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The Impact of discovery of intelligent alien

dimarts , 5/03/2019

 TRANSCRIPT
What you just witnessed was the opening scene from the movie contactfor the last century we’ve been generating a bubble

that’s been expanding out wardly at the speed of light

we call this the Earth’s radio bubble or radio sphere

it is the means for an alien civilization within a hundred light-years to tune in

to jam to our tunes or to get an idea of pop culture on earth

what might they think of us

would they be amused or offended by our movies music and musings about them

with Zayn Malik and Lady Gaga be the faces of the human race

in my talk I’m going to speculate as to what might happen

if and when we encounter alien life

that’s vastly superior in intelligence to us

01:20

contact might happen in two ways:

one the aliens might announce their existence through radio communication

or two they may stop by our skies in their spaceships

either way the event will have a profound impact on the psyche of human beings

everywhere

this is what aliens have been depicted as in pop culture

ladies and gentlemen

let me assure you two arms two legs

fingers toes and noses Hollywood’s based its aliens on its directors

we need to expand our minds I because one thing’s for certain

television alien life will be nothing like anything we’ve ever imagined

and the last thing we want to do is greet them with a bewildered face

check out these bizarre and alien looking creatures

that exists right here on planet earth

these creatures call planet Earth home

just like us

they are carbon-based

just like us

they are made of DNA

just like us?

they breathe oxygen and need water to survive

just like us

02:28

now let’s consider creatures from a different planet altogether

they may not be carbon-based

they may not be made of DNA but of a different molecule altogether

they may not breathe oxygen and to them water may be poison

it’s nigh impossible to conceive of what such creatures would look like

let’s move on to consider the cultural political and theological implications of an encounter with alien life

as I’ve already established contact might happen in two ways

one the aliens may ring us up on the radio phone

or two they may drop by I’m going to be exclusively considering the more exciting option

an actual alien visitation many parallels can be drawn

between an alien force and the powerful Spanish Armada

when they arrived on the shores of South America guns blazing

with their massive ships germs and steel armory

if an alien force was to visit us

that would make their technology far superior to anything we have on earth

because in order to get here they would have to traverse the vast interstellar expenses

that separate us from other star system

politically the implications of an encounter with alien life

would be that our illusions of grandeur and self-importance would crumble

we would see ourselves for what we truly are

a young species on the shores of a vast ocean of knowledge

we would be forced to unite old alliances would become meaningless

the United Nations would take on new meaning

entirely new offices would have to be instituted at the governmental level

currently we have ministers of internal and external affairs

a new portfolio the ministry of cosmic affairs

we have to redefine what we mean

how would you negotiate with a being millions of years more advanced than you

culturally the impact would be profound

in the 17th century Galileo confirmed Copernicus of theory

conclusively proving that we orbit the Sun not the other way around

conclusively proving that we aren’t the center of the universe

the backlash to this idea is proof enough of how deeply it shook us up

04:59

even today many of our species hangs on to similarly narcissistic sentiments

about our place in the universe

how would our culture be affected by the arrival of a more dominant alien culture

we’re so concerned about immigration and the illusion of culture

what happened when our cities are flooded by citizens of another planet

what of passports and visas and immigration control

currently our music is heavily influenced by American pop culture

rap rock jazz blues hip, hip hop, soul, country

you name it America made it

what happens to this culture

when a more dominant cultures supersedes American influence

would reimburse it with the same wild abandon

teenagers in the 1950s embraced rock and roll

or would we shirk away in horror

like the parents of kids who listened to death metal

I imagine our reaction would be somewhere in between

perhaps we’d evolve some sort of alien human fusion funk

legally are thinking would be significantly impacted

by an encounter with alien life

we would have to re-evaluate what we mean by human rights

and legal personhood

currently rights aren’t just afforded to humans

corporations have entirely individual sets of Rights

and are recognized as individual bodies

a court in Argentina awarded certainly human rights to an orangutan

in the movie Avatar we see sentient beings like the Navi

who aren’t human but who here in this room would deny them human rights

we need to prepare ourselves to expand our notion of human

long as we’re on legal rights one of our patents and copyright

that regard so steel ously

our technology would be laughably primitive

in the face of alien innovation

scientifically and technologically we would have much to learn

while we change our toddlers diapers cosmic alien

toddlers could be doing the kinds of equations

Stephen Hawking has spent years mastering

what will this do to our ego as a species

one of our sense of self-worth

will we be able to cope with the realization that on a cosmic scale

we are but simpletons whose technology

is millions of years out of date

finally what impact will an alien encounter have

on our theological beliefs

all mainstream religions place humans at the centerpiece of creation

how would it impact our thinking if we realize that

we are but one species in a universe teeming with life

the possibility that there’s life out there is exciting

exhilarating and simply spine-tingling

but I’d like to leave you with an equally arresting thought

what if our universe is completely devoid of life

what if we are well and truly alone

but that’s a subject for another TED talk

 

[Applauses]