Revised scale of significance of ET detection published.

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Eric Korpela Project Donor
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Message 1946211 - Posted: 25 Jul 2018, 15:47:05 UTC
Last modified: 26 Jul 2018, 18:45:22 UTC

A group of SETI astronomers led by Duncan Forgan, and including myself and BSRC director Andrew Siemion, has published a revised version of the Rio Scale. The Rio Scale is designed to predict the public impact a signal would have, like the Richter scale does for earthquakes. The prior version of the Rio scale, in addition to being rarely used, tended to overestimate the impact of low quality or low significance reports of detection.

Now all we have to do is convince other SETI astronomers and the press to use it.

There is a related article at GeekWire.

A calculator for Rio 2.0 scores in now available here.
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Message 1946317 - Posted: 26 Jul 2018, 2:51:04 UTC - in response to Message 1946211.  

Stories about SETI are eagerly converted into newspaper articles, blogs and videos, in many notable cases without due diligence being paid to the credibility of the signal.

I hope this paper gets ample referencing in future stories.
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Message 1946336 - Posted: 26 Jul 2018, 5:54:35 UTC

Many thanks for the link Eric, an informative paper.

But many people including myself still think that the day a genuine ET signal is received and verified, the National Security Agencies will impose a blackout and clampdown on the news. The first country to reverse engineer alien technology will rule the world.
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Message 1946396 - Posted: 26 Jul 2018, 16:32:30 UTC - in response to Message 1946336.  
Last modified: 26 Jul 2018, 16:34:30 UTC

Many thanks for the link Eric, an informative paper.

But many people including myself still think that the day a genuine ET signal is received and verified, the National Security Agencies will impose a blackout and clampdown on the news. The first country to reverse engineer alien technology will rule the world.

Absolutely. Such news about aliens being found, will NEVER ever be allowed to spread to the public. Anyone even trying to do that, will just vanish, or be found expired.
Natural causes of course.......(yeah sure it was....NOT)

Those are the standing orders to any National Security Agency, of every nation on this planet.
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Message 1946418 - Posted: 26 Jul 2018, 19:06:43 UTC
Last modified: 26 Jul 2018, 19:09:46 UTC

How would we know if a super-secret organization, such as the National Security Agency, has a policy of 'blacking out' news of a genuine SETI signal? They obviously don't share their plans openly. Would they have the legal authority, or even practical ability to do this?

There have been a number of cases where a detected signal could, in time, have proved to be the real thing. For example, shortly after the discovery of the first PULSAR, it was seriously wondered if it could be a SETI signal. This discovery, and the possibility of it being an intelligent signal from space were widely disseminated by the news media at the time. I recall, as a youth, hearing of this over the radio. There was no apparent attempt to suppress this news.

Suppose the first PULSAR had finally been determined to be an intelligent signal from space. At what point would the news have been suppressed? If this was done prior to a definite, conclusive announcement from the scientists involved, we should have seen a censoring reaction to the initial PULSAR news, even though it did not turn out to be a SETI signal. Such a reaction was not seen. If a news black-out was instituted after the announcement, it would have been too late. The essential fact would be out in the open.

If the thought was to supress information that might be militarily exploitable, a question arises. Such detailed information would very probably emerge only after much study of the signals, if at all. Why would it be necessary to conceal the bare facts about the signal-- its extraterrestrial origin, the location of the senders, the sort of planet they lived on, how much power was put into the signal, etc, etc.?
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Message 1946431 - Posted: 26 Jul 2018, 20:54:52 UTC

Why would it be necessary to conceal the bare facts about the signal-- its extraterrestrial origin, the location of the senders, the sort of planet they lived on, how much power was put into the signal, etc, etc.?

Approximately 90% of the world today believe in a religion. No matter what religion it is, the common theme is the same, that their god created the universe, the Earth, and mankind. For people to find out that that there are other beings in the universe would go against all the beliefs they have ever been taught. Once religious beliefs crumble you would likely have civil unrest.

The rules as they stand say that any signal identified as intelligent has to be verified by the scientific community around that world. It would be very difficult to keep all that totally secret from the press. Any ET that has conquered space travel and interstellar communications is also likely to have an advanced society. They would know what evidence of ET would meant to this planet.

Yes we should still look, but we shouldn't be surprised if we don't find anything. If ET is there, they are likely doing us a favour by keeping quiet.
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Message 1946439 - Posted: 26 Jul 2018, 22:27:30 UTC

It doesn't seem at all likely that the National Security Agency would suppress news of a SETI discovery, as you suggest, in order to favor or protect a certain kind of religious belief. It's not clear to me that any particular religious sect in the modern world has a dogma which insists that Earth is the only planet in the universe with intelligent life.

I understand that certain religious groups literally believe that the world in only a few thousand years old. The governments of the world don't take it upon themselves to suppress scientific evidence to the contrary, in order to prevent 'unrest' in such groups. It doesn't seem any more likely that they would do so where a SETI discovery were concerned.

