Motherboard reports on a proposal made by Daniel Helman, professor of Labor Relations and Trade Unions at Ton Duc Thang University in Vietnam at the International Space Development Conference in Los Angeles in May – Offer aliens our DNA in trade to avoid the war with them that is so often envisioned in science fiction:
What makes genetic information so unique is that it is the result of millions of years of evolution and interaction with Earth’s particular environment. Essentially, it’s a record of everything that’s happened on Earth up to this point, from mass extinctions to the industrial revolution. “Our environment is unique, hence the genetics of all the organisms here and in the solar system are unique,” explained Helman.
Related technology is being developed now by the US Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, who issued a broad agency announcement seeking research teams for the agency’s Molecular Information Storage program, which aims to create a system for storing vast quantities of data on sequence-controlled polymers – like human DNA.
Of course the big question is whether our spy agencies might slip disinfo or malware into the DNA we provide the aliens – the possibility that aliens might embed hidden messages or malware in communications to us has already been raised. In a recent paper Michael Hippke of the Sonneberg Observatory in Germany and John G. Learned of the High Energy Physics Group at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Hawaii, warned that:
A complex message from space may require the use of computers to display, analyze and understand. Such a message cannot be decontaminated with certainty, and technical risks remain which can pose an existential threat. Complex messages would need to be destroyed in the risk averse case.