Would space aliens be good or bad? Why?

A curious hypothetical of mine.

If space aliens were to find our little blue planet do you think they would be “good” as in; cure all cancer, solve the worlds energy resources problems, etc…

Or would they be “bad” as in humans will make great pets kind of bad?

Why do you think they would be good or bad?
Myself, I think they would be good. The optimist in me wants to believe a highly evolved species got to be that way because they understand the benefits of working together for a common goal and just being good to each other.
(Also I promise I’m not under the influence of any drug right now. I not sure if that’s a goo or a bad thing! :smiley: )

I think they’d be indifferent to us. By the time a species reaches the point of interstellar travel, it’ll have improved itself to the point that’s we’ll just be a bunch of insects in comparison. At most, of minor scientific interest.

On the side of the Superior, what could possibly bring you to GIVE all manner of technology to some alien species you just encountered? Odds are they won’t be some Star Trek “Humans with forehead plaster” English speaking aliens. They’ll be freaking ALIEN aliens with whom we will have very little in common and thus, mutual understanding will be very difficult. Giving an incomprehensible alien potential rival species any of your technological advantage would be incredibly stupid.

On the other side of the coin, there would be a very simple, very good reason for something akin to “The Prime Directive”.

What would be the effect on our planet if ALL of our technology, all of our knowledge, was completely obsolete overnight? Chaos. Total Economic Collapse. Why invest a dime in current technologies? Why buy current anything? There would be riots in the street and massive political chaos, and that’s not even considering the religious and philosophical problems.

At best, one might consider giving some minor technical pointers and beneficial technology in exchange for certain considerations, ideas and possibly some minor resources (remember, anything we might have on Earth can be found in space, so they don’t need to come here for Water, Gold or anything like that.)

Unless of course they are locked in a war or rivalry with another spacefaring power, in which case all bets are off. We could be anything from Spoils of War, to Potential Allies, to “Kill them before they too become a problem”.

Given that the aliens could have an almost incomprehensively advanced technology, what they want and need could be completely outside of our considerations. For example, the aliens are AIs living inside computers; so they convert our solar system into “computronium”. But since we’re a new and interesting source of information they kindly digitize us all and reserve enough memory and processing power for our current needs x1000.

Why have space aliens at all?

In the entire Universe (Universes, Multiverses, etc.) some civilization has to be the very first one to arise and evolve. Maybe thats humankind, right here on planet Earth.

Its all got to start somewhere.

The space aliens are humans 500 years from the future when they learned how to time travel :smiley: Then they will announce the world to stop building nukes because we’ll destroy ourselves… and that computer screens cause cancer. :dubious:

I expect they would taste like chicken, so ‘good’, I guess.

A lot of it depends on whether the visitors are, say, a small team of intrepid scientists/explorers, or a big civilisation for whom interstellar travel is a casual thing - if the former, then they might have a really tough time making sense of everything and wouldn’t be in a position to impose, if the latter, I guess they’d just do whatever they want - if this happens to include some kind of respect for existing cultures then yay humans, otherwise we’re going to have a hard time not tearing ourselves to pieces adapting to whatever they want.

If they are superior to us, they may treat us like we treat animals.

It would depend on why they are visiting us - whatever motivated that would be key to how they’d treat us. Just passing by would be an unlikely reason to provide any assistance to our foolishly spiralling civilisation. More likely they’d dismiss us as a nuisance.

I would have thought that even just them showing up would be enormously beneficial. If they don’t just materialise in orbit, the starry-gazy types would probably have had a brief chance to watch them coming in, and get a few pointers as to what tech they were using. Even if they DID just materialise, it would give Mr Hawking some pretty interesting things to think about.
Either way it would confirm whether certain things are possible, and start people off on the ‘how did they do that? I wonder if we could do that too’ road.

Plus which there would be enormous benefits to global society as we put aside our minor differences in order to unite in fear and loathing of some REAL foreigners :smiley:

Probably a bit of both… just like we are, both individually and collectively.

