Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Post your reality fanfiction here.

Moderators: gmalivuk, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
PM 2Ring
Posts: 3713
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:19 pm UTC
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby PM 2Ring » Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:28 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:The reason Uplift aliens are environmentalists, iirc, is because they place the highest value on sapience, and destroying an ecosystem amounts to destroying any potential presapient life forms in the process.

Sure, it's by no means meant to prove that galactic civilization *must* be strongly environmentalist, but it does give a pretty reasonable explanation as to why it *might* be.


Also, in the Uplift universe, responsible ecology management is seen as a kind of litmus test for true sapience. Advancing your own species without regards to the long-term ecological consequences of your actions is considered animalistic.

Of course, real aliens are not obliged to be like the ones depicted in the Uplift stories. :) OTOH, I think Brin does have some reasonably valid points. As I said in my earlier post, a species that trashes its homeworld may not be particularly welcome in a Galactic Federation, especially if planets capable of supporting life are comparatively rare. After all, you wouldn't want them roaming across the galaxy leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.


Izawwlgood wrote:I haven't read the series, and that's certainly a sound logic to stand by, but surely there's a statute of limitations on that shit? I mean, am I monster for forgetting to water the plant in my office, because a million years from now that species of ivy may start experimenting with tool use and math...?


If you enjoy science fiction you ought to read at least some of the Uplift books. Brin's a good storyteller, and the Uplift universe is pretty-well thought out, although there are bound to be bits that make you wince. :) Wikipedia has a good page on the Uplift universe although you probably shouldn't read that page if you do want to read the novels, since it does, by necessity, contain quite a few spoilers.

Funny you should mention ivy - the possibility of sentient plant life is investigated in one of the books.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 26765
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:03 pm UTC

Yeah, obviously there's no reason to believe that aliens will be particularly similar to how they are in the Uplift universe, that just serves as a nice example of a fairly well fleshed out set of motivations for interacting a particular way with humans.

One thing I really like about Brin is that one of the stronger philosophical underpinnings of most of his work is a desire to steer clear of both the "lazy" extremes of utopia or dystopia. We won't destroy ourselves completely, nor will we be wiped out by aliens, but at the same time neither will we have solved everything or end up with perfectly non-hostile relationships with alien civilizations orders of magnitude more powerful than us.

Of course, the first story of his that I knew about was The Postman, which is post-apocalyptic. Maybe I need to read that again in light of his other stuff, to see if it too has a kind of optimism not typical of the genre.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

ImagingGeek
Posts: 380
Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2010 6:41 pm UTC
Location: Canada

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby ImagingGeek » Thu Sep 12, 2013 8:31 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Why would aliens from light years away have any interest in visiting Earth?

Well, if star trek taught me anything, those aliens will have near-human physiology and might come here for some alien-on-human horizontal polka :mrgreen:

Assuming we're limiting our sci-fi discussion to otherwise realistic scenarios (i.e. no FTL, interstellar travel being slow/expensive, etc) plausible reasons to visit are small. Trade is unlikely to be profitable (plus, we'd be quite a ways behind technologically, so I'm not sure what we'd trade). Altruism would be nice, but it would be far less costly & far more efficient for aliens to help us by transmitting information or sending automated drones. Same goes for some sort of vendetta against other 'intelligent' species - drones will do the job just fine - unless, of course, their alien gods demand they cut our hearts out themselves. Colonization may be one reason for them to come here, which would also probably end bad for us...

...but maybe I'm baised cause I wanna rock out kirk-style :twisted:

Bryan
I have a new blog, on making beer.

Not that anyone reads it...

User avatar
counterhash
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2013 10:35 am UTC
Location: Australia

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby counterhash » Sat Sep 14, 2013 3:38 am UTC

Maybe, like us, the aliens are lonely.

Maybe they just want a friend, someone to play with, someone to teach.

