While there is certainly an argument to be made in favor of attempting to make contact with any intelligent alien civilizations who might be out there, it could also be argued that attracting such attention to ourselves might not be the wisest move in the long run.
Recently, a team of NASA scientists proposed sending out a new, updated version of the famous Arecibo message containing detailed information about the Earth, our understanding of physics and mathematics, the biochemical composition of life and even an invite to send a response.
According to Anders Sandberg, a senior research fellow at Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute (FHI), however, such a move would not be without some degree of risk.
Even though the probability of the message being picked up by aliens is extremely small, he argues, the consequences could be extreme should the recipient happen to be hostile.
On the topic in general, he maintains that too many people fail to take the matter of alien contact seriously, despite how important it could prove to be in the grand scheme of things.
Sandberg is certainly not alone in his views – the late Professor Stephen Hawking also warned about the dangers we could face if we happened to attract the attentions of a hostile alien race.
The true danger, perhaps, might be in assuming that intelligent aliens would be friendly.
If our own civilization here on Earth is anything to go by, it stands to reason that there could be hostile as well as peaceful aliens out there and we have no idea which of them is going to find us first.