Hollywood gets it wrong! What First Contact with Aliens would REALLY be like

Arvin Ash
22 Jan 202218:34

TLDRThe video discusses the likelihood and nature of First Contact with extraterrestrial life, debunking common sci-fi portrayals. It asserts that life likely exists elsewhere in the universe due to the presence of Earth's chemical building blocks in other solar systems. The James Webb Space Telescope may detect biosignatures on exoplanets, indicating life. First Contact could involve detection, communication, intellectual exchange, and physical interaction, with the latter being the most complex due to potential biological contamination. The video suggests that any advanced civilization would value life and knowledge over Earth's resources, and that contact would be more about mutual understanding and sharing of cultures and science rather than conflict.


  • 🎬 Hollywood often portrays aliens as either villains or divine beings, but these depictions are not based on scientific reality.
  • 🌌 Science confirms the existence of life in outer space, as the chemical building blocks of life are found in other solar systems.
  • 🌟 Earth is an ordinary planet, and the elements that make up our bodies are abundant throughout the universe.
  • 🚀 The possibility of life elsewhere is not a matter of belief but a question of evidence and scientific inquiry.
  • 🛰️ The James Webb Space Telescope may be able to detect biosignatures in the atmospheres of exoplanets, hinting at life beyond Earth.
  • 🔍 First Contact is likely to occur in multiple stages, including detection, communication, intellectual exchange, and potentially physical/biological contact.
  • 🤝 The most likely reason for aliens to visit Earth is to study life and exchange knowledge, not to conquer or exploit resources.
  • 🌱 The search for extraterrestrial life focuses on biosignature gases, which are indicators of past or present life forms.
  • ✉️ Communication with extraterrestrial life could involve sharing our culture and scientific knowledge, and learning about theirs.
  • 👽 Physical contact with aliens would be of great interest to scientists, but it must be managed carefully to prevent biological contamination.
  • ⏳ First Contact is inevitable, but the timeline and the nature of the contact remain uncertain and will depend on ongoing scientific efforts.

Q & A

  • What is the common misconception about aliens portrayed in sci-fi movies?

    -The common misconception is that aliens are often portrayed as either the bad guys needing our resources or bodies, or as god-like beings. They are depicted as either demons or angels, reflecting more of human perceptions rather than scientific possibilities.

  • Why is it scientifically accepted that there is life in outer space?

    -It is scientifically accepted because Earth itself is in outer space and we know life exists here. Additionally, a 2018 study found that the chemical building blocks present on Earth are also present on other solar systems, indicating that life can exist elsewhere.

  • What is the significance of Glycine in the context of life beyond Earth?

    -Glycine is an amino acid that is important for humans and many other animals, and it has been found in vast molecular clouds in outer space. This suggests that the building blocks of life as we know it are widespread throughout the universe.

  • What does Carl Sagan's statement 'we're made of star dust' imply?

    -It implies that the elements that make up our bodies, such as Hydrogen, Oxygen, Carbon, and Nitrogen, are the same elements that are abundant in the universe. We are composed of these elements in proportions that match those found throughout the cosmos.

  • What are the four different ways through which First Contact is likely to occur?

    -The four ways are: 1. First Detection, where we detect extraterrestrial life on a planet around another star. 2. First Conversation or exchange of messages. 3. Intellectual First Contact, which involves the exchange of ideas, cultures. 4. Physical/Biological First Contact, meaning direct interactions with aliens.

  • How might the James Webb Space Telescope contribute to detecting alien life?

    -The James Webb Space Telescope, being more sensitive than the Hubble Space Telescope, might be able to detect biosignatures in the atmospheres of exoplanets, such as waste products of biology or pollution from heavy industries, which could indicate the presence of life.

  • What is the potential risk of physical contact with extraterrestrial life?

    -The potential risk is cross-contamination from alien microbes, which could be fatal for both humans and the extraterrestrial lifeforms due to the lack of immunity to each other's pathogens.

  • Why might an advanced alien civilization be interested in visiting Earth?

    -An advanced alien civilization might be interested in visiting Earth not for its natural resources, but for the opportunity to study and understand how life evolved on our planet, as well as to exchange information, satisfy curiosity, and possibly seek companionship.

  • What is the likelihood of UFO sightings and military videos being evidence of alien visitation?

