How can we communicate with aliens?


Communicating with aliens is a multifaceted theoretical discussion involving advancements in technology, evolution of shared knowledge, and the profound complexity of interspecies understanding. Here are some significant insights and concepts from the discussions on the Lex Fridman Podcast:

  1. Technological Advancement: Sara Walker discussed that significant technological and theoretical advancements were essential even to recognize phenomena such as gravitational waves, which could be considered a form of "alien" communication. These advancements allowed humans to "see" and begin to understand previously incomprehensible aspects of the universe 1.

  2. Shared Physics and History: Lee Cronin emphasized the importance of shared underlying physics or history that could allow for overlapping "assembly spaces". This suggests that for communication to occur, there must be some common scientific or evolutionary elements between humans and aliens 1.

  3. Evolution of Communication: Risto Miikkulainen proposed creating simulations where agents evolve communication systems, including languages with grammatical structures. By observing these simulations, we might better understand the conditions necessary for the emergence of universal communication methods that could apply to interactions with alien intelligences 2.

  4. Cultural and Conceptual Gaps: Robin Hanson pointed out that even if technological barriers are overcome, significant challenges remain in bridging vast cultural and conceptual gaps that might exist between humans and highly advanced aliens 3.

    Communication with Aliens

    Sara, Lee, and Lex discuss the possibility of communicating with alien species and how advancements in technology and the growth of the graph can increase the chances of overlap and communication. They use the example of detecting gravitational waves to illustrate this point.

    Lex Fridman Podcast

    Alien Debate: Sara Walker and Lee Cronin | Lex Fridman Podcast #279
  5. Fundamental and Universal Communication Methods: Lex Fridman and Lee Cronin discussed the possibility of developing more fundamental or universal methods of communication, such as rethinking the binary system used in messages like the Arecibo message, to facilitate a more accessible form of contact 4.

These discussions highlight the immense complexity and speculative nature of communicating with alien species, driven by both technological progress and a deeper understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of communication across vastly different life forms.