Author Topic: Why would aliens even bother to visit earth?  (Read 5259 times)

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Offline vtwin@cox.net

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Why would aliens even bother to visit earth?
« on: February 03, 2019, 11:41:46 pm »
Buddy of mine and I were discussing Stephen Hawking's "warning" to mankind dating back to a 2010 Discovery Channel comment that aliens we encounter may not be particularly friendly and meeting an alien species would in all likelihood be catastrophic to the human race.

This lead to a line of reasoning: why exactly would aliens even bother to come to Earth?

Hawkings speculated they may "raid" the earth. Well, we could not think of any particular resource which the Earth has that cannot be either synthesized elsewhere, or does not exist in sufficient quantity elsewhere in the universe. Stealing our "molton core" a-la Independence Day 2, notwithstanding :)

Even harvesting humans for food... well, most of us probably lament the amount of petrol we use to drive to the local Waitrose (assuming we are not within walking distance or have access to some form of public transportation) to buy some ribs... so we cannot see the logic in spending an insane amount of resources to travel to Earth in order to pick up some human sausages. Unless naturally there's some means of interplanetary travel we've yet to speculate about which has negligible energy consumption over vast distances.

About the only commodity we do have, that we could think of, would be habitable space... assuming alien biology was adequately close enough to ours to make living on Earth feasible (or they have appropriate technology to terraform the planet's atmosphere to make it conform to their requirements and have sufficient means to remove the existing 10 billion parasites living on the surface.)

Any thoughts?
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Offline Sparky49

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Re: Why would aliens even bother to visit earth?
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2019, 11:58:14 pm »
One possibility is an issue of self-preservation. Why not stomp out the new 'smart' kids on the block when they are still easy to eliminate, rather than risk them equaling yourself in the future and competing for x number of reasons? Or perhaps you believe it is unwise to make noise, attracting attention to yourself, and suddenly some dude down the block starts blasting radio waves everywhere? Worth it to squash them out and silence your part of space than risk being found alongside the noisey bunch?

 

Offline Red Squirrel

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Re: Why would aliens even bother to visit earth?
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2019, 01:50:28 am »
Humans are creatures that like to destroy things.  I think if aliens were to invade we would eventually find out where they came from and then go kill them and harvest their planet.  We are probably a bigger threat to them than they are to us.    Think, the movie Avatar.  It's just a movie, but I could really see it apply to real life.  Fast forward to a time where space travel is about as normal as driving a truck.  We find a planet that has tons of oil or something and happens to have these creatures on it.  We would take the oil and kill the creatures if we have to.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Why would aliens even bother to visit earth?
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2019, 02:31:09 am »
Not something we really need to worry about, physics and isolation kinda takes care of that.
Unless there is some bending of current physics we don't know about.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Why would aliens even bother to visit earth?
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2019, 02:33:39 am »
Fast forward to a time where space travel is about as normal as driving a truck.

That future might still very well be limited by that pesky speed of light stuff and mass thing. I know that kind of future kinda sucks, but it's the best bet at present.
 

Offline David Hess

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Re: Why would aliens even bother to visit earth?
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2019, 03:09:39 am »
Why?  Organics, living space on a habitable world, whatever.  Maybe they are born missionaries.

Of more importance is our own history.  How many encounters between the colonial powers during the age of sail ultimately went well for the indigenous inhabitants?  None?  I would not be sanguine about The Road not Taken.
 

Offline coppercone2

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Re: Why would aliens even bother to visit earth?
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2019, 03:16:22 am »
to make an outpost

its like putting a air strip on a island in the middle of the pacific.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2019, 03:18:23 am by coppercone2 »
 

Offline TerraHertz

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Re: Why would aliens even bother to visit earth?
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2019, 04:44:38 am »
Buddy of mine and I were discussing Stephen Hawking's "warning" to mankind dating back to a 2010 Discovery Channel comment that aliens we encounter may not be particularly friendly and meeting an alien species would in all likelihood be catastrophic to the human race.

You, your buddy, and Stephen Hawking, are all failing to realize you are building several hidden assumptions into your model.
The most serious and definitely false assumption, is that the concept of 'species' has any relevance to entities with technology much beyond ours.

Humans are a 'species', because we are biologically reproduced individuals still based on the DNA that evolved via survival of the fittest, over millions of years of life on Earth. As such, we have a lot of 'survival-related' cognitive biases. Ways of thinking that work acceptably well in a survival environment. But which are far from well adapted to technology-based existence.

