The Ethical Implications of Cultural Intervention by Space-faring Civilizations -- What Science Fiction Has to Say

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M. Ciupa (2014), JBIS, 67, pp.460-466

Refcode: 2014.67.460
Keywords: Ethics, SETI, Drake Equation, Fermi Paradox, Intervention, Existential Risk, Exosociology, Exopolitics, Science Fiction, Prime Directive

Science fiction (Scifi) plays out the concerns of our possible scientistic futures; it is a source for exploring the deep rooted psychological concerns of mankind with science and the humanities. In this paper it is proposed Scifi is a valid source of hypotheses to examine, not as "evidence", but as candidate often cautionary notions, i.e., scenarios to be studied. Scifi represents a kind of Jungian mythological based story-telling, putting forward tales that express our conscious/unconscious concerns. Thus, when looking into ethical questions like, "where will techno-progressive futures take us?", we import into them these archetypes, hopes and fears, as a result they frequently reappear as familiar tropes. In this respect it is appropriate not to ignore them, but to openly challenge/appreciate them: to see what scenarios are indeed likely and how they may impact us reciprocally. This paper examines some of these aspects, and provides examples of how they are represented in the Scifi genre, in particular with consideration of the ethical implications of cultural intervention by space-faring civilizations. Given the specific analysis/examples provided, it concludes with an ethical scenario analysis (a dialectic argument), within the limiting conditions of the Drake Equation, Fermi Paradox and Cultural History. It comments on the potential existential risk of the Active SETI programmes recently initiated, indeed the need for an ethical exosociological review of all proposed Interstellar projects that express an "Intervention-Propensity".

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