Science/Tech

New Research Says Human Biases Are Getting In The Way Of Looking For Alien Life

Ever since we stumbled upon the concept of extraterrestrial life and man has managed to make spacecrafts that can survive the harsh conditions of outer space, we have tried looking for signs of intelligent life outside of our own planet, hoping that we’re not the only ones capable of such thought in the vastness of the universe.

So far, however, we’ve been unsuccessful at our search. And according to a new release, it’s because of one potentially fatal flaw: It’s because we’re the ones looking for them.

That’s because, according to the research, we’re a very unique species, and our kind that’s in charge of looking for these supposed aliens are an even stranger bunch. This means that our all-too human assumptions can get in the way of actually discovering aliens.

Because of this, a new project called the Breakthrough Listen project is made, costing us a whopping $100 million. As an initiative, the project is reportedly scanning the cosmos for signals of aliens as part of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), and is currently looking for anthropologists that can help understand and maybe even unmask these biases in place.

"It's kind of a joke at Breakthrough Listen. They tell me: 'We're studying aliens, and you're studying us,” Claire Webb, an anthropology and history of science student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said at the 235th meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in Honolulu.

Since 2017, Claire has been working with Breakthrough Listen to examine how SETI researchers think about aliens and even use anthropocentric assumptions into the work they do, describing their efforts as akin to “making the familiar strange.”

Basically, the idea is that while the things we do on a daily basis might seem normal and mundane, viewing it through an anthropological lens would reveal that only we as a race placed meaning unto it, and this might be the same for our idea of aliens. In fact, Webb also said that these statements are based upon the specific anxieties on our era, which means that the history of another species would be vastly different.

Nevertheless, Webb still believes what we’re doing now is still good.

"We are doing what we think makes sense now, but we might one day be doing something totally different,” she added.

Alien Fermi paradox raises the question of why humans never detected traces of extraterrestrial intelligence. Pixabay

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