Hollywood has a long history of besmirching the good name of any hypothetical alien beings that might someday stop by for a visit. For every one E.T. or Mac and Me, there are dozens of war-mongering would-be world conquerors determined to serve man (it’s a cookbook!). Even Stephen Hawking, one of the brightest minds of our age, suggests that any contact with an advanced extraterrestrial race would most likely be really, really bad for us puny humans. Jill Tarter, the Director of the Center for SETI research, however, has a more optimistic view of first contact.
SETI, or the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, has been scanning the skies for signs of any cosmic neighbors for decades, and it’s understandable that the head of an organization actively involved in trying to hunt down aliens would give the little green men the benefit of the doubt. When it comes to the tendency for fiction to paint ETs as hostile space invaders, Tarter suggests that these tales often say more about us as a species than they do about the fictional aliens in question. She also specifically counter’s Hawking’s more pessimistic view on the subject. Speaking to Phys.org, Tarter said:
While Sir Stephen Hawking warned that alien life might try to conquer or colonize Earth, I respectfully disagree. If aliens were able to visit Earth that would mean they would have technological capabilities sophisticated enough not to need slaves, food, or other planets. If aliens were to come here it would be simply to explore. Considering the age of the universe, we probably wouldn’t be their first extraterrestrial encounter, either. We should look at movies like Men in Black III, Prometheus and Battleship as great entertainment and metaphors for our own fears, but we should not consider them harbingers of alien visitation.
That, of course, is exactly what the aliens want you to think, which is why they’ve been gradually conditioning us to accept colonization through decades of alien-invader movies. That may be pure conjecture on my part, but we’ll see who’s calling who crazy when I’m leading the underground human commando force and you’re being served with a side of mint jelly. Viva la resistance!