Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

TagExtraterrestrials (malevolent)

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Researcher: Only 4 in 1000s of ET Groups Are Likely Malicious

Historically, sci-fi has preferred aliens to be overlords or villains. But a researcher asks us to look at the history of conflict on our own planet…

In a recent paper at Physics ArXiv, Alberto Caballero, a PhD student in conflict resolution at the University of Vigo in Spain, has calculated that there are, perhaps, four civilizations in our galaxy that are both intelligent and evil. A natural response has been “only four? Not counting us?” The estimate got quite a bit of media attention. To arrive at it, Caballero began by reviewing the history of conflicts on Earth: To reach his estimation, Caballero first counted the number of countries that invaded other countries between 1915 and 2022. He found that a total of 51 of the world’s 195 nations had launched some sort of invasion during that period. (The U.S. sat at the top of the…

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alien portrait with stars

SETI Director Warns: Those Aliens Could Be Malevolent

Harvard astronomer agrees: We’ve sent a lot of signals in recent years; they may have got them. But now what?

As the Mars Rover Perseverance bumps around looking for fossil bacteria and such, many students of possible ET life are becoming surprisingly cautious about what it might mean: “We have no reason to believe that technological advancement and altruism or morality are somehow linked,” SETI researcher Andrew Siemion told Inverse. “There probably are malevolent civilizations elsewhere in the universe so that’s certainly something that we should consider as we continue to explore the universe.” Siemion, who’s the director of the Berkeley SETI Research Center and principal of the alien-hunting Breakthrough Listen project, is invoking a tension at the heart of any project searching for alien life. Successfully finding it would change the world — but there’s also no guarantee humanity…