Social media will make an alien encounter much more complicated.
By Daniel Oberhaus | MOTHERBOARD
In 1990, the International Academy of Astronautics published a special issue of their journal , Acta Astronautica, dedicated to the problem of what to do in the event that the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) detected an alien signal. These „post-detection protocols“ as outlined in the IAA’s Declaration of Principles in 1989 were inspired by increasingly rapid technological advances in the SETI field that made the likelihood of detecting a signal more likely than at any other point in the search’s 30 year history.
But the one technological development that its collaborators couldn’t have anticipated was the rise of social media, which could seriously complicate the ability of government and private research institutions to control the social consequences resulting from the detection of an extraterrestrial message.