Thesis Info

Thesis Title
Lingua Extraterrestris: lessons in universal communication or the communication designer's understanding of CETI in science and fiction
Marek Kultys
2nd Author
3rd Author
Number of Pages
University of the Arts London
Thesis Supervisor
Ken Hollings
Supervisor e-mail
Other Supervisor(s)
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
MA Communication Design
Languages Familiar to Author
Polish, English, German
URL where full thesis can be found
CETI, communication design, Drake equation, channel, context, contact, code, Jakobson, Shannon-Weaver, extraterrestrial intelligence, communication, interdisciplinary, science, science fiction, Arecibo message, Pioneer, Voyager, space, Strzeminski, Stanis
Abstract: 200-500 words
With no hard evidence for the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI), communication with ETI (CETI) remains a scholarly exercise. But because it offers space for interaction and integration between various fields of study, CETI is also a cross-disciplinary meeting point for scholars coming from various backgrounds. The purpose of this paper is to search for implications that can be drawn from analysing practical and theoretical aspects of CETI, and which can inform our general understanding of communication. A methodology developed for the investigation into CETI from the perspective of a communication designer (focusing on theory and practice of exchanging information) is based on two decisions: 1. To customise an interdisciplinary model for investigating CETI—because none of the existing models of general communication reflects the full scope of CETI, a hybrid model is introduced, that combines relevant components of the Jakobson model of general communication (contact, context, code) with the relevant element of the Shannon-Weaver model of communication (channel). This framework for a non-content-specific analysis of CETI focuses on the bare process of exchanging information with ETI over interstellar distances and excludes the message component (information contents) from the investigation; 2. To refer to both scientific (historical) and fictional examples of CETI—since none of the scientific CETI endeavours has resulted in successfully establishing any contact so far, for the purposes of this investigation its credibility in the works of science fiction is assumed to be equal. Thereby, referring to the imagined stories of CETI in science fiction is put on a par with the documented historical examples of CETI in science, which provides a wide range of various CETI case studies for examination within the customised framework. As a result of this investigation, a possibility for elaborating on the fc factor of the Drake equation is identified and its sub-division into four constituent parts (channel + contact + context + code) suggested. Moreover, with the customised framework in place, CETI endeavours fall directly within the interests of a communication designer, hence bringing new cross-disciplinary expertise into the CETI discourse.