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Questions tagged [communication]

For questions relating to the exchange of ideas and information between beings.

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177
votes
21answers
20k views

How might modern humans leave a message for 50,000 years?

I recently played my way through the Mass Effect game series, and one of the ideas I found most intriguing was the emphasis placed on "time capsules" sent from one cycle to the next: not only did ...
30
votes
9answers
4k views

Is there a scientifically plausible faster-than-light communication system?

In series such as the Hyperion Cantos and Ender's Game, there exist fictional faster-than-light communication systems allowing either instantaneous, or near-instantaneous transmission of information. ...
75
votes
5answers
7k views

How quickly and accurately should news travel in a rural medieval setting?

I'd like to have a realistic idea of how, and how accurately, ordinary people in a rural low-tech (medieval-equivalent) setting should expect to hear news from outside their own communities. If you ...
22
votes
6answers
3k views

Living Planet Possible?

Although a question about how large a living thing could be has been asked and answered, would a being such as Mogo from DC's Green Lantern series be possible? Mogo is the size of Earth roughly can ...
14
votes
7answers
2k views

Information Exchange In Space

Something I realized not too long ago about a spacefaring society is that while a lot of technology is going to feel advanced, a lot more is going to feel ancient just because of all the hurdles it ...
31
votes
25answers
8k views

Aliens are on their way. What can cause them to not understand us?

This question continues the premise set in my previous question, but do not worry, I will try to tell the most important bits: There is intelligent alien race about 30 light years away from us. They ...
198
votes
21answers
18k views

How can a Horror from Beyond Reason reliably communicate with mortals?

Jimmy is an Eldritch Monstrosity. Jimmy has a Red Ball. Jimmy wants someone to play with him and his Red Ball. All of Jimmy's friends are busy trying to Overturn the Cosmic Order and bring Chaos ...
56
votes
26answers
9k views

FTL travel is impossible. How is interstellar trade possible?

Assume a universe depressingly like ours, in which special relativity holds. No hyperspace, no warp drive, no wormholes, and even the limited get-out clauses offered by real world physics either don't ...
110
votes
22answers
15k views

How can a race of eldritch abominations help humanity?

A society of your typical beings from beyond the veil of reality have recently encountered the bounderies of the realm humans call home. They studied our universe, via their own incomprehensible ...
147
votes
23answers
16k views

How to take down the internet?

The internet is a mesh or "net" of computers, all constantly establishing and re-establishing connections with each other. For this reason, only temporarily do servers go down, before they are back up ...
119
votes
21answers
19k views

My carrier pigeons have been replaced by spoons: how can I send messages? [closed]

Yup. All my pigeons are now spoons. I knew my court alchemist was a sore loser, but I still think it's inappropriate to do that for a chess game. He vanished and I no longer have any means to ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

Aliens picking up human radio and TV: how might it really happen?

In the Carl Sagan novel Contact and the 1997 film of the book, aliens from Vega have picked up TV pictures of Hitler opening the 1936 Olympics, which is depicted as the first TV signal powerful enough ...
7
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3answers
291 views

End-user experience and prominent use cases of robust interplanetary internet

Having recently learned about the Interplanetary Internet in development by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and inspired by Kim Stanley Robinson's novel 2312, I began to wonder about the actual ...
28
votes
12answers
4k views

How would interstellar internet work?

When there are spaceships in our solar system, we receive data in intervals, depending on how far they are. Problem is, internet has to be faster. In an intergalactic union, how would a person play ...
18
votes
9answers
3k views

How would aliens in orbit know that communications from Earth are legitimate “official” communications?

So, there's a closed question So we have aliens in orbit. Now what? - but there's an implied assumption: That somehow, there will be some unified / coherent response from humanity to aliens in orbit. ...
25
votes
2answers
53k views

Are ravens a genuinely realistic way of carrying messages?

In many fantasy worlds people send messages using ravens, they're often portrayed as being intelligent birds. To the best of my knowledge, on earth only homing pigeons have been used to carry ...
22
votes
11answers
4k views

How would an advanced civilization have constant communication between planets?

