What would happen if aliens made contact?
holds a doctorate in sociology and works as a research assistant at the Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Hygiene in Freiburg im Breisgau. [email protected]
is research coordinator at the Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health in Freiburg im Breisgau and teaches sociology as an adjunct professor at the Albert Ludwigs University there. [email protected]
At this point in the scientific reflection on aliens, the sole competence of the natural sciences ends. In addition, social and cultural science disciplines are required here, namely those that have long been concerned with communication between different species and the success or failure of contacts between different cultures.
Decades ago pioneers such as the Soviet radio astronomer Samuil Aronovich Kaplan and the American sociologist Jan H. Mejer pondered the role of the social sciences in the study of extraterrestrial civilizations.  But it is only because of the advances in scientific knowledge that exosociology, as they called the subject of their considerations at the time, can give really good reasons for investing time and financial resources in investigating this question: Today it seems conceivable, some even believe that humanity is about will come into contact with extraterrestrial civilizations for some time or for a long time. Accordingly, it is the task of sociological prognosis to develop scenarios for such a "case of the case", which does not have to become reality in the next few decades, but could certainly become reality.
The methodological tools for this are provided by scientific future research, futurology - a social science program that arose in the middle of the 20th century. Since then, methods such as computer simulation, Delphi surveys and scenario analysis have emerged in order to be able to make statements about the future development of a society or even of human civilization as a whole.  Exosociology refers to this tradition of research when it asks what would change for us on earth if we attained the certainty that mankind is not alone in the universe. Since that "first contact", according to everything we know for sure today, has not yet taken place, at least in historical times, this is initially a hypothetical question. In the context of future research, it is called what is known as Wild cardEvent investigated.  Such events are characterized by the fact that the likelihood of their occurrence is ultimately low, but if they should, they could have massive effects on all of our lives. Such events are usually analyzed methodically in the form of a scenario analysis in which various possible futures are examined comparatively. 
In the following, we will use such a scenario analysis for the Wild cardEvent of the first contact of mankind with an extraterrestrial civilization. We distinguish between three basic scenarios, which differ in the way they are done, how this contact comes about. 
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