First Contact Protocol

When we make first contact with another species of life, we should have a first contact protocol already thought through to guide our actions. This protocol can’t anticipate all possibilities and chart precise actions to be taken, but it can establish some general principles and important ethical considerations.

ASSESSMENT
An early priority should be to determine if the other species is aware of our presence. If they are not, measures can be taken to maintain that status.

1st Principle – stay unobserved if possible, but avoid the appearance of hiding

Other factors to be assessed include: intelligence level, state of science and technology, state of ethics, history of civilization and emotional development, socio-economic and governmental and religious organization.

ETHICS
An analysis of the ethics of the situation must include potential impacts of actions on both species. This analysis will depend heavily on how well the assessment has been done.

2nd Principle – actions may impact the entirety of both species and must be carefully considered

Ethical analysis of the impact of actions on our own species will be based on our knowledge of ourselves and our values of right and wrong. Ethical analysis of impacts on the other species will be based on our assessment of them and their values. It is important to get the assessment of those factors as right as possible in the time allowed.

SELF EXPRESSION
The perfect form of camouflage or disguise is a mirror. If the assessment is done well enough, and the ethical analysis allows, presenting the other species with a reflection of itself might be both practical and desirable. In first contact with a species more intelligent and/or more advanced than ourselves, it is worth considering that they may use this technique.

3rd Principle – establish a level of trust for the assessment data – this is critical if the other species is attempting to mask their assessment profile

Deciding when and how to reveal our presence is a big decision with the potential for large impacts. It must be carefully considered and it may be wise to adopt a “non-interference” attitude for as long as it is possible.

4th Principle – non-interference should be a default starting position

SEE ALSO:
Non Interference “Prime Directive”
Detecting Advanced Alien Civilizations Won’t Be Easy
Search for Old Intelligence
The Sequence of Contact
A Quarantine of Intelligence
ET Slow Scan

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