AI bot finds signals of interest from ‘alien intelligence’ on stars near Earth

Scientists looking for evidence of intelligent life elsewhere in the galaxy via the “technosignatures” created by alien technology have made a breakthrough because of near-earth stars.

Eight previously undetected “signals of interest” from five stars relatively near to Earth have excited scientists who say that this could be evidence of alien life.

A newly-developed artificial intelligence bot has helped boffins pore through "technosignatures" from space, and decide which are boring old interference – and which are so-called signals of interest with potential to be from aliens.

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"The detection of an unambiguous technosignature would demonstrate the existence of ETI (extra-terrestrial intelligence) and is thus of acute interest both to scientists and the general public," researchers said.

The paper "A deep-learning search for technosignatures from 820 nearby stars", published in Nature Astronomy today, mainly focused on radio frequencies from throughout the universe, some of which could well be interference from human technology.

Researchers pored through 115 million snippets of data, and found almost three million signals of interest.

Refining of the data meant that 20,515 signals were left over when false positives were accounted for, and just eight strong leads were left when the numbers were crunched even more.

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The eight signals come from five different stars, all between 30 and 90 light years from Earth, the Independent reported.

Despite excitement around the signals, scientists chose to make no conclusion on whether they were “genuinely produced by” extra-terrestrial intelligence.

"This work represents the most comprehensive ML-based technosignature search to date, and improves on previous work by finding signals of interest not detected before," researchers boasted.

Recently, Machine Learning (ML) has seen an increasing application in the field of astronomy, thanks to its ability to generalise relationships in big datasets.


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