In a recent question-and-answer session on Reddit, famed theoretical physicist Michio Kaku said that he expects humans to make contact with aliens at some point in this century. He believes there’s a chance that these potential interactions might be peaceful, though this could depend on a number of factors.
On Thursday, Kaku hosted a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session, fielding questions from users, many of whom were curious about the possibility of alien life and the chances of humanity making contact with extraterrestrial civilizations. Talking about the former topic, Kaku stressed that he believes humans may finally have encounters with aliens, likely by listening in on extraterrestrial radio communications. Should this happen, Kaku added that alien life forms, in theory, might see humans in the same way that we see animals in the forest, meaning that they might not perceive people as being worth communicating with.
“I personally feel is that within this century, we will make contact with an alien civilization, by listening in on their radio communications. But talking to them will be difficult, since they could be tens of light years away. So, in the meantime, we must decipher their language to understand their level of technology.”
As summarized by Tech Times, Michio Kaku’s alien contact predictions involve a number of other possible challenges, aside from language barriers and the differences between human and alien technology. These include determining what the aliens’ intentions are, as they may or may not be “expansive, aggressive, [or] peaceful,” and finding out where these hypothetical extraterrestrial beings can be filed under the Kardashev scale. According to Futurism, the Kardashev scale was originally designed in the 1960s to determine how advanced a civilization is, in relation to the amount of disposable energy it can use.
— RT (@RT_com) February 24, 2018
Regarding the chances of extraterrestrial civilizations having a sense of morality like humans do, Michio Kaku said that aliens, if they do exist, will likely be peaceful due to the “thousands of years” they would have had to resolve “sectarian, fundamentalist, [and] nationalist” dilemmas. He did, however, warn about the possibility that aliens will not come in peace, provided humanity interferes in a manner they do not like.
“They still might be dangerous if they simply don’t care about us and we get in the way. In War of the Worlds, the aliens did not hate us. We were simply in the way. In the same way that a developer is a threat to forest animals because he can pave the first, the danger there is from someone who sees that we are just in the way.”
While Michio Kaku expects aliens to be mostly harmless, he was more worried about a possible future where robots will need “a chip in their brain” to control violent impulses. Kaku sees today’s robots as having the “intelligence of a bug,” but as RT pointed out, he expressed similar concerns to those raised by SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk and theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, who both believe that there’s a chance “killer robots” might pose a threat to humanity. Should robots become as dangerous as they are smart, Kaku believes that humans should “merge” with them, or undergo special modifications to help them deal with extremely smart, “murderous” robots.