If we could talk to aliens, what would we say?
Dr. John Elliott, UK’s Leeds Beckett University and a member of Seti’s Post-detection Task Group (a small council of scientists primed to analyse interesting radio signals detected by radio telescopes around the world) joined the Jon McComb Show to talk about what would happen in the case of aliens contacting earth.
What the task group would do
First, Elliot explains that they would have to have something concrete to work with.
“Well, having confirmed that we’ve got something really interesting, we then have to see what it is and then really it is a think tank for seeing what we’ve got to analyze the phenomenon and then from that, move the information around. The protocols are always in a sense of being transparent.”
Finding out what it means
While there are signs, it is all about finding out what these signals mean and making sure before they release any information, that it is accurate.
“It’s people that are looking into areas that are particularly relevant to dealing with, like myself, and understanding what it could mean or what type of message it is to understanding how we can tell people in a credible way.”
How much activity is there?
In the last 25 years, Elliot says they haven’t had much activity.
“We’ve not really at all, to be quite honest. We constantly get hits in the sense that there is things flying around, in the sense that we have to look at and then say ‘well we haven’t got enough evidence’. We’ve had the ‘Wow’ signal, which is known to everybody and from decades ago.”
Task force responsibilities
Elliot explains the task force is responsible for looking at things that are credible, not just from anywhere.
“The task force itself is to look at something when we have real evidence that has come somewhere that’s nothing to do with us and there must be some intelligence to it being sent.”
How would we know we had something?
If there were to be contact with aliens, how would we be aware of the signals or what they’re trying to communicate?
“Well, a lot of it is patterns. First of all, we have to look at the structure of the signal. How it repeats, how the patterns seem to relate. If you think about talking, we’re using words that are patterns, the sounds that we know what they mean and we put them together so here we can understand what the speakers meaning. And you can move from that. Any information that is exchanged between one thing and another, have to package up their information in a way that communicates usefully so that the other thing or person or animal can actually know what the information is to make use of it and it is looking into the patterns that are used in that.”