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🛰 The Mapmaking Machine Species

Michael Dean
Michael Dean
4 min read

This month is shaping up to be a watershed moment in over 80 years of UFO investigations. For reasons unknown to serfs like me, it seems like Congress may have forced the Pentagon to show it's hand. Who knows why, but a declassified report on UAP's (Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon), will be coming out before June 25th. It's wishful thinking to believe we'll receive HD footage, an apology for Roswell, or a green-man in a cage. But even the slightest admission that we're confronted with a mystery would make history.

Imagine something as simple as: "These aircraft aren't military experiments, they are detected in our airspace DAILY, and their motions are so inexplainable that they are likely not from an adversary." Admitting that these phenomenon are beyond weather balloons could submerge us in unpredictable cultural waters. It might look nothing like the "contact" moment we've seen play out in Spielberg films. Imagine an esoteric Cold War, where ships are seen, but never land, invading our imaginations instead. It could shape up to be a decade-long Copernican shift of a surreal nature, filled with disinformation, conspiracy theory sermons, religious converts, seances outside of Area 51, weirder corners of Twitter, radioactive boy scouts, multiple abductions of Elon Musk, and an end to Halloween as we know it.

From Lex Friedman's podcast on May 20, Sam Harris explained how this report could place us in a "powerfully strange circumstance."

It should arrest our attention collectively to a degree that nothing in our lifetime has. One worries that we're so jaded, and confused, and distracted, that it will get much less coverage than Obama's tan suit."

Sam has a point. People are flustered from the pandemic. We're so set for a return to normal, that a visitation from another species might not even register right now. Maybe now is the perfect moment for disclosure with minimal impact. From what I've seen, there are two ways people react to the upcoming UAP report.


If the conversation around extra-terrestrial life is about to get wider and weirder than ever before, it's worth updating our image of the "alien." Our fiction, our dreams, and our hallucinations make them out to be Reptile humanoids in Sputnik-era discs, descending onto Earth to dissect us like frogs. The whole vision is rooted in Cold War paranoia, and perhaps an unconscious fear of dinosaurs (a vestigal complex from when we were tiny rats).

We should speculate on the nature and intention of an alien species by reflecting on the future of the human enterprise: our own ambitions in space exploration, our own emerging technologies, and our own approach to problem solving. A primary goal of the human species is to build an accurate map of the entire universe, index every planet, and search for potential life. Perhaps someone beat us to it. Let's think for a second how we would approach this task.

Even if we had a physics breakthrough in 2050 that enabled "light-speed," it wouldn't be scalable to send Harrison Ford and Chewbacca to every corner of the galaxy. We'd probably use autonomous drones. Maybe what we're seeing in the sky aren't vehicles operated by little green men. What if the UFOs are cameras? It would imply that the objects in the sky embody the limits AND fusion of technologies we're only starting to dive into:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Autonomous vehicles
  • Computer vision
  • Advanced propulsion
  • Material sciences
  • Interstellar communication

Why are the aliens here? They're building a Google Earth Pokedex.

It's possible what we're seeing in the sky is a kind of machine species, here for the very mechanical task of cartography and surveillance. Perhaps it's a natural progression for an advanced civilization (Type I, II, and III) to create a network of synthetic sensory organs that give them a real-time sense of everything happening in the universe. We already have a real-time pulse on Earth's surface, and it's in our nature to expand it to the cosmos.

It's a big deal for us to see funny craft in the sky that defy physics, but perhaps the culture-shock is one sided. We might be just another entry in an inter-galactic server. The Grey's might be capturing so much data that they don't even have time to get to us. Maybe we've been in the backlog, but since Nagasaki, they've had an intern on the job. This kind of omni-presence by a distant civilization brings the paranoia of the "Surveillance State" to a new dimension. We thought the NSA was bad.

One last creepy thought: if these are autonomous cameras, it's possible that the "creator" civilization is long extinct. It brings us back to that eerie quote by Marshall McLuhan, that "humans are the sex organs of the machine world." It could hint at the weirdness of our own existential fate: that biological life is unsustainable, and our only lasting impact might be the machine-creatures we birth and send out into the stars. If that's the case, then these "weather balloons" are actually ghosts - technological remnants of a dead species, powered by a synthetic consciousness. So not only are they aliens, they're FUCKING ZOMBIE ALIENS.

Peace be with you.



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