If aliens ever come a-knocking, Stephen Hawking says we shouldn't answer the door. The famed astrophysicist is not only convinced that humans aren't the only intelligent life in the universe, but he also thinks alien life will one day reach out to us. And, when they do, the scientist says we should be wary.
Stephen shared his thoughts in a recent short film that debuted on CuriosityStream, a video-on-demand streaming site. The film, which is titled Stephen Hawking's Favorite Places, follows the scientist as he takes viewers on a tour of his favorite intergalactic destinations. In the video, Stephen tells viewers that scientists have discovered thousands of new plants far outside our solar system.
"Some are burning hells, gates of fire and lava, others are solid diamond made in deadly x-rays from a dying star, but some are more like home," he explained.
In the future, Stephen says a few of those planets might one day house alien life if they don't already. The scientist then said one of his projects called the Breakthrough Listen Initiative might pick up potential signals from these remote planets.
"We should be wary of answering back," Stephen warned. "Meeting an advanced civilization could be like Native Americans encountering Columbus — that didn't turn out so well."
However, the scientist did say the discovery would prompt humanity to fundamentally change. The recognition that mankind is not alone in the universe would take us all for a spin and force us to reflect on our mortality.
"It would force us to change," Stephen mused. "We would have to give up the idea that we are unique and start acting with more compassion and humility."
Of course, that is an idealized reaction to the discovery of extraterrestrial life. It's likely that Stephen's vision is inspired by more optimistic sci-fi series like Star Trek as they imagine a world united in the face of first contact. However, when it comes to the real world, there are plenty of people who are unsure if humans would react so nicely.
In fact, some believe the revelation could do the exact opposite and pit humanity against one another. But, for now, it is nice to think that we'd all band together should aliens ever make themselves known to mankind. Honestly, Gene Roddenberry's take on first contact is one which we should aspire if Martians touch down in Tulsa or what not.
However, Stephen thinks we are a long way away from meeting any sort of extraterrestrial life. The scientist is far more concerned about the biggest threat facing humanity these days: ourselves. Stephen has said mankind's greed and stupidity threatens out existence. And, what's more, the scientist agrees over-population and global warming will soon become irreparable dangers to Earth.
So, what do you think? Do you believe Stephen's advice is sound? Should we break out our tin-foil hats? Tell us in the comments below!
[H/T] USA Today