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von Neumann probe

Is it wise to try to detect extraterrestial von Neumann probes

What are the risks involved

So let us assume we would detect a radio signal of extraterrestrial origin. We would soon find out that the signal is not meant for us: it is encrypted and disguised as some natural radio source of the Universe. It would also appear to be sent within our solar system.


Or one of our satellites would take a crystal clear picture of a spacecraft that is definitely not Earth-made.


How would the human race react? Althought it is impossible to predict the consequences accurately, most likely there would be at least following reactions to some extent.


Fear of alien attack


One of the most obvious results of the new situation would be fear. Many people would be more or less convinced extraterrestrials are here to destroy, enslave or consume us - and there is nothing we can do since their technology is far superior to ours. Fear would lead to anxiety, sometimes even panic. What could we answer to these people? I would answer that since we are not already destroyed, they are most likely friendly or neutral towards us. But I'm afraid that's not enough to calm everybody down.


Mental regression


Some other people might react quite contrary: with joy and happiness. This would be perfectly fine with me, unless they go too far with it.The risk is that human race might take a giant leap backwards, to a child-like state. I believe (almost) everyone of us - including me - still dream of worry-free times of childhood. For some of us extraterrestial probes might be a promise we can give up trying: all our hopes and needs will be fulfilled anyway. These people would be sure extraterrestials are going to give us technology needed to control our climate, to produce more food, to produce endless amouts of energy and so on. In fact, this notion is already present in numerous UFO religions even thought it is far from proven that extraterrestials have visited us one way ot another. Personally I don't believe they are going to give us anything (should they exist), because it could cause more problems than it solves - not least the increase of the regression I just described. But whether or not we will receive anything, the dream of "paradise on Earth" will stay.




Lost of scientific self-esteem


And there would be people that don’t react with fear or joy but with depression. They would feel the human race is a bunch of cavemen compared to races millions of years older.Somebody who has sacrificed his/her life to a science might feel betrayed. Even thought his/her knowledge might be best among humans, that knowledge would be pitiful compared to a knowledge of considerably older civilizations.


Religious insecurity


Also depressed would be people who are very sensitive about their religion. Their sacred books don't say anything about extraterrestials: neither do their priests - at least vast majority of them. A sudden change of a world view might be very hard to handle for them.


So, should we nevertheless try to detect von Neumann probes?

Please look discussion on . If the links ceases to work, search the forum with a phrase "UFO phenomenon: the first logical explanation?"


What is von Neumann probe

Von Neumann probe is a hypothetical robotic space probe. It is programmed to search space for raw materials and energy in order to build copies of itself. It can be considered as a mechanical bacterium or virus. Besides self-replicating, von Neumann probes will execute tasks they are programmed to do. You can read more about von Neumann probe on Wikipedia.