The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Using Artificial Intelligence Techniques (SETI) has been a long-standing quest for scientists, who have been trying to find proof of intelligent life beyond Earth since the 1960s. Thanks to technological advancements, the search has recently received a significant boost.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has helped detect eight previously unknown signals of interest using data collected at an observatory in the United States as part of the Breakthrough Listen Initiative, the most significant scientific research program dedicated to finding evidence of alien civilizations.
A team of researchers from the University of Toronto and the SETI Institute in California’s Silicon Valley was responsible for this breakthrough. They analyzed data from 820 stars and 150 terabytes to identify about 3 million signals of interest. After examining 20,515 movements, the researchers identified eight new technosignatures (technologically generated signals).
The findings were published in the journal ‘Nature Astronomy.’
Most signals detected by telescopes are human-generated, such as those from mobile phones, GPS satellites, and TV stations. The AI was trained not to confuse the two to distinguish between these and extraterrestrial signals. The team plans to increase the search effort to one million stars using the MeerKAT telescope.
It is a prime example of the power of modern machine learning and computer vision techniques in data analysis. The application of these techniques will revolutionize the field of radio techno signature science. The lead author, Peter Ma, is optimistic that AI will help better quantify the likelihood of discovering extraterrestrial signals from other civilizations.
Although the project rarely took place, as it started as a high school project that needed to be better received, it has now grown into a significant scientific endeavor. With the help of AI and the next generation of telescopes, the researchers hope to search millions of stars and find evidence of intelligent life beyond our planet.
Michael Garrett, Director of Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics at the University of Manchester, expressed his hope that the AI revolution might be the missing ingredient that previous SETI endeavors lacked.
In conclusion, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence using artificial intelligence techniques has proven to be a valuable tool for proof of intelligent life beyond Earth.