:|

User avatar
Klear
Posts: 1965
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2010 8:43 am UTC
Location: Prague

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby Klear » Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:22 am UTC

counterhash wrote:Maybe, like us, the aliens are lonely.

Maybe they just want a friend, someone to play with, someone to teach.

:|


I'm hungry.

User avatar
SlyReaper
inflatable
Posts: 8015
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2007 11:09 pm UTC
Location: Bristol, Old Blighty

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby SlyReaper » Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:42 am UTC

Aliens will visit because they found Voyager - they'll bring it back to our planet and passive-aggressively suggest that we might want to stop littering the galaxy.
Image
What would Baron Harkonnen do?

User avatar
Paul in Saudi
Posts: 262
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:52 pm UTC
Location: Dammam, Saudi Arabia

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby Paul in Saudi » Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:11 pm UTC

Religious missionaries?

User avatar
snowyowl
Posts: 464
Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2009 7:36 pm UTC

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby snowyowl » Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:52 pm UTC

They've come to take the mice home.
The preceding comment is an automated response.

User avatar
counterhash
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2013 10:35 am UTC
Location: Australia

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby counterhash » Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:32 pm UTC

snowyowl wrote:They've come to take the mice home.

But not before they make that bypass!

User avatar
PM 2Ring
Posts: 3713
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:19 pm UTC
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby PM 2Ring » Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:35 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:Yeah, obviously there's no reason to believe that aliens will be particularly similar to how they are in the Uplift universe, that just serves as a nice example of a fairly well fleshed out set of motivations for interacting a particular way with humans.

One thing I really like about Brin is that one of the stronger philosophical underpinnings of most of his work is a desire to steer clear of both the "lazy" extremes of utopia or dystopia. We won't destroy ourselves completely, nor will we be wiped out by aliens, but at the same time neither will we have solved everything or end up with perfectly non-hostile relationships with alien civilizations orders of magnitude more powerful than us.

Of course, the first story of his that I knew about was The Postman, which is post-apocalyptic. Maybe I need to read that again in light of his other stuff, to see if it too has a kind of optimism not typical of the genre.


Some bleak stuff does happen in the Uplift stories, but yeah, the general tone in everything that I've read of Brin's work is optimistic. I can't remember if I read The Postman (but I definitely haven't seen the movie). I started with Sundiver, and then read the other Uplift stories as they were published. I've also read The Practice Effect, which was fun. I'm currently re-reading Glory Season, which involves a "hidden" colony planet of genetically-modified humans being re-discovered by Galactic civilization.

Which reminds me of Ursula Le Guin's Hainish cycle - "aliens" may contact us because they're trying to re-establish contact with long-lost relatives. On a related note, a race that doesn't have FTL but still seeds the galaxy with intelligence may not visit its far-flung colony worlds very often. For galactic nomads who live in ships traveling close to c, a thousand years of planet time may be less than a generation of ship-time.

User avatar
davidstarlingm
Posts: 1255
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:33 am UTC

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby davidstarlingm » Mon Sep 16, 2013 2:30 pm UTC

PM 2Ring wrote:Which reminds me of Ursula Le Guin's Hainish cycle - "aliens" may contact us because they're trying to re-establish contact with long-lost relatives. On a related note, a race that doesn't have FTL but still seeds the galaxy with intelligence may not visit its far-flung colony worlds very often. For galactic nomads who live in ships traveling close to c, a thousand years of planet time may be less than a generation of ship-time.

Huh. Good point. I don't think I've heard about much sci-fi that specifically considers the effects of time dilation in this way. Wouldn't it be ironic to seed life, then return only a few decades later (from your perspective) to find that your "colony" has surpassed you in technology?

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18686
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Sep 16, 2013 2:35 pm UTC

davidstarlingm wrote:
PM 2Ring wrote:Which reminds me of Ursula Le Guin's Hainish cycle - "aliens" may contact us because they're trying to re-establish contact with long-lost relatives. On a related note, a race that doesn't have FTL but still seeds the galaxy with intelligence may not visit its far-flung colony worlds very often. For galactic nomads who live in ships traveling close to c, a thousand years of planet time may be less than a generation of ship-time.

