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Believe in UFOs? ETs? Here’s my “miniaturized” POV…

Posted: Tue, December 11, 2012 | By: Hank Pellissier

Was that a giant extraterrestrial spacecraft hovering over Istanbul? 

Did alien “gods” build Macchu Picchu

Are 13 astronauts lying when they report they saw UFOS, including Buzz Aldrin on Apollo 11? 

My Santa Cruz friend Dennis - who swears he wasn’t stoned at the time - says he experienced “missing time” - waking up by the side of of a road in his truck, with four hours unaccounted for.

France, Finland, Italy, the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom and many other nations have released hundreds of thousands of pages of UFO reports… Germany is supposed to be next….

What’s my opinion about this? Really? Are extra-terrestials visiting us? 

This topic is off-limits in many futurist/transhumanist circles, despite the group’s fascination with scifi.

When I was blog editor at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technology - - I was instructed to never publish articles on ETs or UFOs, or we’d be ridiculed in the Ivory Tower. rarely acknowledges UFO issues, same situation at World Future Society ( appears curious, but UFO discussion is largely quarantined inside its Forum; the subject doesn’t exist in its news section. - the Gawker science site - is the notable exception, consistently keeping its readers up-to-date on UFO sightings. Last week this video of a flying saucer in Hawaii was posted by editor Annalee Newitz.‘s fascination is regarded, however, as low-brow… 

Why? Why is UFO/ET inquiry a sniffed-at topic in H+? 

* Is is because James Randi/Skeptic/Atheist circles have defined the phenomena as fraudulent, as mythological as Christianity and other other-worldly cults? The James Randi Educational Society scoffs at UFO sighting here

* is it because Kurzweil opines in The Singularity is Near that humans are likely the most advanced civilization in the universe? And H+ often marches collectively to his assertions?

* Is is because UFOs/ETs are embraced non-rationally by New Ageists - who also promote spirit crystals, astrology, and ascended masters? Does their affection poison the topic?

* Are we collectively sick of getting scammed, due to crop circle hoax and others? 

All of the above?

I’m not sure, but I’d like to see the topic discussed. Why not? 

Here my opinion, for starters, on the existence or non-existence of visitors-from-outer-space. My theory combines three theories from respected observers:

1. Nobel Laureate physicist Steven Weinberg insists to NASA that future space explorers should be mechanical, robotic. The obvious reason for this is that machines don’t get hungry, horny, bored, depressed, ill, mutinous, flatulent, sleepy, suicidal, psychotic, etc. Machines act with predictable programmable behavior. Humans don’t. We are fickle, emotional, organic needy bio-beings, that easily “break down” (die). I agree with Weinberg - let machines do exploring, they’re cheaper and dependable.

My point: Alien “life forms” seeking to visit Earth will suffer the same limitations. Visitors from other planets are/will most likely be… Machines.

2. Ray Kurzweil’s subtitle to The Singularity Is Near is: “When Humans Transcend Biology.” He believes, and many futurists agree, that humanity is inexorably moving towards hybridization with machines. Slowly or quickly, depending on commercial demand, we’ll be swapping our own forms, exchaning biological anatomy and support systems, for non-biological.

My point: Machines sent to explore Earth are probably sent by “life forms” that are also… Machines.

3. John Smart in his Transcension Hypothesis defines advanced civilizations by their increasing ability to compress data. In his words:

a universal process of evolutionary development guides all sufficiently advanced civilizations into what may be called “inner space,” a computationally optimal domain of increasingly dense, productive, miniaturized, and efficient scales of space, time, energy, and matter” 

This idea is adopted from John D. Barrow‘s “scale of particle manipulation.” Compressing data is efficient because it lessens the amount of resources needed; more can be built with less. Compression is evident, of course, in our own recent technology that’s miniaturized computers into smart phones and developed invisible nanotechnology. Imagine the diminution that’ll occur in the next 50-500 years, not only in our appliances, but in our “selves” as our bodies transform/mutate/upgrade into tiny tech wonders.

My point:  Visitors from outer space will probably be TINY MACHINES sent by “life forms” that are also TINY MACHINES.

My additional opinions:

1. Our depiction of alien life that looks even remotely humanoid, traveling in metal machines that resemble our own, seems as narcissistic, as speciesist, as the dogma of ancient Greeks who viewed gods in human physiques, dressed in sandals and togas.