So far, our technology isn't up to building self-maintaining and self-developing AI constructs. Note that our early efforts in this direction are all machine-based. But that's only because our bio-science is very primitive still. The most efficient, compact, versatile and self-maintaining 'machines' are biological. If we knew how to design and build living beings from scratch, the results would be better than machines in most general-needs circumstances.

At some point in the fairly near future (less than a couple of hundred years, maybe MUCH less), our genetic engineering and science-of-mind will reach the point where we can:

 * Make genetic patches to existing adult organisms, including ourselves. Actually we can already do this, but we aren't yet much good at the coding of targeted changes. We don't understand the syntax enough yet, to do it without goofs. Getting very close...

 * Address the DNA coding issues of aging. Again, we're very close. Look up Telomere fuses. There are already workable techniques of significant life extension (see mice experiments, telomerase, etc.) And that's just what's been published. I would bet the actual tech is far in advance of that, in closed circles. You DON'T expect the money elites are ever going to allow working life extension for the masses, surely? Btw, WHEN is bloody George Soros going to die already?

 * At some point there will be breakthroughs in how organic brains think. With several results: ability to build working simulations of existing adult minds, ability to interface machine extensions to living minds AND their simulations, and most importantly, to modify and extend the capabilities of existing minds.

The point is, that when you integrate the consequences of those developments, you get a situation that is radically, fundamentally different to the world we know now. You hear a lot of people using the word 'transcendence', in discussion, SciFi stories, etc. And it's a very chaotic bottleneck- lots of different possible outcomes.

But I maintain that in NONE of the possible outcomes, are there EVER 'star-faring species'.  Those technologies are simply incompatible with the existence of large numbers of technology-using genetically and culturally homogeneous individuals who see themselves as members of a species/culture.

What actually happens, is one or more individuals from a culture like ours that achieves the crucial tech-combination, self-boostrap up. Making themselves into self-engineered, immortal and space-travel-capable beings. And that self-engineering includes modifying and extending their own consciousness - how they think. Human, instinct-based minds are mal-adapted for such an existence. Each individual would self-develop on their own path.

Btw, the speed of light is a great universal quarantine barrier. You can only go starfaring, if you are a self-engineered bio-machine composite entity. Capable of existing as a networked mesh of hundreds of units, radiation-hardenned, each holding full backups of your complete dataset. And capable of adopting states of consciousness/stasis that make thousands of years of sub-lightspeed travel through interstellar distances survivable. In the sense of having enough units survive random impacts along the way, to rebuild at the next star system.

Quote
This lead to a line of reasoning: why exactly would aliens even bother to come to Earth?

For a VERY good reason.
There are no material shortages in this universe, for starfarers. Also the whole 'expand and conquer' concept is one of the primitive survival-based cognitive biases, of no relevance to such beings.
So what does have value to them? What cannot be manufactured, that has the priceless attributes of rarity, novelty and truth?

Stories. Just because you've become a being consisting of a huge swarm of machine-intelligence star-faring ships, lived for a hundred million years, and are likely to live to see the end of the Universe, doesn't mean you wouldn't like a good story. And others of similar kind you may meet along the journey, would be the same.

Stories you could make up wouldn't be as interesting to others as _real_ stories. Particularly ones that chronicled the creation of new ones of your kind. 'Baby photos'.

That's what Earth is. Few hundred million years of life arising, then humans, then the struggle of technological development, then at some point (soon) the birthing of new starfarers. Or not, if we f*ck up and destroy the biosphere with a nuclear war or something equally dumb. But even then it's still a good story for those guys.


Quote
Hawkings speculated they may "raid" the earth. Well, we could not think of any particular resource which the Earth has that cannot be either synthesized elsewhere, or does not exist in sufficient quantity elsewhere in the universe. Stealing our "molton core" a-la Independence Day 2, notwithstanding :)

Even harvesting humans for food... well, most of us probably lament the amount of petrol we use to drive to the local Waitrose (assuming we are not within walking distance or have access to some form of public transportation) to buy some ribs... so we cannot see the logic in spending an insane amount of resources to travel to Earth in order to pick up some human sausages. Unless naturally there's some means of interplanetary travel we've yet to speculate about which has negligible energy consumption over vast distances.

