Active SETI: Is It Time To Start Transmitting to the Cosmos?

Friday, 13 February 2015: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Room 220C (San Jose Convention Center)
Since 1960, scientists have attempted to detect evidence of extraterrestrial technologies by using radio, and later, optical telescopes to “listen and look” in a passive, exploratory science called SETI (the search for extraterrestrial intelligence). To date, no credible evidence has been detected. It has been argued that it is also necessary to transmit actively, and a few messages have been sent. Whether transmission represents a reasonable evolutionary step in our quest to understand our place in the cosmos, or a significant risk to all humanity, the topic deserves a thoughtful discussion involving as many participants as possible. During an episode of the TV series "Into the Universe," Stephen Hawking argued from analogy with Christopher Columbus and cautioned against transmission, saying that it “… didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.” Does this analogy even make sense? Who and how shall we decide about active SETI? This symposium will present a debate on the pros and cons of transmission, and a role for social media to enable a global conversation on the topic. This will be followed by a moderated panel discussion by experts on astrophysics, astrobiology, and policy, who will reflect on the points raised during debate and answer audience questions. The session will launch a global conversation to be continued by meetings in other scholarly and public venues and online in homes, classrooms, and offices.
Jill C. Tarter, SETI Institute
David C. Black, SETI Institute
David C. Black, SETI Institute
Douglas A. Vakoch, SETI Institute
Active SETI: The Next Step for Humanity
David Brin, Futures Unlimited
Active SETI: Not Yet
David H. Grinspoon, Planetary Science Institute
Setting the Stage: Astrobiology
David S. Tatel, U.S. Court of Appeals
Setting the Stage: Policy and the Law
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