The 2000 Santa Clara Gathering
by Mary Reed
Allen Tough suggested three questions for discussion. Here are brief notes on what was said on each of these three topics, as well as a song composed by Paul Shuch for the occasion.
1. What are the likely characteristics of any ETI that has reached our planet?
We talked about a few different ideas. ETI might be a cloud that we do not recognize as ETI. ETI might look like us! Possibly, ETI has sent a small surveillance device that is orbiting our planet or on our planet. It was even suggested that this device could be within our bodies!
2. Why has ETI not yet begun a dialogue with humankind?
The Star Trek "Prime Directive" rule was brought up, where advanced civilizations do not interfere with primitive cultures. The alternative futures idea was discussed: ETI is not interfering with us because they do not want to divert us from the future that we would attain on our own. If ETI had reached a certain level of advancement and they contacted us, we might then only advance as far as them. If left alone, we might advance to a higher degree. We also discussed the possibility that dialogue has been attempted, we just don't understand the message, or even that there is one. It is also possible that ETI just isn't interested in us! For all we know, ETI is already having a conversation with some other life form.
3. How might we achieve such a dialogue?
The first order of business in achieving a dialogue with ETI is to find evidence of it. We talked about searching the planet and solar system for evidence of ETI. We discussed the advantages of thinking small instead of looking for large evidence. It was suggested that possibly ETI would leave evidence in the form of something extremely small that could withstand the ravages of climate and the passage of time. On the large scale, we need to look for evidence of ETI with tools that scan different frequencies. We discussed looking for evidence on the moon, asteroids, planets and other objects in our solar system. On a smaller scale, it was suggested that we search everyone and each nook and cranny with a "fine-tooth comb" looking for possible nano-technology that might be alien. We decided that the best way to achieve a dialog with ETI is through the Internet, and that the Invitation to ETI web page is a great start!
4. Welcome, ETI
Paul Shuch kindly composed and (with his guitar, of course) sang a song for this occasion. Follow this Link to Paul's lyrics.
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This page last updated 14 November 2004
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