Science

Researchers Believe Opening An Alien Message Could Be Catastrophic

A new paper suggests that an Alien message could have catastrophic effects here on Earth if we’re not careful about how we open it.

A recent study takes a look at how we might read and interpret an Alien message from outer space, and has determined that it would be next to impossible for us to know whether the message is dangerous before we open it.

Alien Message
Computerizer / Pixabay

While the idea of an Alien message is fascinating and human nature would be to open it and learn more about other inhabitants of our universe, these scientists argue that the safest course of action would be to discard the message and not even open it at all.

Michael Hippke and John G. Learned wrote in their study that it’s very unlikely that any alien civilization that we come in contact would be harmful, but that since it would be impossible to know what an Alien message would say before we open it, we’re best not opening it altogether from a safety standpoint.

“After all, it is cheaper for ETI to send a malicious message to eradicate humans compared to sending battleships.”

Some researchers have suggested that an Alien message would have to be closely studied and even “decontaminated” before we open and read it in order to understand the dangers and remove them before the Earth is exposed, but the recently published paper suggests that it would be nearly impossible to totally remove that danger.

It’s impossible to know how an Alien message could affect our world, but while the message itself may not do anything bad, the implications of alien contact could be catastrophic. If the civilization we come in contact with is far more advanced than our own, there’s a possibility that the threat could send the world into a panic – causing us to destroy ourselves from within. Also possible is more direct action following the Alien message that could cause harm to the Earth. While it may be viewed as a good idea to look at the transmission in order to better prepare for a conflict, Hippke and Learned have suggested that there’s nearly nothing we could do in that sort of situation and it may be better to avoid any panic or negative effects from the message itself by getting rid of it as soon as we receive it.

There are a variety of issues that an Alien message could bring about, and some researchers have suggested building a “prison” of sorts that would constrain the message so it could be safely contained. However, even such a prison may not be enough to contain potential technology that is far more advanced than our own. If it were to contain some sort of advanced artificial intelligence, for example, it could weasel its way into our society and cause a takeover from within.

Overall, the main takeaway from this research is that these scientists suggest how dangerous opening an Alien message could be. However, the paper ends with a suggestion that opening the message might be the best course of action after all – despite the potential for danger and the increased safety of simply discarding the transmission. The potential for growth and scientific advancement is unprecedented, and contact with an advanced alien civilization could open up our world to an incredible age of progress.

In a guide of sorts to how we should respond to an Alien message, the authors write that “we should certainly not transmit any code. Instead, a plain text encyclopedia, images, music etc. in a simple format are adequate…No advanced computer should be required to decrypt our message.”

While the likelihood of being contacted by an advanced alien civilization in the near future isn’t very likely due to the fact that we haven’t been able to locate any semblance of life at all within our observable universe, it helps to be prepared for a potential interaction. At the end of the day, we won’t be able to have any idea of how such an interaction with play out. Opening up an Alien message puts our planet in danger, but scientists believe that the benefits are just too great to ignore. Whether the world takes Hippke and Learned’s advice into account remains to be seen, but it’s definitely a dilemma on which the scientific community continues to ponder.

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  • Gary Camp

    This is pretty ridiculous “Research”. If the Aliens are sending messages, they dont have the tech. to come here so not much of a threat. If they are here, it does not matter as they can ruin us from inside. There is no way a virus could be sent because they dont use our tech and we have no world computer to infect. Even if they knew it, the size of the code needed for our destruction would be enormous and impossible to hide or transmit reliably. Many other failings of this work are pointed out in these comments too.

    To top it off, they back down and open it anyway. These authors are children, not scientists.

  • Jleitrim

    This is just crazy, everyone knows that an alien message would just go straight to spam folder in hotmail, no risk at all

  • Colin

    They’re already here so it’s a moot point.

  • 1299

    Wouldn’t any advanced malicious alien just make the message self opening?

  • Deathstalker

    That may not be entirely true. If they had a malicious virus of sorts maybe intelligent then it could possibly do something. For instance create a mode of transfer to get outside of the enclosed area etc.

    That being said highly unlikely. At most I would think it would attempt to relay a message back to the origin to say something that can think found its message.

  • Mike Zelesnik

    But yet we launch a car into space. I hope they removed the vin….

  • anon_64

    What a complete load of BS. An alien message isn’t the same as a scam email, and while we might not be able to interpret what it says, it’d be easy to attempt to decode it.
    Using the email analogy, what can an email or virus do to a computer without a physical modem or other radio attached?
    The very worst thing that could happen is that we wouldn’t be able to read it. That’s all.

  • Bruce Keller

    Unless we ever figure out faster than light travel you can exclude basically almost all the other galaxies in terms of aliens or at least our ability to interact; like literally, you can’t ever get to 99.99999% of other galaxies ever, even if you were going the speed of light.
    In that case, if a more advanced life form found us, I would assume they would not want to destroy us because they’d recognize the rarity of the find. They wouldn’t need our resources, there are plenty of resources out there. Finding something like us and interacting would probably be their primary goal since they’d have most other things figured out I’m sure; probably pretty bored.

  • RickFromTexas

    Such tiny frightened little minds. Open the damned messages already, do it in a completely secure environment at first if we’re that paranoid, but open the damned message. They’re here already, for crying out loud, they’ve been watching us throughout recorded history. Back then we thought it was the gods, today we call it UFOs.

    The Fermi Paradox says “Where is everyone?” but the same scientists talking about this so-called paradox ignore the UFO phenomenon, which says “We’re here and you can look but don’t touch”.

    Think it through for a moment, people have been encouraged by the military and scientific establishment to think those who’ve seen UFOs are delusional which provides them with the perfect cover story for a phenomenon that will not go away. Since they can’t control it or even explain it, the best they can do is make the belief that people who see UFOs are crazy just as much a part of our culture as Star Trek is. But we know instinctively that they’re out there, which is why aliens/gods/space brothers, etc. have always been such a prominent feature of human culture.

    Open the message, be visionary and don’t be guided by fear. After all, if UFO’s do turn out to be probes, spacecraft, or portals to other dimensions, we’re no threat to such advanced technology, they could have wiped us out a very long time ago.

  • murtibing

    And this article has the subheading “Science”!
    What passes for “Science” these days would be better called “Rumour”, “Speculation”, “Guesswork” or even “Fantasy”. Gone are the days when Scientists were actually Scientists. First, they latched on to the “thought experiment”; they cost nothing in actual lab time and result in pure profit, because they are not experiments at all but merely interesting speculations. Then they went for the big money and used supercomputers to create mathematical models of the speculations, which resulted in even less empirical evidence to corroborate the fantasies. Now they are mostly PR bullshitters touting for the next grant. While genuine scientists can’t even raise enough money for a ballpoint pen to write on the back of an envelope.

  • MikeWG

    We all know that any scientist would just have to open any damn alien thing. They are like children and would never be able to contain themselves.
    But curiosity will kill the cat!!

  • RickFromTexas

    Where’s Zaphod when you need him?

  • David

    The Earth is obstructing the route of a planned new hyperspace highway and is scheduled for demolition. Objections should be lodged within 30 days to the local planning office…………………..

    Oh sorry we didn’t open the message.

    (With thanks to Douglas Adams)