Detecting the signature of intelligent life

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4 Citations (Scopus)


The detection of a communication from another planet would be one of the greatest events in human history, so we need to be ready for such an eventuality. How to solve messages from other worlds and to contemplate all possibilities is an extremely complex challenge; however, we have to begin somewhere. So, the problem goal is therefore to separate intelligent from non-intelligent content without dialogue, and learn something about the structure of the content in the passing. These structural phenomena range over a multi-layered hierarchical system that can not only indicate the core syntactic devices but also the cognition [intellectual power] of the author. In identifying whether a signal has been detected from an ET source and that it fulfils the criteria for being a bona fide signature from another planet, SETI has well established methods in place. However, for CETI and deciphering whether this signal has an intelligent author, work is still in its initial stages. To commence developing a system that tackles this ultimate phase of contact, strategies have been developed to enable classification and partial decipherment of such a signal, given declared assumptions and initial constraints based on cosmological anthropic principles. A set of assumptions based on the Sparseness principle that postulates that certain complex systems like mathematics and language must have underlying structural truths to enable their systems to work effectively and efficiently; any other variation lessens this significantly: a premise supported for language by comparing over 50 terrestrial languages. This paper looks back at what has been achieved to-date and what is planned for the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1419-1426
Number of pages8
JournalActa Astronautica
Issue number11-12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


  • Communication
  • Decipherment
  • Language
  • Messages
  • SETI


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