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Space Science

United Nations Names Ambassador To Aliens 306

Shag writes "Although searches for extraterrestrial intelligence have thus far come up empty-handed, the United Nations appears to be preparing for eventual 'first contact.' Many media outlets are carrying the story that Mazlan Othman, a Malaysian astrophysicist who heads the UN's Office for Outer Space Affairs in Vienna — already charged with things like keeping track of satellites to prevent Kessler Syndrome and coordinating the international response to any earth-impacting asteroids — will be the first person to meet with aliens if they do show up." Update: 09/27 16:42 GMT by S : Looks like this one's too good to be true — in an email to The Guardian, Othman said, "It sounds really cool but I have to deny it."
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United Nations Names Ambassador To Aliens

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  • Re:No he won't (Score:3, Interesting)

    by js3 ( 319268 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @11:05AM (#33711450)

    When the Alien utters the phrase "TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER" we know where to send it to.

  • by js3 ( 319268 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @11:08AM (#33711502)

    Everyone assumes aliens will be far more technologically superior to us. If we happened on an Alien planet with prehistorical man, our UAVs still wouldn't be able to tell who their leader is.

  • Re:The wrong man (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 27, 2010 @11:32AM (#33711922)

    She should read(*) Solaris by Stanislaw Lem.

    (*) Yes, read the book - the movies (except the one by Boris Nirnburg from 1968) have little to do with what the book is about.

  • Ok question: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kenp2002 ( 545495 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @11:37AM (#33711994) Homepage Journal

    Why would aliens intrinsiclly meet with humans?

    We are one of the smallest lifeforms by population. If the majority lifeform "rules" the planet it would strike me as odd that aliens would consider us the owners of the planet mearly by virtual of intelligence. If anything there is the possibility they would see us as an unfair blight of a minority species taking a vastly significant share of real estate from the bulk of lifeforms. They might go so far as to cull the herd to ensure the bulk of the lifeforms have a porportional access to Earth. Since we are less then 1% of the lifeforms on Earth, why assume we would get much of a say.

    As much as I disliked the Day the Earth Stood Still remake they make a great point. Bate's character says "It's our planet, we own it" in which Neo... err I mean Klatus bluntly states, "uhhh no."

    If I were an intelligent alien, I would abduct humans and try and find a way to make them less destructive to an environment they are a marginal, by % of life, participant in. Or at the very least greatly restrict their ability to breed.

    It would stike me as more intelligent to survey the bulk of lifeforms and find out what the majority needs to continue to survive. While not intelligent I would expect an ambassador for "those that cannot speak for themselves" to have been appointed who subsequently surveys the ecosystem as a whole.

    It is hard to claim Earth has human-kind's personal planet when A: We don't manage it very well and B: are a tiny fraction of the population.

    Intelligence doesn't confer ownership, it mandates responsibility in which by and large we have done a poor job so far.

  • by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Monday September 27, 2010 @11:51AM (#33712302)

    Only two choices. Either they have the technology and cultural stability to make a multi-thousand year journey in an arkship or they have the AI to create a self repairing, self directing, maybe even self reproducing probe (and all of those take quite a bit of problem analysis and creativity). Either way, they should have the patience and ability to wait around a few centuries or even millenia to learn all about our culture, politics, and languages. The former would actually be more mind blowing in my opinion; could you imagine putting humans on a hollowed out asteroid for 50k years and expecting them to be alive at the end of it? The idea of an intelligent machine is much less interesting to me than a race that can live in a tiny enclosed space with limited resources for thousands of years without killing each other in the process.

    Besides, I dispute that our UAVs wouldn't be able to determine who is the leader, because the systems that comprise our UAVs includes several humans in the loop. Everyone from the pilot to the intelligence analyst to the commanding officer would review the images for clues. It stands to reason that any completely autonomous UAV (which ours are not) would need to have a similar level of intelligence and problem solving abilities.

  • Re:Do they know (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Teancum ( 67324 ) <robert_horning AT netzero DOT net> on Monday September 27, 2010 @11:57AM (#33712412) Homepage Journal

    So I suppose Cheyenne Mountain really has a stargate and some other one is in the middle of Siberia where the IOA has finally decided to "go public" and at least appoint a red shirt extra that is going to head off in an official capacity to negotiate the peace treaty terms with the Goa'uld System Lords. If the war in Afghanistan is merely to mask the huge expenses for fighting an interstellar war conducted by NATO members, perhaps this world is finally beginning to make sense.

    Seriously, of all of the hairbrained and stupid things that the UN has ever done in all of the years I've been alive, this has got to be one of the most insane bureaucracies to do nothing that I have ever seen. If or when mankind starts to wander around in the greater part of this galaxy, and presuming that some other sentient life form with advanced weapon technology happens to also be "out there" that could be a genuine threat to the Earth is found, and presuming that those "aliens" happen to be at roughly similar levels of develop as we will be when that encounter happens, perhaps an office like this will be needed.

    If the aliens we discover happen to be "human-like" but are at a stone age level of technology, it will be trivial to deal with them and certainly they will be no threat. If on the other hand they are hugely more advanced and somehow have hyper drive technology but we are puttzing around the Galaxy in Bussard ram-jets.... we'll simply get wiped out except for the benevolence of this supposed alien race. Either way, an ambassador is not going to be needed. BTW, encountering an alien race with either kind of situation I mention here would still be considered "close" in terms of evolutionary development from a larger universal time perspective. We would be lucky to encounter multi-cellular life forms of any kind or a non-corporeal life form where the technological differences would be absolutely moot. I bet most "habitable worlds" with life are mostly a variation of bacterial sludge and algae.

    That doesn't make for exciting science fiction, but having an astronaut spend a 50 year trip between stars to investigate a planet with water oceans only to discover a bunch of slime covering rocks and getting sick from some critter on that world is about the most drama I expect mankind to ever find with aliens in the next couple of millennia... if only we would be so lucky to even find such life forms in the first place.

    Time is going to be on our side regardless and we will likely have months or even years to appoint such a representative if an ambassador of this nature is ever encountered. It sounds like some idiot has been watching too many Science Fiction movies and can't distinguish reality from fiction. This is an absolutely stupid thing for any planner and it is by far and away more important to send an ambassador to Sealand or one of the other micronations on the behalf of the UN rather than preparing for something like this.

It's fabulous! We haven't seen anything like it in the last half an hour! -- Macy's