Scientists prepare an ‘alien language’ to contact them

Experts from the sciences and humanities have come together in an international project in which they are developing a way to communicate with an intelligent extraterrestrial civilization.

Film “Arrival” (Contact with an intelligent alien race)

How would humanity react if, in the future, we discovered that we are not alone in the universe? While we don’t have certain signs of intelligent extraterrestrial life so far, the question has always puzzled scientists.

For this reason, the University of Saint Andrews in Scotland has created a new research center that will coordinate at a global level how we prepare to respond responsibly to the eventual event.

This is the SETI Post-Detection Nucleus, which will be made up of specialists from different branches of science and the humanities. Among your tasks will also be to create an alien language model that will allow us to communicate with another intelligent civilization.

The SETI Institute (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence, or Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence in Spanish) is a non-profit research organization that seeks to explore and understand the origin of life in the universe.

“Science fiction is rife with explorations of the impact on human society after discovery and even encounters with life or intelligence elsewhere,” said John Elliot, researcher and coordinator of the SETI Post-Detection Hub, in a university statement.
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“But we must go beyond thinking about the impact on humanity. We need to coordinate our expertise not just to assess the evidence.”

“…But also consider the human social response, as our understanding advances and what we know and don’t know is communicated. And the time to do that is now.”

The development of an extraterrestrial language

One of the biggest challenges for the new scientific group will be the creation of a basic alien language.

“Exploring signals of putative extraterrestrial origin for language structures and attaching meaning is an elaborate and time-consuming process during which our knowledge will advance in many steps as we learn ‘extraterrestrial,'” Elliot noted.

Experts point out that this protolanguage will be as necessary as it already is, for example, the procedure for diverting asteroids at risk of colliding with Earth.

“Are we ever going to get a message from ET? We do not know. We also don’t know when that will happen.

“…But we know that we cannot afford to be ill-prepared – scientifically, socially and politically – for an event that could become a reality as early as tomorrow, and that we cannot afford to mismanage,” concluded Elliott.

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