Okay, the title is a little flamboyant but it seems that there has been a greater concern over the possibility of alien encounter. Perhaps this is simply indicative of current trends in popular culture (or the reverse) but regardless, the fear stems from the information that we send out:
To bolster humanity’s chances of survival, the researchers call for caution in sending signals into space, and in particular warn against broadcasting information about our biological make-up, which could be used to manufacture weapons that target humans. Instead, any contact with ETs should be limited to mathematical discourse “until we have a better idea of the type of ETI we are dealing with.”
From a more comprehensive article about the kinds of ETI (extra-terrestrial intelligence) encounters we might have, the quote really brings common sense to an otherwise almost utopian search for ETI. I think we believe that intelligent organisms in the universe, especially those that have developer interstellar travel, will have evolved socially and culturally beyond the need for violence. Look at Close Encounters of the Third Kind. These ETs are here only to make contact. Same with the movie Contact. Of course, there are a slew of others showing that ETI contact (even if it’s not necessarily intelligent, like in Cloverfield) can be extremely militaristic (i.e., Battle: Los Angeles, the Psyclos in Battlefield Earth). We have been sending very personal information out into space for quite some time, most notably our DNA makeup. If an intelligent, militaristic race came into contact with that information, they would have all the information they needed to develop biological weapons with which to wipe us out.
Whether or not you believe in ETI, this article, and the recommendation in the quote above, can be applied more universally than to the search for ETIs. We should be guarded with our information (especially critical details like DNA, or, credit card numbers) until we can properly determine the motives of those that might receive it.
Originally posted 2011-08-22 14:56:54.