About the only commodity we do have, that we could think of, would be habitable space... assuming alien biology was adequately close enough to ours to make living on Earth feasible (or they have appropriate technology to terraform the planet's atmosphere to make it conform to their requirements and have sufficient means to remove the existing 10 billion parasites living on the surface.)

Any thoughts?

There's nothing here they need, other than stories. But if you meddle in a 'real story' is it still real? No, it isn't.
That's why the 'aliens' will never land and pull any 'take me to your leader' bullshit. Even the knowledge of what they actually are, if humans became aware of it due to the starfarers telling us, would spoil the story from the starfarer's viewpoint.
(Which doesn't mean they'd necessarily mind if we thought it up ourselves - hence me talking about it.)
They _do_ seem to have chats with random individuals now and then. Or at least their bio-constructed remote units do - the Grays, and other variants. The Grays are not 'the aliens', they are just modular constructs, with local intelligence and autonomy, but still part of the main entity (or entities, if there are several hanging around, watching.) I wouldn't be surprised if the Grays are an open-source  freeware, code shared among the starfarers.


By the way, there's another whole layer to this. Imagine some technology capable of taking 'snapshots' of living minds, resulting in a dataset that captures the entirety of that mind. There'd be no point doing that unless you also had the capability to run that dataset as a simulation in an virtual environment you had constructed around it. And perhaps re-inject that mind-model to a varying degree into a living being (either existing, or one you constructed from scratch.)

Now imagine that the spacefarers were collecting such recordings, as part of their 'story of Earth'.
And at some points in human history they might have been a bit too open with us about all this. Maybe an oopsie, maybe there are factions among them and they don't always agree on that 'no story contamination' thing.

So, imagine what a primitive human might take away from such a conversation. 'Captured mind model' that is really all you are? How about calling that a 'soul'.  Explanation of why they do that, and what happens to those 'souls' when they are awakened in simulated realities? Maybe some stuff abut adapting the simulated realities to bring out the prominent features of each character? 'Heaven and Hell'.  Sometimes reinjecting a 'soul' into a newborn? Reincarnation. Perhaps the recording process works best with some cooperation or at least agreement? Selling your soul to the Devil. Multiple starfarers in the Solar System, possibly for millions of years, just watching, recording and maybe sometimes meddling a bit on the side? Pantheon of Gods. Maybe some of them are not so nice? Cthulu, Old Testament, etc. Getting bored with dinosaurs? Big meteorite. Miracles, voice of God, etc? You know what they say about advanced technology and magic.  Crop circles? No reason they can't have a twisted sense of humor. Bunch of pranksters, maybe wondering if they could get humans to waste their time making even more elaborate crop circles. Answer: yes.
And so on.


Hope you found this entertaining. It's all just a joke. Or is it?
« Last Edit: February 04, 2019, 10:59:30 pm by TerraHertz »
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Offline Peabody

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Re: Why would aliens even bother to visit earth?
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2019, 05:26:13 am »
Pizza.  They'd come for the pizza.  And maybe more Chuck Berry recordings.
 
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Offline Psi

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Re: Why would aliens even bother to visit earth?
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2019, 06:36:36 am »
I think the ability to travel faster than light automatically indicates the alien race has been around long enough to develop a level of personal and race maturity that makes them all peaceful. As well as being smart enough to let us evolve on our own without much interference. Except maybe to secretly help prevent any extinction level events that might crop up from time to time.

Also i suspect the answer to the Fermi paradox is that we're only looking at the sky in 3 dimensions and all advanced alien life expands out into the other, more fun, dimensions.
(String theory hints at there being up to 10 spatial dimensions)
The 3 dimensions we're used to are more akin to a kids sandpit/box.

To answer the question, the reasons aliens might visit earth are to learn about or study us by observation and to help in rare situations, if warranted.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2019, 06:42:58 am by Psi »
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Offline Berni

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Re: Why would aliens even bother to visit earth?
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2019, 06:52:21 am »
Who knows maybe we are going to do that to some other planet instead.

Its just a question of developing the technology to travel the massive distances and surviving the trip. We are far from that, not even close to getting to Mars, but we want to get to Mars. So if we do get there at some point why would we stop there.

Tho the more likely scenario is that we do something dumb and kill ourselves to end the human race before that happens. Be it by nuclear war or eventually trashing the planet in some other way that we haven't even thought of yet.
 

