Filed under: Connections, General Musings, NASA, Predictions, Science, Science Fiction, SETI, Space | Tags: Anthropology, Archaeology, blogging, Communion of Dreams, Douglas A. Vakoch, jim downey, NASA, Open Culture, predictions, science, Science Fiction, SETI, space
From Chapter 1 of Communion of Dreams:
“I’ve had my expert do a preliminary search through the old NASA archives. I recalled that they had protocols for dealing with such possible situations, and I doubt that anyone else has really thought much about it since the turn of the century.
“In addition to Don’s field team, the preliminary search suggests that another component should be theoretical, a mix of disciplines so that we can get as broad a spectrum of experience and mind-set as possible. Probably we should have an expert in computer technology. A cultural anthropologist. Someone with a background in game theory and communication strategy. An artist or two. We’ll see if a more thorough survey of the NASA material has any good suggestions beyond that. I’ll get to work identifying appropriate individuals.”
Well, guess what news was announced last week:
During the past few years, NASA has released a series of free ebooks, including NASA Earth As Art and various interactive texts focusing on the Webb and Hubble space telescopes. Last week, they added a new, curious book to the collection, Archaeology, Anthropology, and Interstellar Communication. Edited by Douglas A. Vakoch (the Director of Interstellar Message Composition at the SETI Institute), the text contemplates how we’ll go about “establishing meaningful communication with an extraterrestrial intelligence.” The scholars contributing to the volume “grappl[e] with some of the enormous challenges that will face humanity if an information-rich signal emanating from another world is detected.” And to make sure that we’re “prepared for contact with an extraterrestrial civilization, should that day ever come,” they draw on “issues at the core of contemporary archaeology and anthropology.” Why archaeology and anthropology? Because, says Vackoch, communication with intelligent life probably won’t be through sound, but through images. We will need to read/understand the civilization we encounter based on what we observe.
Heh. I love seeing this stuff happen.
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