Douglas Vakoch is president of Messaging Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (METI), a San Francisco based organization that plans to send messages to civilizations around distant stars by the end of 2018. Prior to starting METI, Douglas was director of Interstellar Message Composition at Mountain View’s SETI Institute. METI has just held a workshop in Paris, "What Is Life?: An Extraterrestrial Perspective." In May METI will hold a meeting in St. Louis to discuss the risks and benefits of sending intentional signals to other stars.
Douglas will summarize the challenges of composing interstellar messages, describe the controversial aspects of the project (for example, if aliens are hostile, do we really want them to know where we are?), and note possible targets for the first messages.
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