Stay home ET. Stephen Hawking: Aliens may pose risks

April 25, 2010
This April 5, 2010 file photo shows astrophysicist Stephen Hawking of England presenting a lecture titled, "Out of a Black Hole" at Texas A&M in College Station, Texas. Hawking says aliens are out there, but it could be too dangerous for humans to interact with extraterrestial life. The Discovery Channel said Sunday, April 25, 2010 it will broadcast "Stephen Hawking's Universe" in Britain next month. (AP Photo/Dave Einsel)

(AP) -- British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking says aliens are out there, but it could be too dangerous for humans to interact with extraterrestrial life.

Hawking claims in a new documentary that intelligent alien lifeforms almost certainly exist, but warns that communicating with them could be "too risky."

The 68-year-old scientist says a visit by extraterrestrials to Earth would be like Christopher Columbus arriving in the Americas, "which didn't turn out very well for the Native Americans."

He speculates most will be similar to , or small animals - but adds advanced lifeforms may be "nomads, looking to conquer and colonize."

The Discovery Channel said Sunday it will broadcast "Stephen Hawking's " in Britain next month.

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2.7 / 5 (3) Apr 25, 2010
Pretty obvious. Looking at us is a very good indication of the invasive action of life forms (intelligent or not). I would say especially with some form of intelligence such as us. Life form more intelligent than us, than look out. For those little microbes we find elsewhere, than look out for us. Big fish eat small fish (sorry Nemo, you will be eaten).
1.6 / 5 (7) Apr 25, 2010
Oh brother. This is nothing but a cheap attempt to garner headlines. Stephen Hawking, of all people, should know that interstellar space travel on the scale he envisions here is virtually impossible. And, it certainly wouldn't be economical. That is, of course, unless he thinks Einstein and he have been wrong all along about cosmological physics.

Maybe, do you think, he's designed a practicable space-time transporter? :)
4.4 / 5 (7) Apr 25, 2010
The analogy is wrong. There's nothing here advanced aliens would want.
1.7 / 5 (6) Apr 25, 2010
How would you know what they want? Maybe our toxic byproducts are primary inputs for whatever they make/need.
4 / 5 (5) Apr 25, 2010
The analogy is wrong. There's nothing here advanced aliens would want.

Except for a Garden Planet in which to inhabit.

Even if we are the only civilization within the Milkyway, and if the average is only one per galaxy, there's still the possibility of hundreds of billions of civilizations in the universe. Maybe none of which has figured out to travel the distances yet. Einstein's theories prevents us from traveling fast then light, but doesn't prevent space itself from moving faster than light, nor "wormholes" from forming across space. Personally I feel Humans are too adolescent to interact with other lifeforms. We can't even get along amongst ourselves, and divide us apart by the color of our skin, where we live on this planet, what religion we hold, and the language we speak. We have the potential to be united for the good of humanity, but sadly money is more important while we continue to trash our only home...Earth.
1.3 / 5 (3) Apr 25, 2010
I think we need to contact Aliens to prevent this moronic discussion becoming entrenched. If people think the future is going to be without danger or risk then you need only look about you and see a number of extremely serious looming problems that given a short time probably will put an end to all our selfish attitudes forever. The successful answers for our futures are not about to come from any of our political managers. It is accepting the risk of the right kind of wildcard that changes the game forever... the first time we do this is always risky but benefits are usually much greater than the risks. Do you all want a jackboot stomping in your face forever?
3.3 / 5 (4) Apr 25, 2010
90% of all pre-Columbus Americans were wiped out - think about what that would mean personally. I don't think many of us are prepared to tolerate that kind of risk. Far smarter to study quietly from a distance before making any rash moves.
4.1 / 5 (7) Apr 25, 2010
Hawking assumes much, in thinking that as a rule, advanced civilizations are biologically constrained, and unable to get past primordial aggressive impulses.

I rather imagine that advanced civilizations are by necessity inorganic. They have robotic bodies, and computer minds. This is the only approach that enables immortality, easy extensibility and functional body-morphing, robustness in a wide range of environments including the vacuum, resistance to radiation, and easily controlled "metabolic" requirements (e.g. allowing long-term 'hybernation') -- all facilitating interstellar/interplanetary travel and versatile colonization.

Beings such as that, won't find anything particularly special about our planet. They could just as happily inhabit the Moon, or Mars, or Mercury, or the satellites of Jupiter, or the asteroids. Or they could just float out in space, within mega-ships or even just within their own body-ships.

We'd be rather trivial, and uninteresting to them.
not rated yet Apr 25, 2010
PinkElephant: Very well said, thank you !
1 / 5 (1) Apr 25, 2010
How would you know what they want? Maybe our toxic byproducts are primary inputs for whatever they make/need.

Any beings coming here must be very advanced, probably with mature nanotechnology and artificial super-alien intelligence. Why ? Due to the difficulty of crossing interstellar space.
3 / 5 (2) Apr 25, 2010
I don't think we should put billions of lives at risk based on speculation about how advanced and friendly aliens might be. We should make a decision based on hard evidence.

