We finally receive a message from space indicating intelligence. Do we respond? S. Hawking says no.

I’ve always assumed that if the human race got a message from outer space indicating intelligence we would respond and try to communicate. Noted astrophysicist Stephen Hawking apparently says “not so fast”.

Would it be more prudent to keep mum or answer the message? Is it too risky?

I agree, and along those same lines we shouldn’t be trying to indiscriminately advertise our presence to the universe either. Carl Sagan was famous for stating that any advanced civilization had to be benevolent (or at least benign), but I can’t see any reason why The Borg, a Berserker, the Star Wars Empire, or Species 8472 couldn’t exist. You don’t want to walk up to such creatures and state, “Will you be my friend?”

I agree with Hawking, replying would be dangerous and foolish. However, we’d do it anyway, in less than an hour if possible.
Humans couldn’t withstand the temptation and most of us are naive enough to think we’d survive contact, if not actually control the circumstances.

I didn’t think he was saying we shouldn’t respond or try to make contact. I think he was just pointing out an obvious but little-discussed risk. People being people, I think we’d respond to a communication like this and I think that’s what we should do. Of course, if we received a communication like that, there’s no reason to believe we would need to RSVP. An advanced spacefaring race would be able to figure out on its own that we’re here.

This is one proposed answer to the Fermi Paradox. It is too dangerous to communicate.

Now, if aliens just show up one day, it’s too late to ponder whether we should communicate with them or not. We can’t exactly pretend we aren’t here.

If we receive a communication from 100,000 ly away, we’ll have plenty of time to debate our possible response. We also don’t have the capability to send a signal that far even if we wanted to and even if we did, it’d take another 100K years to get there.

And then another 100,000 years for them to reply to that and considerably longer if they wanted to deliver the response in person.

Contact with formerly unknown peoples (beings) can be messy, but possibly necessary. I guess it’s all about controlling the interaction.

And maybe the choice to respond depends on what their first message says. “Greetings Earthlings, we come in peace” = not so bad.

“Greetings Earthlings, if you are intelligent enough to understand this message, there may be a place for you in our slave corps mining calcite on Epsilon 5” = think twice before responding.

But would you **honestly **trust a message that said that? :dubious:
The only solution is to find the aliens homeland, spy on it until we know we are capable of defeating them in combat, and THEN send our own message of “Greetings, we Earthlings come in peace.” :cool:

Disagree with Hawking on this one, and most of the posters on this thread.

I do feel that advanced civilisations would probably not be hostile. It would take a lot of cooperation to get to interstellar space travel and bear in mind such a species would probably have come across nuclear energies centuries before.

Also, “earth’s bountiful resources” is a sci-fi cliche. Just what is so valuable about earth to an interstellar species?
“I hope we make it to a tiny planet with a fossil hydrocarbon layer soon…we’re almost out of gas!
I wish we’d invented hydrogen fuel cells for our spaceships…we’ve passed thousands of cubic light years of hydrogen…”

The only thing of interest on earth is at most the study of our flora and fauna and human culture.

You can’t?
e.g. the borg…a collective mind, yet somehow the collective will becomes Assimilate, in contrast to the minds of which it’s composed. Why?
Considering how dumb the individuals act, how do they create complex and creative new technologies (it’s not purely assimilation; they develop their own technology)?
And more importantly, what is the basis for their “adapting” (which would require intelligence to happen as it does in the series)?

And these questions are aimed at their motivations and how their society works, not technological issues.

I could write a similar paragraph about all your examples. None of them are completely consistent, plausible societies.

Of course, we can’t know what extraterrestrial intelligences may be like. But to assume that they’ll steal our jobs and women seems absurd to me.

If we were to find a new continent tomorrow, with it’s own native human population, I doubt we’d handle things the same way today.
So already things are different, just a few hundred years later and without changes to our genetics.

I would think an “intelligent” race of people from another planet would take one look at us and think, “blow them up!”
I mean, what have we got to offer - a history of wars, ruining the planet we live on - I don’t see much that we have to offer.
Could be they have known about us for longer than we have imagined and have simply kept their eye on us to see how fast we kill ourselves off.
Besides - I think we are too stupid to even realize we have been contacted.
As someone, somewhere, commented - if we can’t even talk to other species on this earth, what makes you possibly think you could understand a smarter species elsewhere, unless they felt the need to communicate with you?

So unless they are in desperate need of pollution and carbon dioxide, I doubt any “intelligent” species is headed this way soon. Think about visiting your alcoholic brother-in-law in his double-wide trailer down by the dump. Any hurry to visit?

Yeah, humans are way too violent, we must kill them, kill them all!

For them it would be more like visiting a baby than a brother in law. And a baby that will likely look nothing like any they’ve seen before.
They might wanna come see.

I agree, I couldn’t imagine a species more hostile than us, surviving long enough to make such advancements in technology to be able to reach us. Imagine if we today had the technology to travel to a distant solar system to visit a planet full of mentally handicapped aliens* , I don’t think we’d be hostile towards them. (I hope)
*I mean Aliens being smarter than us, were are the ‘mentally handicapped aliens’.

There’s no FTL travel - even if they’re close enough for some kind of two-way communication (say, <10 LY), that still doesn’t place them close enough to visit us.

Conversely, if they’re close enough to visit us (which would have to mean they’re already en route, IMO, and nearly here anyway), then our lack of specific response would not hide our presence.

We have demonstrated a . . . small . . . talent for war.

Bwahahahaha! The best new answer to the Fermi Paradox.

“Thank you for calling Earth. All our operators are busy at the moment but your call is important to us. Please stay on the line and your call will be answered in the order in which it was received.”

"merengue and do the cha-cha
And while she tried to be a star, Tony always tended bar
Across a crowded floor, they worked from 8 till 4
They were young an

“Thank you for waiting. Your call is important to us. An operator will be with you as soon as possible.”

"lled her over
But Rico went a bit too far, Tony sailed across the bar
And then the punches flew and chairs were smashed in two
There was blood and a sin

“Thank you for waiting. Your call is important to us. An operator will be with you as soon as possible.”

If you move in to a new house and it’s infested with rats, you’re going to try and eradicate them regardless of whether or not they squeak at you.

I agree 100% with John DiFool, John Carter of Mars and DMark.

I say respond with a purile joke. “Attention visitors: humans apologize for coming across you, and we promise to clean it up.”

…that we have conceived of.

If there are aliens and they have been watching us, why would they want to contact a species that still believes in unprovable gods and is willing to kill each other over them?