The Interstellar Communication Relay (What If SETI Succeeds, Now What?)

Author: Brian McConnell

Description: SETI organizations are rightly focused on the task of detecting artificial radio or optical signals from other solar systems, but what if they succeed in detecting an information bearing signal? While the initial detection effort is the domain of a small community of subject experts, the process of analyzing and comprehending the information extracted from a signal will involve a diverse and global community of scientists, including citizen scientists. In this talk, we discuss the information infrastructure that should be in place to support these efforts, the different user communities it would support, as well as the risks and challenges associated with distributing information extracted from an ET transmission. This system, which we can call the Interstellar Communication Relay, can be built using low cost and highly scalable cloud computing and source code management systems, and can be designed to be highly resilient.