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Who decides what we should say to aliens ?

Posted on Tuesday, 10 September, 2019 | Comment icon 39 comments

Saying the wrong thing could have dire consequences. Image Credit: Henrique Alvim Correa
An Oxford University survey asked the British public who they would trust to respond to first contact with ET.
Given the lack of a worldwide authority on extraterrestrial communication, it remains unclear who would have the right to decide for our planet how to respond in the event of first contact with aliens.

Keen to learn the views of the British public on such an issue, lawyer Leah Trueblood and astrophysicist Peter Hatfield teamed up to commission an Oxford University survey on the topic.

The results indicated that the most popular opinion, with 39% of the vote, was to leave the decision of how to respond to extraterrestrial visitors up to members of the scientific community.

"It's a small poll but it's reassuring that people feel they can trust scientists to make these big decisions," said Hatfield.

15% of participants voted to leave it up to elected representatives while at the very bottom of the list with 11% of the vote was the option of determining what to do via a referendum.

"Referendums are of course particularly controversial in the UK right now," said Hatfield. "It would be interesting to try this in other countries to see if the results are about the same."

Source: The Guardian | Comments (39)

Tags: Extraterrestrial

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #30 Posted by freetoroam on 11 September, 2019, 12:51
This is what Oxford Uni are doing?  To think some of these students could end up in Parliament. And we think we have problems now!!!
Comment icon #31 Posted by mdbuilder on 11 September, 2019, 12:52
Ultimately, the aliens will decide what we say to them.
Comment icon #32 Posted by freetoroam on 11 September, 2019, 12:52
There were fewer people around then. Today would be a better time to turn up.
Comment icon #33 Posted by Phaeton80 on 11 September, 2019, 14:03
Welcome! Were a super awesome mammalian race who is quite literally stumbling around deaf, dumb and blind, have a service to self mindset yet think ourselves all knowing and all wise. Our main goal in life is to amass as much non- existent, metallic, or paper things we like to call 'credit' or 'money', and we see it fit to not only murder eachother to increase our supply, but we also like to destroy our environment like a raging virus if we think we can 'profit' from it. The rest of our precious time is spend with tribal warfare, watching 'sportsgames' where a generally round leather object ne... [More]
Comment icon #34 Posted by Stiff on 11 September, 2019, 18:00
Comment icon #35 Posted by stereologist on 11 September, 2019, 18:13
Are you suggesting any of that is a bad thing?
Comment icon #36 Posted by fred_mc on 14 September, 2019, 9:12
Considering that we've been trying for many years to understand what dolphins are saying, without much success, and they are still from the same planet as us, I think communicating with aliens might be very hard.
Comment icon #37 Posted by Dejarma on 14 September, 2019, 14:54
it could be the other way around= an intelligent alien life form may find it simple to communicate with us, without us even trying...
Comment icon #38 Posted by Desertrat56 on 14 September, 2019, 16:16
Comment icon #39 Posted by zygote_myles on 15 September, 2019, 16:51
Who decides what we should say to aliens? You do, if they decide to come to you. So choose your words carefully, ha. 

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