Huh. Good point. I don't think I've heard about much sci-fi that specifically considers the effects of time dilation in this way. Wouldn't it be ironic to seed life, then return only a few decades later (from your perspective) to find that your "colony" has surpassed you in technology?

The Forever War deals with the technology skip; basically, each encounter with the alien race we're at war with alternates between which side has better tech.
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

User avatar
davidstarlingm
Posts: 1255
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:33 am UTC

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby davidstarlingm » Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:47 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:The Forever War deals with the technology skip; basically, each encounter with the alien race we're at war with alternates between which side has better tech.

Mostly unrelated, but it's too bad that there's no decent way to rig a noninertial reference frame that gives a computer a few centuries of computation time in a few hours of meatspace time. 'Tis mostly-trivial to do the opposite.

User avatar
Copper Bezel
Posts: 2426
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:35 am UTC
Location: Web exclusive!

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby Copper Bezel » Mon Sep 16, 2013 8:12 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
davidstarlingm wrote:
PM 2Ring wrote:Which reminds me of Ursula Le Guin's Hainish cycle - "aliens" may contact us because they're trying to re-establish contact with long-lost relatives. On a related note, a race that doesn't have FTL but still seeds the galaxy with intelligence may not visit its far-flung colony worlds very often. For galactic nomads who live in ships traveling close to c, a thousand years of planet time may be less than a generation of ship-time.

Huh. Good point. I don't think I've heard about much sci-fi that specifically considers the effects of time dilation in this way. Wouldn't it be ironic to seed life, then return only a few decades later (from your perspective) to find that your "colony" has surpassed you in technology?

The Forever War deals with the technology skip; basically, each encounter with the alien race we're at war with alternates between which side has better tech.

A throwaway gag in Restaurant at the End of the Universe as well. Light speed ships are sent off to war, then FTL is invented while they're in transit, and no one bothers to pick them up....
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

she / her / her

User avatar
PM 2Ring
Posts: 3713
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:19 pm UTC
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby PM 2Ring » Wed Sep 18, 2013 7:41 am UTC

davidstarlingm wrote:
PM 2Ring wrote:Which reminds me of Ursula Le Guin's Hainish cycle - "aliens" may contact us because they're trying to re-establish contact with long-lost relatives. On a related note, a race that doesn't have FTL but still seeds the galaxy with intelligence may not visit its far-flung colony worlds very often. For galactic nomads who live in ships traveling close to c, a thousand years of planet time may be less than a generation of ship-time.

Huh. Good point. I don't think I've heard about much sci-fi that specifically considers the effects of time dilation in this way. Wouldn't it be ironic to seed life, then return only a few decades later (from your perspective) to find that your "colony" has surpassed you in technology?


Travel in the Hainish cycle conforms to Einsteinian physics, but they have an instantaneous communicator - the ansible. Some of the stories feature problems related to time dilation, eg members of a family returning to civilization from a stint on a pioneer world get separated into two groups (one parent & one kid in each group, IIRC) that travel home via different routes at different speeds. Although the two groups experience similar ship-time, the second group arrives back home a decade or so after the first group does.

Years ago, I read a story (or series) where humanity divided into a space-faring portion and a planet-bound portion, with the spacers seeming to live for centuries from the planet-dwellers's POV. However, the spacers had high tech, with the "groundhog" preferring a simpler life, so the time dilation related technology differential didn't occur.


Copper Bezel wrote:A throwaway gag in Restaurant at the End of the Universe as well. Light speed ships are sent off to war, then FTL is invented while they're in transit, and no one bothers to pick them up....


I think that was a reference to an old A.E. Van Vogt story about the first voyage to Alpha Centauri. The journey takes 500 years, with the travelers spending most of the voyage in hibernation. In the mean time, FTL is discovered, and a colony is established at Alpha Centauri. The original travelers are intercepted by an FTL ship when they approach their destination.