In this universe humans have advanced far enough to be able to colonize planets in our system but not enough to do interstellar travel. Earth is united and they have moved beyond countries and borders....
8
votes
2answers
179 views

Phonetic overlap between humans and wolves

This question is a subsidiary of: Shapeshifters - Shared language between human and animal forms There is some of background information in that question, but none of it is critical for this question....
7
votes
3answers
501 views

Shapeshifters - Shared language between human and animal forms [closed]

Some background on the shapeshifters in question: Shapeshifters can shift between a human form and a single animal form; all the members of a given group of shapeshifters shift into the same species ...
70
votes
15answers
11k views

How can an unimaginably huge life form reliably communicate with mortals?

The Starmakers are vast. Stars are their seeds, supernovae their hatching. Unimaginable millennia pass before they even begin to blink at their neighbours, and they do not die, merely pass along their ...
67
votes
29answers
13k views

How to monetize magical mirrors in today's world?

This is kinda a followup question to my earlier question about magical mirrors: Magical internet - unique addressing system Two months ago, I discovered an ancient house in the middle of woods. As I ...
31
votes
16answers
6k views

Why would robots use verbal communication?

Robots (intelligent machines using some form of artificial intelligence), are central to the plot in a snippet I'm working on. These robots do not have to interact with humans on a regular basis: ...
39
votes
13answers
9k views

What Time is it IN SPACE?

So, let's assume you've cobbled together an interplanetary empire without using transportation methods that violate causality or have the power to blow up stars. You may feel pretty proud of yourself, ...
23
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10answers
6k views

How would a very large, sentient spider communicate?

I am world building/culture building for a story that I'm writing and one of the races/sapient species is patterned after spiders. I'm willing to take a lot of liberties with the physiology (for ...
17
votes
4answers
543 views

Could inter-individual communication be based on DNA transfer?

There is this idea that we find in a few books, mainly The Swarm by Frank Schätzing and in the Ender Saga by Orson Scott Card, that some species could communicate via DNA exchange. Technically, yes ...
26
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10answers
7k views

How could you create a 95% effective global emergency broadcasting system?

THIS IS A TEST of the Galactic Emergency Alert system No action is required. Type: Milkyway Empire The World In the near future: we discover FTL we run into some friendly aliens that are ...
19
votes
7answers
3k views

Alien message: arrows and sequence order

This is part of my Alien Message series: Recognizable natural numbers for alien message? Alien message: “Invitation” I recall a TV show featuring a discussion on the design of warning messages for ...
8
votes
3answers
285 views

Civilized Dolphins and their Record Keeping

On the Life Ball of my fantasy stories, a particular species of delphinidae- I call them black dolphins- have evolved and advanced at least as much as humans and other intelligent races. A prior ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Natural gas based communication

In the faraway land of Backeye, people have developed a secretive language called Pasgas. Rather than enunciating words, or forming them with gestures, Pasgas speakers communicate by passing wind. ...
6
votes
4answers
219 views

Where Speech is Impossible

Imagine, if you will, a world where aural communication is impossible. Everything is done through gesture - sign language and written language are common, but the spoken word is not used, and using ...
13
votes
7answers
650 views

Alien message: “Invitation”

A message arrives from several light years away. It is a complete prepared document, not a two-way communication. The document can contain line-drawings and diagrams, both 2D and 3D, plus movies (a ...
9
votes
4answers
640 views

Interstellar communication

Scenario: Earth men colonized a terraformed planet orbiting Alpha Centauri. There are already industries developed there, farms, mining etc. There's a large fleet of cargo ship capable of reaching 0....
8
votes
7answers
622 views

How would a repressive world regime forcibly regress communications technology to mid-twentieth century level?

