Print 133 comment(s) - last by bigdawg1988.. on May 4 at 9:00 PM

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.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: No Offense
By JediJeb on 4/26/2010 5:32:02 PM , Rating: 2
It is the height of arrogance to claim that our own "history" should be applied when making an assumption about an alien species. This is all speculation . For all we know the "survival instinct" could be something completely foreign to another planet. Just because it works one way on Earth, does NOT mean it's a universal truth. Which is as possibility that shouldn't be hard to grasp for a man like Hawking.

Exactly! Mr. Hawking's is speculating what he believes, and you are speculating what you believe. Since there is no point of reference concerning alien life, then both speculations are equally valid. You can not postulate that one point of view is more valid than the other, so attacking one over the other is wrong. But when you so vehemently attack Mr. Hawking's opinion you are more or less proving his point. If you can become so aggressive over simple words, who is to say equal or greater aggression can not be displayed over something of a much greater importance as an entire planet.

RE: No Offense
By Iaiken on 4/26/2010 6:17:42 PM , Rating: 2
You can not postulate that one point of view is more valid than the other, so attacking one over the other is wrong.


RE: No Offense
By Reclaimer77 on 4/26/10, Rating: -1
RE: No Offense
By iano80 on 4/26/2010 6:40:47 PM , Rating: 2
If this was a scientific paper I'd agree, but this is one mans opinion. Even one of your quotes begins with 'I imagine they might'.

He's not saying the universe is full of nasties, he's expressing an opinion that he thinks the odds are they just happen to be the ones that will probably show up and theorising on why. After all, who wants to live on a poxy asteroid when you can live on that nice blue planet with plenty of beachfront property and lots of servants on hand (at least they better be if they don't want another probing).

RE: No Offense
By Reclaimer77 on 4/27/10, Rating: -1
"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
Related Articles

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki