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SETI public: To kick things off...Eric Davis' References

Richard, et al,

Forwarded with permission.

Best Wishes,

Walt Williams, 99.11.24

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
From:          "Dr. Eric W. Davis" <ericdavis@nidsci.org>
Organization:  NIDS
To:            walt_williams@setv.org
Date:          Tue, 23 Nov 1999 16:05:50 -8
Subject:       Re: SETI public: To kick things off...
Reply-to:      ericdavis@nidsci.org
Cc:            richard@burke-ward.demon.co.uk
Priority:      normal

Richard and Walt:

Cognitive and sensorial based incommensurability will be the
driver of understandability or non-understandability between us
and "them".  

Douglas A. Vakoch addresses this in his two Acta
Astronautica papers: 

"The Dialogic Model: Representing Human Diversity In Messages to
Extraterrestrials", Acta Astronautica, vol. 42, no. 10-12, pp.
705- 710, 1998. 

"Constructing Messages to Extraterrestrials: An Exosemiotic
Perspective", Acta Astronautica, vol. 42, no. 10-12, pp. 697-704,



From:           	walt_williams@setv.org
To:             	public@setileague.org
Date sent:      	Tue, 23 Nov 1999 15:46:24 -0800
Subject:        	SETI public: To kick things off...
Send reply to:  	walt_williams@setv.org
Copies to:      	"Dr. Eric W. Davis" <ericdavis@nidsci.org>
Priority:       	normal

> Richard, et al,
> >Richard Said
> There is a subject which is (a) close to my heart, and (b) the
> subject of 1 hour documentary which I have just finished making.
> It is called "talking with Aliens" and it will be shown in the UK on
> 20th December on Channel Four, and early in the New Year on The
> Learning Channel in America. 
> >>>deletia<<<
> Think about how a truly alien creature might think and
> communicate. What if they used sonar as their primary mode of
> perception? Any 2-d representation would meaningless to them -
> bang goes the Arecibo message, bang goes Encounter 2000. Think
> about their communication. We know dolphins have between 10 and
> 100 primary sound units - and by matching the sounds with tier
> behavior, we have been able to decipher two of these - count
> them, *two* - and that's =with the live animal to observe.
> >Walt
> I see that you think about nuances of contact.
> >Richard
> So my question to you all is this. What makes us think we could
> ever, conceivably, understand the first thing ETI had to say to
> us? Even if they had done their best to make a message we were
> 'sure' to understand - like we did with Arecibo and Encounter
> 2000.
> Surely there is a real chance we'll hear from ETI - and then never
> understand what they're saying at all?
> >Walt 
> To decode a signal is one issue provided that we can
> 'sense' it with our technology. Then to understand the 'encoded'
> intelligence, provided it is encoded is another matter. What if
> a specific ET evolved distributed intelligence (as in a hive
> mentality) and the signal consists of not one but hundreds of
> signals being sent simultaneously each on a different wavelength
> (it's class), but the information is statistically recovered, a
> nuance of the distributed intelligence architecture evolved
> error correction, should members expire, but Earth only received
> one channel. A complete reasoning-sequence would not be formed
> without the full channel width of the 'original signal'. But
> this is a fairytale, not very good one either.