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A Cross-Cultural Approach for Communication with Biological and Non-Biological Intelligences

Authors: Thomas Schalow


This paper posits the need to take a cross-cultural approach to communication with non-human cultures and intelligences in order to meet the following three imminent contingencies: communicating with sentient biological intelligences, communicating with extraterrestrial intelligences, and communicating with artificial super-intelligences. The paper begins with a discussion of how intelligence emerges. It disputes some common assumptions we maintain about consciousness, intention, and language. The paper next explores cross-cultural communication among humans, including non-sapiens species. The next argument made is that we need to become much more serious about communicating with the non-human, intelligent life forms that already exist around us here on Earth. There is an urgent need to broaden our definition of communication and reach out to the other sentient life forms that inhabit our world. The paper next examines the science and philosophy behind CETI (communication with extraterrestrial intelligences) and how it has proven useful, even in the absence of contact with alien life. However, CETI’s assumptions and methodology need to be revised and based on the cross-cultural approach to communication proposed in this paper if we are truly serious about finding and communicating with life beyond Earth. The final theme explored in this paper is communication with non-biological super-intelligences using a cross-cultural communication approach. This will present a serious challenge for humanity, as we have never been truly compelled to converse with other species, and our failure to seriously consider such intercourse has left us largely unprepared to deal with communication in a future that will be mediated and controlled by computer algorithms. Fortunately, our experience dealing with other human cultures can provide us with a framework for this communication. The basic assumptions behind intercultural communication can be applied to the many types of communication envisioned in this paper if we are willing to recognize that we are in fact dealing with other cultures when we interact with other species, alien life, and artificial super-intelligence. The ideas considered in this paper will require a new mindset for humanity, but a new disposition will prepare us to face the challenges posed by a future dominated by artificial intelligence.

Keywords: Artificial intelligence, CETI, communication, culture, language.

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