There's always a lot of interest, naturally, about aliens and where we might discover them in the universe. But let's say we actually did find extra-terrestrials, and we contacted them, how would we then communicate with them? They surely wouldn't speak any earth languages, right?
These are the questions posed in this insightful video from Wendover Productions which looks at firstly where we might find aliens, then looks at what contacting them might do. Historically when two different civilizations have met on earth, it doesn't end well. Pretty much any human first contact ends in tears, with a sprinkling of death.
So, the video suggests, you could argue we should just leave the aliens alone. But it also suggests, when two civilizations have met, it's the civilization that makes contact which destroys the one who receives it, so maybe we should go on the offensive. Which we kind of are.
But beyond this it goes into the actual act of communication and what form this might take. In the recent movie Arrival humans figure out how to translate an alien language, but even if this was possible, what might get lost in translation? What important details might we miss? Or confuse? And what consequence might that have? Or what if aliens communicate in an entirely different manner altogether, through color or by movement or some other form we haven't even encountered or thought of yet?
So many questions. That's why, the video notes, it's important to find a universal communicative tool between us. And that, it suggests, might be mathematics. But that's only the beginning, there's so much more we would need to figure out. Maybe as well, just to be on the safe side, we should consider building a big honkin space gun.
It's incredibly daunting, but then of course it is. And it's a lot of food for thought.
To compliment Wendover Productions' video above, check out the video below by Fraser Cain, publisher of website Universe Today, which looks further at how alien contact might be dealt with.