Are we alone in the universe? It’s a question that mankind has asked since the dawn of mankind, and up until now we still don’t have a concrete answer. We’ve managed to learn so much about our world and the space beyond it, but we are still yet to encounter another intelligent life form from beyond the stars. Of course, given our very limited lifespans, it’s easy for us to imagine that such an encounter will never happen because, of course, it hasn’t happened yet. Or maybe it has, and we’re all being kept in the dark as to not explode our fragile human brains – but that’s a topic for another time. Right now, we are alone, which is both a comforting thought and a terrifying one all at the same time.
We have no idea about the true size of the universe. We lack the ability to even fully comprehend the size of the observable universe, and right now intergalactic travel is only science fiction to us. But how likely is it that life has evolved on other planets? Is it more inconceivable to think that we are a singularity – alone among millions of galaxies – or that there might just be another race, or even several, out there in the stars?
And what would happen if we made contact with these beings? It’s time for some good old-fashioned speculation…
15. We Would Hear About It On Social Media First
Are there any strict protocols that humankind has in place to deal with contact from extra-terrestrial beings? The answer is: sort of. SETI (the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence Institute) has created a guideline for astronomers to follow should they discover alien life, which includes getting their information verified by other agencies and informing the UN so that the news of the discovery can be distributed through accredited media outlets. But these guidelines are not governed by any international laws, so it seems almost inevitable that the story would leak and spread long before the United Nations had a chance to address the discovery. So if an astronomer who is not interested in following the rules makes the discovery of a lifetime, we’d probably hear about it on social media first. Whether or not we’d believe it is a whole other discussion.
14. The Story Might Break The Internet
Think about New Year’s Eve for a moment. Any New Year’s Eve. How hard is it to send a message? The system is always overloaded with people sending their greetings, right? And that’s just a celebration about entering a new year! Now, if we start talking about a discovery as monumental as discovering other intelligent life, well, you can just imagine what the impact would be. We would all have problems accessing social media as the story spread around the globe like wildfire. SETI doesn’t see this as such a big problem though, as long as the information was verified and true. Former SETI director Jill Tarter has said, “You want that information to be as widespread as possible. If we were to make a discovery at the SETI Institute, I don’t think there’s any way we could keep our website up or our phones working from the onslaught of people trying to get information.”
13. It Might Take Us A While To Decide How To Respond
While there are no strict guidelines that govern what to do in the event that an astronomer or group discovers intelligent life, the UN doesn’t want just anyone sending them messages back. And considering that sending the wrong information could result in the total annihilation of our species, that makes sense. In the event that we receive a message from another race, we would need to come together to decide how to best respond. You can be sure that wouldn’t happen overnight. We can barely see past our own differences and we are all the same species, so how would we cope with an undertaking as important as this? We just don’t know. What we do know is that it could take us years to even decode a message, and possibly decades before we send a response.
12. We Would Argue Over Who Gets To Represent Us
So, the aliens have sent us a message and somehow we’ve managed to put our differences about politics and religion aside for five minutes to come together to work on a response. Or maybe, just maybe, physical sentient aliens have landed on Earth. So now we are faced with the question: who do we choose to represent billions of human beings; who will all have different ideas on what we should do next? Should we choose scientists to represent us? Or would a political figure be more suited to the task? Maybe we would look to a great spiritual leader, like the Pope or the Dali Lama, for guidance? And who would make the decision in the end? The UN? The only thing we can be certain of is that we would argue about it.
11. No, Aliens Probably Won’t Want Our Resources
When people imagine first contact with aliens, we often remember what we’ve seen in the movies. In the films, aliens who come to Earth are often hostile, looking for a new planet, or precious natural resources. But if you think about it, this is highly unlikely to be the case. If an alien race could make the trip to Earth, then it’s likely that they will be able to travel almost anywhere they please, and we know that there are millions of planets out there – probably with plenty more resources than we have. Would they want us as their slaves? Also highly unlikely. A race that has evolved far enough to travel through the cosmos would definitely be beyond using labor. The movies always show aliens as hostile, but it’s far more likely that they would be benevolent.
10. Would We Turn On Each Other, Or Unite?
We know for sure that people are not going to agree on how best to proceed should we make contact with alien life. Folks who have a limited understanding of the views of others, and see the world as an inherently hostile place, are going to assume that the only reason that aliens seek us out is because they have a malicious intent, and their first reaction is going to be a violent one. On the other side, we will have people who see the contact as a new opportunity for mankind and will want to engage. Agreeing on a course of action is going to be difficult at best, and we could see it driving us apart. But maybe such an event would make us forget our differences and come together as a species.
9. Contact Might Not Happen In The Way We Imagine
Now when you imagine a scenario where we make contact with extra-terrestrial beings, how does it look in your mind? Aliens landing on the White House lawn and knocking on the door? Massive spaceships appearing in the sky? How do you think it will happen? It might not go down the way we imagine at all. Chances are good that the first contact won’t be face to face. If aliens are aware of our existence, then they know that we are a frightened and hostile race, so they might contact us via radio or some other type of message first. They could be very far away from us, and they may have no intention of ever coming to Earth. They might just offer assistance, or just let us know where they are.
