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Norpo

Representing earth; what should we give aliens if they show up?

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Earth, and as a whole humanity has a LOT of stuff. If aliens were to hypothetically arrive, and start a two-way communications link (exact details not important, just that it can send sufficient data for just about anything), we've made contact, and requested that we show them examples of human culture and Earth as a whole. What should be top priority to show them, whether that be books, music, films, or just about anything.

The Voyager Golden Record is a nice starting point, but keep in mind that they had limited space to work with, and they didn't know if the aliens were peaceful or not, let's assume these ones are, after all, they're communicating and not trying to harvest Earth for it's raw resources.

If you had to pick a select few things, such as books, pictures of landscapes, and music to show aliens examples of Earthling life and art both in the past and the present, what would you show them, and why?

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Earth, and as a whole humanity has a LOT of stuff. If aliens were to hypothetically arrive, and start a two-way communications link (exact details not important, just that it can send sufficient data for just about anything), we've made contact, and requested that we show them examples of human culture and Earth as a whole. What should be top priority to show them, whether that be books, music, films, or just about anything.

The Voyager Golden Record is a nice starting point, but keep in mind that they had limited space to work with, and they didn't know if the aliens were peaceful or not, let's assume these ones are, after all, they're communicating and not trying to harvest Earth for it's raw resources.

If you had to pick a select few things, such as books, pictures of landscapes, and music to show aliens examples of Earthling life and art both in the past and the present, what would you show them, and why?

Make sure you keep the aliens away from the internet for as long as possible.

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a miror

give them a miror ...

and if they don't use eye find a way to reproduce the miror process for them and their perception scheme ; )

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First, transmit the entirety of Spaceballs :).

If we can transmit anything, I'd probably go with a set of encyclopedias. They would contain most of what the aliens might want to know about us, and if they want more they can make specific requests. Perhaps a few works of realistic fiction or some memoirs, if they want to know what it's actually like to be one of us. Don't want to confuse them by sending The Lord of the Rings first. I guess that if we can transmit anything, transmit whatever we can.

Seriously, though, Spaceballs first.

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Definitely not medical textbooks, and it wouldn't be wise to give them any sort of encyclopedia. Should the aliens not be so benevolent, we'll probably not want to give them such vital information as to our bodies, weapons, and history.

What might not be a terrible idea is for us to send philosophical texts, as I believe that those present the human race in the best light

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A montage of pretty places on Earth, possibly with their locations marked on a map of the earth in the corner of the video.

Also strive for some manner of treaty or alliance or something with Earth.

...And hide away all the alien invasion movies. They don't need to know how paranoid we are yet.

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Okay, so the suggestions so far are:

- Repositories of information about our historical accomplishments, detailing centuries of xenophobia and general violence

- Shiny thing

- Our silly attempts to place ourselves in the universe as if we're somehow important

- Images of the terrain in various locations on the planet they just landed on. Y'know, like if we landed on Venus and they gave us a bunch of photos of volcanoes.

Sorry, but I worry this stuff won't get us anywhere or establish a good image in their eyes.

Can we throw in a few scientific papers maybe? Like Darwin's "Origin of Species," Locke's "Wealth of Nations," Einstein's relativity papers, etc. This stuff would detail our advancements as a sentient species and establish our intent to grow and current level of progress in that light. We're obviously behind them, but they'd be more willing to help, or at least not consider us a threat (or insane, or hopelessly stupid).

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Simple economics: Give them what we have excess of and they likely want, trading for what we want and they have excess of.

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Earth, and as a whole humanity has a LOT of stuff. If aliens were to hypothetically arrive, and start a two-way communications link (exact details not important, just that it can send sufficient data for just about anything), we've made contact, and requested that we show them examples of human culture and Earth as a whole. What should be top priority to show them, whether that be books, music, films, or just about anything.

The Voyager Golden Record is a nice starting point, but keep in mind that they had limited space to work with, and they didn't know if the aliens were peaceful or not, let's assume these ones are, after all, they're communicating and not trying to harvest Earth for it's raw resources.

If you had to pick a select few things, such as books, pictures of landscapes, and music to show aliens examples of Earthling life and art both in the past and the present, what would you show them, and why?

- First: Basic Philosophical books about logics: just to be sure they can understands how we thinks. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logic

- Maths and physics/chemistry books: is what we have done with theses "logics".

- Pics and descriptions of plants or animals or stuffs pass and present. Pick especially the pretty ones, and especially the ones that cohabits well with us. Nice flowers and domestic cats or dogs.

- Pics and descriptions of all nice stuff we make (just hide thoses bombs and pretends theses torture devices were for sexual purposes) Pick especially the reffineds culturals ones. Some nice musics or songs too. (Voyager golden record is good)

It's a good first start.

