Would Contact with Extraterrestrials Benefit or Harm Humanity? A Scenario Analysis.
The study presents a range of positive, neutral and negative scenarios related to contact with some form of extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI).
One scientist works for the NASA Planetary Science Division, while the other two are affiliated with Pennsylvania State University.
I’m not a scientist, so I won’t pretend to assess the scientific value of their work or analyses. Several points prompted some logical questions.
As part of the analysis, the authors introduce the concept of a Galactic Club, similar to “the ‘United Federation of Planets’ of Star Trek fame.”
In fact, throughout the study, the authors repeatedly refer to science fiction TV programs, movies, books and authors. There are at least 11 such references, or one every 2.5 pages in 28 pages of content.
I'm a big fan of science fiction in all its forms. It's curious and a bit concerning, however, that sci-fi scenarios are such a strong presence throughout this report.
Portions of the study deal with communication issues. The report asserts, perhaps ETIs "will initiate friendly contact when we begin a long-term [messaging] program or when we start conversing with an intelligent space probe.”
Wait. Can one “converse" with a space probe? How does that work? Would one want to? Let’s face it, it sounds risky, painful or both. (Step away from the space probe. Put your tentacles where I can see them …)
Finally, climate warming, it seems, can be fatal on many levels, and aliens might actually be "green." In one scenario, the authors hypothesize aliens preemptively destroy Earth. Why? Because “ecosystem-valuing universalist ETI may observe humanity’s ecological destructive tendencies and wipe humanity out in order to preserve the Earth system as a whole.”
The mind boggles. Businesses large and small continue to wrestle with a stagnant economy. War rages across the planet. Poverty, famine and cancer remain uncured.
Meanwhile, three scientists have the time, motivation and funding to climb into the Galactic Club treehouse, crank up the Doobie Brothers, indulge in way-too-much sci-fi media and discover “green” aliens.
The Guardian: Aliens may destroy humanity to protect other civilisations, say scientists