Human Signals Might Be the Universe's Spam Mail

Are our attempts to find alien life filled with malware?

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Scientists warn that human signals could inadvertently become annoying cosmic pop-up ads as we hope to contact alien life.

Oxford University’s Dr. Anders Sandberg says our signals typically contain binary sequences for DNA coding and images of the solar system, but also potential malware.

“I am kind of split on whether it is a good idea. I see some problems. I favour it a little bit more,” he said at the British Science Festival. “But I can see it going either way.”

“I am very explicitly in favour,” he added. “I think it makes us do reflect back on ourselves. I think it would be arrogant to think we were the only ones. But in the timeline of the universe whether we will be around at the same time, that is a different matter.”

His warning comes just as every star-gazer with a laptop is chasing a bounty. Tech Times notes that Russian internet billionaire Yuri Milner’s recent promise of a $1 million gift for fresh alien-spotting tech has renewed interest all kinds of contact ideas, especially computer software.

I can’t think of a more anti-climatic end to the search for intelligent life than a three-fingered Grey looking at our planet on a monitor somewhere beyond Saturn and clicking “unsubscribe.”