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Wow! Aliens, It Meltdown, False News and the Universe By Brian Simpson

     Who says that crazy doomsday news cannot be fun? Why should the apocalypse and the end of the world as we know it, be such grim things, when it is possible to laugh all the way to oblivion? There are academics out there in ivory towers who seem to be having a ball:

“The search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) has provoked many critical discussions on technical and philosophical levels (Cirkovi´c 2013 ´ ). It is much debated whether contact with ETI would benefit or harm humanity (Baum et al. 2011; Shostak 2014; Brin 2014; Billingham & Benford 2014), and whether mankind should (Benford 2014; Gertz 2016b) or should not (Zaitsev 2011; Vakoch 2016) keep quiet in order to protect Earth from threats, or even “cloak” our planet using lasers to compensate for Earth’s transit signatures (Kipping & Teachey 2016). One of the scenarios considered in the literature is the reception of an ETI message through  electromagnetic radiation, e.g. through a radio telescope (Cocconi & Morrison 1959). Alternatively, a message might be found in the form of, or through, an alien probe, as first suggested by Bracewell (1960). It was suggested to search the solar system for non-terrestrial artifacts (Papagiannis 1995; Tough & Lemarchand 2004; Haqq-Misra & Kopparapu 2012), particularly for starships (Martin & Bond 1980) in addition to classical SETI (Gertz 2016a).

In our solar system, probes are speculated to be in geocentric, selenocentric, Earth-Moon libration, and Earth-Moon halo orbits (Freitas & Valdes 1980; Valdes & Freitas 1983; Freitas 1983), or buried on the moon (Clarke & Kubrick 1993). Alternative ideas include the Kuiper belt (Loeb & Turner 2012), general technosignatures (Wright 2017), or even “footprints of alien technology on Earth” (Davies 2012). While it has been argued that sustainable ETI is unlikely to be harmful (Baum et al. 2011), we can not exclude this possibility. After all, it is cheaper for ETI to send a malicious message to eradicate humans compared to sending battleships. If ETI exist, there will be a plurality of good and bad civilizations. Perhaps there are few bad ETI, but we cannot know for sure the intentions of the senders of a message. Consequently, there have been calls that SETI signals need to be  “decontaminated” (Carrigan 2004, 2006). In this paper, we show that it is impossible to decontaminate a message with certainty. Instead, complex messages would need to be destroyed after reception in the risk averse case.”

     Don’t you just love al of the references, as if one said something without someone else having first said it, the sky would fall. Or, aliens would come. Anyway, the short of the long here is that those sneaky aliens might send us messages with all sorts of complex viruses loaded inside that could lead to an AI take over, or maybe even the zombie apocalypse or worse. I am sure there was a movie made about this sort of thing (Species, (1995)), where the aliens send their code, which scientists just have to make, and bingo, instant invasion. Ok, that was all fun for fans of science fiction, and otherwise light relief while I waited for my indigestion pain to pass after swallowing down four tables of the mighty Rennie’s, but now it is back to more serious matters.



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Friday, 03 July 2020
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