2. Hollywood images of alien spacecraft the size of Manhattan are ridiculous. Tiny, microscopic, nanoscopic, is more likely. Aliens/UFOs could also appear in the form of Light.

3. The notion of alien space craft carrying hundreds of separate alien beings is… primitive.  I forsee individual aliens that merge their bodies with space travel equipment to become “angels” - autonomous space voyagers. ETs will become “angels” because that’s what “intelligence” wants. Polls like the Terasem Survey that ask people what super power they want, always end up with “Flying” on top of the list. Terasem Survey also says “Travel” is the favorite activity of transhumanists. Assuming all intelligence, everywhere in the universe, has the same desire/ambition, then consumer demand will create, everywhere, the ability for individuals to fly by themselves, not in aircraft, but on their own, like Iron Man (Tony Stark).

Intelligent life also enjoys traveling in groups. ETs would do this by - literally or figuratively - linking arms with best friends and exploring distant planets together, like Earth. They’ll travel collectively, galactically, in “hives” as a large Unified Vehicle. 

4. The majority of UFO and ET sightings don’t fit the description I’ve outlined. Therefore, I’m inclined to regard the bulk of them as false or as terrestrial phenomena. But the lights… many UFOs are viewed as just “lights”... this intrigues me… I think of illuminated, synchronized, hovering, nimble microscopic civilizations, i.e. Dr. Seuss’s “Horton hears a Who!”

Are they here already? If they are, they’re not influencing our affairs, which seems rather amoral… We need radical life extension technology…

What’s your opinion?  There’s gaps in my argument. Leave me your ideas in Comments below:


My bet is that they are here but attempting not to influence our development (or to influence it as minimally as possible) as doing so is likely to reduce universal diversity (which is arguably unwise and immoral—i.e. not amoral).  On the other hand, I also suspect that they *have* intervened a time or two to prevent nuclear destruction (does the official Bay of Pigs stand-down story sound unlikely to anyone else?) as that would also reduce universal diversity.  And on the third hand, I agree with you that most UFO reports (and chasers) are seriously misguided.

By Mark Waser on Dec 11, 2012 at 7:35am

If there are no aliens and UFOs visiting us, what is the purpose of the Disclosure Project ? Is it a distraction maneuver? If yes, what is it supposed to distract from?

If we assume that we are visited by aliens, then the question is: Why? And why aren’t we in open contact with them? Is there something like a Prime Directive that makes it illegal to interfere with our development? If yes, why? And why do we see UFOs nevertheless? Are they from factions who haven’t signed the Prime Directive? Why would their interference be tolerated by others?

Or is there some kind of cold war going on and different factions are trying to influence so subtly that the risk of retaliation due to Prime Directive infringement is low?

Coming to the apparent humanoid shapes of the aliens. There are a couple of possible explanations for that:
* Cultural reasons: Biological baseline pride / speciesism / Luddism
* They are not allowed to use / have access to more advanced bodies due to a Luddite tyranny (crazy AI god for example - all hail YHWH wink)
* Humanoid appearances are most suitable for contact situations with humanoids

Clearly, this whole topic doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. And if it actually turns out to make sense, this sense might shatter our dreams even more dramatically than a global nuclear war. Ignorance may be bliss.

By Mike Radivis on Dec 11, 2012 at 9:35am

Mike Radivis—I would be happy, as the editor of this blog, to have you write an essay on this topic. Let me know at

By Hank Pellissier on Dec 11, 2012 at 8:17pm

Arthur C. Clark once said “I don’t believe in UFO’s because I’ve seen too many of them.”

What he meant is that anyone who spends a lot of time watching the skies is going to see unexpected lights, weird things, ect.  However, that’s because there are so many optical illusions and visual tricks the eye can play on you.  (One of his examples was that a flock of white seagulls, flying over the ocean towards the setting sun, tends to look like a group of white disks flying in formation, because of the way light is reflected.)

Personally, I think it’s very unlikely that there are extraterrestrial space ships that can avoid detection by every radar installation, telescope, and spy satellite in the world for at least the past 50 years or so, and yet can occasionally be spotted by random civilians.  There seems to be a fundamental contradiction there.

By Yosarian on Dec 15, 2012 at 1:31pm

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