Key takeaways

  • Scientists at the SETI Post-Detection Hub are planning for potential contact with intelligent aliens.
  • They warn that humanity is currently unprepared for such an event, drawing parallels to our response to COVID-19.
  • Coordination at the hub aims to establish global strategies and protocols for an organized response.
  • Despite concerns, some scientists see alien contact as a unique opportunity for humanity.
  • The debate continues on whether revealing our existence to potential extraterrestrials is wise.

Chicken Run

Scientists at the recently launched SETI Post-Detection Hub at the University of St Andrews in Scotland have a big task: determining what to do if humans ever make contact with an intelligent alien culture.

They warn that if aliens contact us tomorrow, humans will be terribly unprepared, which must alter as quickly as possible.

“Look at the mess we made when COVID hit,” John Elliott, a computational linguist at the University of St Andrews and the Post-Detection Hub’s coordinator, told The Guardian. “We’d be like headless chickens.”

“We cannot afford to be ill-prepared, scientifically, socially, and politically rudderless,” said the president, “for an event that could happen at any time and which we cannot afford to mismanage.”

Link Up

Elliott and co. are looking beyond our attempts to survey the skies for alien signals and wondering what comes next.

At the Post-Detection Hub, he’ll be responsible for coordinating an international and united reaction to any prospective extraterrestrial encounter, which will necessitate a massive amount of paperwork and bureaucracy.

“We need strategies and scenarios in place to understand what we need to do and how to do it,” according to him.

Elliott, unlike many of his contemporaries, is not frightened for mankind to react to the summons of an alien society. That subject alone has sparked heated debate among specialists, with many saying that giving out our location may lead to calamity.

“It’s such an opportunity to link up, if there’s another intelligence out there, which all the indications are that there must be,” Elliott explained to The Guardian.

“If we have the opportunity, I don’t think we should miss it,” the politician said.

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