Hi. It’s one of the simplest greetings we have—one syllable, two letters, maybe joined by a friendly wave. But how would you say “Hi” to someone on the other side of the city? On the other side of the world? How about to someone who’s thousands of light-years away, whose language you don’t know, whose anatomy you don’t know (do they have eyes?), and whose technology is a mystery? How would you say “Hi” then? How would you even indicate that we’re here, on Earth, calling out into space to see if anyone will call back? That’s what Douglas Vakoch and the team of scientists at Messaging Extra Terrestrial Intelligence, or METI, are trying to figure out. “It’s daunting,” Vakoch said with a laugh during a recent interview. Establishing common ground METI, an outcropping of the SETI—Searching for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence—project, is planning to send a series of messages into the stars starting in 2018. But how do you send a message to a lifeform you know nothing about? And what should you say? Northeastern lecturer and linguistics expert Adam Cooper has some ideas on the former. Read More: Northeastern
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