Feb 052013

It warms my heart to find a human being who has surpassed my own assumptions about intelligent life in the universe and our obligations to it. It’s even nicer to find that human has already found like-minded humans and formed an organization with goals that make perfect sense to me. Looks like I have some catching up to do. A Rational for METI – Alexander L. Zaitsev.

I’ve always found it arrogant to consider that we are the only form of intelligent life in the cosmos given the evidence that:

A) Self-described “intelligent life” exists in at least one known finite space-time.

B) Space-time is infinite.

The SETI Institute has been searching for extraterrestrial signals since 1984 and I have always been highly supportive and interested in their efforts. METI seems to make the assumption that extraterrestrial life does exists and searching for it is less important that taking action to support and encourage intelligent life wherever it arises. Essentially the purpose of METI is to aide and expedite any extraterrestrial SETI that may be as isolated and overwhelmed by the vastness and hostility of the universe as we are.

In my mind METI is the ultimate act of altruism of intelligent life and civilization. The Message to Extraterrestrial Intelligence is essentially the gift of knowledge to another intelligence that “You are not alone.”

METI also argues that isolation of intelligent life can lead to its extinction and so reaching out into the universe to seek mirrors of our our existence is truly the only way to safeguard it.

This all makes absolute and perfect sense to me.

Thank you Mr. Zaitsev. I am humbled and grateful for your ideas. You’re a credit to the species (and I’m finding fewer and fewer opportunities to offer that compliment).


  2 Responses to “The difference between SETI and METI”

  1. It is interesting that this article actually addresses the one concern I would have guessed it would shy away from; whether ETs are benevolent or not (this argument is specifically named in the article as “alien invasion”).

    The article says the DANGER of METI is pseudo-scientific. Well of course it is, but so is the SAFETY of METI. We don’t have and data on ETs (thus we can’t draw inferences and scientific reasoning is inferential) so every single bit of it is pseudoscientific. Not that that has to be bad, but seriously, don’t throw stones if you live in glass houses.

    • We have plenty of data on physics and we can assume safely that, at least in this universe, all E.T.s will exist within the same framework of physics.
      Any E.T. ‘invasion’ must overcome the same obstacles of time and distance that constrain us, and there would be no reward for such an endeavor.
      The cosmological principle is hard to argue against, so why would any species fly light-years away from their origin to gather resources that are readily available to them locally?
      Perhaps the resource they’re after is less tangible; knowledge or something like that?
      Well then they would have to be pretty stupid to risk destroying or contaminating the source of the knowledge they seek.
      So unless space-faring aliens are also stupid aliens, detection technologies will be used in favor of travel and ‘invasion’.
      Well what if their just bloodthirsty killers and want us dead because we’re alive? Only a human being would think that motive had any validity.
      I’m just not entertaining the blood-thirsty alien theory… anyone who thinks that could be a viable motive for the actions of a sentient species isn’t really as sentient as they think they are and are not likely to contribute much to their species space-faring capabilities.

      Of course I can’t figure all the motives of a species I’ve never met, but I can apply some of our physical and technological requirements to their potential to mount an invasion.

      Take us for instance, the only space-faring species we know about…
      Our detection technologies are about 10,000 light years ahead of our propulsion and life-support technologies. It’s pretty safe to assume that detection tech will always precede transport due to the fact that precise telemetry is a necessary prerequisite for space travel of any kind, and acquiring telemetry requires advanced detection capabilities.
      So any species with the technology to mount any kind of invasion does not need to wait around for us to ‘announce’ ourselves, we’re very easy to detect, not to mention we’ve been announcing ourselves regularly for over a century.

      So if you really think METI is dangerous- you should turn off your cell phone and start working on some kind of global all-frequency jamming technology because the rest of the world is sending mindless METI’s all day every day.
      This METI project is just a call to make our messages a little more concise.

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