By all means look for alien civilisations, but only look for now. No scientist or engineer should make the decision to initiate contact on behalf of the entire planet. Such a decision will have to be a political decision where all people are represented in the decision making process.

Are we being serious here? If we are, have we reached a point where this issue should be legislated both internationally and nationally? It seems a far fetched thing to worry about - but the consequences of a wrong move are potentially huge.
3.5 / 5 (4) Apr 25, 2010
It seems that any sufficiently advanced race that could actually get "here" probably already know of our presence. Consider just how much we already know about the hundreds of known planets around nearby stars already... As soon as any advanced race (say a million years ahead of us technologically) already knows of us in their neighborhood... if it is at all possible and they are curious... they will come around for a visit. A million years is a tiny amount to be in advance of us since the earth has been around for 4500 million years and the Universe has been around for at least 12 Billion years.

Depending on how that first contact proceeds it will determine the tone for all interactions from then on... that part would be inevitable... if they exist. If they are too distant or too backward they will not pose any threat at all... we would be the ones to fear.

We should be approaching this problem sensibly.
4.2 / 5 (5) Apr 25, 2010
anything goes with this one. we may be destroyed in an instant or elevated to a new plane of existence on "contact" !
what will happen will happen but i believe anyone traveling this far to reach us has probably solved problems of survival not requiring our resources. there are plenty of raw materials in the cosmos. i doubt they will here to enslave us.
i agree with carl sagan. let us make contact, its a new step in evolution whether it kills us or enhances us.
1 / 5 (5) Apr 25, 2010
Oh well. As expected, there are ALWAYS some stupid and clueless natives welcoming the Conquistadors.
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 26, 2010
I agree with GoodElf. If our technology is capable of seeing "them," their technology (particularly if they were advanced enough to have some kind of interstellar travel method, which would be...tricky, to say the VERY least) is easily good enough to not only be capable of seeing us, but to have already seen us. If they're interested and they exist, they probably already know about us. We have, after all, not exactly made any efforts to keep a low profile.

And Hey, Earth hasn't been strip-mined and rendered down into super-spacecraft at any time in the past 4.5 billion years (One of the outer dwarf planets would be a better target in any case; still a decent amount of material, and a low gravitational field makes it much easier to harvest), so unless said extraterrestrial beasties have any reason to dislike our species, specifically, there's probably not too much to worry about.
3.3 / 5 (3) Apr 26, 2010
hawking has been saying this for YEARS. This is not any sort of new news at all. There are at least 3 science/discovery channel episodes where he states this exact thing VERY clearly...

And yes, one would have to agree with him. Species do not get to a level of intelligence that would be necessary to traverse space in any reasonable fashion without having to conquer outside lands (unless they have a HUGE planet, or physical mass does not impact them...aka, energy type of intelligence without a formal body as we see it).

Oh brother. This is nothing but a cheap attempt to garner headlines. Stephen Hawking, of all people, should know that interstellar space travel on the scale he envisions here is virtually impossible.

Not necessarily impossible, just beyond our capabilities. Even with light being a constant speed throughout the universe, there is nothing to say anything about folding spacetime. There is nothing that prevents us from traversing time..and space-time is 1...
4 / 5 (4) Apr 26, 2010
It seems fairly obvious to me that the Universe is constructed in such a way that by the time any civilization can attain reasonable interstellar or intergalactic travel (FTL) they will have mastered nano, quantum computing and ROD (Resources on Demand), out survived self-destruction, re-engineered their economy, solved distribution of resources, perhaps even cracked the time-travel barrier and likely even re-architected their own physical bodies.

What could we possibly have for them, except be a source of entertainment, like a sitcom? Perhaps they would observe and even guide us, as any good parent would nudge another's infant child away from a hot mug.

Hawking's warnings, while valid, are just gloomy and pessimistic EOD press talk.
4.3 / 5 (3) Apr 26, 2010
yep - they'd "guide" us in the same way that we "guide" the simians here.

Fortunately, the odds are in our favor that intelligent life on other earth like planets got wiped out by an asteroid or super volcano or self induced climactic change or other holocaust before they had a chance to learn how to fold space.

On the other hand ... what about visitors from parallel universes hmmmm????
1.7 / 5 (3) Apr 26, 2010
interesting you should say that...ive long had a thought that "alien visitations", if actually real, could simply be our future selves visting the past, or our race from another dimension/parallel universe visiting....

I think most likely they aren't real...but an interesting concept for visiting from a parallel universe
1 / 5 (2) Apr 27, 2010
Actually, the american shadow government has already made treaties with with one extraterrestrial race in the 1950s... Do you really think the people responsible for the world trade centre inside job would tell you they are dealing with ETs... And the funny bit is... the ETs concerned have broken the Just like the hundreds of treaties made and broken by our governments with native peoples... karma...
May 01, 2010
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not rated yet May 02, 2010
Even with an advanced race visiting us or spying simply means that those aliens could observe us. We don't have a way to prevent an abduction to them, so this has be somewhat true. Those beings have been here for ages and I'm not too interested in meeting them. If they had their way, those beings would do nothing more than use all the energy on this planet.

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