The World Economic Forum recently identified the discovery of extraterrestrial life as an “emerging concern.”
According to the Forum’s website:
For over 40 years, the mission of the World Economic Forum – committed to improving the state of the world – has driven the design and development of the Annual Meeting programme. The Annual Meeting remains the foremost creative force for engaging leaders in collaborative activities focused on shaping the global, regional and industry agendas.
For the past eight years, the Forum has published a Global Risks report. The Forum explains:
The purpose of the current edition is twofold. First, it aims to show how experts from around the world, from different backgrounds, currently perceive the risks that the world is likely to face over the next decade. To capture these opinions, a survey was carried out, interviews were conducted with specialists in different fields, and a series of workshops and conference sessions were held with expert groups to interpret the research findings and to work out the three risk cases developed in the report. Second, with this report the World Economic Forum aims to continue to raise awareness about global risks, to stimulate thinking about how risks can be factored into strategy development, and to challenge global leaders to improve how they approach global risks.
In the Forum’s Global Risks report for 2013, the Forum collaborated with the journal Nature and identified five “X Factors,” which they define as “serious issues, grounded in the latest scientific findings, but somewhat remote from what are generally seen as more immediate concerns.” These X Factors are: Runaway Climate Change, Significant Cognitive Enhancement, Rogue Deployment of Geoengineering, Costs of Living Longer, and the Discovery of Alien Life. As the Voice of Russia reports, experts from the Forum contend that “given the pace of space exploration, it is increasingly conceivable that we may discover the existence of alien life or other planets that could support human life. In 10 years’ time we may have evidence not only that Earth is not unique but also that life exists elsewhere in the universe.”
The Forum points out these “X Factors” to encourage global leaders to “reflect on what countries or companies should be doing to anticipate them.”
This isn’t the first time an international economic forum has discussed extraterrestrial life. In January 2011, business leaders from around the world met at the 5th annual Global Competitiveness Forum where UFOs and extraterrestrial life were among the topics discussed. Experts presented information during a panel session titled “Contact: Learning from Outer Space.” The panel description read, “Using knowledge gained from research in the fields of Ufology and the search for extraterrestrial life, what might we possibly learn about hindrances to innovation in other areas of inquiry?”
With the increasing advancements and discoveries in space exploration, the topic of extraterrestrial life will likely find its way on the agendas of an increasing number of global conferences in the near future.