IHe is an astronomer at the Seti Institute, a non-profit research organization in Silicon Valley, California. My colleagues and I are looking for extraterrestrials, including intelligent beings, or common aliens. It’s an exciting time for people like me, as extraterrestrial life is now widely debated prior to the Pentagon’s long-awaited report on so-called unexplained aerial phenomena.
Still, I have to say that right away, I don’t expect great revelation from the report. I think our galaxy is overwhelmingly likely to have aliens. But I don’t think they’re hanging out in our airspace. It’s not now, it’s not a historic era.
The claim that extraterrestrials helped build a large, pointed monument in the Egyptian desert 5000 years ago is, frankly, funny. And I don’t think the video produced by the Navy’s F-18 Hornet camera actually shows alien crafts flying over the Pacific Ocean. These videos have more violent explanations. No extraterrestrial life is needed.
But in galaxies where every three stars are likely to host Earth-sized planets, it seems unlikely that our world is the only sports intelligence. It increases the chances of us getting in touch someday. What would happen to the inhabitants of other worlds if that happened? As is often the case in science fiction, this question is especially important if the aliens decide to visit us.
When extraterrestrials arrive on Earth, subsequent scenarios are quite different from picking up alien radio signals or detecting a flashing laser in the sky. The mode of discovery is pursued by my colleagues and myself. The aliens that produce such signals will be light-years away, and their appearance and intent will not be too worrisome. But anyone who lands a spacecraft on our lawn will.
Think about their appearance. On Earth, nature produces a wide variety of organisms, and probably wherever multicellular organisms exist. All terrestrial organisms have a DNA blueprint and share similarities in molecular composition. Nevertheless, some of our fellow Terraners are similar to us. Extraterrestrials didn’t do that either.
This opposes the iconic aliens of movies and television, those little gray guys who are nothing more than remodeled humans. Their four appendages, upright posture, and lack of hair are our own simple extrapolations. Yes, Hollywood offers these beings as residents of the distant world. But in reality they are the guys next door and lack eyebrows and white.
Aliens trekking on our planet are unlikely to be hairy or hairless carbon-based organisms. Their cognitive abilities are probably not driven by the spongy cell mass we call the brain. They are probably beyond biological wisdom and, in fact, beyond biology itself. They will not be alive.
The reason is a simple result of the incredible distance to the stars. Even the nearest Proxima Centauri is 25 ton miles from Earth. Our fastest rocket will take 75,000 years to reach it. Neither humans nor Klingons are made to withstand such trips.
You may be wondering if an alien might have a much faster spaceship. Without a doubt, it is possible. However, high-speed rockets have natural limitations. Suppose an alien wants to cover the distance between Proxima Centauri and the Earth in 10 years. Their rocket needs to collect 600m times more energy than the Saturn V rocket. If he plans to stop by the planet and interact with the locals, double that number.
This may sound like a nasty practical problem that can be dismissed by noting that aliens can be far ahead of us. And that’s easy. Because the universe is three times as old as our solar system, galaxies can house societies millions of years and even billions of years away. Homo sapiens.. Nevertheless, their skills may be in different leagues, but aliens must operate under the same laws of physics. Aside from Star Trek and similar scenarios, it is very difficult to traverse the light-year universe for less than a lifetime, that is, for anyone’s life. You can call Scotty in the engine room, but he can’t help.
Moving from one solar system to another is incredibly difficult and expensive. However, if you are not in a hurry, the outlook for interstellar navigation will be much brighter. Such a laid-back trip is not intended to appeal to biological passengers who will die long before they arrive at their destination. Machines, on the other hand, won’t complain if they’ve been trapped in a spacecraft for tens of thousands of years. They do not need food, oxygen, hygiene or entertainment. And they do not claim round-trip tickets.
Artificial intelligence aliens may not be as attractive as warm-blooded and fluffy people, but they should not be caught in an anthropocentric point of view. Researchers working at AI estimate that machines that can beat humans in IQ tests will emerge from the lab by the middle of the century. If we could do that, some extraterrestrials would have already done it.
Therefore, it is reasonable to expect that the intelligence of the universe that visits us is synthetic. It excludes a simple guess about what an “alien” looks like. But if it’s a machine, who cares?
Even more worrisome is that intent. Most sci-fi stories assume that the visitor is harmful and arrives with the first urge to annihilate Los Angeles or London. Frankly, if it’s in their mechanical mind, it’s probably impossible to keep them away. Chimpanzees could not surpass humans in serious conflict. Similarly, devices that can manage their trips to Earth will be able to do whatever they want when they arrive here.
Direct encounters with extraterrestrial life will definitely fail. So if the alien crafts settle on the lawn of the White House, you can expect anything inside to be friendly. Otherwise, there is always negotiation.
When encountering aliens, they resemble AI and are not small green Martians.Seth Shotak
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