Hawking surmises that advanced extraterrestrial civilizations are likely to be galaxy-roaming nomads, resulting from the depletion of their home planet’s resources. He suggests that these nomads would perhaps conquer and colonize any planet they encounter, including Earth.The fear of being invaded and conquered leads Hawking to caution groups like SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), and humans in general, from attempting to contact alien life. If Hawking is correct, then sending signals into space could be expediting the annihilation of Earth.
But from where did Stephen Hawking develop such a cynical view of extraterrestrials? The basis for his supposition comes from observing an Earth life form – humans. Hawking thinks it is a reasonable assumption that the behaviors of extraterrestrial civilizations would be similarly to the violent and natural resource-hungry behavior of humans.
The aggressive nature of humans, in addition to the near-depletion of Earth’s natural resources by humans, also has Hawking speculating that humanity could be nearing extinction. He feels that the only chance for long-term survival is for humans to spread out into space, finding other planets to inhabit.
While humans do continue devouring the Earth’s natural resources, and while humans have demonstrated horrifically violent behavior, it seems unfair to categorize all humans as savage and wasteful. Likewise, it is unreasonable to assume that all extraterrestrials are violent and resourcefully irresponsible.
Hawking’s cynical assumptions may have some merit, but these huge assumptions based on generalizations seem much too simplistic for such a complex universe.