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Intelligent life is more likely to be like the Borg than Vulcans, according to Stephen Hawking. Hawking says humans should try to avoid contact with intelligent aliens.  (Source: National Geographic)
Don't count on friendly aliens, like ET, says Hawking; they're likely looking to conquer, colonize, and exploit

Stephen Hawking, 68, has long suffered from a motor neurone disease that has extremely limited his powers of communication and movement, but that has never stopped him from  making important contributions to scientific theory.  Hawking just finished up a three-year project, a TV series called Stephen Hawking's Universe, which will air on Sunday May 9 at 9 p.m. on the Discovery Channel.

In the show he will offer up some controversial assessments on extraterrestrial life and what it might be like.  

Hawking is a firm believer that alien life does exist.  The universe contains hundreds of billions of galaxies, each with hundreds of millions of stars, many which have been shown to have planets in orbit.  Numbers virtually guarantee that life has evolved elsewhere, Hawking believes.  He states, "To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational.  The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like."

So what might these extraterrestrial species be like?  Hawking believes that most are likely "simple" species, similar to those that have evolved on Earth; ranging from microbes to land animals.

However, Hawking believes there is likely intelligent life out there.  And he's frightened by that possibility.

The aliens in Hawking's vision would be much like the malefic beasties in the blockbuster science-fiction flick 
Independence Day.  He describes, "We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they can reach."

He says that humans should try to avoid alien contact as we colonize space.  He states that such contact would be "a little too risky".  What would result?  He states, "If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans."

In addition to his theories about vicious aliens, Hawking suggests that based on examples of life surviving on Earth in extreme environments, life could be found in unbelievable places, such as in the center of stars or even floating in interplanetary space.

Hawking's colleagues concur on this point.  Lord Martin Rees, a British royal astrophysicist, told his students in lecture earlier this year that humans might not be able to recognize or understand forms of life they stumble across in space.  He states, "I suspect there could be life and intelligence out there in forms we can’t conceive.  Just as a chimpanzee can’t understand quantum theory, it could be there are aspects of reality that are beyond the capacity of our brains."

How close could primitive life be?  Professor Brian Cox, University of Manchester's "rockstar physicist" suggests we look in our own solar backyard.  He says that Mars, Europa (a moon of Jupiter), and Titan (a moon of Saturn) are likely places to find it.

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RE: Disagree
By Xavi3n on 4/26/2010 10:48:33 AM , Rating: 5
To be honest, we cant even say how the universe works properly (Dark Matter, Dark Energy and Dark Aether come to mind), so who is to say that we have a complete understanding of the universe and the physics that lie within?

Every-time we come up with a theory about how things work in the Universe we find something that shatters those theories, so who is to say there isn't a way to travel faster than light? to think we know the Universe so completely, is utterly presumptuous, most physicists would laugh you out of the room for those types of ideas, there is ALWAYS more to learn, there are things in the Universe that just dont jive with the laws of physics.

Finally, if the chance of Intelligent Life developing on other worlds is even 0.0001%, there will still be hundreds of thousands of civilisations in this galaxy alone, let alone the Universe as a whole.

Also, I find Stephen Hawkins theories to be rather weak, he's looking at Aliens through what we know and what we did, Aliens could very well do things for reasons that would seem completely Alien (lol) to us, so they might help us, study us or conquer us, but I don't think conquering is just a certain outcome.

RE: Disagree
By haukionkannel on 4/26/2010 12:52:09 PM , Rating: 2
Also, I find Stephen Hawkins theories to be rather weak, he's looking at Aliens through what we know and what we did, Aliens could very well do things for reasons that would seem completely Alien (lol) to us, so they might help us, study us or conquer us, but I don't think conquering is just a certain outcome.

Well I think that Hawkins tells more about us. If I would be a space alien I would not like to meet any Earthers. Because the Earthers are guite dangerous race...

We can not say anything about extraterrestial life and what kind of "persons" they are, but we are capable of analysing humans and basically that is what Hawkins has done here... Our history as on "outsider visitors" in new areas has not been very pretty.

RE: Disagree
By HighWing on 4/26/2010 2:13:13 PM , Rating: 2
According to the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy earth is:


A recent revised entry states:

"Mostly Harmless"

RE: Disagree
By icrf on 4/26/2010 3:43:07 PM , Rating: 2
I can't for the life of me find it, but I saw a video within the last year of Hawking answering a similar question. His then response was something akin to:

Yes, intelligent life almost certainly exists, but it's not very likely we'll ever come into contact with it. If our history is any indication, advanced civilizations tend to self-destruct. The odds of intelligent life living close enough to us to reach us before their civilization falls is not very high.

“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls
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