User avatar
PolakoVoador
Posts: 1028
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:11 pm UTC
Location: Brazil

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby PolakoVoador » Thu Sep 26, 2013 2:40 am UTC

counterhash wrote:Maybe, like us, the aliens are lonely.

Maybe they just want a friend, someone to play with, someone to teach.

:|


Something like this. If planets that are not barren space-rocks(i.e. "green-house" planets) are rare, then finding another one is HUGE. Imagine the aliens are all about: "Holy shit, a planet full of life!", and when they start watching more closely, the find out that this particular species of monkey seems to be way smarter than the rest. Sciencegasm!

Dark Avorian
Posts: 546
Joined: Mon May 03, 2010 10:48 pm UTC

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby Dark Avorian » Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:42 am UTC

Spoiler:
Image


I know it's about robots, but I think the same applies to aliens. I think it betrays a pretty horrifying truth about our species that we are basically only able to conceive of superior intelligences destroying us (Exception: God, when they make us). Note that the majority of the peaceful coexistences with aliens are established mysteriously long before the story. If I was gonna destroy the human race, it might be because of the twisted logic that requires and what it might imply about our future.

Reasons to destroy us anyway? I think the Baby Eating Aliens scenario isn't that unlikely, that we are just so morally objectionable to a race in some way that they destroy us, or modify us (hopefully, they would find genocide as repulsive as whatever our problem was).

They might operate on a different scale/have automated systems set up to terraform planets, and thus destroy us without noticing.
The 62-foot tall statue of Jesus constructed out of styrofoam, wood and fiberglass resin caught on fire after the right hand of the statue was struck by lightning.


meatyochre wrote:And yea, verily the forums crowd spake: "Teehee!"

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18686
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:37 pm UTC

Dark Avorian wrote:Reasons to destroy us anyway? I think the Baby Eating Aliens scenario isn't that unlikely, that we are just so morally objectionable to a race in some way that they destroy us, or modify us (hopefully, they would find genocide as repulsive as whatever our problem was).
Thanks for posting this story; it's definitely slowing down my productivity today :D

Brilliant:
Spoiler:
"So does that mean," asked the Master, "that now your life is finally complete, and you can die without any regrets?"

The Kiritsugu looked startled for a moment. Then he threw back his head and laughed. True, pure, honest laughter. The others began to laugh as well, and their shared hilarity echoed across the room, as the supernova blast front approached at almost exactly the speed of light.

Finally the Kiritsugu stopped laughing, and said:

"Don't be ridicu-"
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

Jeremie08
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 10:52 pm UTC

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby Jeremie08 » Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:34 am UTC

In order to find those motivations , lets consider some testimonials of ex federals employees in remotes areas of beeings witness of a what seems of some possibles exchanges between Humans and Aliens , if that happened to be true , the circumstances of their presences on earth would be according to me , an Aliens deliberate choices or needs and not some kind of crashs coincidences. Now I think that kepping that hippothese , we could suppose that by going into this kind of institution which relied to big power and knowledge , Aliens certainly have precises needs requiereings those precises assets.In fact , I DONT HAVE A DAMN CLUE OF WHERE I AM GOING WHIT THAT ! :evil:

User avatar
untitled
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:23 pm UTC

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby untitled » Fri Jan 31, 2014 9:19 pm UTC

for wi-fi

User avatar
untitled
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:23 pm UTC

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby untitled » Tue Feb 04, 2014 1:14 am UTC

i bet they are reading this topic

User avatar
ChronosDragon
Posts: 1852
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:42 am UTC
Location: [~]

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby ChronosDragon » Fri Apr 04, 2014 3:30 am UTC

Broadly speaking, and I know this kind of categorization was already made earlier in the thread but I'd like to try my own hand at it, it seems that the aliens that we can conceive of would want to one of four things with us:

1) Destruction. Because we are messing up our own ecosystems, because we could be a threat, because they are on some kind of holy crusade (assuming aliens even have a conception of religion). It's not impossible, but perhaps this is a projection of fears about what we would do if we found aliens. I think modern Westerners are sort of scared of pulling another Native American/Imperial Colonization deal.

