Opinion | Should We Try to Make Contact With Aliens? – The New York Times

With the U.S. government puzzling over U.F.O.s, and potentially habitable exoplanets in our telescopes, earthlings are closer than ever to finding other intelligent life in the universe. So the existential question is: Should we try to communicate with whatever we think might be out there?

That’s the argument this week between Douglas Vakoch and Michio Kaku. Vakoch, the president of the research and educational nonprofit METI (Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence) International, has dedicated his life’s work to intentionally broadcasting messages beyond our solar system.

Kaku, a professor of theoretical physics at the City College of New York and a co-founder of string field theory, thinks reaching out to unknown aliens is a catastrophically bad idea and “would be the biggest mistake in human history.”

Together, they join Jane Coaston to debate the question of making first contact and our place in the cosmos.

Thoughts? Email us at argument@nytimes.com or leave us a voice mail message at (347) 915-4324. We want to hear what you’re arguing about with your family, your friends and your frenemies. (We may use excerpts from your message in a future episode.)

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“The Argument” is produced by Phoebe Lett, Elisa Gutierrez and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Alison Bruzek and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones; additional mixing by Carole Sabouraud; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin.



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