And this would probably hold for both our and their values of “good” and “bad” (which will no doubt differ considerably!)

My thoughts exactly. It’s kinda humbling to think that in the grand scheme of things, we may be little more advanced than the primordial ooze.

I remember reading (or viewing) somewhere that a civilization capable of producing colony ships that can travel at one-half the speed of light could colonize the entire galaxy in only a few million years. Given the time scale we’re dealing with, it’s highly unlikely that there is another civilization in this galaxy that would want to visit us but hasn’t yet gotten around to it.

That aside, I recall reading (in the Heroes Unlimited sourcebook Aliens Unlimited) about a fictional race that, upon meeting a new, less advanced (but industrialized) race, would build a shopping mall in orbit around the planet, with shuttle to said mall available at major airports. They would sell computers, medicines, exotic foods, alien art, and all sorts of sundry goods to the less advanced people.

Of course I can’t think of many things that an interstellar race would want from us in trade. Even manual labor could eventually be rendered obsolete by high-tech machinery. Perhaps they would enjoy our artistic accomplishments if they were at least vaguely like us.

Why wouldn’t aliens be humanoid? If the atmosphere here is the only kind that can sustain cmoplex life forms…then wouldn’t evolution on other planets like ours take a similar tack? I mean what kind of alien life would come from a primordial soup in a liquid methane environment? Or some other such hostile enclave?

It’s possible that alien lifeforms would be kinda humanoid - that is, having a head, some sort of face, some kind of legs and some kind of manipulating limbs…

…except that could just as easily be a description of a lobster as a human.

I think there probably are such things as more and less likely solutions to challenges that exist elsewhere as well as on Earth - but a quick look at the diversity of forms we have just here on Earth doesn’t reassure me that the one that happens to luck its way to the top of the pile elsewhere need necessarily be like humans.

In fact, that could work to our distinct disadvantage - suppose the aliens (who look, say, sort of like big lobsters) have something that sort of resembles primates on their planet, but they use them for food…

I have to imagine that a species advanced enough to travel to other planets would probably be motivated by the same reasons we would be motivated to do so. And if humans ever colonize other worlds, my guess is that we’ll be doing so because we’ve befouled, overpopulated and depleted this one to the point that we have no other choice.

For a bit of a cop out answer, think of how WE would behave towards another sentient species if we landed on their planet and they had no means to get spaceborn. If history is any guide, not very kindly.

Why are they travelling accross space? They are either on an expansionist boon collecting everything they can from wherever they land, or they are beyond physical needs and just travel for the fun of it.

On the first scenario, we would be beasts of burden and slaves. On the second, we are collectibles.

I think that with the benefit of that hindsight, we might actually do it quite well now.

“If the atmosphere here is the only kind…” what makes you think that’s true? Sure, it might be, but you don’t really have any evidence for that, do you? We don’t know of any others, but that doesn’t mean they don’t or can’t exist.

Do they wear bibs with pictures of primates on them?

Possibly, as well as convincing themselves that the primates don’t feel a thing when plunged into boiling water - the screaming sound is just air escaping from their lungs.

I think it’s a way to tell more about the person answering the question than the likely motives of visitors. Even if they were from some kind of parallel-Earth, I still couldn’t come up with a good guess. Look what we (European ancestors) did to the Americas, and compare that to what a Canadian would do today. I suspect the PRC wouldn’t be as kind after spending billions to find another planet as the EU would.

Aliens, I think, would either be after resources, allies, or knowledge/adventure. The last two would maybe be “good” while the first might be “bad”, depending on what they were after and if they had a society that recognized fair trade. A hive mentality wouldn’t probably hesitate to take what they wanted and leave us, but an evolved pack predator might.
A scientific mission would probably be neutral at first, but eventually the basic “morality” of the race would overcome the pure science and we’d either be launched to the stars on the backs of our new partners, or oppressed.

Boskone or Galactic Patrol?