Popular Science article "Could Robot Aliens Exist." In it, NASA astrophysicist Steven Dick wonders if postbiological aliens, in their superior advanced bodies and computer minds, would not be interested in us because either our minds may be too primitive for them to be able to communicate with us, or " they might consider meatheads like us too primitive to warrant their attention" (83).
Maybe. But I still think they would be interested in us.
On our planet, there are many primitive minded creatures that we do, on a limited basis, communicate with. Our pet dogs understand commands and have been shown recently the ability to map language, which is something that was thought to belong only to the province of humans. Chimpanzees and apes have shown the ability to communicate by sign language. Sure, we can't debate philosophical questions with Fido or Koko, but it is technically communication nonetheless. Not all humans care about this. Likewise, there may be some, even only a few, of the superior aliens who may be fascinated in just how much communication can occur between them and humans. And maybe they will be a little surprised at how much communication can occur.
However, I wonder if it is a fair analogy to begin with. While dogs and apes are self-aware, like humans, they re not aware that the area the live in is but a small part of a planet which is circling a sun in a galaxy that is in a universe with many dimensions, and are not increasing their awareness. However, we are aware. And, as a species overall, are continually increasing our awareness. Sure, we don't understand - yet - the nature of it all, and continually find more questions than answers, but that doesn't mean that we are to the aliens like apes, dogs, or ants are to us. We have the capacity to understand much more than we do at the moment - and we will understand more than we do at the moment. That they are ahead of us in knowledge and experience does not make us impossible to communicate with.
And even without the Technological Singularity, human beings of today are aware of and working to wrap their heads around, incredible concepts (11 dimensions any one?) that human beings of 10,000 years ago were not even remotely aware of. Our brains, as primitive to postbiological creatures as they may be, are still remarkable organs - they can be rewired, they can make new connections, and they can achieve greater awareness. Plus, our brains may not be static - there are evolutionary pressures on our brains to evolve further as we advance technologically and culturally (though the latter seems to lag behind the former). There are limits to how far the brain can evolve on its own - thus the need for the Technological Singularity and postbiological life (or technology enhanced biological life).
So the analogy of "aliens are to us like we are to dogs" such that the aliens just won't be able to communicate with us is not an appropriate analogy. Dogs do not have anywhere near the same potential to increase their awareness as we do (if we give them a few million years to evolve further, maybe then).
I think a more appropriate analogy would be modern human to a Neanderthal or Cro-magnon. The aliens would most likely have to greatly oversimplify the smilies used to teach us, or introduce the idea of, advanced concepts, and thus would definitely have to skip the details, but some limited communication regarding the advanced awareness could occur. Communication may be slow, difficult and, at times, frustrating for both parties, and details will have to be left out, but they would be able to communicate with us. And we would strive to increase our understanding. OK, not all of us individually, but overall, as a species, enough would be.
If humanoid sentient creatures like Earthlings are common or if not common, then at least common enough that they've already encountered beings rather similar to us at least once before, the aliens may not believe we warrant their attention.
But let us say that Earthling like creatures are not common. There is probably one large rainbow of possibilities for life, including sentient life, in the universe. We may warrant attention because they've never seen anything like us. One of yet another unique worlds in the galaxy, adding new data, new knowledge, and, possibly, new questions for the aliens to consider. And one way to learn about these wacky Earthlings, besides observation, is to communicate with them - even if it is an everyday level of communication, or alien kindergarten level of communication.
Also, keep in mind that we are growing, we are working our way toward their level. And that alone may warrant curious, or cautionary, attention from the aliens.
"Could Robot Aliens Exist?" Popular Science. Sept. 2008: 83. Print.
Kurzweil, Ray. The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology. New York: Penguin, 2006. Print.
Vinge, Vernor. "The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era." San Diego State University. 1993. Web. 16 Aug. 2008. <http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/vinge/misc/singularity.html>.