What if Dr. Gero would never exist

Extraterrestrials: Visit from another world


Read on one side

"Dig the rocket out of the meteorite. Find galactic slime and one of twelve aliens. Then slap them on the window and let them crawl." This is how the instructions for use go Bring experiment for children from five to twelve years, and there is already a lot of information in these few lines. Landing on earth is apparently an accident. The alien form of life is surrounded by slime, a substance that is not alien to humans, it repels and attracts them, a sexual motive. And what does the human do with the alien? He proceeds with it as usual.

Just a game. Aliens populate the gaming world and pop culture, but anyone who seriously deals with them is considered a bit strange. Nevertheless, institutions such as the US Department of Defense are concerned about the issue, and a report on possible UFO sightings is to be submitted to Congress in June. Still: Most people have formed an opinion about aliens ("there", "there isn't"), but that was it. You're not a nerd.

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That is already a high art of repression. Because assuming extraterrestrial intelligence existed and made contact with earth, then that would be a world-historical turnaround, and not necessarily for the better. If such an encounter went wrong, then it would belong to the same size class as a very violent asteroid impact, a catastrophic collapse of the climate systems or an unlimited nuclear war. The possibility of such events occurring is called an existential risk. Its peculiarity is that it offers no chance to learn from mistakes.

The risk of an encounter with extraterrestrial intelligence cannot be quantified either, because we know nothing about the likelihood of their existence. The fact that countless planets are circling around and there are many on which such life forms as we know them could exist, unfortunately, does not provide anything for a calculation. We know only one case of the origin of life, and we have not even fully understood it. Impossible these days to estimate its likelihood. And how likely is it that extraterrestrial beings will develop an interest and technique to get in touch with us? No one can know. Serious scientists try again and again to estimate these unknowns of the equation, but they poke a stick in the fog.

Nor is it the case that the existence and non-existence of aliens who love to communicate are equally likely just because we are completely ignorant of both. The fact is that we unfortunately cannot make an accurate statement about these probabilities.

That would be different if the technical impossibility of communication with extraterrestrials could be shown. The attempt was made by pointing out that they are hardly to be found in our cosmic neighborhood. Signals that would have to travel millions of years would E.T. spoiling the phone calls indeed. But this difficulty could be avoided. For example, when an extraterrestrial civilization sends emissaries on a journey whose descendants can eventually appear near us and make contact with Earth. Or the alien beings stay at home and send machines, possibly equipped with unearthly intelligence.