Communicating with Intelligent Aliens

May 21, 2011. My newest blog entry: Communicating with Intelligent Aliens. I consider the prospect of communicating with aliens from the perspectives afforded by linguists: Mark Johnson and George Lakoff on the one hand, and Guy Deutscher on the other. Are our bodies and histories likely to be so different as to make communication impossible? Or can the gulfs be crossed by patient efforts at explanation? Read the posting to find out.


  1. Bill Henry says

    My wife who has profound hearing loss due partly to the aging process, but partly also due to eardrum damage due to infection, is presently considering a cochlear implant. She is particularly concerned about losing the little remaining appreciation of fine music that she has. We ran across your article “My Bionic Quest for Bolero”, and it was most enlightening to us. But we realize that it is several years old and we are not finding much publicly available recent perspective on the development of this technology in recent years. We are not confident of how much of the commercial blarney we should accept, and are not even sure what questions we should be asking. Can you steer us in the right direction to get some current perspectives on the question of music appreciation today with a cochlear implant? Thank you in advance for any help you can offer us.

    • Dear Bill,

      Thanks for reading my article – you might also enjoy my book “Rebuilt” (it’s on Amazon.) The Bolero article was originally intended to be a
      chapter in that book.

      Best way to get past the advertising blarney is PubMed:

      Search it for “cochlear implant music” and you will come up with many recent peer-reviewed papers. Scientists, not marketers. The papers
      themselves are usually behind a paywall, but if you email the first author they will almost certainly be happy to send you a PDF copy.
      This is a normal kind of request, so don’t be shy to ask.

      I haven’t reviewed the literature in years, so I’m no longer up to date, but PubMed will tell you a lot.

      Good luck!


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