If you believe the truth is out there, it could very well be buried somewhere in the tens of thousands of hours of conversations taking place on podcasts and YouTube videos available online about UFO sightings and theories.
But most of those stories are only preserved in audio form—and to put pieces together, curious paranormal researchers would have to scan through all that audio to find the topics and anecdotes of interest.
To make the task a little easier, a UFO enthusiast and barrister in England who goes by the pseudonym Isaac Koi is transcribing archives of UFO-related shows. So far, he's catalogued over 50,000 podcast episodes and videos.
Koi (who uses this name for UFO-related projects online to protect his day-job reputation), told Motherboard that each podcast and video varies from around three minutes to three hours long, so he estimates around as many hours are transcribed so far. All this amounts to about two million pages of searchable automated transcripts so far.
"Solving UFO cases is often like putting together a jigsaw but without having all the pieces. The gaps can make it difficult to see the whole picture," Koi said. "Those gaps in available information often result in a lot of unproductive arguments between skeptics and UFO researchers. By making it easier to find at least some further relevant information, researchers see more of that whole picture or at least find avenues to explore to resolve disputes."
Koi said he used a combination of publicly-available transcription software tools to create a system that compiles searchable transcripts of hundreds of audio recordings while he slept or worked. The transcriptions aren't perfect, but they include timestamps and keywords so users can quickly pinpoint topics within specific episodes.
This isn't Koi's first archival project—according to his ATS post, he's worked with the Archives for the Unexplained in Sweden, as well as over 100 other UFO researchers and groups, to digitize and share written UFO magazines, newsletters, official documents (including things like FBI records) and other materials online.
The vast majority of people who've come across his audio archival efforts are supportive, Koi said. But some skeptics have turned their conspiracy on him, instead: "One British UFO researcher suggested a few years ago that I must be a government department, because I was sharing more material than one person could produce," he said. "More recently, an American researcher implied during a podcast interview that I could be working for aliens."