In a new episode of the PBS animated Blank On Blank series, the astronomer Carl Sagan talks to Studs Terkel in 1985 about his concerns that humankind didn’t havw the ability to communicate with extraterrestrial life. To wit:
Look at timescales, you realize that our civilization is the most backward civilization in the galaxy that could communicate at all, because we’ve just invented radio telescopes,just a few decades ago. We had not the ghost of a chance of communicating with anybody else.So If we receive a message, it can’t be from anybody less capable than we, because anybody less capable can’t communicate at all. So it has to be somebody much in advance of us and maybe as much in advance of us as we are in advance of the ants, say, or the worms.