ours. Their ability to process and react to stimuli is much faster than ours, and their limbic and auditory systems are far more developed. As we discover this, we gain empathy for them that we didn't have prior to our understanding. We operate like it's okay to kill the animals who are least like us, and not okay to kill those that are most like us.
If we were to encounter an alien with such foreign intelligence, I could imagine an attempt to exploit the situation. Our view of what's ethical changes the more we learn about a living thing's capacity to feel and think. Unfortunately, that only comes after time. Ender's Game and the sequels give a pretty good senior that deals with this. First Ender's forced to kill the invaders and is a "hero," but then the world finds out the invaders weren't trying to invade and all of a sudden Ender is compared to Hitler.

I doubt they'd stop there. And
why all the secretism?
Secret-ism isn't necessary intentional. Sometimes it just takes less effort.


And when they eventually do have a probe in our solar system, what could even be noteworthy to take note of? Possibly all the liquid water our planet has?
In that case, why would they probe in the first place? It's kind of just a free-for-all to speculate about an alien race when we don't even know what said alien race would be like...
 

Niclmaki

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In that case, why would they probe in the first place? It's kind of just a free-for-all to speculate about an alien race when we don't even know what said alien race would be like...
I was assuming insatiable curiosity. Just as a thought experiment to imagine what the BEST chances of being noticed were. My conclusion is that, even in the best case scenario, it is unlikely we’d be noteworthy.
 

sushi

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they are probably watching us like we watch fish swimming on a tank.
 

ginoskein

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I doubt it unless their solar system was ruined some time after it formed like ours was. I subscribe to the Saturnian Red Dwarf Model. In that model sentient life only develops within a red dwarf's radiation "cocoon." The radiation envelope blocks all external radiation from the rest of the universe, which means all sentient lifeforms in the universe spend most of their lives unable to see the rest of the universe and are entirely oblivious to the fact that it exists outside their own reality.

In the model, our solar system is unique because something happened to cause the entire original configuration to be disrupted. We now live in a post-apocalyptic solar system, totally exposed to deadly radiation from the galactic environment and from a star whose radiation is too intense for the form of life that originally developed on this planet (because it developed in a much softer, more hospitable environment, almost paradise, hence the traditional stories about original paradise and the end of the world among people worldwide). Savagery and predation as well as contrary reactions against them developed as a result of the new hostile environmental pressures. Religion developed to try to re-assemble some kind of workable order among humans.

We may be the only sentient life in the universe in the kind of exposed and wrecked solar system in which we find ourselves. What that means is that if we ever build interstellar ships and traverse the expanses between the stars, we'll find idyllic beings easily conquered and subdued whose very languages have no concept of need, want, hunger, self-defense, or aggression: because they never experienced an environment that forced such reactions out of its native inhabitants.

http://www.everythingselectric.com/eu-theory-saturn-polar-configuration

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Pizzabeak

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I doubt it unless their solar system was ruined some time after it formed like ours was. I subscribe to the Saturnian Red Dwarf Model. In that model sentient life only develops within a red dwarf's radiation "cocoon." The radiation envelope blocks all external radiation from the rest of the universe, which means all sentient lifeforms in the universe spend most of their lives unable to see the rest of the universe and are entirely oblivious to the fact that it exists outside their own reality.

In the model, our solar system is unique because something happened to cause the entire original configuration to be disrupted. We now live in a post-apocalyptic solar system, totally exposed to deadly radiation from the galactic environment and from a star whose radiation is too intense for the form of life that originally developed on this planet (because it developed in a much softer, more hospitable environment, almost paradise, hence the traditional stories about original paradise and the end of the world among people worldwide). Savagery and predation as well as contrary reactions against them developed as a result of the new hostile environmental pressures. Religion developed to try to re-assemble some kind of workable order among humans.

We may be the only sentient life in the universe in the kind of exposed and wrecked solar system in which we find ourselves. What that means is that if we ever build interstellar ships and traverse the expanses between the stars, we'll find idyllic beings easily conquered and subdued whose very languages have no concept of need, want, hunger, self-defense, or aggression: because they never experienced an environment that forced such reactions out of its native inhabitants.

http://www.everythingselectric.com/eu-theory-saturn-polar-configuration

View attachment 4278
It’s bullshit, and some random person’s idea for a sci-fi world.
 
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