2) Preservation. Because we're sentient/sapient, because we have cultural artifacts and are intelligent, because they're altruistic. We may self-righteously assume that preservation includes restriction of our God-given rights, which we'll be damn'd if some alien bastards want to take our Freedom away! Or we worry that we'd eternally stagnate under some unknowable advanced alien intelligence that hampers our development / aggression.

3) Modification. Because they have better technology than us, because they can engineer us to be better, faster, stronger (harder), because we're not good enough and we have some traits that we don't like. We may embrace this concept or outright reject it as we have human genetic engineering. It does indeed place control of human lives (souls?) in the hands of other physical entities, which we seem to be uncomfortable with.

4) Coexistence. Because of trade, because of scientific knowledge, because of mutually assured destruction. As it's been pointed out, usually in science fiction this is achieved at some nebulous point in time before the story, but it's not impossible to conceive of it happening, assuming that aliens had sufficiently similar reasoning and motivations that we do. Easy to consider the least likely.

An assumption that we often make about aliens is that they have behavior which can be approximated by comparisons to human behavior. This operative assumption (combined with the effort of applying so much makeup every week) is probably why Star Trek and Star Wars (and a bunch of other sci fi) tend to have roughly humanoid species - they're really just proxies for human interaction.
And if they aren't humanlike in behavior and/or appearance, they are comparable to forces of nature. Ruthless exterminators or benevolent gods. Beings that can't be reasoned with (can you reason with the ocean?) and don't seem to follow any form of logic we know.
I wonder if there is anything between these two extremes. Or on another axis altogether. I haven't read a lot of science fiction as of late, but I can't think of any examples that wouldn't fall on that spectrum.
Image

User avatar
snowyowl
Posts: 464
Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2009 7:36 pm UTC

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby snowyowl » Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:24 pm UTC

In Vernor Vinge's A Deepness In The Sky, human traders arrive at an alien planet. But they lack FTL, so it's going to be a very very long-term mission. They intend to sell the aliens advanced technology to uplift their civilisation for the sole purpose of buying starship fuel from them so they can get back.

Although this was their backup plan - they originally had enough fuel to trade with the aliens and then go home, but they lost some of it due to plot points.
The preceding comment is an automated response.

User avatar
PinkShinyRose
Posts: 834
Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2012 6:54 pm UTC
Location: the Netherlands

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby PinkShinyRose » Sat Apr 05, 2014 10:32 pm UTC

If humans are any indication: it seems unlikely we would be perceived as a thread to anything other than their colonies (we can after all not travel very far and probably won't be able to for a while). They may hunt us for food or as pets, but the former requires a compatible biochemistry. If they respect us as near equal they may buy prisoners with weapons, but we're probably too insignificant for anything other than a museum (except that we don't preserve well).

I don't think they'd bother sending us technology or care about our ecosystem if they're anything like us. Really the only positive option I see is that trading is less bothersome than fighting us for biological or cultural items.

If they're not like us, anything is possible, so they may be superhappies, sentience lovers (I doubt we'd fit their requirements for sentience though), borgs or highly sadistic (although this, like the superhappies requires some concept of human emotion). Maybe our planet is just a tiberium field.

Maybe they aren't sentient at all, they could be like a virus, relatively simple automatons that use planets to reproduce and then leave, killing us in the process. Maybe they are phototrophs that are just looking for a place to stand and somehow shoot their offspring into space. Maybe they are non-sentient hunters that likewise shoot their offspring into space (as spores, for both the hunters and the phototrophs). Both could threaten humans by taking up space and light.

