Sentient Machines

A senior astronomer has said that the hunt for alien life should take into account alien “sentient machines”.

via BBC News – Alien hunters ‘should look for artificial intelligence’.

Coincidentally, just last week at work I quoted Terry Bisson’s 1990 short story: “They’re Made Out Of Meat“.

It’s very short and starts like this:

“They’re made out of meat.”


“Meat. They’re made out of meat.”


“There’s no doubt about it. We picked up several from different parts of the planet, took them aboard our recon vessels, and probed them all the way through. They’re completely meat.”

“That’s impossible. What about the radio signals? The messages to the stars?”

“They use the radio waves to talk, but the signals don’t come from them. The signals come from machines.”

“So who made the machines? That’s who we want to contact.”

Read the whole thing, it’s great.

“Thinking meat! You’re asking me to believe in thinking meat!”