Friday, December 10, 2004

What Do You Say to An Extraterrestrial? (by SETI's Seth Shostak)

"So here's my take on message construction: Forget about sending mathematical relationships, the value of pi, or the Fibonacci series. Rid your brain of the thought (no doubt borrowed from 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind') that aliens are best addressed with musical arpeggios. No, if we want to broadcast a message from Earth, I propose that we just feed the Google servers into the transmitter. Send the aliens the World Wide Web. It would take half a year or less to transmit this in the microwave; using infrared lasers shortens the broadcast time to no more than two days."

Actually, I have in mind something a little more ambitious: Send a human. Not a flesh-and-blood human, but the uncensored digitized contents of a real-life human brain, along with a primer explaining how to assemble it in a machine substrate. (Of course, it might be a good idea to be careful who you send.)

In any case, it's nice to see Seth actually stretching his brain muscles a little. You have to start somewhere.

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