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SETI public: Re: An Alien language and Dolphins.

I read the Minsky article Larry pointed us to (thanks, Larry).

Another good article on this subject is at 

Now, to Albert's most recent points:

>We may have a universe, with *many* ETI's then , whose sole knowledge
>of each other is that they are there, and nothing more. What a frustrating

It's possible, but I'd like to bet that there would be some overlap and 
some rudimentary comprehension. In part, this is because I believe 
ultimately ETI's will find ways to communicate more comprehensively. 
Perhaps over millennia, a protocol for two-way radio communication will 
evolve. Perhaps one ETI will send a probe with sufficient autonomous 
intelligence to kick start conversation face to face, and hten report 
those protocols back to the parent race. Perhaps there are ETI out there 
who know how to encode their own consciousness, and a transmission could 
be a conscious individual capable of 'running' on a specially made 
computer when it arrives, and able to conduct a dialogue when it got here 
(I'm writing a novel about that one - so the idea's *mine*!!!). The point 
is that first discovery is the beginning of a potentially indefinite 
relationship. It may just take time - LOTS of time.

In addition, there may be tricks to interspecies communication which we 
are able to learn by going through this same sl;ow process with *many* 
other ETI's. And there may exist ETI's who have already learned a great 
deal through contavct with multiple other civilisations, who can do most 
of the work for us. This last point is probably SETI's best hope - that 
the other race does most of the hard work, because they are certain to be 
ahead of us technolgoically and in terms of interstellar experience. The 
SETI folks I spoke to said that even *given* that, a message might take 
decades or centuries for us to decode.

>> Truly rich communication may only be possible face to face -
>We can shake hands on that!

Ah - but would we *really* understnad each ther, or might we just think 
we do?! We might find that these emails have given us a false illusion of 
comprehension that would disappear if we interacted directly....