I heard DR Douglas Vacock, from SETI, speak at a conference in Glasgow a few years ago, and found him fascinating.
Despite the perhaps somewhat eccentric focus of his specialisation, I found him admirably ‘grounded’ (no pub intended)! And his TED talk is well worth watching. I must get him to write for Space Policy!
From SETI’s website: “Douglas Vakoch is the Director of Interstellar Message Composition at the SETI Institute, as well as the only social scientist employed by a SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) organization. Dr. Vakoch researches ways that different civilizations might create messages that could be transmitted across interstellar space, allowing communication between humans and extraterrestrials even without face-to-face contact. He is particularly interested in how we might compose messages that would begin to express what it’s like to be human.”