I am interested in the actual physical steps such a regime would take, e.g. cutting the submarine telecommunications cables. How might such a regime destroy the mobile phone network? What would it ...
1
vote
2answers
197 views

Shared language between humans and wolves - Alternatives to scent

This is a subsidiary question to Shapeshifters - Shared language between human and animal forms. There is some of background information in that question, but none of it is critical for this question. ...
15
votes
7answers
3k views

Quick solutions to a modern warning placed on the surface of a planet for future generations

In response to Write once perpetual storage, is such a thing possible? Separatrix pointed me at How could an ancient race warn the future in a universally understandable way? and How might modern ...
9
votes
3answers
621 views

Overcoming language barrier; no speech

A human (contemporary, western) makes contact with an alien. Not wanting to engage 'governments and scientists' the human wants to communicate with the alien. The alien is physiologically incapable ...
5
votes
4answers
417 views

Communication of a highly evolved superorganism

Suppose there is a sentient, intelligent species that has developed similar to a superorganism in that there is a species-wide repository of knowledge and individual members of the species are capable ...
110
votes
8answers
33k views

How far back in time would English be understandable to a modern speaker?

As we all know, language in England has changed massively over the centuries. How far back would someone be able to travel in time and still have a basic understanding of what most people are saying?...
24
votes
10answers
5k views

How to improve TCP/IP for an interplanetary WAN?

Background It is the near future. After a major world war and limited nuclear exchange, the nations of Earth have consolidated into a few blocs. The threat of further war and the cumulative damage to ...
44
votes
6answers
6k views

How Could A Time Traveller Communicate With Neanderthals?

Context: Your spaceship encountered a Grade III Anomaly (now you really wish you'd have read the darn safety manual to figure out what that would be -- too late now). Structural integrity of the ...
29
votes
10answers
10k views

How far back in time would Maths be understandable to a modern mathematician?

Shamelessly inspired by this question (sorry), but I got this question after Michael gave a answer - my mathematician would essentially have to relearn maths, as mathematics in Ancient Greece is ...
26
votes
12answers
8k views

Humans meet a distant alien species. How do they standardize? - Units of Measure

Humans meet some distant alien species. They are mutual first contacts. After learning the languages of each other, they begin to share scientific and engineering knowledge with one another, but here'...
24
votes
14answers
6k views

Is it possible for a planet’s climate to block, or at least make wireless communication irrelevant?

So, I’m writing a sci-fi story, which has a setting which involves human colonists crash landing on a massive, icy hellhole. The weather is extreme on the surface, and because of it, wireless ...
11
votes
1answer
305 views

How would organic EM transmitters/recievers be different than our mechanical ones

Modern mechanical EM transmitters, like radio towers and radar guns, rely on finely tuned mechanical structures. If these structures do not have the right shapes, the device fails to function. ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Ancient Roman Pneumatic tube Postal Service

The Romans had pumps, aqueducts, water wheels (which were used to grind flour, saw wood & stone etc), valves & pipes (they are known to have used stone, clay, lead & copper for pipes). ...
22
votes
21answers
11k views

How long can my small American city be without Internet access? [closed]

Let us say that I want a somewhat isolated farming city to lose Internet access for an extended period of time. The requirement is that all Internet access into the town have been cut off by some ...
17
votes
6answers
1k views

How could 1BC Earth speed up communication across vast distances?

Tech level is early Rome, China, Ethiopia, etc. ~ first century BC. Unlike history, there's peace and cooperation among all the benign monarchies of the whole Earth. But it's hard to get daily ...
15
votes
5answers
782 views

Grammar for a species that communicates via hallucinations

The Ents broke off from the rest of the civilization many aeons ago, and their main means of communication has evolved to the point where instead of words, they use fully immersive and lightning-fast ...
11
votes
9answers
2k views

Why would telepaths have difficulty communicating with each other? [closed]

Humans in this world are born with the ability to communicate telepathically. The range and skill grows with age and practice, with adults being able to communicate between 5 - 7 ft. An individual can ...
26
votes
11answers
5k views

Recognizable natural numbers for alien message?

It’s rather cliché that an alien message would use a value like π (actually I expect it to be 2π because Earthlings are weird), but in my story the message which contains the bootstrap information for ...