(UniversityToday) Michael Hippke, a visiting scholar at the UC Berkeley SETI Research Center, has suggested that the search for evidence of intelligent life beyond our Solar System should also be expanded to include quantum communication. In an age where quantum computing and related technologies are nearing fruition, it makes sense to look for signs of them elsewhere.
The search for technosignatures, and what constitutes the most promising ones, has been the subject of renewed interest in recent years. This is due in large part to the fact that thousands of exoplanets are available for follow-up studies using the next-generation telescopes that will be operational in the coming years.
Hippke notes that six decades and more than one hundred dedicated search programs, surveys that have looked for SETI technosignatures have yielded nothing concrete. This is not to say that the scientists have been looking for the wrong signatures so far, but that it could be useful to consider casting a wider net.
Hippke explained in his paper “Searching for interstellar quantum communications”: “We are looking (and should keep looking) for narrow-band lighthouse blasts, even though we have found none yet. At the same time, it is possible to expand our search…
Hippke identifies four possible reasons why an ETI would opt for quantum communications. These include “gate-keeping,” quantum supremacy, information security, and information efficiency. “They are preferred over classical communications with regards to security and information efficiency, and they would have escaped detection in all previous searches,” he writes.”