AI helps search for intelligent life beyond Earth
(ORDO NEWS) — Artificial intelligence is currently being used in almost every field of science to help researchers solve routine classification problems. He also assists radio astronomers in their search for extraterrestrial life.
Scientists looking for evidence of intelligent life beyond Earth have created an artificial intelligence system that outperforms classical algorithms in detecting signals.
The AI was trained to look for signals in radio telescope data that could not be generated by natural astrophysical processes.
When the researchers fed the AI the previously studied data, it found eight signals of interest. These signals are likely not from extraterrestrial intelligence and are most likely rare cases of radio interference.
AI algorithms are good at pattern recognition and extremely useful for tasks like classification, but they lack the ability to solve problems. They perform only those specific tasks that they have been trained to do.
Radio astronomers are looking for techno signals. These hypothetical signals would indicate the presence of technology and, indirectly, the existence of a society capable of using technology for communication.
For the study, the scientists created an algorithm that uses AI techniques to classify signals as either radio interference or genuine candidates.
The system was developed by Peter Ma, a student at the University of Toronto. Peter inserted simulated signals into real data and then used this data set to train an artificial intelligence algorithm.
After learning the AI algorithm, more than 150 terabytes of data were transferred from the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia.
The AI identified 20,515 signals of interest, which then had to be checked manually. Eight signals had the characteristics of technosignals.
To try and test these signals, the scientists returned to the telescope.
Unfortunately, they were unable to detect these techno signals in follow-up observations. The most likely explanation is that they were unusual manifestations of radio interference.
If astronomers do succeed in detecting a techno signal that cannot be explained as interference, it will be strong evidence that humans are not the only technology creators in the galaxy.
At the same time, if they do not detect anything, this does not necessarily mean that we are the only sentient species in the area.
It could also mean that scientists weren’t looking for the right type of signals, or that our telescopes aren’t yet sensitive enough to detect faint transmissions from distant exoplanets.
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