The new film "Earth to Echo" — which follows a group of kids on a fictional journey to help save a small alien robot — might have a bit of extraterrestrial truth at its core, one alien-hunting astronomer says. As it turns out, writer Henry Gayden's ("Zombie Roadkill," the upcoming "Children of the Lamp") depiction of a small, owl-like alien robot might be a more likely candidate for first contact than most people would expect, said Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California. Given the dynamics of interstellar travel, robots make sense, he said. "Just about the time that you develop enough science or tech to fly to other planets and other stars… you begin to develop faster computers," Shostak told Space.com. "If you believe the people working on artificial intelligence — they think we will have thinking machines by midcentury. That is just decades away." More via Space.com.