    -The likelihood is considered low because there is not sufficient evidence to support the claim that these sightings and videos are of extraterrestrial origin. They are often unexplained phenomena, which do not justify jumping to the conclusion of alien visitation.

  • How might the discovery of extraterrestrial life impact our society and culture?

    -The discovery could challenge the uniqueness of humans as perceived in many philosophies and religions. It might shift our anthropocentric view of the universe and could lead to both technological and social changes, although acceptance and adaptation might take time.

  • What is the role of Roboform as mentioned in the script?

    -Roboform is a password manager that is used by the speaker for over a decade. It is highlighted for its ability to generate strong passwords, auto-fill them across different browsers and devices, and store personal data for convenience in online transactions.

  • What is the potential scenario for our first point of contact with extraterrestrial life?

    -Our first point of contact is likely to be the detection of life on an exoplanet, possibly through the identification of biosignatures or unbalanced chemical equations in the planet's atmosphere, indicating the presence of biological processes.



🌌 The Reality of Alien Life and First Contact

This paragraph delves into the common portrayal of aliens in science fiction and questions the basis of these depictions. It emphasizes the scientific perspective that life likely exists elsewhere in the universe, given the prevalence of Earth's chemical building blocks on other exoplanets. The narrator highlights the vastness of the universe and the likelihood of life on other planets, dispelling the notion that Earth is unique in its ability to support life. The paragraph also touches on the concept of First Contact, suggesting it would be pluralistic and occur in stages, including detection, communication, intellectual exchange, and potentially physical or biological contact.


🔭 Detecting Alien Life and the Role of Technology

The focus of this paragraph is on the potential for detecting extraterrestrial life through advanced technology like the James Webb Space Telescope. It discusses the possibility of identifying biosignatures in the atmospheres of exoplanets and how the distribution of molecules could indicate the presence of life. The paragraph also explores the idea of sending messages to potential extraterrestrial civilizations and the challenges of establishing intellectual contact through the exchange of ideas and culture, emphasizing the need for learning and interpreting alien languages.


🛸 The Practicalities and Precautions of First Contact

This paragraph addresses the practical aspects and precautions of making First Contact with extraterrestrial life. It discusses the use of Roboform as a password manager, highlighting its cross-browser functionality and convenience for storing personal data. The narrator then returns to the topic of First Contact, suggesting that physical contact with aliens would be a last resort due to potential dangers. It also mentions the value of life itself as a reason for aliens to seek contact with humans, rather than for the purpose of resource extraction or conquest. The paragraph concludes by emphasizing the importance of exchanging biological samples carefully to avoid cross-contamination.


⚠️ The Risks and Social Implications of Alien Contact

The final paragraph discusses the potential risks and social implications of First Contact with extraterrestrial life. It warns of the dangers posed by alien microbes and the need for careful management of physical contact to prevent cross-contamination. The paragraph also reflects on how First Contact might not lead to immediate global change, drawing parallels with historical reactions to new discoveries. It suggests that the uniqueness of humans and anthropocentric views of the universe could be challenged by the existence of extraterrestrial life. The narrator expresses optimism about the potential for learning from alien civilizations and the mutual exchange of knowledge.



💡First Contact

First Contact refers to the initial encounter between humans and extraterrestrial life. In the video, it is discussed in a scientific context rather than the fictional scenarios often portrayed in movies. The concept is central to the video's theme, as it explores what such a contact might realistically entail, including the potential for detection of life through telescopic observation, exchange of messages, intellectual exchange of ideas, and the challenges of physical/biological contact.

💡Extraterrestrial Life

Extraterrestrial life denotes life that originates outside of Earth. The existence of such life is a key point of speculation in the video, with arguments made that the same chemical building blocks found on Earth are also present in other parts of the universe, suggesting the possibility of life elsewhere. The concept is integral to the video's narrative as it sets the stage for discussing the implications of detecting and interacting with alien life.

💡James Webb Space Telescope

The James Webb Space Telescope is an advanced space observatory that is mentioned as a potential tool for detecting biosignatures in the atmospheres of exoplanets. It represents a significant technological advancement over the Hubble Space Telescope and is highlighted in the video as a means to possibly make the first detection of extraterrestrial life.


