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Science Writer Warns: Contact With Aliens Might Not Turn Out Well

Lockett doesn’t say we shouldn’t explore; it’s more of a warning

Will Lockett offers some pessimistic thoughts:

It is 100% possible that our cosmic neighbours might have no empathy at all, hunt us for sport, have tribal wars, regular duals to the death or ritualistically kill foreign organisms for religious reasons. So rather than being overrun by the galactic version of the British, it might be more like the Klingons or Predator (Ridley Scott). They may even be like the Vogons from Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy and see Earth as something in the way that needs to be demolished.

Will Lockett, “Should We Meet Aliens?” at Medium

Lockett doesn’t say we shouldn’t explore; it’s more of a warning:

If by some miracle there is a civilisation a few lightyears away, and they or we possess the tech to travel the distance, should we meet them? I personally think we should. It will take 100 years minimum for whichever party to come over, but it will be worth the wait, especially knowing that the distance of space protects us. We could meet, do whatever the equivalent is of shaking hands and return, knowing that we aren’t alone in the Universe, but safe in the knowledge that the distance keeps us safe.

Will Lockett, “Should We Meet Aliens?” at Medium

Now that is an interesting question: Would they have different values from ourselves or do all enduring civilizations end up having similar values?

Philosopher Nick Bostrom of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford has offered similar negative views, for example, recently:

An all-powerful AI could be our puppeteer, just like in The Matrix. In 2001, two years after that film’s release, science fiction author Stephen Baxter proposed the “planetarium theory” to solve the Fermi paradox. It holds that if we haven’t heard from aliens, it’s because our universe has been deliberately designed to appear empty of life. In 2003, philosopher Nick Bostrom fleshed out the simulation argument. Elon Musk is on board. If we’re just in the sandbox, the gods or descendants that are toying with us might conclude that things have gotten just a little too fantastical in the year 2020. Better reboot. Or throw in some simulated aliens just for fun.

Marie-Danielle Smith, “Aliens in 2020: Why not?” at MacLean’s (July 24, 2020)

On the other hand, if you are inclined to worry about this type of thing, remember, we haven’t reliably found, according to NASA, a single fossil bacterium on Mars.

You may also enjoy: Tales of an invented god

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Science Writer Warns: Contact With Aliens Might Not Turn Out Well