Recently when pondering the hypothetical scenario of first contact, the alien race we meet may have very different cultures, ethics, technologies, philosophies etc. to the point that whatever they present are phenomena or things that human languages do not have terms to describe, let alone comprehend, yet. (For example: suppose the extreme case where the alien is a Lovecraftian creature)
But like all ambassadorial meetings between two distinct cultures, communication is important and if a misconception is allowed to grew, it can escalate into conflict very quickly.
By focusing this issue in terms of trying to figure out the alien's language based on what behaviours are considered hostile to them, and which of their behaviours are considered hostile to us, it does seem to be a very complex generalisation of the famous True, False, Random puzzle.
Therefore we'll consider that both sides are trying not to screw up communications by trying to make the fewest mistakes possible in learning as much as possible of each other's language and culture:
- What is the most efficient and reliable way to learn a completely foreign language (and its culture) while minimising the potential for life threatening conflict?
- Can logic learnt from the True False Random puzzle be generalised to handle such scenarios?
Addenum: Some users might consider that the same type of question could be asked between a developed nation vs an unknown tribe or group, or between humans and another other terrestrial species, or even human communicating with superhuman AI. While the contexts are similar, the degree of tension is very different for the extraterrestrial case as neither side knows the capabilities of the other to harm; whereas in the other cases, there are bases upon which we might guess their capabilities to threaten humans.