Aliens might not need battleships to destroy Earth -- a single message might do the work. Researchers say that any message from the extra-terrestrial society should not be opened as it might wipe out humans.
A joint research by Michael Hippke, an independent scientist from the Sonneberg Observatory in Germany, and John G Learned, a professor with the High Energy Physics Group at the University of Hawaii, says that a message from aliens should be instantly deleted.
In the research paper titled Interstellar communication. IX. Message Decontamination is Impossible, the duo wrote: "A complex message from space may require the use of computers to display, analyze and understand. Such a message cannot be decontaminated with certainty, and technical risks remain which can pose an existential threat."
The academics discussed how much dangerous extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI) is. They write: "While it has been argued that sustainable ETI is unlikely to be harmful, we can not exclude this possibility. After all, it is cheaper for ETI to send a malicious message to eradicate humans compared to sending battleships."
Researchers say, if ETI exists, there will be both good and bad civilizations. Perhaps, bad ETI is less in number but it's difficult to know for sure their intentions of sending a message. In fact, there are several possible threats from an ETI message.
"On the most basic level, a message might represent a statement like: 'We will make your sun go supernova tomorrow'," the academics stated. "True or not, it could cause widespread panic. More realistically, a longer test could have a demoralizing cultural influence."
The main argument they wanted to present was that the human species currently dominate Earth because of human intelligence. But, if the extraterrestrial intelligence sends a message with AI attached, it might destroy humans.
They wrote: "There could be a community on Earth in favor of letting it out for religious, philosophical or other reasons. If the AI promises to cure cancer or offers a message of salvation, a cult could form."
However, they also pointed out the potential benefits of joining a 'galactic network', the Daily Mail reported. "It is always wise to understand the risks and chances beforehand, and make a conscious choice for, or against it, rather than blindly following a random path. Overall, we believe that the risk is very small (but not zero), and the potential benefit very large so that we strongly encourage to read an incoming message," they concluded.