December 5, 2004 | David F. Coppedge

SETI Researcher Thinks Big: Send Internet Smut to the Aliens

Seth Shostak (SETI Institute), in an article on Space.Com, answers the question, “What do you say to an extraterrestrial?”  He said we no longer need to limit ourselves to short messages like “What hath God wrought?”,* the phrase Samuel F. B. Morse sent with the first telegraph.  The bandwidth we have available now is huge, so why not beam the Google servers to space?  “Sure, the Web contains a lot of redundant information,” he says, “(and a lot of unsavory material, too, but after all, that’s part of the human condition).”
    His idea is that even if the aliens don’t know our language, the wealth of data would allow them to figure it out.  “The difference between Samuel Morse’s first, terse telegraph message and the bit stream spewed by a modern telecommunications satellite is enormous…. if we’re really thinking about interstellar messages, we should think big.”

We’ve come a long way.  What message do we want to send?  From a Bible verse to smut enough to make the angels blush.  Since the majority of internet traffic is pornography, the aliens would learn a lot about the human condition, all right: “Those earthlings are really sick.  Let’s beam them a copy of the Word of God, the message He has wrought for our salvation.”

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Categories: Dumb Ideas, SETI

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