I doubt that we are in any position to know the motives, judgments or conclusions of a wholly alien race of intelligent beings. If they have had experience in dealing with contact with other races in space, they will be in a far better position to decide if, and when it would be appropriate to contact a particular species of intelligent life, such as ourselves. Human attitudes toward such contact are highly variable, so can't tell us much, really.

If one could ask a nine-month-old fetus if it would like to be born into the cold, bright world, it would probably resist the suggestion, being comfortably used to its current accommodations. Never-the-less, it is as appropriately prepared to be born as it possibly can be. It may be that humanity is in roughly the same circumstances, where being born into the larger universe of intelligent life is concerned.
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Message 1946443 - Posted: 26 Jul 2018, 22:44:13 UTC
Last modified: 26 Jul 2018, 22:47:06 UTC

Also that of a waterfall plot, for that of a figure, somewhere around, if not making it any plot either, for that of a dotted line, because here a quite good way,
for that of also making it an indicator for a couple of things, when perhaps also a basic trend.

Edit: Nice one, Michael Watson, for that of your last one here, when next reading.
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Message 1946474 - Posted: 27 Jul 2018, 6:29:55 UTC

Michael makes some good and interesting points, but I think if we intend to continue this thread of conversation we should move it to somewhere else. This is the News thread and not really a suitable place for discussion.
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Message 1946533 - Posted: 27 Jul 2018, 17:48:44 UTC - in response to Message 1946474.  
Last modified: 27 Jul 2018, 17:51:40 UTC

Michael makes some good and interesting points, but I think if we intend to continue this thread of conversation we should move it to somewhere else. This is the News thread and not really a suitable place for discussion.


Agreed. Please find my new thread on this topic, in the SETI@home Science section. I encourage your response, and that of all others.
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Message 1946555 - Posted: 27 Jul 2018, 20:51:06 UTC - in response to Message 1946533.  

Michael makes some good and interesting points, but I think if we intend to continue this thread of conversation we should move it to somewhere else. This is the News thread and not really a suitable place for discussion.


Agreed. Please find my new thread on this topic, in the SETI@home Science section. I encourage your response, and that of all others.

Just giving everybody a hot link:
https://setiathome.berkeley.edu/forum_thread.php?id=83163#1946530
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Message 1949838 - Posted: 15 Aug 2018, 7:57:02 UTC - in response to Message 1946211.  

Well back to the original topic. I read the paper and tried with the Web calculator to apply the scale scale to the scenario that we got incredibly lucky and an alien civilization actually looks in our direction at the correct frequency at the time one of our own on-purpose METI attempts (say, the Arecibo Message) arrives at them. Furthermore, I imagined that we got even more lucky, so that 1) the signal gets recorded in a good enough quality to make it possible to understand the content and 2) somehow (possibly through some fast communication between AI systems controlling the telescope) they manage to direct 2 or 3 other telescopes to the direction the signal is coming from during the short time it lasted (as we are not sending persistent METI-attempts). So I am trying to play the alien who rates the signal.

Even with that assumptions, the results are a little underwhelming. Heres the result and answer log:

https://dh4gan.github.io/rioscale2/ wrote:

The Rio Scale 2.0: Online Questionnaire (beta)
Quiz complete (Wed Aug 15 2018 09:13:51 GMT+0200)


Results
(Q = 4): If signal is from extraterrestrial intelligence...
Scientifically revolutionary, but of no everyday consequence. Prospects for understanding ETIs remain decades in the future.

(A = 8): Chance phenomenon is real is low
(B = 10): Chance phenomenon is not instrumental/psychological is very high
(C = 10): Chance phenomenon is not natural/anthropogenic is very high

(J = 8): SETI interest definitely warranted; technical popular press interest probably warranted; possible off-beat news item for general press, if expressed with appropriate caveats. If not aliens, still very interesting
δ = 0.1

Rio Score: R = Q x δ = 0
Rating: Nil
Answer Log
Q1) What is the estimated distance to the signal? Hundreds to thousands of light-years to millennia (in the Galaxy) (1)

Q2) What are the prospects for communication with the source of the signal? We can understand the signal or we have artifacts we can study (2)

Q3) Is the sender aware of humanity and its technology? Possibly, but there is little or no evidence for this (1)

A1) Is there significant uncertainty about whether the phenomenon occurred/occurs at all? no (7)

A2) How amenable to study is the phenomenon? Award up to 3 points based on the repeatability of the phenomenon. (1)

A3) Is the discoverer of phenomenon the same person/group that predicted that such a phenomenon would indicate the presence of alien intelligence? no, the claimants have identified a new phenomenon, or one predicted by others (0)

B1) Does the phenomenon look like a known instrumental or psychological effect? no (7)

B2) What chances do the instrument builders / experts in the method / observers of the phenomenon give that the signal is not instrumental? Award between 0-3 points: (3)

