A recent essay has caught my attention. I say this in a very precise an intellectual fashion, in a way that highlights the fact that I read essays often, especially the dull and text heavy door-stop type that we all love to browse through on lonely Sunday afternoons or when bouts of constipation arrive. This is of course wrong. I haven’t got the attention span to read essays, I barely have the self-discipline to write them, a problematic disease, as I’m currently doing my HSC, where writing essays is required.
Nevertheless, I came across an essay on line. It was about aliens. It was semi-interesting. Apparently those boffins, who are most likely balding, wearing white coats, thick-rimmed glasses and of Central European extraction have been contemplating our relationships with ETIs. For all you spunky noobs out there who haven’t got my uncanny grasp of deciphering acronyms, that means Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. Apparently, when looking back on native people’s experiences with powerful, foreign and advanced civilisations, especially in the New World, they’ve come to the conclusion that “First Contact” may not be all flashing lights, bad synth and flying bicycles. It may actually involve disease, genocide and cultural assimilation. Compare ET to Independence Day.
There are three groups of outcomes. Positive, neutral and negative.
Positive: They share the benefits of technology with us, open our minds up to new ideas, and we go off, hand in grey skinned hand into a bright future of love, tolerance and sustainability. Beautiful.
Neutral: They pop in to say hi, or give us the equivalent of an interplanetary “whats doin?”. Wow, we declare, aliens! Who’d a thunk it. Life goes on as normal. They may also become a mild nuisance, spamming our airwaves, or sticking around a la District 9, bloodsucking off our bloated socialist welfare systems and contributing to violent crime and culture degeneration. They could also steal our jobs. Damn foreigners.
Negative: They drop by, with nice intentions, then accidentally release lethal microbes that wipe out all sentient life. Whoops. The other scenario being that they see us as a threat and commit planetary genocide in a brutal war a la Independence Day or War of the Worlds (French and Italics are so chic aren’t they?). They might also decide to hunt us for shits and gigs, making our planet a game reserve, or farm us for a new range of exotic meat snackbars. Mmm… Get some human in you!
So, as organisations like SETI and NASA broadcast information concerning our anatomy, biology, systems of government and languages into the void in high detail, please wonder, though not for too long, what harm that information could do if it fell into the wrong tentacles.
Read the Essay in PDF form here: http://arxiv.org/abs/1104.4462