Science

Can aliens cause cyberattacks? Why scientists think it is best not to ‘intercept’ their messages

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Recent studies on ‘extraterrestrial’ life discourage alien hunters to find them due to an imminent threat of human extinction. A recent study published in the journal arXiv stated that humans should maintain distance from such civilizations as they can pose threat to human beings on Earth according to John Learned and Michael Hippke, two astrophysicists who co-authored the research paper. Scientists believe that these aliens could send malicious messages to Earth endangering the cyber system of the planet.

Sightings of UFOs and Aliens have long been a mystery. Many filmmakers have used the subject to portray how these advanced civilizations might behave when they land or make contact with the humans. What’s more interesting is the degree of researchers that scientists perform every year to find signs of these extraterrestrial creatures. But the question arises, is it safe to search for another form of life away in the distant cosmos? Telescopes are used on a large scale to capture the universe, its planets, its stars and other celestial bodies. These telescopes are also equipped with instruments to intercept messages and route it to the Earth if they ever become successful in intercepting data from other civilizations.

The recent study claims that aliens assuming that they are technologically advanced and intelligent than human beings could send Artificial Intelligence systems disguised as a ‘gift’ to mankind. Many scholars have already raised concern about the increasing use of AI and that is what makes this gift from aliens a dangerous affair. These AI systems might trick humans and self-replicate themselves to form hundreds and thousands of nanobots causing distractions on the planet. This isn’t the only concern that the study has taken into consideration. Other probability can be a ‘malicious code or message’ that aliens would send on Earth to destroy the mankind rather than sending battleships to destroy it.

The research paper posted in the journal arXiv suggested several scenarios of malicious messages that can endanger mankind. In one such instance, a message that reads “We will make your sun go supernova tomorrow” can lead to havoc on Earth. Like many secrets that are hidden by the governments, these type of messages can be contained and destroyed assuming that these messages reach only a single location. If these messages are forwarded across the globe, containing it properly will be next to impossible.

In another scenario, the paper suggested how aliens could trick humans beings to accept ‘gift’ of their immense knowledge. A message that reads “We are friends. The galactic library is attached/ It is the form of an artificial (AI) which quickly learns your language and well answer your questions. You may execute the code following these instruments..” luring scientists to decipher the immense knowledge. On the flip side, there is a huge probability that opening the message could be dangerous and that is when a carefully designed containment facility will come into play. Researchers claim that these messages can be flown to the moon. The message will be wired with explosives in case if the AI poses a threat to the human beings.

But even in the most confidential facility in the world, whistleblowers can leak out crucial data to the public. This will trigger philosophical, religious and other groups formed to protect such messages. Elaborating further, scientists speculate that this message may not be in written form but rather in a complex code form that requires a computer to unzip and decipher the true meaning of the message. Doing so will unleash the malicious viruses on the computer and it will spread across different channels and systems causing a massive cyber attack.

Responding to this bizarre research paper containing information on ‘why the messages sent by aliens mustn’t be opened and must be destroyed?’, a senior astronomer, Seth Shostak from SETI Institute said that the researchers didn’t account all the technical realities that validated their claims. He further stated that aliens living at a distance of 40 light-years away i.e. the distance covered by light to travel for 40 years continuously will never know that humans own personal computers. Zooming towards alien civilizations living at an enormous distance of more than 80 light-years will never know if humans have computers at all.

The research paper concluded its extract with an optimistic note suggested that the messages will be gentle. Evaluation of risk is crucial if such we ever come across such instances. In a similar study, encounters with aliens are suggested to be more beneficial compared to the risks associated with establishing contact with an evolved species.

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