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First, we need to establish that we will not harm them, and get them not to take offence to what we say, because there are likely large cultural differences that could easily lead to a misunderstanding. Then we tell them everything about how afraid we are of aliens, and how the media portrays them. Then, if they don't take offence, we give them our math and physics and stuff, and ask for theirs. There might be something they missed that we realized, or vice versa. Then we share technology like spaceship tech, quantum computers, etc. and the less obvious tech like medicines, food growing techniques, etc. We need a way to communicate quickly over long distances, something I assume they have if they can reasonably communicate with their home while hundreds of lightyears away. Eventually we should form a sort of governing council made up of both civilizations, represented equally, and try to find other civilizations to join. We'd be one of the first civilizations to arise, methinks.

Oh, by the way. It would be funny if one of us on the forums was, like, Elon Musk or somebody, and we didn't know. XD

Edited by Findthepin1

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I would say, a sample of ourbgreatest literature. It would easily show that we are indeed sentient. Also, a food offering, as a n way of showing friendliness.

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What are they going to give us? Unless we establish our offerings as a trade, they shall simply extort us till we are of no use to them and they exterminate or assimilate us.

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Strawberries! Give them strawberries. Everybody loves strawberries. They're beautiful and tasty and make a great gift.

What I'm trying to say is: we do the same thing with aliens we do with other foreign diplomats. We invite them to fancy dinners where we show off all the great food we have to offer. You might think: isn't that a bit useless? But it's not. The idea has always been, even when wining and dining foreign diplomats, to create an amiable atmosphere. Everyone has to eat, and everyone is happiest with a full belly, especially if it was achieved through a feast both for the tongue and for the eyes.

Obviously there are issues that make it unfeasible to simply invite the aliens to sit with us in a room, but you can have a similar effect by sending a capsule full of consumption-related gifts. Gifts are important; historically, every first contact between two cultures who had never met one another and had no way to communicate always started in one of two ways. Option one: mutual violence, and option two: mutual exchange of gifts. Since I think we all agree that option one is awful, the path forward ought to be clear.

So, let's give them strawberries ;)

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What was the word? Anthropocentrism?

We cannot sit with them in a room, but we can send them our plague ridden food?

Maybe we could irradiate it first to kill any germs, now that would be seen as polite, no? :wink:

Just because we perceive a flower/puppy as beautiful does not mean they will do so as well.

Sending them philosophical texts - starting of first contact with a clash of cultures/world views?

Also, as always they would have to understand our language first, but I guess the OP assumes they do - although I do not conform to his view that they are peaceful just because they are willing to communicate. :wink:

What do we have in abundance ... hopefully their spacedrive uses lots of weaponsgrade plutonium and uranium, were they willing to trade that for their superior knowlegde of genetic medicine, rocket science and/or energy production ... we could a double-win/win situation!

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...
We cannot sit with them in a room, but we can send them our plague ridden food?

Maybe we could irradiate it first to kill any germs, now that would be seen as polite, no? :wink:

Actually, them getting our diseases is pretty unlikely. Earth biology would probably completely incompatible with theirs because of differences in proteins and such. For the same reason, our food would probably be completely indigestible or, in the worst case scenario, massively toxic to them. Sharing food would not be a good idea.

Edited by Vaporo

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Well, how else are we going to hijack their high-tech spaceship, if we don't remove the crew? :P

In all seriousness though, my suggestion was made under the assumption that the alien crew visiting us is not completely dumb, and knows not to stick things into their nutrient intake orifices without first conducting science on them. In fact, now that I think some more about it - any and all gifts we give them are likely going to have the s*bleep* scienced out of them, to quote a certain astronaut. And organics are going to be by far the most valuable science subjects, because they will want to know the ins and outs of how life developed and evolved on our planet. If they don't even have to land to collect high-quality samples, all the better! So even if they don't end up eating any of it, they'll still be very grateful.

(And if they turn out edible, they can still enjoy the strawberries after the science.)

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Don't forget towel. Everyone need towel in space.

Doh, i forgot the towel.

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Most answers here are incredibly anthropocentric. Whout knowing more about aliens and how they percieve world, I think it would by proper to ask what they want to know. And I bet answer would be along the lines of biochemistry, gene sequences, mathematical works, geophysics and climate models. "Culture" is mostly information white noise.

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I'm not sure what we should send them. Once we've got to the point of mutual comprehension we've probably already covered a lot of logic, mathematics, and computing.

The head says send them descriptions of general relativity and quantum mechanics. The responses to that will be hugely enlightening for the philosophy of science. Will the alien civilization reply saying they know these theories as foobarism and blargle arglics, thus strongly suggesting that these theories are natural, inevitable, and 'true' (whatever that means)? Or will the aliens reply that they've never seen that approach before and have totally different theories that nonetheless agree equally with reality, telling us that there's not only one way to describe the universe? I can't claim to know the answer to that.

The heart says send them the footage of Neil Armstrong landing on the Moon.

That's what I think we should send. What I think we will send, though, is bullets and bombs.

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