A researcher has revealed their prediction for how many 'malicious extraterrestrial civilisations' there are in the Milky Way.
And if there was any more reason to be cautious when trying to get in touch with other worldly beings, then PhD student Alberto Caballero has revealed just how many other civilisations we could be antagonising, reminding scientists that 'zero risk does not exist' when trying to contact aliens.
Caballero, who studies conflict resolution at the University of Vigo in Spain, said it has become 'urgent to find an approximation to determine how likely it would be that an intelligent civilisation living in the exoplanet we message has malicious intentions and poses a threat to humanity'.
In the paper, titled 'Estimating the prevalence of malicious extraterrestrial civilisations', Caballero wrote: "Zero risk does not exist, and will never exist. However, if such risk is similar than that of other natural catastrophic events that could affect the entire Earth, then the advantages that would derive from finding and communicating with an intelligent civilisation could greatly exceed its drawbacks.
"Ironically, this would be the case if the extraterrestrial civilisation is far more advanced than ours, which could allow us to improve our technology and provide humanity with significant benefits."
In order to make an estimation, Caballero – who found a possible source behind the Wow! Signal – looked at the 'frequency distribution of the countries that have invaded others between 1915 and 2022'.
During that time period, the researcher discovered that a sum of 51 countries had invaded another.
He then assessed the possibility of each country being invaded by weighing each country up against 'its percentage of global military expenditure'.
"With a weighted average mean, the individual probabilities of invasion are then added and divided by the total number of countries in order to estimate the current human probability of invasion of an extraterrestrial civilisation," he continued.
Looking at energy consumption, average rates of global invasion, the estimated number of intelligent civilisations within the galaxy and the probability of one having 'malicious intentions', Caballero resolved there is an 'estimated probability of 5.52E-8 per cent that a seven messaged extraterrestrial civilisation – or a faction of it – would have hostile intentions towards humanity, as well as a total of 0.22 malicious civilisations'.
According to reports, this finding equals four potentially 'malicious' extraterrestrial civilisations.
Despite Caballero's study revealing the 'estimated probability of extraterrestrial invasion is two orders of magnitude lower than that of a planet-killer asteroid collision', the researcher still explained he thinks the estimation should 'open the door to the next step'.
Caballero told Motherboard his paper is 'based only on life as we know it'.
He warned: "We don’t know the mind of extraterrestrials. An extraterrestrial civilisation may have a brain with a different chemical composition and they might not have our empathy or they might have more psychopathological behaviours.
"I found this way to do [the study], which has limitations, because we don’t know the mind of what aliens would be like."
Due to how much of a 'secret topic' attempting to communicate with aliens is, and the fact there's 'very little research on whether it's actually dangerous to do', Caballero suggested the next step should be an 'international debate to determine the conditions under which the first serious interstellar radio or laser message will be sent to a nearby potentially habitable exoplanet'.
He concluded: "It is necessary to mention that the probabilities are cumulative, which means that sending radio messages to several potentially habitable planets raises the total to the sum of all of them, which is in any case an extremely low probability.
"We could send up to 18,000 interstellar messages to different exoplanets and the probability of invasion by a malicious civilisation would be the same as that of an Earth collision with a global-catastrophe asteroid."
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