The difficult part about writing science fiction isn't so much coming up with futuristic ideas, rather it's coming up with how humanity will react to those radical new ideas.

Humanity is a tricky species to wrangle. One minute, we'll reveal our inner most goodness and donate time and money to charity, and the next there will be people reacting to a worldwide pandemic in such a way it makes it last much longer.

With no reasonable way to deduce how we'll react, science fiction futures becomes so much harder to predict.

So what would humanity do if aliens decided they want to drop by our planet?

Reddit user, deeonedarian, wanted your opinion on what would happen should aliens offer a warning when they asked:

"If a radio message from outer space requested, 'be quiet they’ll hear you, turn off all electronics' how would Earth react?"

As soon as that message hits a wave of confusion and fear would spread through the populace, that much we can be certain of.

What happens after is the crucial question.

How Can We Prove Space Even Exists?

"People would start debating whether outer space exists or not"


"Just like how people handled covid, make some conspiracy theories up so you don't have to change the way you live."

"Space is a lie!! the governments just want to confiscate your technology!"


Not The Same Waves...

"Those goddamn space aliens think they can take away my freedom to blast radiowaves into space?!?!? F-CK THEM, TURN IT UP TO ELEVEN!"

"Then they find us and we all die."


"The best part is that the people thinking this would likely just take their car radios and turn the volume up thinking these were the radio waves scientists were talking about."


Maybe Don't Respond At All?

"Well, if the Dark Forest response to the Fermi problem is our best theory, then it would be an obvious trap and we shouldn't respond at all."


"Witch variation is that?"


"That if you propose two axioms: all civilization wants to survive and there are only finite resources available, the natural conclusion of this is for any civilization that discovers any other civilization to attempt to destroy it as soon as possible. Every civilization is like a hunter creeping through a Dark Forest, making no sound but immediately pouncing on any other creature/hunter it finds. Quite an interesting thought experiment."


Of course, science comes into the matter.

Level headed people might think through a message of that caliber, pondering its implications for our planet.

The Science Doesn't Check Out

"it's a little late for that. we've been leaking radio waves into space for so long that if they haven't heard us, they will soon enough."


"Even at the closest star the waves would be barely detectable you would need one huge a-- dish pointing right towards our planet."

"More likely is they discover our planet has life by using light spectroscopy."


"the radio waves have made it about 200 light years, which is basically like throwing a rock out your front door in Massachusetts and waiting urgently for it to land in Nepal."

"That being said, if K2-155d ends up being a planet capable of receiving and deciphering radio signals, they are currently getting our message and should be responding shortly."


There Is That Slim Chance

"Most answers around here are taking something for granted: that the sender has good intentions towards us. What if they want to convince us to power off all electronics in order to turn off all of our radar, early warning and guidance systems and any sort of military electronics, making an alien invasion easier?"

"With that possibility in mind, I find more rational to discuss a solution instead of blindly obeying them. It's a space warfare version of getting in a van because a stranger has promised you candy."


We're Already Too Late

That message is very likely responding to Marconi spark-gap signals from a century ago, it's probably a little late to do anything about it now...

Who are we kidding, though?

Humans gonna human.

That's all there is to it.

Tell Humans Not To Do Something...

"We'd increase our electronic emissions by the power of 3 at least."


"Because everyone would go online to see what the heck that was about".


"Because millions would say it infringed on their freedoms and do it out of spite."


If COVID Has Shown Us Anything...

"We'd argue amongst ourselves about what it means and what to do right up to the point the aliens arrive and kill everyone"


"Don't forget the people who would double down and use more electronics just to show 'em."


"Yup, a significant portion of the population would say it's a hoax even as aliens began openly abducting people"


"about 2 weeks into the culling, about 1/4th the population has been slaughtered, there would still be a good 10% of people calling it all a hoax and still using their phones and laptops while their family members die from the liberal-alien 5G hoax."


It's Not Always Easy To Decide

"Based on how well we as a species listen to other potentially life-saving advice, we'd probably be f-cked."


"If we stopped using electronics a lot of people would die. Start with everyone on life support or those who need supportive equipment. Babies in incubators. People with pacemakers."

"And that’s not even touching on the actual infrastructure - cities would become uninhabitable. All the money in banks is electric; the financial effect would be horrific. How about the people who rely on electric heat sources? People with emergencies who need 911? All the people who rely on pumped water?"

"No, I can’t imagine that some of us might not have a good reason to refuse to listen that has nothing to with conspiracies or refusing to listen. I don’t care how ‘life saving’ not using electronics is; I’m not going to stop performing essential medical services for my child just because the equipment is ‘electronic’."

"If we have to stop using electronics we’re lost anyway."


Space is a big largely empty place.

Let's hope it stays that way until humans get their act together.

Want to "know" more?

Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.

Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again.

What is it about someone that captivates you instantly?

Could it be the twinkle in their eye as they talk about their passions? Or perhaps its their overwhelming sense of humor that draws in everyone in the room?

Whatever it might be, everyone has that one trait, that one quality, that can make them instantly interesting to someone listening nearby.

Keep reading... Show less
Kraken Images/Unsplash

Turns out not all of us are interested in being benevolent Gods.

It's Reddit, so we're not exactly surprised, but we're suddenly glad divine cosmic powers don't work this way.

Keep reading... Show less

Are you like me and the 1990s were only 10 years ago?

Yes, I can do the math, but 1990 being 32 years ago still seems unreal.

Why is that?

Maybe it's the fact it marked the end of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st.

Either way, it just doesn't seem that long ago and the nostalgia for the trappings of the 1990s is strong.

Keep reading... Show less

You're probably going to be beat over the head with this as you read this charming article but bedbugs are a nightmare and they are always lurking (in the back of my mind) when I think about purchasing some items secondhand.

Some years ago, a relative brought in a stuffed animal and some other items off the street. Within days we had a bedbug issue.

It was thankfully resolved very quickly–good thing it was caught so early–but let's just say I dealt with phantom itch for a while.

Nooo thank you.

Keep reading... Show less