It has been known for some time that many space agencies across the planet are putting in effort to search of alien lifeforms. Even as multiple research emerges, two scientists have warned that messages sent by aliens to earth could potentially destroy life if they are not read carefully. According to the scientists, if aliens wish to destroy life on earth, they don’t have to be present here.
In an academic paper titled Interstellar Communication. IX. Message Decontamination Is Impossible, the scientists who are from the University of Hawaii and Sonneberg Observatory in Germany, talk about the ways humans read and interpret messages that may be received from space. They believe that it will be impossible for humans to understand the nature of the message and its contents without opening it. They think the safest option is to destroy them without ever reading.
According to a report in the Independent, researchers Michael Hippke and John G Learned mentioned in a study that it is unlikely any contact humans may have with alien civilization will be harmful. However they warned that since it is impossible to know what the message includes without reading it, it would be safer to just avoid it.
"After all, it is cheaper for ETI to send a malicious message to eradicate humans compared to sending battleships," they wrote. The researchers think that the message could contain some sort of a computer virus that can infect all computers on earth or even contain an artificial intelligence that can take over computing systems.
“A complex message from space may require the use of computers to display, analyze and understand. Such a message cannot be decontaminated with certainty, and technical risks remain which can pose an existential threat. Complex messages would need to be destroyed in the risk-averse case,” they said.
However, the researchers eventually suggest that the message should be opened as the rewards are potentially huge and the risks are relatively small.