I think we grossly overestimate the value of our sentience. In the most optimistic setting our intelligence probably compares to the aliens like orca, rat, or octopus intelligence compares to ours and we never cared about those animals. Besides, we are a rather aggressive species so we probably compare best to the octopus in that regard.

User avatar
ahammel
My Little Cabbage
Posts: 2135
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:46 am UTC
Location: Vancouver BC
Contact:

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby ahammel » Sun Apr 06, 2014 7:26 pm UTC

PinkShinyRose wrote:They may hunt us for food or as pets, but the former requires a compatible biochemistry.
We would have to be pretty goddamn delicious for this to make sense economically.
He/Him/His/Alex
God damn these electric sex pants!

User avatar
snowyowl
Posts: 464
Joined: Tue Jun 23, 2009 7:36 pm UTC

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby snowyowl » Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:03 pm UTC

ahammel wrote:
PinkShinyRose wrote:They may hunt us for food or as pets, but the former requires a compatible biochemistry.
We would have to be pretty goddamn delicious for this to make sense economically.

c.f. http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=1733

Image
The preceding comment is an automated response.

User avatar
Eternal Density
Posts: 5579
Joined: Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:37 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby Eternal Density » Thu Apr 10, 2014 2:12 am UTC

Perhaps the aliens have terrible problems with pollution, climate, and religious wars on their hope planet, so they're searching the galaxy for anyone who they might ask for advice on how to fix these problems.
Play the game of Time! castle.chirpingmustard.com Hotdog Vending Supplier But what is this?
In the Marvel vs. DC film-making war, we're all winners.

User avatar
ChronosDragon
Posts: 1852
Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:42 am UTC
Location: [~]

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby ChronosDragon » Thu Apr 10, 2014 3:20 am UTC

Eternal Density wrote:Perhaps the aliens have terrible problems with pollution, climate, and religious wars on their hope planet, so they're searching the galaxy for anyone who they might ask for advice on how to fix these problems.


Well, what do they expect? Hope is a known greenhouse gas, so a whole planet of it would quite certainly be near-Venusian in climate.
Image

User avatar
PolakoVoador
Posts: 1028
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:11 pm UTC
Location: Brazil

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby PolakoVoador » Mon Apr 14, 2014 5:43 pm UTC

I'd like to recommend Old Man's War, by John Scalzi.

It touches the subject of how close to impossible it is to predict how the interaction with an alien species will be, because sometimes you will find things that are not inside your concept of sentient life, or simply downright bizarre.

Also, at least one alien species finds humans highly tasty :P

User avatar
Whizbang
The Best Reporter
Posts: 2238
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2012 7:50 pm UTC
Location: New Hampshire, USA

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby Whizbang » Mon Apr 14, 2014 6:12 pm UTC

Meeting with a sentient life form is all but impossible, IMO. For more than just the reason that traveling between stars takes a long time and a lot of energy. Imagine you are part of a species capable of inter-stellar travel. How will it be done? I'd imagine highly advanced machinery/electronics is a must. I'd also imagine immortality through gene modification or integrating with your machines is also a must. No one wants to load up their whole family into a confined area and then eject them into deep space for 100+ years. This, I feel, will be true regardless of species. Survival instinct is a powerful thing. Individuals can overcome this for the sake of exploration, but dooming your family to a slow death in deep space is just not in the cards, barring some sort of scenario where the planet/star is exploding and you just have to escape. So the timescale involved has to be meaningless to you (you're effectively immortal), or at lease small when compared to the gain (i.e. shooting off into the dark with no guarantee of return or finding anything other than a slow, miserable death sounds like a good way to spend eternity).

So, we have these immortal aliens that have advanced themselves enough for interstellar travel. At the very least they have extremely sophisticated machinery. They may also have merged themselves with their technology to the point that they are the machines. What is the next step? A singularity. They will grow in intelligence and "power" so quickly that by the time they get around to meeting up with other intelligent species, they will not be recognizable when compared to their "original" bodies. They may not even have bodies, in the usual sense of the word. The idea that they will want anything we have, including natural resources, is funny to me. They'd be interested in us, of course. Probably even study us. Maybe contact us. But any kind of resource exchange/transfer will be one way, in our favor. Nothing we have will interest them (beyond simple observation). So, it is really down to whether they want to interact with us out of boredom or just ignore or silently observe us.

