Artificial exploration of space is something mankind has been doing, essentially, from the moment we put our first satellites into orbit. Far safer and currently more effective then launching a living being into space, it will forever be a cornerstone of our journey into the final frontier. With this however comes the question, if we're doing it, what about other civilizations out there? This is precisely the subject explored in a paper published in the International Journal of Astrobiology a couple months ago.
Titled "Slingshot Dynamics, for Self-Replicating Probes and the Effect on Exploration Timescales" it tackles the subject of extraterrestrial robots exploring the universe while using gravity from planets and stars to propel themselves. Voyager I and II, two of our own space probes, while not self replicating, did use the gravitational pull of objects in our solar system to propel themselves beyond it, so reasonably we could assume other civilizations might use the same technique. However this is merely our own human assumption based on our own limited technology, and I was thinking about the same concepts a few weeks before I read about the above paper, albeit assuming there was a more advanced form of traversing space.
Arthur C. Clarke proposed that a sufficiently advanced technology would appear to be like magic to those who haven't reached that level of technological know how. Would not artificial alien intelligence appear alive then? Take for instance our modern day UFO phenomenon. Countless people have seen objects they can't explain, objects that do things no living being would be able to survive if they we're piloting them. Artificial alien intelligence's however could do them without trouble and assume a variety of unusual forms (especially if utilizing nanotechnologies), from simple flying probes to advanced androids capable of appearing alive.
This hypothesis I think can explain many of the eccentricities of UFOs and associated phenomenons. Bizarre, erratic, impossible flight patterns? Artificial alien intelligence. Strange, emotionless beings taking people in the night for what appears to be biological study? Artificial alien android intelligence. Heck even the more human looking aliens, such as the Nordics, could be nothing more then computer generated holograms running programs designed to communicate with us after careful study of our species.
I won't say definitively that this is what is happening or that it explains all UFO sightings, because the reality is that it could be anything, or a mix of biological e.t.'s and artificial, but perhaps it should be explored more people within the UFO field. Not to mention it would appear to be magic, or at least deceptively "alive" and way more advanced.