In thinking about contact with alien civilizations, we have to consider a host of questions. The biggest is whether the outcome of contact will be beneficial or harmful. Will contact uplift us, bringing a golden age of wisdom and prosperity? Or will it demoralize, even destroy us? In Contact with Alien Civilizations, Michael A.G. Michaud presents a rainbow of opinions on this topic expressed by a wide variety of people.
Michaud challenges the assumptions that underlie our most frequent answers. He takes into account not only scientific speculation, but also fiction, popular opinion, and religious thought. He looks at both sides of the "Where Are They?" debate, questioning the alleged paradox and proposing new ways of thinking about the issue.
How should we deal with contact if it happens? What do we want to say to an alien civilization? What should we do if we find alien technology in our solar system? Michaud asks us to address these and many other questions not just as thought experiments, but as issues that we may have to face one day with real urgency. It is time for sustained thought about what we would do if our searches or theirs succeed.
Michael Michaud is a leading figure in preparations for possible future contact with extraterrestrial intelligence. He has served as Director of the U.S. State Department's Office of Advanced Technology and as Counselor for Science, Technology, and Environment at the American embassies in Paris and Tokyo. He is chairperson of working groups at the International Academy of Astronautics that consider this topic. Michaud has published more than thirty articles and papers on the implications of contact with alien civilizations.
Michael A.G. Michaud
Contact with Alien Civilizations
Our Hopes and Fears about Encountering Extraterrestrials
Springer 2007, 460 pp.
Hardcover, EUR 22.95, £17.50, $27.50, sFr 42.00
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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