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Artifact: Universal Language from Arrival

Published onSep 30, 2019
Artifact: Universal Language from Arrival

[The way time works in this movie was cool but I was already familiar with a similar concept from Kurt Voneggut’s works.]

What I found exciting about this movie is the process of communication between humans and aliens- or rather how the communication was bootstrapped.

I have been tormented by this idea since when I watched Solaris- how do we even begin to understand and communicate with something or someone otherly and unlike us. As we search for extraterrestrial life we are guided by sensible principles. On the physical level these creatures have to be material and guided by the universal laws of physics; on a biological level they need to survive and replicate as a way to pass information (something like dna), but also mutate that information to get diversity and better chances at survival. What happens as these creatures become complex and more intelligent; are there “universal” principles or constraint that guide the evolution of possible minds? If so, can we use these shared principle to understand sentience when we see it, or communicate with something intelligent but opaque to us? Would the intelligence on the other side do the same with us? Would both sides try and bootstrap communication, and how would time and matter affect this? (For example, what if the creature’s “neurons” fire in centuries but ours in a split of a second? What if our brains are too slow? What if we’re not intelligent enough?)


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