Dr. Douglas Vakoch, the president of METI (Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence), an organization that has been sending radio signals into deep space in the hope that they will get a response, says that he believes we will make contact with aliens within the next 10 to 20 years. There are many critics out there, Stephen Hawking being one of them, that claim that making contact with powerful, intelligent extraterrestrials may be a dangerous idea that could end all of mankind. Dr. Vakoch says we will soon find intelligent life elsewhere in the cosmos due to the better technology that is available to experts now, but should we initiate the conversation?
Douglas Vakoch, Ph.D., is President of METI, a nonprofit research and educational organization dedicated to transmitting intentional signals to nearby stars, as well as fostering sustainability of human civilization on multigenerational timescales, which is a prerequisite for a project that could take centuries or millennia to succeed. He is an elected member of the International Institute for Space Law, and he serves as chair of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) Study Group on Active SETI: Scientific, Technical, Societal, and Legal Dimensions. Prior to founding METI, for sixteen years Dr. Vakoch worked at the SETI Institute, where he was Director of Interstellar Message Composition.
In an interview with Futurism, Douglas Vakoch mentioned that when Frank Drake did his first search in 1960 for extraterrestrials, he did it with only one frequency. Scientist Frank Drake monitored asteroids and sent signals into space in an attempt to make contact with other-worldly beings. In contrast, now we can use billions of different frequencies in effort to start communications. Vakoch explains.
"My hunch is that in the next decade or two, we will detect extra-terrestrials if they are out there and trying to make contact."
METI and Vakoch are sending these signals out into space, in spite of warnings from people like Stephen Hawking, who have advised against making contact with beings which could be potentially much more intelligent and powerful than the human race. Hawkins claims that METI might not know what they're up against. Hawkins said, "If (we connect with the aliens), they will be vastly more powerful and may not see us as any more valuable than we see bacteria." Which Hawkins says could start the end of mankind. Stephen Hawkins added, "As I grow older I am more convinced than ever that we are not alone."
In a recent interview with Futurism, Douglas Vakoch said that he does not take Stephen Hawking's warnings lightly while also going on to support why he thinks that Hawking's ideas might be wrong. Vakoch had this to say.
"Well, when Stephen Hawking, a brilliant cosmologist, has said, 'whatever you do, don't transmit, we don't want the aliens to come to Earth,' You've got to take it seriously."
But Vakoch claims that there's one key point that Hawking really doesn't seem to take into consideration in this assessment. Vakoch argues that we have been transmitting unknowingly to aliens for decades. Dr. Vakoch continues.
"It's the fact that every civilization that does have the ability to travel to Earth could already pick up I Love Lucy. So we have been sending our existence into space with radio signals for 78 years. Even before that, two and a half billion years, we have been telling the Universe that there is life on here because of the oxygen in our atmosphere. So if there's any alien out there paranoid about competition, it could have already come and wipe us out. If they're on their way, it's a lot better strategy to say we're interested in being conversational partners. Let's strike up a new conversation."
So, we may have the technology to communicate with aliens in the very near future, but should we start a conversation? Stephen Hawking's warns that it could be the end of humanity while other scientists claim that it can be a huge step forward. While we wait, check out Douglas Vakoch's interview stating his case via Futurism.