Biosignatures are indicators of past or present life, often chemical in nature. In the context of the video, the detection of biosignatures in the atmosphere of exoplanets is discussed as a method for inferring the presence of life. The concept is directly related to the scientific pursuit of discovering extraterrestrial life and is a key aspect of how First Contact might be made.

💡Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP)

UAP, also known as UFOs, are mentioned in the video as phenomena that are not yet explained. The speaker clarifies that these do not constitute evidence of alien visitation and emphasizes the need for extraordinary evidence when making extraordinary claims. This term is used to debunk misconceptions about how First Contact might occur and to advocate for a scientific approach to understanding such phenomena.

💡Interstellar Communication

Interstellar communication refers to the exchange of messages or signals between Earth and civilizations from other star systems. The video discusses the possibility that such communication may already be underway, referencing an event where music was broadcast to a star system with a potentially habitable exoplanet. This concept is tied to the broader theme of First Contact and the technological means by which it might be achieved.

💡Amino Acids

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and are central to life as we know it. The video mentions glycine, an amino acid, as an example of a substance found in molecular clouds in space, indicating that the ingredients for life are widespread throughout the universe. This point is used to argue for the likelihood of life existing elsewhere and is foundational to the discussion on the universality of life's building blocks.


Exoplanets are planets that orbit stars outside our solar system. The video discusses the potential for life on exoplanets and how the James Webb Space Telescope might detect biosignatures in their atmospheres. Exoplanets are significant to the video's narrative as they represent the most likely venues for discovering extraterrestrial life.


Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human characteristics or behavior to non-human entities. The video criticizes Hollywood's portrayal of aliens as either demons or angels, suggesting that these are anthropomorphic interpretations that reflect human biases rather than scientific reality. This concept is used to challenge the accuracy of fictional depictions of aliens and to emphasize the need for a scientific perspective.

💡Interstellar Gas

Interstellar gas is the matter that exists in the space between stars in a galaxy. The video notes that these gases are composed of materials similar to those found in the Sun, Earth, and even the human body, reinforcing the idea that the building blocks of life are universal. The mention of interstellar gas serves to highlight the commonality of matter across the cosmos and the potential for life to exist elsewhere.

💡Quantum Gravity

Quantum gravity is a hypothetical framework that attempts to reconcile the theories of quantum mechanics with those of general relativity. The video suggests that an advanced alien civilization might have mastered concepts like quantum gravity, implying that contact with such a civilization could lead to significant scientific insights. The term is used to illustrate the potential for intellectual First Contact to revolutionize our understanding of the universe.


In sci-fi movies, aliens are often portrayed as either hostile monsters or god-like beings, but these depictions may not reflect reality.

Actual First Contact with extraterrestrials would likely be different from Hollywood portrayals and could involve four different ways: Detection, Conversation, Intellectual exchange, and Physical/Biological contact.

There is scientific consensus that life likely exists elsewhere in the universe due to the presence of Earth-like chemical building blocks on other planets.

The James Webb Space Telescope might detect biosignatures in the atmospheres of exoplanets, hinting at life on other planets.

Life on Earth uses the same building blocks as found throughout the universe, suggesting life could emerge elsewhere under similar conditions.

The search for extraterrestrial life focuses on detecting waste products of biology or pollution, which could indicate the presence of living organisms.

Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) or Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) are not sufficient evidence for alien visitation; more conclusive proof is needed.

First Detection of alien life might come from observing imbalances in atmospheric chemistry that suggest biological activity.

The possibility of First Contact through communication has already begun, with messages from Earth being sent to nearby stars.

Intellectual First Contact would involve exchanging cultural and scientific knowledge between humans and extraterrestrials.

Physical/Biological First Contact, while the most sensationalized, is likely the last to occur due to the challenges of interstellar travel and potential biohazards.

Aliens would have little interest in Earth's natural resources, as these are more abundant elsewhere in the solar system.

The most compelling reason for aliens to visit Earth would be to study life and exchange biological and cultural information.

Any potential First Contact carries risks of cross-contamination and immune challenges due to foreign microorganisms.

The impact of First Contact on society might be less dramatic than expected, with people continuing their daily lives even after the discovery of extraterrestrial life.

The James Webb Space Telescope represents our best current technology for detecting alien life and is key to the search for extraterrestrial biology.