Monday, September 17, 2007

How to prepare for alien invasion

Taylor and Boan started thinking about how to respond to an aggressive extraterrestrial attack during a 2001 discussion about defending against terrorist attacks.

"One thing that popped into my mind was that the only way Americans would be in an asymmetric war on the other side would be if we were attacked by aliens. Everyone chuckled, but then after a minute the comments started setting in," Taylor said.

"Then we really got to talking about it and we thought, well, you know, we really might need this contingency plan anyway."

(Via The Anomalist.)

This is, of course, a great source for speculation. But it assumes -- as do all remotely mainstream treatises on alien visitation -- that the ETs have yet to get here. While this may be the case, I certainly wouldn't bet my life on it.

Assuming for sake of argument that they are here, why haven't we been thoroughly demolished? The abduction mythos suggests that "they" are here for our DNA, in which case we constitute a valuable natural resource. Of course, this forces us to wonder why an extrasolar species would have any interest in a molecule that many scientists consider unique to this planet. Initially, at least, it seems implausible that ETs would have any practical use for human genetic material. Then again, given the sheer novelty of our biological heritage, is it excessively arrogant to consider ourselves worthy of prolonged ET scrutiny?

And don't get me started on the motives of possible cryptoterrestrials . . .


Anonymous said...

I think it's more of an issue of genetic novelty. Take anything which requires millions or billions of years to evolve into a viable living system and you have reason to study it.

It's quite possible that each planet evolves life under it's own unique rules. Assuming that's the case, any ET visitor would surely be interested in this aspect of Humanity. In fact, they'd be pretty ignorant to avoid that arm of research whether they be explorers, resource warlords or genetic mixers. If it was us coming down here we would do all kinds of nasty things to the locals before taking further steps (whatever those steps may be).

If ET is already here then abduction stories and an interest in our biology makes perfect sense to me. I think that aspect is really just surface level interaction. Our scared monkey brains focus on that aspect of abduction primarily.

I truly believe that in order for any species to survive beyond a certain level of development, war mentalities must be eradicated. Maybe in the extremely rare case a warlike species survives beyond that curve with their bloodlust intact but the ones visiting us likely don't follow those rules.


Mac said...

Take anything which requires millions or billions of years to evolve into a viable living system and you have reason to study it.

I agree.

Derek C. F. Pegritz said...

Here's how an authentic "alien invasion" would happen:

First, a few Galilean satellites and volatile- and/or metal-rich Outer System moons would mysteriously start showing signs of inexplicable vulcanism. Once the Hubble or some such telescope with decent enough resolution was trained on some of these anomalous moons, it would quickly become noticeable that the moons were being strippedmined by fairly advanced machines. Within days, they would be gone, all of their material converted into other assemblers that would then begin setting up magnetic vanes in Jupiter's radiation belt to start sucking up energy.

Meanwhile, Mercy would vanish--a victim of the same procedure. The remnants of Mercury would be converted in solar collectors that would send energy as microwave laser shots to the Jovian system. Once the "invader" set-up has progressed to this point, enough energy and/or material will be available to start building massive amounts of nano- and macro-scale disassemblers...which would then proceed inward first to the asteroid belt to clean up all those nice heavy metals and carbonaceous chondrites, and then it would be Mars' turn. No doubt, Venus would also be prepared for disassembly at this time, but considering the heat, and the corrosive atmosphere, some more engineering will need to be done to Venus--such as stripping the atmosphere--before proper disassembly can begin.

Elemental and molecular resources recovered from Mars and, eventually, Venus would be then shipped to congregate at either Jupiter or, perhaps, a point closer to the Sun--either place would work, considering the Jovian system and the Sun are both adequate sources of energy for "invaders."

