[ExI] Communication with aliens (was Re: The Reality of Categories)

Bryan Bishop kanzure at gmail.com
Tue Jul 17 16:50:38 UTC 2007

On 7/17/07, Mike Dougherty <msd001 at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 7/16/07, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:
> > > What would you actually say to an alien who thought you were crazy to
> > > assert that the rock was the same rock as yesterday?
> >
> > I would first make sure that there was not a communication
> > problem.  Then I would ask him why the two rocks were
> > not the same.  He might say that one was a "today-rock"
> > and one was a "yesterday-rock", but that would probably
> > indicate nothing more than a communication or language
> > difficulty.
> >
> I wonder if the communication problem could be resolved.  Sure, we can agree
> on language usage, but ultimately the message originates from a specific
> perspective and must reach a destination perspective different from that
> origin.  In a human-to-human context, there is enough similarity in past
> experience that the point of view on an abstract point is negligible.  Given
> the parallax between human and alien perspectives, there may be increasing
> difficulty constructing any language-encapsulated thought that could be
> properly received and understood.  Perhaps over the course of enough
> context-sharing where human-thought becomes more alien and alien-thought
> becomes more human, the gap can be narrowed.

Context-sharing indeed. Context is never itself, though, (context has
context has ...), and so even now we see communication troubles with
those systems (read: humans) with much, much smaller gap-values.
Crossing bigger gap-values is an interesting challenge. :)

I am reminded of Marvin Minsky's "Communication with alien
intelligence," (1985),
- but he makes many assumptions starting off.

Also relevant is the Cosmic OS project, but I have yet to double check
the axioms,
- but we cannot really test this; we don't even know if the medium is useful

As for complex aliens that are more likely than what the pop 'scifi'
authors would have us believe, there are some imaginations at play
over here:

For example:
- how would you hack this grass so that you could communicate?

- Bryan

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