Since their emergence into the mainstream, artificial intelligences are conquering all possible areas of our lives. The truth is that generative models such as ChatGPT have proven to be quite useful, which has led the major technology companies to fight to see who will come up with the most powerful new AI. Now, SETI has also started using them to recognize signals from alien life?
SETI stands for Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence, a program dedicated to the search for alien life or signals of any kind. This organization decided to commission a survey of 820 stars in search of radio signals. The action resulted in an absolute failure, but they did not give up. After the event, they decided to use artificial intelligence to improve the results.
Danny C. Price, a researcher at Curtin University, explains in an article for The Conversation that AI is helping to broaden the search for extraterrestrial life, and the results “are promising.” Price says they have built a system that outperforms in efficiency the algorithms they had always used to search for signals. In his words, “our AI was trained to search radio telescope data for any type of signal that could not be generated naturally.”
AI, a valuable tool in the search for intelligent life
The signals he is talking about are known as technofirms. In other words, he is referring to signals picked up by radio telescopes that do not come from any natural phenomenon.
Thanks to AI, up to 8 technofirms of great interest were discovered that classical algorithms would have missed. Most likely they do not come from galactic beings (hopefully) but they highlight one important point: research with AI techniques will be fundamental in the search for extraterrestrial life.
However, this does not mean that artificial intelligence will wipe astronomers off the map – far from it. Their work is still indispensable, and many of the signals captured must be analyzed manually. This is indeed what happened with the work of the AI, which managed to detect 20,515 signals of great interest. Even so, they all had to be analyzed one by one to see where they came from and to capture data. We will see if in the future an artificial intelligence manages to contact extraterrestrials, although it seems that reality is still a long way off.
For now, what we can see for ourselves is the green comet approaching Earth. In fact, you even have an app to make sure you don’t miss any of this special moment.