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Any extraterrestrial technological civilization within 100 light-years of Earth is likely to know we’re here. Whether they would be benign or hostile is what will matter most. But I’d wager they will be about as welcoming as Tony Soprano after spilling hot dog mustard on one of his $1000 ties.

They may also be duplicitous. Thus, the age-old adage which cautions to beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing should certainly apply to intelligent aliens.

Evolution happens via natural selection; so, let us assume that like chemistry and physics, evolution itself will be similar for all life, University of Washington paleontologist Peter Ward told me. The DNA equivalents might change, but natural selection is probably how evolution works everywhere, he says.

Thankfully, over the eons, evolution has given us a leg up in the form of visceral instincts about danger. Our gut instincts kick in whenever we sense something is a bit off. That can include everything from feeling uneasy about signing a business contract to walking down a dark alley. But we need to apply this instinct when considering whether any sort of extraterrestrial intelligent beings would be friendly or openly hostile.

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