I’ve never seen either version of The Day the Earth Stood Still, nor have I watched Independence Day. But visits from either friendly or hostile extraterrestrials are a staple of science fiction. My analysis indicates that they will remain fiction.
It’s not that I don’t believe there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. It’s my observations of “intelligent” life here on Earth that have led me to this conclusion.
Self-conscious intelligence is an evolutionary dead end. Using our only available example, we can see that humans’ ability to adapt our environment has made it possible to outstrip our resources and damage our habitat to the extent that our existence is in danger. Within a century, we will see our focus shift to basic survival; if we are able to function at a higher level than our current behaviour indicates, we will be trying to survive within our current societal structures as nations. If our current group behaviour persists, we will be struggling to survive as tribes, families or individuals; higher organizational levels will have collapsed.
Since the kinds of technologies necessary for interstellar travel (assuming it is actually possible) require a highly organized society with plenty of excess production of basic needs, and the leisure for intellectual pursuits, we won’t be continuing down that road.
It is my conclusion that any species developing intelligence similar to humans, intelligence conscious of itself, able to develop technologies to exploit its environment for its own (short-term) gain, will overrun its ability to manage the impact of its total group behaviour, and bring on its own collapse. I hope that, somewhere, some intelligent life form develops socially quickly enough to restrict itself to a sustainable set of behaviours. Such a life form will never choose to dedicate resources to interstellar travel.
So neither the self-destructive nor self-sustaining extraterrestrials will ever come knocking on our planetary door.
I wouldn’t rule out interstellar communication of some sort, however. So our planetary phone might yet ring. I hope someone is still here to listen for the call.