Artificial intelligence (AI) could trick us into thinking we have found potential aliens, researchers have warned.

As you know, among the stunning variety of worlds in our solar system, only Earth is known to host life. But scientists are constantly working to find out whether life exists on any other planet. Mars may have niche subsurface environments where microbial life exists. A subsurface marine environment on Jupiter’s moon Europa might be the most likely habitat in the Solar System, outside Earth, for extremophile microorganisms. Extraterrestrial life sometimes colloquially referred to as alien life, is hypothetical life that may occur outside Earth and which did not originate on Earth. Such life might range from simple prokaryotes (or comparable life forms) to intelligent beings and even sapient beings, possibly bringing forth civilizations that might be far more advanced than humanity. The Drake equation speculates about the existence of sapient life elsewhere in the universe. The science of extraterrestrial life in all its forms is known as astrobiology, the multidisciplinary field that investigates the deterministic conditions and contingent events with which life arises distributes, and evolves in the universe. Artificial intelligence (AI) could trick us into thinking we have found potential aliens, researchers have warned. Even computers could be prone to identifying shapes as evidence of extraterrestrial civilizations, a new study has found – and humans could then be deceived into believing they are real.

If a person is lost in the wilderness, they have two options. They can search for civilization, or they could make themselves easy to spot by building a fire or writing HELP in big letters. For scientists interested in the question of whether intelligent aliens exist, the options are much the same.

For over 70 years, astronomers have been scanning for radio or optical signals from other civilizations in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, called SETI. Most scientists are confident that life exists on many of the 300 million potentially habitable worlds in the Milky Way galaxy. Astronomers also think there is a decent chance some life forms have developed intelligence and technology. But no signals from another civilization have ever been detected, a mystery that is called “The Great Silence.”

While SETI has long been a part of mainstream science, METI, or messaging extraterrestrial intelligence, has been less common. Researchers from Harvard University are using artificial intelligence (AI) to search for extraterrestrial civilizations.

The project named Galileo Project will use extensive AI object recognition and algorithmic approaches to search for terrestrial objects or satellites. The team will use a network of mid-sized, high-resolution telescopes and detector arrays with suitable cameras and computer systems as part of their research to find alien civilizations.

In 2017, for the first time, scientists observed an interstellar object ‘Oumuamua’ that briefly visited our solar system. The object exhibited highly anomalous properties that defied well-understood natural explanations. Researchers speculated it to be an extraterrestrial technological object, similar to a very thin light-sail or communication dish.

However, a recently published research paper suggests the contrary claiming that humans may not hear from aliens for another four lakh years. Published in The Astrophysical Journal, the paper has been prepared by Beijing Normal University experts Wenjie Song and He Gao. The scientist duo made this estimation through the Drake equation to calculate the number of Communicating Extraterrestrial Intelligent Civilizations (CETIs). A CETI, according to scientists, is an alien civilization that not only exists somewhere in the universe but is capable enough to communicate.

No alien contact for another 4,00,000 years?

As mentioned above, the researchers of the new study have predicted that humans might not be able to contact aliens for another 4,00,000 years. Notably, this number is double the amount of what humans have spent on Earth- approximately 2,00,000 years. According to the calculations through the Drake equation, the scientists concluded that if there is a star having habitable planets around it, a CETI would emerge as early as 25% of the star’s lifetime. However, only 0.1% of those planets would have scope for the evolution of life forms into a CETI. Is it because aliens are utilizing AI technology to protect themselves? You never know.

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