It may or may not come as a surprise to you, but some scientists think intelligent alien life may have already visited Earth.
So are aliens walking among us? Very possibly. According to Silvano P. Colombano, who works in NASA’s Intelligent Systems Division, extra terrestrials may have already visited our planet, we just didn’t notice.
According to Colombano, the current thinking behind receiving visitors from outer space is far too narrow. He’s suggested other, non-carbon based life-forms may already have been to Earth, we just didn’t notice because we were too busy looking for carbon based ones.
In a paper presented at a ‘Decoding Alien Intelligence Workshop’, Colombano wrote:
Given the fairly common presence of elements that might be involved in the origin of life throughout the universe, it is a reasonable assumption that life “as we know it” was at least a common starting point, but our form of life and intelligence, may just be a tiny first step in a continuing evolution that may well produce forms of intelligence that are far superior to ours and no longer based on carbon “machinery”.
I simply want to point out the fact that the intelligence we might find and that might choose to find us (if it hasn’t already) might not be at all be produced by carbon based organisms like us.
Colombano suggests, much like how humans are developing ‘super-intelligence’ in computers and becoming symbiotic with them, alien life-forms may have also evolved to a point past their original form.
He also suggests, with knowledge of interstellar travel, a typical life-span would no longer be a limitation, and the size of the ‘explorers’ who may have already visited Earth ‘might be that of an extremely tiny super-intelligent entity’.
Colombano also thinks, while searching for alien life similar to our own (i.e. carbon based), ‘we need to become more flexible in our assumptions.’
The reason is that, while it is still reasonable and conservative to assume that life is most likely to have originated in conditions similar to ours, the vast time differences in potential evolutions render the likelihood of “matching” technologies very slim.
The NASA scientist called for a rethink of how people approach the study of space and space exploration in the future.
For example, physicists could engage in ‘speculative physics’, which would aim to ‘stretch possibilities as to the nature of space-time and energy’, while still being grounded in current theories.
He also indicates a need to explore the evolution of technology, especially Artificial Intelligence, and the ‘symbiosis of biology with machines’.
The scientist also suggests we need to rethink our assumed understanding of alien life-forms, including how they would choose to communicate. Radio waves, for example, may be obsolete to an extra terrestrial society.
It may be then, aliens have already visited Earth, taken one look at us and shot off again. Or, they’re still here, we just don’t have the ability or technology to communicate with them… yet.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.