Global Catastrophic Risks Connected with Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence

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Abstract. In this article, a classification of the global catastrophic risks connected with the possible existence (or non-existence) of extraterrestrial intelligence is presented. If there are no aliens in our light cone, it either means that the Great Filter is behind us, and thus some kind of periodic sterilizing natural catastrophe, like a gamma-ray burst, should be given a higher Bayesian estimate, or that the Great Filter is ahead of us, and thus a future global catastrophe is almost certain. If ETIs exist in our light cone, it is most likely they exist in the form of alien AI (AAI). AAI may be traveling at near-light speed as an explosive wave of intelligence which could reach us at any moment; may send us potentially dangerous messages with AI-virus payloads; or be near or on Earth in some dormant form, like nanobots, which could act as berserkers, and be triggered when we unwittingly cross some threshold. If ETI are nearby and less advanced, they could find our METI messages and send their “fleet” to or direct weapons toward Earth. Even extinct aliens could have left dangerous remnants in the form of AI systems that we may encounter. If we are in a simulation, we could be simulated by aliens. Even a false belief in the existence of aliens could potentially fuel millennial sects. If we are the first intelligence to emerge, we may kill or prevent the existence of all future potential ET, a different type of global catastrophe. Several options to prevent catastrophic risks are connected with ETI: sending requests for help, using random strategies to escape the Fermi paradox, Great Filter prediction, or the hope that aliens will find the remains of our extinct civilization and resurrect us.
Keywords existential risks  aliens  extraterrestrial intelligence  SETI
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