User avatar
Adacore
Posts: 2755
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:35 pm UTC
Location: 한국 창원

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby Adacore » Thu Apr 17, 2014 2:59 am UTC

Most of my ideas were mentioned already, but one that hasn't really been touched on much is that they might want to collect specimens for their galactic zoo. Similar to the tourism angle (which I think is the most plausible after scientific study, and/or a non-intervention policy, given there's no evidence of contact yet).

Also, perhaps if we were going to develop a technology that would destroy us and/or a sizable chunk of the galaxy/universe. For example, if the LHC doomsayers had been correct, and it really was going to destroy the world, maybe aliens would've predicted it and intervened to stop us building the thing.

User avatar
karhell
Posts: 687
Joined: Wed Jun 19, 2013 4:56 pm UTC
Location: Breizh

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby karhell » Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:00 am UTC

Whizbang wrote:No one wants to load up their whole family into a confined area and then eject them into deep space for 100+ years.

Indeed not the whole family, but a few choice members I really wouldn't mind ejecting into deep space :mrgreen:
AluisioASG wrote:191 years ago, the great D. Pedro I drew his sword and said: "Indent thy code or die!"
lmjb1964 wrote:We're weird but it's okay.
ColletArrow, katakissa, iskinner, thunk, GnomeAnne, Quantized, and any other Blitzers, have fun on your journey!

User avatar
untitled
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:23 pm UTC

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby untitled » Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:23 pm UTC

Chronosdragon gave us a valuable taxology! Destruction, preservation, modification or coexistence.

We are still alive and capable of sensing a continuity between us and people who lived 10.000 years ago - so it’s not destruction (which would imply a “sudden” burst of “modification”)...

Preservation it might as well be and we should take it as the ULTIMATE COMPLIMENT as they are so awfully bored they actually think we are capable of going down a road different from what they followed: it’s not excluded they already had experiences with other races they “convinced” they should follow “their road”... and that is extremely fortunate for us, namely they already learned the lesson of “value diversity” :P

Modification... see preservation. Still, “miracles,” “wonders,” and some “coincidences” might me some “good” ideas of theirs - but if we are already considering aliens with technology superior to ours, we might as well ascribe these to God! In other words, if “somebody” is making seemingly arbitrary modifications to our environment, I wouldn’t venture to bet on ANY of these two alternatives unless somebody gives me some cold, solid, statistical anomalies.

Coexistence... yes, this should be our goal and as long as they didn’t annihilate us, it’s their goal also! It’s also compatible with the preservation hypothesis! We only need to prove them we have enough self-esteem not to suck their whiskers (to express myself diplomatically) or irrationally take advantage of them.

On the other hand:

All I said above would also converge with Adacore’s thory of the Galactic Zoo. It wouldn’t be too hard to imagine that they are actually betting on us (does person XYZ survive another 20 years? does idea PQR survive another 1000 years? I actually wonder if fortunes were made by betting on Jesus of Nazareth!!).

gladiolas
Posts: 76
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:41 am UTC

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby gladiolas » Sat Apr 19, 2014 1:31 am UTC

Maybe they are the descendants of an ancient, unknown civilization which emerged on Earth or another body in our solar system, and want to find out what traces of their civilization are known to the present inhabitants, they want to find out what we're up to. And their biochemistry might be similar enough for them to find Earth's biosphere worth harvesting for its resources.

infernovia
Posts: 931
Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2008 4:27 am UTC

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby infernovia » Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:44 pm UTC

I think it's far more likely that the species we meet will be aggressive in nature and is mostly interested in expanding their species to other planets and subjugating. Mostly because annihilating a huge portion of the planet seems like an easy next step when we are talking about FTL interplanetary technology, so they might pre-emptively attack earth just in case we have the technology to hit them in case we start attacking them. I really don't think they will be a "preserve the planet and the ecology and we won't annihilate" type of alien although they might annihilate us because of our aggression.

