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The Milky Way may have four 'malicious extraterrestrial civilizations'

Of the potentially 15,785 civilizations that may inhabit the Milky Way, just over four may be malicious towards others like Earth.

Published May 31, 2022 4:19 AM CDT   |   Updated Mon, Jun 20 2022 2:09 PM CDT

A paper discussing potential alien civilizations titled "Estimating the prevalence of malicious extraterrestrial civilizations" has been uploaded to the pre-print server arXiv.

The Milky Way may have four 'malicious extraterrestrial civilizations' 01 |

The paper is a thought experiment written by Alberto Caballero from the University of Vigo in Spain, who authored a recent paper on the origin of the famous Wow! signal, published in the International Journal of Astrobiology. The paper estimates that in our galaxy, the Milky Way, there are potentially about four "malicious extraterrestrial civilizations."

Caballero used data on how many external invasions have occurred over the last 50 years on Earth, meaning when one country invades another. Extrapolating this data to a galactic scale and pairing it with the estimation of as many as 15,785 civilizations that may inhabit the Milky Way allowed Caballero to determine that about 4.42 alien civilizations could be malevolent towards us. However, only 0.22 civilizations are capable of interstellar travel.

"0.22 Type-1 civilizations (capable of nearby interstellar travel), and 4.42 civilizations if all of them were like humanity (we aren't a Type 0 yet). I don't mention the 4.42 civilizations in my paper because 1) we don't know whether all the civilizations in the galaxy are like us (below Type-0), and 2) a civilization like us would probably not pose a threat to another one since we don't have the technology to travel to their planet (we will reach that technology once we become a Type-1)," Caballero told Motherboard.

"I did the paper based only on life as we know it. We don't know the mind of extraterrestrials. An extraterrestrial civilization may have a brain with a different chemical composition and they might not have our empathy or they might have more psychopathological behaviors. I found this way to do [the study], which has limitations, because we don't know the mind of what aliens would be like," Caballero continued.

You can read more from the paper here.

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Adam grew up watching his dad play Turok 2 and Age of Empires on a PC in his computer room, and learned a love for video games through him. Adam was always working with computers, which helped build his natural affinity for working with them, leading to him building his own at 14, after taking apart and tinkering with other old computers and tech lying around. Adam has always been very interested in STEM subjects, and is always trying to learn more about the world and the way it works.

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