Humans have long wanted to know if there is extraterrestrial intelligent life in the universe around us, but there is still no evidence of such species. With advances in human technology, our species are increasingly embracing tools as a potential way to detect evidence of other advanced extraterrestrial technology. Artificial intelligence is one such tool, but a new study warns that it could deceive humans with false “evidence” of extraterrestrial life.
The SETI Institute, one of the largest organizations dedicated to finding evidence of extraterrestrial life, details on its website how artificial intelligence and machine learning can be used to detect unique or strange patterns involving radio pulse strings and similar things. These strange phenomena, known as “technical signatures”, provide technical evidence that, if they originated in the distant universe, it could be evidence of extraterrestrial life.
A new published study warns that the use of AI to detect these technical features could be risky, and that they have found evidence of extraterrestrial life when there is virtually no such evidence.
The new study points to the dwarf planet Ceres, whose mysterious bright spots have raised concerns among scientists that some hope are evidence of extraterrestrial life (and then prove that they turned out to be shiny salt mines). Images of the planets include a unique square structure that was later discovered by AI to be a structure that appears to be a triangle.
This unusual pattern may point to advanced extraterrestrial intelligence in the past or present… But it can also be the result of a mix of unique angles and deceptive shadows. The new study involved showing participants images of the planets and asking them what they saw. Many pointed out the unique square structure.
The researchers also fed images into trained AI to identify squares and triangles. In addition to identifying the same squares that humans monitor, AI has also found unique triangular shapes. Once people realized the shape of the triangle, many participants claimed that they were able to distinguish the same triangle.
The findings suggest that while AI can detect what humans are missing, it may also confuse data by presenting them with errors or things that do not look like them, making it possible for people to perceive the same misinformation. What artificial intelligence has discovered may have led humans to believe that they may have found some kind of evidence of extraterrestrial life.