Also, I can't understand why any alien race would want to preserve another planet to let the race develop on it's own. I don't see any gain from doing that. At best they will intervene to accelerate growth so that we can join the alliance and they will grow stronger, at worse they will intervene to subjugate/destroy us.

I think there might be a slight possibility that they could come for information trade as it does improve their overall growth. I find it unlikely that they will care about our art/music unless they have a similar physiology/psychology to us.

User avatar
PM 2Ring
Posts: 3713
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:19 pm UTC
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby PM 2Ring » Fri Apr 25, 2014 6:12 am UTC

infernovia wrote:Also, I can't understand why any alien race would want to preserve another planet to let the race develop on it's own. I don't see any gain from doing that.

Because they value diversity and wish to maximise it. Not just for altruistic reasons, but also to stop the galaxy from getting too homogenous and boring.

User avatar
Adacore
Posts: 2755
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:35 pm UTC
Location: 한국 창원

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby Adacore » Fri Apr 25, 2014 6:22 am UTC

infernovia wrote:Also, I can't understand why any alien race would want to preserve another planet to let the race develop on it's own. I don't see any gain from doing that.

Why are there sizeable groups of humans that want to preserve various ecosystems and allow animals to live free from human interference? I imagine the motivations could be similar.

I can also imagine a situation where an advanced but pacifist alien civilization fears being attacked by humans in the future. They wouldn't exterminate us, because they don't believe in violence, but they also maybe wouldn't want to reveal themselves, to increase their (very) long term chances of survival.

infernovia
Posts: 931
Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2008 4:27 am UTC

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby infernovia » Sat May 10, 2014 4:58 pm UTC

On the boring front, why not plant some ideas on to the people to make it interesting? Generate some world wars for your pleasure or whatever.

The pacifistic alien race is an ok concept I guess, but I find it highly unlikely.

User avatar
bigglesworth
I feel like Biggles should have a title
Posts: 7461
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 9:29 pm UTC
Location: Airstrip One

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby bigglesworth » Sun May 11, 2014 9:13 pm UTC

A sort of space UN but with more resources (they have FTL and are visiting here, they can afford to interfere) might be interesting.

The first ships enter the Solar System quietly, and start intercepting signals, translating, cataloguing what the humans are doing.

Later, first contact is made. The extent of alien presence in our system is hidden so as not to alarm us. Embassies and a UN observer presence are made.

While this is going on, Von Neuman factories are setting up on the gas planet moons, building drone weapons and peacekeepers. Once they're ready to have overwhelming force compared to Earth, they set off. A network of satellites able to intercept ICBMs fills the sky. Peacekeeper drones drop into areas of the planet suffering from insurgencies, and both sides are forced to the negotiating table.

Once Earth is sufficiently peaceful, it can be introduced to FTL and the rest of the galaxy.
Generation Y. I don't remember the First Gulf War, but do remember floppy disks.

User avatar
PM 2Ring
Posts: 3713
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:19 pm UTC
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Motivations of Aliens to Visit Earth

Postby PM 2Ring » Mon May 12, 2014 7:47 am UTC

infernovia wrote:The pacifistic alien race is an ok concept I guess, but I find it highly unlikely.

Why unlikely? War-loving species are more likely to kill themselves off before they leave their planet, or at least before they've traveled far from their home system. Also, they waste a lot of resources on military stuff. Of course, that logic isn't very relevant if there's a cheap &/or fast method of interstellar travel.

OTOH, I guess the Bad Guys could use von Neumann probes to do their dirty work, à la Greg Bear's The Forge of God, which I'm currently re-reading.


Return to “Fictional Science”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests