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Mapping Wild Cards

Inspired by: fiction books/movies » First contact with extra-terrestrial intelligence

version: 1 / created: 2010-12-06
id: #1204 / version id: #1204
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Originally submitted by: Aharon Hauptman
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Last changed by: Aharon Hauptman
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Source of inspiration

Fiction books/movies

The source of the Wild Card is

Numerous books/films. Example: "Contact" by Carl Sagan


(max. 9 words)

First contact with extra-terrestrial intelligence


(approx. 150 words)
Please describe the Wild Card (approx. 150 words)
First Contact: Contact with extra-terrestrial intelligence/civilisation is established


space, life, intelligence, contact, communication, exobiology


(max. 250 characters)

Evidence of the existence of intelligent life on another (extra-solar) planet is obtained. First contact (by using appropriate communication technology) is established with this extra-terrestrial intelligence.


Closest timeframe for at least 50% likelihood
Please use one of the following options:

Features of life if the wild card manifests

Feature 4: technology and infrastructure
Potential knowledge transfer (from the extra-terrestrial intelligence) could accelerate S&T developments
Feature 5: politics and global affairs
Existence of an alien culture with technological superiority could invoke fears of invasion or exploitation. This could foster and encourage trends towards more unification of the human race and more cooperation.
Feature 6: health and quality of life
Feature 7: security and defence
Existence of an alien culture with technological superiority could invoke fears of invasion or exploitation.

Type of event

Unplanned consequence of events/trends/situations (e.g. financial crisis, accidental breakthrough)

Type of emergence

please select (if any) describe related trend or situation
A new development/situation
(e.g. a Romani state is established in central Europe; A message from an alien civilisation existing on a distant planet is received and understood, etc.

Type of systems affected

Human-built Systems - E.g. organisations, processes, technologies, etc.




please specify:
please select
Level 4: important for the whole world

Early indicators

(including weak signals)

Discovery of more extra-solar "earth-like" planets.

Latent phase

Obstacles for early indentification

information/communicational filters (media/editorial interests, language, reasoning)
cultural/religious filters (values, traditions, faith, spiritual beliefs)
scientific filters (knowledge/technology access)

Manifestation phase

Type of manifestation

In a probably pervasive way (contagious or transmittable)

Aftermath phase

Important implications
Emergence of a new system (e.g. new technologies, new paradigms)
Transformation of a system (e.g. new applications, change in stakeholders relations/influence)

Key drivers or triggers

Provide up to 2 possible drivers or triggers of HIGH importance. Click on HELP to see examples:
please describe
Driver / Trigger 1
please describe
Driver / Trigger 2
Technological/Scientific More investments in projects like "SETI"
Values/Ethical/Cultural Desire to contact other (possibly existing) civilisation(s)

Potential impacts (risks & opportunities)

Timeframe options
Risks Opportunities
medium term
(5 to 10 years after the Wild Card manifests)
Risks to planet earth if the extra-terrestrial civilisation is hostile Vast source of knew knowledge and scientific advancements

Relevance for Grand Challenges

where? please justify:
particularly relevant Europe world
Coexistence and conflicts
Social cohesion and diversity
Economic prosperity/dynamics
Globalization vs. localization
Techno-security, hazard & risk
Sustainability and climate change Such a contact could shake religious beliefs, induce fears and high hopes.

Relevance for thematic research areas

please justify:
particularly relevant
Science in society
International S&T Cooperation

Pan-European strategies potentially helping to deal with the wild card

please justify:
particularly relevant
Facilitating and promoting knowledge sharing and transfer
Fostering and facilitating coherent international cooperation in science and technology

 Features of a research-friendly ecology contributing to deal with the wild card

For further information about 'research-friendly strategies' click here

please justify:
particularly relevant
Addressing cohesion through a localised articulation between supply and demand
(e.g. making research institutions more engaged with their own context and local users; reinforcing knowledge flows into and out of regions; etc.
Creating a closer link between researchers & policy-makers
(e.g. supporting both thematic and cross-cutting policies, highlighting the strategic purpose of the European Research Area, etc.