As inklings of extraterrestrial life continue to make headlines, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will begin to use advancements in artificial intelligence to better monitor the skies in the hopes that non-human eyes may help them understand unidentified flying object (UFO) sightings and other events that may indicate a non-human presence.
NASA said that artificial intelligence (AI) will be “essential” in fully understanding the data surrounding unidentified anomalous phenomena and their origins in talks that followed the release of their highly anticipated UFO report.
The report did not conclude one way or the other whether NASA believes UFO’s are of extraterrestrial origin, but in a press briefing on September 14 the Administrator of NASA emphasized that the agency would continue to use all the resources at its disposal to prove or disprove that the unidentified objects showing up all over American military radar and otherwise baffling the world’s best scientists are of extraterrestrial origin. These resources now include AI programs that can comb through very large datasets for information a human might miss or take much longer to find.
“We will use AI and machine learning to search the skies for anomalies… and will continue to search the heavens for habitable reality,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said. “AI is just coming on the scene to be explored in all areas, so why should we limit any technological tool in analyzing, using data that we have?”
NASA administrators emphasized both in the report and press briefing that data surrounding unidentified anomalous phenomenas (UAP’s) and UFO’s is often very hard to analyze or quantify partly because of the nature of the topic and partly because it’s a very large swath of data. By using new tools made possible by artificial intelligence, NASA believes they can find patterns or anomalies in data that humans have thus far been unable to find.
“So a lot of our data are just sort of wiggly line plots. We get excited about wiggly line plots, by the way, but sometimes, you see the wiggles, but you miss a signal,” said Dr. Nicola Fox, associate administrator for NASA. “By using artificial intelligence, we can often find signatures. So one example we’ve had is to be able to find signatures of superstorms using very old data that, you know, really is before sort of like routine scientific satellite data.”
NASA made several recommendations in their 36-page UFO report with regard to how their own team and others should approach and analyze data about UAP’s. Utilizing artificial intelligence tools was emphasized as crucial to understanding a very large and complex data pool which could be concealing evidence of life beyond our stars or lack thereof.
“The panel finds that sophisticated data analysis techniques, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, must be used in a comprehensive UAP detection campaign when coupled with systematic data gathering and robust curation,” the report said.
A question asked during the briefing made note of recent congressional efforts to better understand, regulate and if necessary hamper or cease developments in the artificial intelligence field. When asked if these efforts would interfere with any NASA projects, Administrator Nelson said he doubts it.
“No, I don’t think that any attempts that Congress has underway to try to write a law that would appropriately put guardrails around AI for other reasons is anyway going to inhibit us from utilizing the tools of AI to help us in our quest on this specific issue,” Nelson said.
The report stressed there were several reports of UAP’s that NASA had no way to explain by modern scientific understanding, but they found no definitive evidence that these anomalies are from life outside of Earth.
“The top takeaway from the study is that there is a lot more to learn,” Nelson said. “The NASA independent study team did not find any evidence that UAP have an extraterrestrial origin, but we don’t know what these UAP are.”
The NASA UFO report was released after several months of increasingly strange UFO and alien related news. Earlier this month, supposed alien corpses were displayed before Mexican Congress. Additionally, American congressional hearings where testimony was given to indicate that the United States government may be in possession of crashed alien spacecrafts and the bodies of their pilots.
In the interest of learning more about these strange phenomenon, NASA’s report made several more recommendations outside of the use of AI including the production of better sensors to track such things and more collaboration between the different government agencies studying UFO’s.
“At present, analysis of UAP data is hampered by poor sensor calibration, the lack of multiple measurements, the lack of sensor metadata, and the lack of baseline data,” the report said. “Making a concerted effort to improve all aspects is vital, and NASA’s expertise should be comprehensively leveraged as part of a robust and systematic data acquisition strategy within the whole-of-government framework.”