C1) Is there good reason to think the phenomenon is a hoax? no (1)

C2) How does a wide community of experts assess the probability that there any known sources of natural or anthropogenic signal that could explain the phenomenon? Award between 0-9 points (9)


So, even if we now have a signal with clear content. we judge the consequences if its real to be "Scientifically revolutionary, but of no everyday consequence.", just because the sender is far away (M13 the Arecibo message was sent to is more than 1000 light years away), because the sender may / may not be aware of our existence (we clearly were not when we sent the signal) and because we can study the content of the signal but did not understand it, yet. (the famous wow-signal scores even lower here because it was recorded at only one instrument and we have absolutely no content to decipher)

Furthermore we judge the probability that it's real to be low, even if it was recorded by multiple telescopes, just because it's not persistent. (would we judge the probability that an inidvidual gamma ray burst did happen to be low on the same basis, even if we think them real as the repeadetly come from different directions?). Even if it's clearly not a hoax/instrumental error/ natural or own origin).

The overall result is a nil-rating.

So, is this scale too strict towards low ratings? Or should we rather question ourselves if we really tried to talk to ET at all? (probably we didn't even try by our own measure).
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Message 1949844 - Posted: 15 Aug 2018, 8:52:59 UTC - in response to Message 1946211.  

I don't get it. I'm sure you mean well.. Predicting public impact is like sticking you finger in your mouth and pulling it out, then holding it up to detect wind direction. Which public, the scientific community, so called main stream media, maybe current crop of college students from ter 1 schools.? The list could go on for pages. It's way to subjective to have any meaning at all. It's our best guess and for what and who?

I hope I'm part of a real science project here, analyzing potential signals from space, detectable, measurable - compared to other known signals etc etc. I looked at my stats a minute ago, they have them for this computer only 23,000 hrs - it has to be more than that I have millions of work units completed. I had multiple computer at one point working away. I hope it was for something.

We most likely will not have the luxury of a repeat signal, maybe we will one day now that would be something. To my knowledge so far there has been one very strong, short signal years ago and that is it. Now I'm sure there are weaker signals that are possibilities. That is what we are weeding out.

I wish you well guys, I really do. What we are doing is the tedious part of science. We are eliminating the erroneous results,to find the real deal. If we do it right, if and when that day comes when we get the real deal will not need a scale to judge reactions we'll be using our own eyes. Oh and a good supply of depends too. :) It will be a multi skivvy day for many people. I am hopeful. As Jody Foster said in contact "if there is no one else out there it's a terrible waste of space" , here here.

Regards,
p
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Message 1950301 - Posted: 17 Aug 2018, 14:28:51 UTC - in response to Message 1949844.  

Well said Paul! I too hope our time we are spending isn't wasted. I've seen 2 UFO's in my lifetime and the first one was sighted by thousands of people beginning over Seattle then over Bremerton! My sighting was outside Shelton WA and it was following the powerlines barely a hundred feet off the towers. It flew directly over my SUV and my son was with me. An hour later we saw on Fox News that it had been seen from Seattle to Centralia following the powerlines. it was shaped like a boomerang and wide than a 747. Being a former Navy Aircraft Mechanic I've seen all kinds of different aircraft and can tell the difference between aircraft landing lights and street lights or stars. We had a slight sunburn on our right arms from the intense light's shining through my sunroofs. Second sighting I was alone driving from Sturgis SD to Sundance Wyoming and it was about 5 miles away Cigar shaped with no wings or tail section. Bright sunshine and no overcast. Appeared over Sundance WY then vanished behind Sundance Mountain and didn't reappear. Impossible to just vanish as fast as it appeared but that's what happened! Devils Tower is over 60 miles from Sundance WY! Maybe they were sight seeing and wanted to try out what they saw on the movie Close Encounters!? lol! From what I could determine that had to be close to a mile long because it was just about the same width of Sundance is wide! I wish I had a Video camera that day! I do now! Cheers guys!
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Message 1950973 - Posted: 20 Aug 2018, 22:38:50 UTC

Excellent work on the Rio scale Eric!
A strong positive Rio for global religions, is likely to be interpreted as 'proof of belief', and by some congregations not so much 'the second coming', but more likely 'our first visit'.
Our inquisitiveness will explode both scientifically and religiously, most likely to an uncontainable level of interpretations, and will become 'an historic date marker' of a new chronological era (ie. from BC to AD, to ET).

The impact of the ET event (and ongoing associated discoveries), will be profound!
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Message 1961439 - Posted: 22 Oct 2018, 3:27:06 UTC

. . Hi ppl,

. . I apologise for being off topic but I could not find an open thread relative to the subject.

. . Has there been significant progress with the task of bringing Parkes Observatory online? I have not found any posting later than January and I am very, very curious about the situation.

. . I might start a thread elsewhere if you would deem that more appropriate.

Stephen

? ? ?
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Message boards : News : Revised scale of significance of ET detection published.


 
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