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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 wgbutler on 4/26/2010 4:13:03 PM , Rating: 0
quote:

You are right....the vastness of the universe (that we know of) compared to where we can scan or broadcast (even in terms of light years) is still analogous to comparing a single grain of sand (the amount of space we have the ability to scan,explore or broadcast to) on an entire beach (the universe).

So yeah with that kind of coverage you'd think we'd be getting "hits" of intelligent life all over the place....


Or at the very least change our model of how common we think advanced intelligent life is.

We've been monitoring the radio waves in one form or another since 1960. That's over 50 years of monitoring and millions of radio channels.

So maybe we need to modify the Drake equation? Instead of 1 out of a million planets having intelligent life maybe modify it to 1 out of a trillion? And if you go that route you still have to dramatically pare back any kind of Star Trek scenario.

But by all means, lets please keep looking! I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that we won't find any signs of other intelligent life in the Universe!

"...Half a century after it began, the quest to find life elsewhere in the universe has drawn an almost total blank...."

http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/indepth/41816

"...Peter Schenkel, while remaining a supporter of SETI projects, has written that "[i]n light of new findings and insights, it seems appropriate to put excessive euphoria to rest and to take a more down-to-earth view ... We should quietly admit that the early estimates — that there may be a million, a hundred thousand, or ten thousand advanced extraterrestrial civilizations in our galaxy — may no longer be tenable."[1] ..."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SETI

wgbutler


RE: Disagree
By bh192012 on 4/26/2010 10:32:35 PM , Rating: 2
... or that they see us just fine, detected our oxygen/carbon atmostphere and H20 and have known about a living Earth for billions of years, but their Stephen Hawking spooked them into keeping quiet. If he's going to keep us quiet, and we (like him) use our sample of 1 to extrapolate every other civilization, then we can conclude they're all quietly hiding from us and each other. Fermi-solved, where's my medal.


"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay

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