Humans And Aliens
October 20, 2011 § 1 Comment
Considering the size of the galaxy, some would like to think that humanity is not alone out here, that there are other intelligent beings in this vast collection of stars and planets and moons. Perhaps due to fascination for this possibility, many fictional works–movies, books, video games–are centered around the contact and interactions between humanity and extraterrestrial species.
Most of the time, the experience of meeting our exotic neighbors results in either a catastrophic event for humans (Independence Day, War of Worlds) or a beneficial relationship between the species (Star Trek, Mass Effect). Assuming a peaceful First Contact, I do not think that such an event will affect me much personally, unless I am fortunate enough to interact with a member of the alien race. On that note, First Contact shouldn’t affect most people’s life immediately except as another front-page news. As a society, humanity will probably be too busy “figuring out the aliens” to deal with trade and cultural exchanges during the frantic events of First Contact. By the way, this is all assuming that both human and alien physiology will survive contact with such alien life forms.
The effect of alien contact will really manifest only after humans have had extensive interaction with the aliens, whether that be trade, scholastic programs, or inter-species marriage. By then, humans and aliens should have had extensive amount time to exchange knowledge, goods, services, and technology. By then, who knows WHAT will happen to both human and alien societies. If our physiology tolerates it, some people might choose to live among the aliens, and some aliens might prefer human company. If the two species are too distinct, then they will simply remain far-off (but potentially lucrative) trading partners. And the scenarios go on…
Whatever the case maybe, First Contact promises to lead to one of the most significant changes in human history, regardless of the result. Whether we find a friend in the star-lit sky, or burn in a wave of plasma fire, both the human and alien culture will be significantly affected. That much is certain.
For Professor Clayton, I hope it comes REALLY soon.