Monday 31 December 2007

Stephen Hawking- Alien Fears

The famous disabled physicist Stephen Hawking has given a warning. I can't find a link, but I distinctly remember him saying it on a TV show. He said that we should be careful what we transmit into space. All of the universe can pick it up and not all the intelligent life out there might be friendly. If there's a warlike, acquisitive civilization out there with the technology to travel to our world, we might be waving a flag on a battlefield. It's sad that the abysmal film Independence Day is having such an effect, even on great minds like Hawking's!

I see it very differently. The writer Brian Aldiss proposed something in his book Helliconia Winter that makes sense to me. When a species invents the ability to travel beyond its home planet it also invents the capability to destroy itself, because the technology of astronautics is linked to the technology of weapons of mass destruction by the fundamental laws of physics. The characters in the novel speculate that this is intentional. The universe has evolved this as a mechanism to protect itself. It tests the mettle of any upcoming space-traveling civilization. Because they inevitably possess both technologies they will be able to both fly out into space and wipe themselves out. Therefore if they are a violent and aggressive race they will destroy themselves before they get the chance to spread to other planets. So the universe has a filter to make sure that the only gentle and respectful species spread out into space. Any others will either self-destruct or remain confined to their own world.

Therefore I don't think we need to worry about telling the Universe we're here. Personally I'm much more concerned about the warlike intentions of we humans than those of any alien race.

1 comment:

nessa felagund said...

You make good points in this article. I imagine any alien race advanced enough to destroy us already knows where we are.

Do you remember an old 80's film titled "Starman." He came to earth because their race intercepted one of our probes that had messages on it. One of the main messages was "Greetings" in all the languages of the world with an invitation to visit our world.

He came because we invited him, and then after he arrived, the military wanted to capture him. It came to mind after reading this article.