Human fascination with extraterrestrial life persists into the 21st century. With so many TV shows, first-person accounts and more stories about aliens, it fuels the human imagination.

But now there’s talk that artificial intelligence could help us find the aliens — but can it really?

Are UFOs real? A congressional hearing is going to try to find out

The current stance on aliens

NASA had created a team back in 2022 that would study UFOs, also called unidentified anomalous phenomena, or UAP, and in 2023 NASA released its findings. According to CBS News, NASA wanted to have a better scientific understanding of UFOs amid the numerous reports from citizens and military pilots.

Bill Nelson, a NASA administrator, said, “The top takeaway from the study is that there is a lot more to learn. The NASA independent study team did not find any evidence that UAP have an extraterrestrial origin. But we don’t know what these UAP are,” per CBS News.

According to Reuters, the United States government has come forward with statements concerning UFOs, including one back in 2021 that was about the numerous UFO sightings from the military.

AI could help scientists find aliens — or not

A research firm known as the Seti Institute is utilizing AI technology in the search for extraterrestrial life in a partnership with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, located in New Mexico, according to BBC.

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory primarily uses radio frequencies to study stars and planets, per BBC, and, by using the Seti Institute, is able to help find new and different radio signals to figure out if they came from an alien. The use of AI is helping researchers analyze large amounts of datasets and find anomalies and patterns much faster than before.

Seti researcher Eamonn Kerins, describing the method, told, “You basically treat the data as though it’s the hay. Then you’re asking the machine-learning algorithm to tell you if there is anything in the data that isn’t hay, and that hopefully is the needle in the haystack — unless there’s other stuff in the haystack too.”

But according to Martin Rees, the U.K.’s Astronomer Royal at Cambridge University, there is a possibility that extraterrestrial life could be more machine and AI-like, hence why scientists haven’t been able to find any biological evidence yet, per BBC.

Rees told BBC, “The prospect of inorganic alien intelligence raises some striking possibilities. If these beings are out there, they would act and think totally differently to us. They may not want to be detected. Indeed, their intentions may be impossible to fathom.”

He continues to share that scientists could be able to detect biosignatures in space in the coming decades, but if there is artificial intelligence out there, they would need to learn how to find “technosignatures,” per BBC.

“In sum, astronomers like me should expect surprises. We ought to be open-minded and make sure that we wouldn’t miss anything odd,” Rees told BBC.

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