Stephen Hawking Says Making Contact with Aliens Might Destroy Mankind

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/FilesPhysicist Stephen Hawking sits on stage during an announcement of the Breakthrough Starshot initiative in New York April 12, 2016.

Stephen Hawking recently advised the Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) organization against sending signals into deep space to make contact with aliens, saying this could potentially lead to the annihilation of the human race. Hawking is one of the critics of METI, whose president, Dr. Douglas Vakoch, believes that making contact with extraterrestrial beings may finally happen within the next 10 to 20 years.

According to Dr. Vakoch, the advancement in technology makes it highly possible for alien enthusiasts like them to find intelligent life in the cosmos. His organization is dedicated to sending signals to neighboring stars and fostering sustainability of human civilization on multigenerational timescales.

In a recent interview, Vakoch said that when Frank Drake conducted his first alien search in 1960, he used only one frequency in transmitting signals to asteroids and other entities in space in hopes of making contact with aliens. Today, however, he said billions of various frequencies are already available for use in communicating with other-worldly beings. "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," he said.

In response to Vakoch, Hawking said the METI president doesn't know what he's up to. "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," he said.

Hawking also said that he's convinced that human beings are not the only living, intelligent entities in space, but finding the other intelligent creatures might only start the end of mankind. The renowned physicist and cosmologist said he fears someone might create Al that would keep improving itself until it's eventually superior to human beings, resulting in a new form of life. "I fear that Al may replace humans altogether," he said.

Earlier this year, Hawking called for preventing technology from destroying the human race. He also urged humans to identify potential threats to their existence quickly before they could ever have a chance to escalate and put human civilization at risk.