Key Takeaways:

  • A recent study speculates that the Milky Way may harbor up to four potentially hostile alien civilizations.
  • The research, conducted by Alberto Caballero, a doctoral student, calculates the likelihood of human contact with such civilizations capable of planetary invasion.
  • Caballero’s model draws parallels between historical human invasions and the hypothetical scenario of interstellar conflicts.
  • The probability of human-involved extraterrestrial invasions is currently at 0.028%, projected to rise in the distant future.
  • Despite the intriguing findings, the likelihood of hostile contact is still far lower than the threat posed by asteroid collisions.

Recent research proposes a fascinating hypothesis: within the Milky Way, four potentially hostile alien civilizations might exist. This provocative claim stems from the work of Alberto Caballero, a doctoral student specializing in conflict resolution at the University of Vigo in Spain. Caballero’s study delves into the intriguing question of the probability of humans encountering aggressive extraterrestrial civilizations capable of invading our planet.

Caballero’s unconventional approach involves examining human history before venturing into the realm of space exploration. His study attempts to estimate the prevalence of hostile alien civilizations by extrapolating the likelihood of human civilization initiating an attack on an inhabited exoplanet. Despite not being an astrophysicist, Caballero’s prior work on the Wow! signal, a potential indicator of extraterrestrial life, was published in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Astrobiology.

The study employs a unique methodology. Caballero initially tallies the number of countries engaged in invasions between 1915 and 2022. He then factors in each nation’s probability of launching an invasion based on their share of global military expenditure. This intricate calculation yields the “current human probability of invasion of an extraterrestrial civilization,” which currently stands at 0.028%. However, given our current technological capabilities, interstellar travel remains beyond reach for at least another 259 years.

Assuming that rates of invasions continue to decline as they have over the last 50 years, the likelihood of human-initiated interstellar conflict drops to a mere 0.0014% when the human race potentially reaches Type 1 civilization status. While this seems like slim odds, the vast number of potentially habitable planets in the Milky Way significantly multiplies the potential encounters. Caballero references a 2012 paper that theorized as many as 15,785 alien civilizations could coexist with humanity in the galaxy.

Ultimately, Caballero suggests that only a fraction of these civilizations, approximately 0.22, might harbor hostile intentions towards humans. This number increases to 4.42 when accounting for civilizations not yet capable of interstellar travel. However, the author emphasizes that this should not be a cause for alarm, as the likelihood of human contact with such civilizations is exceedingly small. He notes that the probability of extraterrestrial invasion is far lower than the chance of a planet-destroying asteroid collision, which occurs once every 100 million years.

Despite the intriguing implications of Caballero’s study, it acknowledges certain limitations. The model’s invasion probability is based on a narrow slice of human history and makes assumptions about the future development of our species. Moreover, it assumes that alien intelligences share similarities in brain composition, values, and empathy with humans, an assumption that may not hold true. As Caballero rightly notes, our understanding of extraterrestrial minds remains a profound mystery that only time and further exploration may unravel.

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