Offline Red Squirrel

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Re: Why would aliens even bother to visit earth?
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2019, 07:11:52 am »
Fast forward to a time where space travel is about as normal as driving a truck.

That future might still very well be limited by that pesky speed of light stuff and mass thing. I know that kind of future kinda sucks, but it's the best bet at present.

Yeah I agree with that, unless we somehow discover a space travel method that somehow overcomes that.  Which with our current knowledge of physics is probably not anywhere within the realm of possibility.

Pizza may very well be a motive to discover such technology.  :P
 

Offline RoGeorge

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Re: Why would aliens even bother to visit earth?
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2019, 07:23:21 am »
why exactly would aliens even bother to come to Earth?

Why?  Party, steak, beer and women!   :-DD

Now, let's look back in our human history.  All the invasions ended up by destroying natives, in a way or another.
The more advanced the invaders were in comparison with the natives, the more erased become the natives.

Now, why exactly the invaders bothered to invade?
The reason doesn't really matter, and it doesn't need to make sense.

Human history seen anything, from resources plundering to enforcing the idea of an imaginary friend.


Offline daqq

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Re: Why would aliens even bother to visit earth?
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2019, 07:57:56 am »
Quote
I think the ability to travel faster than light automatically indicates the alien race has been around long enough to develop a level of personal and race maturity that makes them all peaceful.
I'd guess you can have several ways you can get a stable society that can achieve great* things.
One is that all of the inhabitants are wise, peaceful and cooperate together from their own free will etc, for a common goal.
Another is something Borg like, where the individual does, for most intents and purposes, no exist.

edit: Others may exist, I'd say you can have a stable dictatorship, some kind of super religious society, etc.

* - great in terms of technological level, regardless of morality
« Last Edit: February 04, 2019, 08:03:51 am by daqq »
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Offline NANDBlog

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Re: Why would aliens even bother to visit earth?
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2019, 08:54:52 am »
There could be any number of complex chemicals, that are in the Earth's ecosystem, and cheaper to take than synthesize. Imagine an advanced civilisation taking adrenaline as drugs, and their thugs killing us for it. TBH I find this extremely unlikely, and just floated this idea that there are a number of chemicals that are unique here.

The most likely is curiosity, if it exists in their civilisation.
 

Offline Brumby

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Re: Why would aliens even bother to visit earth?
« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2019, 09:34:41 am »
I'll put out one idea.....

Aliens will come with their schoolkids on an educational "eco tour" - to show what a poorly managed planet looks like.
 
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Offline Berni

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Re: Why would aliens even bother to visit earth?
« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2019, 09:37:39 am »
I think that curiosity is pretty much a requirement for forming a intelligent civilization.

The most significant scientific advancements happen due to curiosity where someone is just playing with something for the hell of it rather then actually actively trying to discover something new. These advancements help bootstrap you into the age of engineering where you can then use them to build useful things. Some of these new machines can then help you more scientific advancements and it all snowballs faster and faster until we suddenly have modern times as we know it.

So if they are curious enough to figure out space travel they will be curious enough to visit other planets just for the hell of it. Just like we don't really have a good reason to go to Mars apart from "It would be cool", well apart from claiming it ours as we tend to do whenever we discover new land.

The real question is if there is intelligent life close enough to us to make the trip and if we are in the right time window. Perhaps there is and they haven't got here yet, perhaps all life in the reasonable distance from us is still in the form similar to bacteria bacteria or similar to plants, perhaps there is no life near us and we just happened to be a really lucky coincidence, perhaps there was intelligent life way before us and thy already blew themselves up trough there own stupidity. In any case we would go out there to check and answer that question if we only had the technology to do it, if nothing else for our curiosity.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2019, 09:40:11 am by Berni »
 
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Offline hans

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Re: Why would aliens even bother to visit earth?
« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2019, 09:38:14 am »
Fast forward to a time where space travel is about as normal as driving a truck.

That future might still very well be limited by that pesky speed of light stuff and mass thing. I know that kind of future kinda sucks, but it's the best bet at present.

You'd need quite literally a "fast forward" button as a human species in order not to get bored along the way.

Even if we get technologically far enough to casually build interstellar space freighters and PAX,  can you imagine having to wait for several light-years before you reach your cousins birthday party? Oh wait, the concept of a birthday party has a couple of problems when we get to that point. :scared:

I think this may be one application for infinity life extension plus add some consciousness-alteration to "fast forward" the journey.
 

