Source: Science Alert, Nov 2016
Hawking’s warning comes in a new online film called Stephen Hawking’s Favourite Places, which shows the famed scientist in a CGI spacecraft called the SS Hawkingexploring his favourite places in the Universe.
“As I grow older I am more convinced than ever that we are not alone. After a lifetime of wondering, I am helping to lead a new global effort to find out,” Hawking says in the film while exploring Gliese 832c, a planet that lies 16 light-years away and might foster alien life.
“The Breakthrough Listen project will scan the nearest million stars for signs of life, but I know just the place to start looking. One day we might receive a signal from a planet like Gliese 832c, but we should be wary of answering back.”
Despite Hawking’s extraordinary effort to find intelligent life in the Universe, he is one of the most outspoken critics of actually trying to communicate with them, an act that he says would potentially endanger humanity, because a distant alien civilisation might view us as inferior, weak, and perfect to conquer.
“If so, they will be vastly more powerful and may not see us as any more valuable than we see bacteria,” he says in the film.