Of course, that bit of sci-fi daydreaming isn't the point of the paper, but it's the part everyone started talking about. Plenty of headlines have popped up pretending that the boys from Harvard are seriously saying that Will Smith should get his fighter pilot's license just to be safe. Meanwhile, many responsible/boring scientist have taken to the internet decrying the paper's sensationalizing of 'Oumuamua, with astronomer Coryn Bailer-Jones noting "We must ask ourselves, 'Where is the evidence?,' not 'Where is the lack of evidence so that I can fit in any hypothesis that I like?'" Because surely, there's no good reason for scientists to ever want to be the first to formally posit an idea that also happens to get them massive media coverage, right?
But Bailey and Loeb were on the right track, though they made one crucial mistake. The probe wasn't here to observe us, it was here to observe our humpback whales. Duh. As seen in the time-travelling documentary Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (titled in underwater theaters as Whale Trek: First Contact), a very similar cigar-shaped alien probe arrived near Earth in 2286 to establish communication with Earth's whales, who are only two more U.S. elections away from being considered the most intelligent species by process of elimination.