Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Stephen Hawking talks alien invasion

Not my pic. Let me know if you want it removed.

As extinction scenarios go, it would at least be fun to watch.

Stephen Hawking has once again reiterated his concern over contact with hostile aliens. Among the more interesting aspects of this statement is the fact that it does not come from a UFO enthusiast. It is from one of the world's leading scientists. And he is talking aliens. His gravitas and largess demands that people listen.

His concerns are not unfounded, at least if you extrapolate from human history as Hawking is doing in the article. Like other thinkers before him, he is considering what happened when the native populations of the Americas came into contact with Columbus and other Westerners. "If aliens visit us, the outcome could be much like when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans," he said. Sure, violence and subjugation were a massive part of that but disease played a role as well. That could certainly be a factor in any UFO contact scenario as well.

"Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach," Hawking also said. That just sounds plucked from popular culture. I struggle to envision aliens crossing such distances just to do that unless they are especially warlike. In that case, I would think it more logical that such beings would have killed themselves off before reaching into space but that's probably just me.

At any rate, the article implies that there isn't much we could do about it anyway. It opens with "Now, in his latest dire warning, the physicist claims that if AI doesn't conquer humanity, an advanced alien civilisation may do so instead." Indeed we probably wouldn't be much of a match for such a truly advanced civilization, especially when all they would really have to do is set a virus loose upon the planet. Still, a war for Earth has been an intriguing notion that can be seen throughout the history of fiction and I have always been a sucker for it. Would we slug it out in the open or more likely rely on scrappy guerrilla tactics? Maybe we'd develop new war weapons altogether.

I really want to write my own "invasion of Earth" novel. Each time I begin, I end up giving up.

"It's been done," that inner editor says.

Sounds like Stephen Hawking doesn't mind, though. Grant Morrison could probably do something cool with it, too.

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