Super-intelligent aliens won't visit Earth until we build better AI that makes us smarter, professor has claimed.
ETs who have spent 10,000s of years building planet-sized super computers won't find our "low-level" brains interesting, said astrobiologist Susan Schneider.
They could be like the cybernetic Borg from Star Trek and view humans as we do pet "goldfish", the 52-year-old reckons.
She also warned against the rise of AI saying we could lose control of a "super-intelligent" beings smarter than us in "every dimension".
Prof Schneider, of Florida Atlantic University, told NASA's Gravity Assist podcast: "Do we really get interested in our goldfish?
"The intelligence gap between us and a civilisation on the order of 50,000 years older than us and that is now no longer biological even is going to be huge, so why would they find us interesting?
"They may have a prime directive against bothering so low level species and who knows, maybe they are waiting for us to evolve into something else."
The public philosopher believes humans will build AI that will make our brains "far more intelligent".
She warned machines could eventually "outthink" us and we could lose control of them like the fictional AI HAL 900 from Space Odyssey 2001.
Prof Schneider said: "I actually think that we could augment the brain to become far more intelligent than we are now and I also think AI could eventually outthink us.
"You could have a computronium the side of a planet that has access to the internet.
"I don't take for granted the idea that the first Artificial General Intelligence that rivals our intelligence will be like us, they may not because they could be a hodge-podge.
"This is still pretty early in our own technology evolution. It seemed like just yesterday when we had the television or the automobile or the aeroplane, now look where we are."
She added super-intelligent ETs may be "unrecognisable" to humans until we make ourselves smarter by AI-powered implants, like Japanese cyberpunk film Ghost in the Shell which starred Scarlett Johansson in 2017.
Prof Schneider said: "It may be only a blink of a eye in cosmic time really before we started enhancing our own intelligence and becoming partly, if not fully, synthetic ourselves. It could that the most intelligent civilisations out there are in fact post-biological so they grow out of originally biological civilsations like ourselves and they are vastly smarter than us and in fact they may be so different that they are unrecognisable.
"Haven't you all seen 2001? HAL was iconic and here on Earth there's something called the control problem.
"People like Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Nick Bostrom, the list is very very long, the late Stephen Hawking, were all very very worried about how to control AI that reaches human level and then surpasses us, becoming what they call super-intelligent, which is by definition a hypothetical form of intelligence which outthinks humans in every dimension.
"Until we get a handle on the control problem we have to bear in mind if we use too general of AI, too sophisticated AI we have to make sure that we use it safely whether in here of in outer space."