Stephen Hawking made headlines recently at his talk in the Oxford University Student Union when theorizing that humans will not be able to sustain life on this planet for another 1,000 years.

And in light of the recent speculation that scientists may have discovered aliens attempting to communicate with us, Hawking warns that it would be inadvisable to speak back.

Instead, Hawking says, we should be all ears and listen to what they have to say. Communication in return should not be attempted until there has been discussion and debate amongst all of the major countries in the world.

Hawking fears what the aliens may do to the human race if we say the wrong thing.

He also states that many planets in the universe that resemble our home are a couple of billion years older than Earth, meaning that the life on it has had significantly more time to evolve.

Therefore, we could be dealing with a species that is much more intelligent than we could ever imagine.

In order to put the time frame into perspective, in 2 billion years, scientists claim humans have evolved from amoeba-like creatures to what we are today. Imagine what kind of being we could be greeting if we meet something that makes humans appear like an amoeba.

Hawking also fears that because of this, in the eyes of aliens, we will be no more valuable that bacteria. Killing a human might be the same to them as brushing your teeth.

Although Hawking is part of a group called Breakthrough Message, which works to receive messages from alien civilizations, their motto is very simple. They write:

“[…] not to transmit any message until there has been a global debate at high levels of science and politics on the risks and rewards of contacting advanced civilisations.”

He also states of the project:

“As I grow older I am more convinced than ever that we are not alone,” he says in the video. “After a lifetime of wondering, I am helping to lead a new global effort to find out.

“The Breakthrough Listen project will scan the nearest million stars for signs of life, but I know just the place to start looking. One day we might receive a signal from a planet like Gliese 832c, but we should be wary of answering back.”

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