An Oxford physicist cautions that plans to send Earth’s location into space might have unforeseen repercussions.
While there are compelling justifications for attempting to contact any intelligent extraterrestrial civilizations that may exist, it can equally be argued that attracting attention to oneself is not the best long-term strategy.
A group of NASA scientists has suggested sending out a new, updated version of the classic Arecibo message, which would include precise information about the Earth, our grasp of physics and mathematics, life’s biochemistry, and even an invitation to respond.
However, Anders Sandberg, a senior fellow at the Oxford Future of Humanity Institute (FHI), believes that such a step would be fraught with danger.
Even though the chances of aliens reading a communication are exceedingly remote, he claims, the implications might be disastrous if the receiver is hostile.
On the whole, he believes that too many people do not take extraterrestrial contact seriously, no matter how significant it may be in the larger scheme of things.
Sandburg is far not alone in his beliefs; the late Professor Stephen Hawking also warned of the dangers humans would face if we unintentionally drew the attention of a hostile extraterrestrial culture.
Perhaps the actual risk is assuming that intelligent aliens would be benevolent.
If our own civilization on Earth proves nothing, it’s reasonable to assume that there are both aggressive and friendly aliens out there, and we have no way of knowing which one will find us first.