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SETI - SETI: search for extraterrestrial intelligence o Project of understanding radio emissions from deep space o A sustained inquiry into our dilemmas about communication - Stated in the late 1950s - Is the most sustained examination of communication and communication breakdown in the late 20 th century culture - Project presupposes: o Knowledge of the speed of light o Measurement of vast distance o Discovery of radio waves o Means of sorting signal from noise o High speed computers o Longing to break through the circle of our own cognitions to touch otherness - Articles on SETI tell a tale of communicative pathos: is anyone out there? - SETI is a field for exploring the philosophical consequences of storage and transmission capacitates across vast expanses of time and space - Extraterrestrial communication clearly shows that: o Communication at a distance always comes out of the past Problems with interstellar communication - Astronomical gaps - Large distances, ranging from four light years to billions - Delays between call and response that could outlast a thousand earth generations - Problem of signal persistence through Doppler shifts - Space time distortion - Signal scatter caused by cosmic dust and gases - Across such desperate distance, any evidence of the will to communicate may always be undetermined and subject to all kinds of alternative explanations Extraterrestrial communication - Extraterrestrial communication clearly shows the communication at a distance always comes out of the past - Any “message” received from a distant planet comes from a point already lost to time - The “now” of reception would be the “then” of transmission - Communication with galactically distant worlds is an archeological dig - Thus, SETI, reveals: o The unity of communication at a distance and communication with the dead Physical research vs. SETI - What physical research was to the 19 th century is what SETI is to the late 20 th - Physical : o Telegraph, telephone, and wireless for its imagery o
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