How would you make first contact?

I was thinking about the bureaucracy involved in a planets spanning federation. When they reach a planet and decide it is time to make contact: what is that even like? Who decides who talks to who?

Like, if a group came to this planet, which government, if at all, would they talk to? And how would we vet them? What if they are the weird ones, and they try to snatch up planetary rights before the cool aliens?


There was a Star TrekTNG episode where Riker was caught by a species on the threshold of qualifying for first contact. Riker was part of a larger benevolent spying ring, trying to determine a lot of those very questions about the target populace. A lot of the episode revolved around the federation/enterprise crew trying to mend fences and convey the spying was benevolent and neccisary because of many of these very questions.

In a much less invassive way. I think you could make some headway by monitoring broadcasts. Though how much could you deduce without a firm grasp of the psychological, cultural and behavioral norms and ethics of the target culture im not sure.

Might be best to just wait till some majority threshhold of the geopolitical states on a planet have the capability of approaching you, and then make your presence known. Let earth initiate dialogue to your federation.

Wait till there has been a launch from each major region that can reach the moon. Then setup a probe on the moon, broadcasting something that looks like a SETI Candidate signal. When humans open it, it broadcasts a signal strong enough to be recieved worldwide with instructions on how to intiate formal dialogue with the delegation on Europa.

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In terms of EARTH, we’d always have to be in the unenviable position of assuming aliens were being on the up and up with us. We’d have no way of fact checking.

Though I kinda buy into the sagan-esque theory that interstellar communication and travel is so difficult. And the universe abundant enough in non-life resources, that if extraterestial life chose to make contact. It would have to be because of interest of other life in and of itself.

If you can cross the cosmos easily. Your not worried about mining anything on earth. We don’t have any minerals or complex atoms any other planet or planetoid doesn’t also have in abundance. And you probably can automate to the point where you would not need to exploit organics for anything.

So their kind of constrained by the nature of the trip to have a certain level of trustworthy-ness.

Though they could be wierdos by some galactic standards. Or cosmic pranksters of some sort.

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Ive toyed on and off with a few ideas about a scifi story where human beings transmit AI/software simulated human beings as initial envoys to aliens. In a future where humans lack FTL communication or travel.

The idea being that the software is a simulated environment with an AI simulated represenative of every relevant nation state. If say 2/3rds agree that the aliens are on the up and up, they will decrypt the location of earth. If say a simple majority disagrees the AIs all self-delete, taking there bits of the decryption key with them.

The drama of the story would derrive from the AIs realizing they there are one too many software agents in the room. They then have to puzzle out which one of them doesn’t belong. And if it’s an attempt by the aliens to communicate or subvert the simulation.

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This reminded me of an OVA called “They Were Eleven”. The wikipedia article is spoilerful, but I suggest checking it out. When I first saw it my friends and I spent considerable time retcon-ing it to be more awesome. :slight_smile:

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