Once all the necessary building blocks have been collected, mass conversion of raw elemental/molecular stock into computronium would begin. Now the main software beamed toward the Solar System via microwave laser would begin to be decoded and installed into the hardware as it is produced. A computronium ring around Jupiter would be potent enough to run quite a few post-Singular intelligences, which could then decide whether to strip mine the outer planets and Kuiper Belt for further materials, or to merely make this location in the Galactic Net an observation locale.

There is a planet with an indigenous pre-Singular sentient species on it in the same system. Perhaps it should be studied and observed; perhaps, even, the sentients should be encouraged to go post-biological and absorbed into the computronium computing spaces of the Galactic Net.

Or, perhaps, the natives will just prove too annoying and they, too, will be disassembled for more computronium production. Myself, I favor this approach. Useless carbon-based, chemical-brains on that third planet might be a rare thing in this Galaxy, but really...who cares? Sure, they have the very rudiments of nonorganic sentience already in place and under development...but look how they act amongst themselves? Goddamned ruffians. Better to pick a few for permanent observation, translate them, and simply recycled the remainder.

In either scenario, "preparing" for invasion is useless. When a post-Singular metaspecies decides to come expanding into our Solar System, there won't be squat we planet-bound monkeys will be able to do to deal with them except for possibly to beg for their forebearance and ply their good natures.

Anonymous said...

I sort of envision an alien invasion as starting off in the most subtle and gentle way imaginable.

Picture a handful of microscopic nano-bot molecules drifting down to earth from space, dispersing into the upper atmosphere and spreading out over a wide swath of land and sea. Eventually coming gently to rest, they suddenly activate and begin their devious work of latching onto nearby molecules to build an exact copy of themselves. Those copies each create more copies, etc.

Jumping ahead a few weeks, the little critters are enjoying the benefits of geometric progression and now number in the trillions upon trillions. The surface of our Earth, and everything on it, would be quickly consumed with no hope on our part of stopping it. Atomic blasts would simply disperse any bots not anhiliated.

After a given number of generations, perhaps the bots would be instructed to eat each other and reduce themselves back to generic inert molecules, or their programming would switch to "terraform" mode and they would start restructering the surface to cater to the ET's needs.

Now that I think about it, the whole thing sounds an awful lot like the Genesis device from Trek II. KHAN!!!! KHAN!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Alien invasions are so...last century. Seriouly, the meme or whatever you want to call it, has been done to death, don't you think? It doesn't even sound like "Taylor and Boan" even know this or are very familiar with the whole alien invasion motif in literature and movies, where it really has been done to death.

--W.M. Bear as Anon

Anonymous said...

The invasion already happened. Over, done with. What? You weren't watching? Ahhh....success!

No, really. To speculate on the nature of an alien invasion is just presumptuous.

Not knowing the nature, origin, purpose, timeframe, or other essential elements of any more likely to succeed "invasion"
(We from Zorg like to call it "integration"), how likely is it that a less intelligent species is probably going to detect, let alone be able to prevent or stop, such an "invasion?" if one of the primary goals of said invasion is to remain undetectable in order not to inspire reaction or conflict over same?

Asymmetical warfare sounds fine, but may be completely and utterly irrelevant as a means of confronting an "alien invasion." I would expect nothing less from a superior species.

And anything less, that would be obvious, just seems so counter-intuitive. We just might be able to counter something at or just above our own level of intelligence, but then how would they have gotten here and have that purpose in mind in the first place?

Sometimes I suspect we humans just like to have fun thinking of threats to our existence. As if we didn't have enough real ones, already!

Anonymous said...

"When a post-Singular metaspecies decides to come expanding into our Solar System, there won't be squat we planet-bound monkeys will be able to do..."

Eh. Maybe something like ethics or morals will be considered also by such advanced entities. Ya think?

OTOH, if a truly hostile, advanced alien species were to stage a real invasion, ala an "Independence Day" shoot-em-up (which, of course, is so ridiculously anthropocentric), the same advice pertains to that given in the event of a nuclear war:

1. Bend over
2. Kiss your ass gooodbye
3. =zzzzZAP!"