Kaku is the author of several science best-sellers. On his point of view, the first contact should be made 'very carefully.' His reference to Montezuma is quite scary, since the ancient ruler of the Aztecs in the 1500s who welcomed Cortés and was killed because of his good deed. Cortés took advantage of the welcoming, took Montezuma hostage so that he could take the Aztec throne himself. Montezuma was later killed by his angry subjects who believed he had willingly given up to Spanish rule.
Michio Kaku thinks that welcoming foreign beings to Earth may have the same outcome. The author is a professor of theoretical physics at City College in New York and a leading proponent of string theory. He popularizes physics on TV and has written several New York Times best sellers, including Physics of the Future and The Future of the Mind.
Kaku’s latest book, titled ‘The God Equation’, discusses the possibility of creation of a 'theory of everything' that unites the fundamental forces of nature. Nevertheless, the physicist’s interests go far beyond that matter, also covering a topic of the search for intelligent life in the universe.
He assumes that humanity would make contact with aliens 'within the century', given that the launch of of the James Webb Space Telescope is planned October 2021. It is expected to grant an even greater infrared resolution and sensitivity than the Hubble telescope. Kaku said:
“We'll have thousands of planets to look at, and that's why I think the chances are quite high that we may make contact with an alien civilization…There are some colleagues of mine that believe we should reach out to them. I think that's a terrible idea. We all know what happened to Montezuma when he met Cortés in Mexico so many hundreds of years ago. Now, personally, I think that aliens out there would be friendly but we can't gamble on it. So, I think we will make contact but we should do it very carefully.”
Kaku claims that, first of all, we should think about their intentions:
“Are they expansive and aggressive, or peaceful?”
Moreover, the communication itself might not be that easy. Because we're using radio waves, 'talking to them will be difficult, since they could be tens of light years away.' Michio Kaku said:
“[Another] possibility is that they land on the White House lawn and announce their existence. But I think that is unlikely, since we would be like forest animals to them.” Kaku is not the only one who is concerned about dangers of a close encounter. Stephen Hawking also said in 2018: “We don't know much about aliens, but we know about humans. If you look at history, contact between humans and less intelligent organisms have often been disastrous from their point of view, and encounters between civilizations with advanced versus primitive technologies have gone badly for the less advanced.”
The scientist said that an alien civilization receiving a message from Earth could be billions of years ahead of human development:
“If so, they will be vastly more powerful, and may not see us as any more valuable than we see bacteria.” Nevertheless, both, Hawkin and Kaku, support the search for alien life. Stephen Hawking said at a press event announcing a ten-year, $100 million effort to listen for broadcast signals from the million closest stars, using two of the world's most powerful telescopes:
“It's time to commit to finding the answer - to search for life beyond Earth. We are alive. We are intelligent. We must know.”