8. We Could Experience A Global Confidence Crisis
At the moment, human beings feel that they are alone in the universe because we haven’t seen any forms of intelligent life just yet. This makes us feel scared on the one hand (who really wants to be alone in the universe?), but on the other hand, it gives us a sense of uniqueness. We believe ourselves to be a highly advanced species, and we are arrogant about our singular status. But what would happen if we were to meet another civilization; one that is possibly thousands or even millions of years ahead of us? If they offered us their knowledge, we would feel like a caveman sitting at the feet of a modern man. They might be so advanced that they appear god-like to us, and this could lead to a massive confidence crisis across the globe.
7. We Would See A Surge In Technology
After the human species makes contact with aliens, we would surely see a massive surge in new technology. Now I know what you’re thinking — that this technology would come from the aliens — but this might not be the case at all. If we encountered another civilization, we wouldn’t want to be the underdogs. We would want to be able to compete with them on their own level and that would mean that there would be a massive drive to increase our own level of technology as quickly as possible. Of course, the possibility also exists that the aliens might be benevolent and gift us with their knowledge. But either way, technology would be on the top of our list of priorities. We would push all our resources into creating and growing, and an alien encounter would change our world as we know it.
6. It Might Give Us Hope For The Future
Right now, the future seems pretty hopeless for mankind. Our population is steadily growing and a few hundred years from now, the natural resources of the planet will not be able to sustain us anymore. We also have climate change to worry about, but that’s not even our biggest obstacle. The barrier we need to overcome as a species is this idea that we are different. There is no way that we can progress to the next stage of our evolution unless we work together. Encountering a race who has managed to conquer intergalactic travel might just give us hope that our species could do the same thing – if only we stopped fighting about our differences and worked together. That is, of course, unless they arrive with the intention of destroying us…
5. Their Impact On Society Might Be Slow
So let’s imagine for a moment that we receive an intergalactic message from a distant star system. First, we would need to decipher that message and prove that it was sent from an intelligent life-form. That might take time – months, possibly even years. And then, once it’s confirmed and we all know about it – what then? Well, for most of us, life would continue as normal. We would still need to go to work and carry on living our lives. It might even take generations to get a dialogue going, so the impact on society would probably not be felt immediately. It would be an incredible discovery, but if the aliens were not posing any kind of immediate threat to us, once the hype died down, life would continue as normal.
4. It Would Have A Major Economic Impact
If we encounter a more advanced race than ourselves, chances are that they would feel pity for us. After all, we are stuck on a planet that we are slowly destroying and the aliens might just want to help us reach our next stage in our evolution. This might come in the form of information and technology, and this is where we could experience a major impact on society. The aliens might show us ways to work with technology that we could never have imagined on our own, and this could result in a similar outcome to what we saw happen with the industrial revolution. During that time, machines took over many manual labor jobs and, as a result, many people lost their jobs before they could be retrained for new ones.
3. We Might Be Invited To Join An Intergalactic Club
Okay, so let’s imagine for a moment that we manage to contact an ancient and highly advanced alien race. If there is one race of aliens, then it seems quite possible that there would be more than one, right? Now, these beings have managed to master interplanetary travel, which means that they may already be in contact with each other – possibly even working together to ensure the longevity of their species. If this were true, they might have formed some kind of intergalactic federation in order to keep the peace and, if they deem humans worthy, they might even ask us to unite with them or join some kind of intergalactic club in exchange for information and co-operation. We know it sounds like science fiction, but it might just happen.
2. It Could Lead To A New Age For Humanity
Making contact with aliens would change human history forever, that’s for sure. It could give us the opportunity to learn more about our universe than ever before, and the knowledge that we are not alone would drastically change the way we view life. The changes might happen very slowly, or they could occur in our lifetimes, but one thing is for sure: mankind would enter a new age. Aliens could help us solve technological problems – possibly even opening the door for mankind to travel and settle on new planets – thus increasing our chances of survival as a species. They might have answers about consciousness and the true nature of life. It would be a very exciting development to experience and, maybe, just maybe, we might live long enough to see it happen.
1. It Might Lead To Total Destruction
Not everyone believes that aliens would be peaceful. We’ve seen what happens when a more advanced race encounters a primitive population, and it doesn’t usually end well for the less advanced people. So what if the same is true of aliens? What if they decide to destroy us instead of helping us? Well, if this was the case and we did encounter a hostile race — as Stephen Hawking thinks is more likely — then we would probably stand very little chance of being able to defend ourselves. Hawking has warned about sending messages to the stars, saying that it could spell the end for us. But we are too curious to stop looking, and if he’s right, this might be our ultimate downfall.
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