We have many assumptions about extraterrestrials.
We assume that, in some way, they’ll understand how to communicate with us.
We assume they may well be more advanced than us. We assume they have spaceships and weapons that can zap us into granular matter with just a twitch of their noses.
What if it’s all one big misunderstanding?
Edward Snowden, who used to be a contractor for the NSA before he became famous for leaking some of its practices, worries that we might currently be deaf to alien communication.
He expressed this view during a fascinating chat with Neil DeGrasse Tyson on his StarTalk podcast. This was courtesy of a robot-controlled video screen from his Moscow location — a communication system that DeGrasse Tyson described as “an iPad on wheels.”
It was wide-ranging chat between two nerds. Sample from Snowden: He once read a metallurgy textbook. Sexy, that.
Still, they got onto the subject of encryption and how it might affect communicating with otherworldly beings.
“If you look at encrypted communication, if they are properly encrypted, there is no real way to tell that they are encrypted,” Snowden said. “You can’t distinguish a properly encrypted communication from random behavior.”
In essence, he believes that if aliens are smart, they’ll already be encrypting everything. He said that communication remains unencrypted “until society realizes how dangerous that is.” Are we there yet? Yes, we are.
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SOURCE: Cnet, Chris Matyszczyk