Offline daqq

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Re: Why would aliens even bother to visit earth?
« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2019, 09:44:47 am »
As to why, well, assuming some similar (or at least relatable) motivations to current/past humanity:

Curiosity, entertainment - we too observe all sorts of animals for all sorts of reasons. For all we know the most popular reality show currently on the Tentacle HoloTV station is Brexit.
Resources - it might simply be more economical* to get some stuff rather than to synthesize it. Also, it might be more practical to mine stuff on a planet supporting your particular kind of biology rather than some asteroid in the middle of nowhere.
Lebensraum - it might simply be more economical* to remove the current occupants of a territory than to terraform (or rather make habitable) a planet. If there's a good and proper place just waiting to be inhabited, why bother with something else? In particular if you are a civilization of assholes.
Good will - on the opposite side of the spectrum, another motivation might be the equivalent of a space charity, where they try to show civilizations a better way and/or provide stuff that might ease some kind of woes.
Ideology - if your core belief says one size fits all and MUST FIT ALL BECAUSE THE GREAT SPIDER GOD SAYS SO (or your revered philosopher said so), then why not spread your faith/ideology to the far reaches of the cosmos?

* - economical or possible, for all we know there is stuff that is impossible/extremely impractical to make/do
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Offline Electro Detective

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Re: Why would aliens even bother to visit earth?
« Reply #19 on: February 04, 2019, 10:11:13 am »

Aliens are already here, who else would be poisoning, corrupting and dumbing down humans at such an amazing rate?  :scared:

Let's not forget all the instigated wars, financial thievery and wealth hoarding. 

Perhaps these alien criminals got the ass from their habitat at one time, and their ousters never bothered to keep a tab on them in case they stuffed up someone else,

so here they are, HERE on Earth, cloaked in secrecy and unopposed...Enjoy!   :popcorn:


I reckon their rides are hidden in remote deserts (not desserts), inaccessible icey areas or deep undersea somewhere,

serviced and fueled up

in case SHTF one day and the sleeping  :=\ :=\  awaken,


or BIGGER bully aliens rock up to take over the easy turf   >:D >:D

 

Offline RoGeorge

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Re: Why would aliens even bother to visit earth?
« Reply #20 on: February 04, 2019, 10:36:13 am »
Exo-102 – Citizen Diplomacy with Extraterrestrial Civilizations
Course Length: 14 weeks
https://exopoliticsinstitute.org/certifications/exo-102-citizen-diplomacy-with-extraterrestrial-civilizations/

Do they have laboratory and hands-on experience classes?   :D

I guess a good diploma project will be:  "Turn Klingons into farmers"

Offline G7PSK

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Re: Why would aliens even bother to visit earth?
« Reply #21 on: February 04, 2019, 11:01:38 am »
The universe is a mighty big place, bigger than that which we can see with the best telescopes, some estimate that it could be bigger by over two hundred trillion times bigger and getting bigger faster than the speed of light in some cases so why bother with us if you can cross that type of distance.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Why would aliens even bother to visit earth?
« Reply #22 on: February 04, 2019, 11:12:55 am »
Its just a question of developing the technology to travel the massive distances and surviving the trip. We are far from that, not even close to getting to Mars, but we want to get to Mars. So if we do get there at some point why would we stop there.

Because anything remotely interesting is impractically far away for anything but one-way multi-generational time span exploration.
And there is a very real possibility (I'd argue more likely than not) that the technology to do the many orders of magnitude better than current laws of physics allow in order to make it practical will never be possible.
 

Offline Berni

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Re: Why would aliens even bother to visit earth?
« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2019, 11:15:03 am »
Well perhaps they can't yet traverse distances that big, but can traverse some of our closer stars.

And our planet looks out of the ordinary to make it interesting to explore. It appears to emit radio waves and the dark side appears to emit light that perfectly matches the spectral lines of sodium, but only in certain consistent places on the planet. There are a lot of things in orbit around the planet, some of it in suspiciously low orbits. And if they looked at the right just moment they might have detected the bright flash of a nuclear explosion.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Why would aliens even bother to visit earth?
« Reply #24 on: February 04, 2019, 11:17:58 am »
I actually like the Netflix movie Passengers in this respect, as it's close to what it would be like for us to go to another star system. 100 year journey or something so they all go to into stasis and the ship runs itself and wakes them up a few months before they get there.
 


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