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Last year, the Defense Department unveiled infrared videos recorded by the U.S. Navy depicting encounters with numerous "unidentified aerial phenomena." If these objects were some kind of craft, they seemed to defy the basic laws of physics. While it remains unlikely that the unidentified objects come from aliens, instead of Russia or China, a terrestrial origin might be better for humans than potential contact with extraterrestrial technology.

A new opinion piece from former Nature Editor Mark Buchanan warns that humans should steer away from alien contact at this point in our evolution. "Chances are," he begins in The Washington Post op-ed, "we should all be grateful that we don't yet have any evidence of contact with alien civilizations."

"Attempting to communicate with extraterrestrials, if they do exist, could be extremely dangerous for us," added Buchanan.


If we're going to pursue contact with advanced alien races, Buchanan thinks we should emphasize extreme caution. "The search for aliens has reached a stage of technological sophistication and associated risk that it needs strict regulation at national and international level[s]," said Buchanan. To him, the actions of an individual could create outsized effects on the entire human race, taking "actions affecting the future of the entire planet" while gaining "access to powerful transmitting technology."

In other words, Buchanan doesn't think we should trust the future of all of humanity to "a handful of radio astronomers."

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