Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.
You know those things you're afraid of, but still want to know more about?
They tantalize you, just as they frighten you. So even if, like Stephen Hawking,you still want to know whether they exist and where.
On Monday, Hawking lent his support to a new $100 million initiative, funded by billionaire Yuri Milner, to finally make contact with E.T. and family.
They say that their listening and observing devices will embrace 10 times the amount of sky that previous projects have. Their scanners, they claim, will listen in to five times the radio spectrum and do it with 100 times greater speed. They also say that these efforts will be "50 times more sensitive than previous programs."
Breakthrough Initiatives says it will survey the 1 million stars closest to our own planet.
Two telescopes have been co-opted to this search: The 100-meter Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia and the 64-meter Parkes Telescope in New South Wales, Australia.
The Automated Planet Finder Telescope at Lick Observatory in California will also contribute its efforts.
At Monday's launch at the Royal Society in London, Hawking explained: "Somewhere in the cosmos, perhaps, intelligent life may be watching these lights of ours, aware of what they mean."
(Or intelligent life might be watching these lights and thinking: "Sigh. These primitive beings. They're just not worth bothering with.")
Hawking offered another possibility -- a lonely one. He said: "Or do our lights wander a lifeless cosmos -- unseen beacons, announcing that here, on one rock, the Universe discovered its existence? Either way, there is no bigger question. It's time to commit to finding the answer -- to search for life beyond Earth."
Milner, an early investor in Facebook and Twitter, said in a press release that the project will bring "the Silicon Valley approach to the search for intelligent life in the Universe."
"Our approach to data will be open and taking advantage of the problem-solving power of social networks," he said.
Others involved in this exercise include: cosmologist and astrophysicist Martin Rees, of the University of Cambridge; Frank Drake, chairman emeritus of the SETI Institute; astronomer Geoff Marcy, of the University of California at Berkeley; and Ann Druyan, co-writer of the TV series "Cosmos" and widow of Carl Sagan.
Seth MacFarlane, movie director and creator of TV's "Family Guy," added his voice to the emotional promotional video released Monday.
We've made movies about extra-terrestrial life for so long that it's time we ascertained whether alien beings are merely figments of our limited imaginations.
Hawking presented this notion in immensely lyrical language. He said knowledge of atoms and black holes is fascinating, but not enough.
He explained: "These ideas cannot explain everything. They can explain the light of stars, but not the lights that shine from planet Earth. To understand these lights, you must know about life. About minds."
There's something poetic, almost romantic about the notion that we might want to know what's out there -- and have so far failed -- and that there might be beings out there who have failed to find us too.