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  #51  
Old 11-21-2019, 01:13 AM
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That may appear to be the case on Sentinel Island
It is also the case in the Amazon.
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, but it does not undermine the argument that those people have the right to self-determination.
Self-determination is not synonymous with ignorance.
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Uncontacted peoples include peoples without a first contact. If you make that first contact, the choice is gone. They can't just decide to forget about us.
Sure. But they could also want to be contacted, and even fault us for not contacting them, and desperately be trying to reach out but in some way we can't perceive (see: SETI)

So basically, they're Schroedinger's Aliens, and I say their right to self-determination only manifests after the box is opened.

They're not helpless animals to be protected, they're intelligent beings who deserve to be offered an informed choice.

And if they have post-contact regrets, we can Neuralize them, we're the Space Gods after all.
  #52  
Old 11-21-2019, 09:19 AM
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Again, you appear to be flat out assuming that a) we would be the "more tech-advanced culture" because we'd have specifically space flight, no matter what sort of technology the other culture had in other areas and b) that being "technologically advanced" by our definition of technology is the same thing as "more developed" and that the "early" culture would agree with us about that and move "forward".

I mean, they might. It's a really big universe, and there might well be people out there who'd agree with you; and/or people who we'd just run over like a steamroller (and not have them pop back up behind the steamroller, either right away or generations later, with defenses and/or attacks which we hadn't thought of). But maybe they'd have developed in a different direction, think that we were an "early" culture for not having done so, think they were the "more developed culture", and think that we should "just adopt" their culture, instead of us adopting theirs.

Or maybe they'd think we should each keep developing in our own fashions; with or without trading some specific bits of goods or info that each of us thought particularly useful or amusing, but that each society could take without turning into the other.

They might still in any of those cases want to learn about us; though it might be in order to present us as a bad example to their equivalent (if they had such) of teenagers. Or it might be in the same way as I read the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog -- 'wow, can you imagine that there are people who want that!'
A thought provoking post to me. The discovered civilization could be relatively primitive in technology but vastly superior culturally or politically. Maybe their anatomies never required them to develop sophisticated medical technologies and so they never developed the affiliated drive for computers and space travel. Maybe their political systems developed without violent competition and they never had the need for advanced weaponry.

I wonder if we'd be smart enough to recognize the learning possibilities from study and contact with them or are we too far down the rabbit hole to turn ourselves around in?
  #53  
Old 11-21-2019, 11:59 AM
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Sure. But they could also want to be contacted, and even fault us for not contacting them, and desperately be trying to reach out but in some way we can't perceive (see: SETI)
They could, or they could not. It's a wash and I think tie goes to non-contact.
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They're not helpless animals to be protected, they're intelligent beings who deserve to be offered an informed choice.
I recognize no such right.
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And if they have post-contact regrets, we can Neuralize them, we're the Space Gods after all.
Admittedly, if we can do that, go ahead and contact whoever you want.

~Max
  #54  
Old 11-21-2019, 03:53 PM
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They could, or they could not. It's a wash and I think tie goes to non-contact.
Naah, tie goes to doing what we want.
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I recognize no such right.
Who said anything about rights?
  #55  
Old 11-21-2019, 04:56 PM
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Naah, tie goes to doing what we want.
You may want to contact isolated tribes and less-developed alien civilizations, but I don't. If they reach out, by all means let's greet them with open arms. But if they do not, why bother them?
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Who said anything about rights?
I had interpreted you as saying intelligent beings have the right to be offered an informed choice. I don't differentiate between deserving and having a right to. Maybe I misread you - I have a habit of doing that.

~Max
  #56  
Old 11-21-2019, 11:53 PM
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You may want to contact isolated tribes and less-developed alien civilizations, but I don't.
And you're free to not contact as many aliens as you'd like. But my spaceship will be doing so.
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If they reach out, by all means let's greet them with open arms. But if they do not, why bother them?
Several reasons have already been given in this thread. My primary ones are because it's truer to the IDIC principle and because it's what I'd want for humans if the situations were reversed.
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I had interpreted you as saying intelligent beings have the right to be offered an informed choice.
No. It would just be shitty not to. Rights indicate some sort of legalistic moral framework, I'm just talking about empathy.
  #57  
Old 11-22-2019, 07:03 AM
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A strategy some advanced civilisations might follow is to select certain members of a more primitive culture for special contact, and introduce those individuals to aspects of their own (more advanced) culture. So you could take an individual, or select group of individuals, into your spacecraft/landing craft and show them some of the advantages of your technology. Basically a kind of benign abduction. Eventually it might be possible to allow these privileged individuals the choice about whether full contact should be made.

Captain Cook had a well-established procedure for exchanging gifts with local populations, donating small artifacts such as iron nails, knives, fabrics and lenses. He would often get interesting artifacts in return, and sometimes he'd trade these local artifacts at the next island, as a demonstration of his capacity for local trade. He would also take selected individuals back to England to show them European culture; often this would encourage those individuals to adopt European cultural traits, and take these traits back to their compatriots when they returned. Sometimes with mixed results.

I'm particularly interested in the contact strategy suggested by Ursula Le Guin; her 'mobiles' are the exact opposite of an abductee, in that they are members of an advanced civilisation that 'go native' and live among the locals, adopting their customs and appearance while still responding to questions about their own culture. This approach allows the 'mobile' to appreciate the local culture more completely, and often demonstrates that the local culture has strengths and characteristics that are intrinsically worth preserving and even worth adopting elsewhere.
  #58  
Old 11-22-2019, 04:00 PM
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I'm guessing that if we do find a planet that has an earthlike or class M environment, we will want to put a colony there because those are probably very rare.

So it probably wont go well.
  #59  
Old 11-22-2019, 04:10 PM
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I am not so sure. Most planets with an Earth-like environment will probably be covered in alien biology, which will quite likely be poisonous or at least indigestible to us. Any colony on such a world will be filled with biologists and behaviourists rather than farmers, hunters or miners.
  #60  
Old 11-22-2019, 09:24 PM
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Most planets with an Earth-like environment will probably be covered in alien biology, which will quite likely be poisonous or at least indigestible to us.
I predict that hostile alien biologies will go extinct as fast as humans can manage to tame wild but usable planets. Of course, such biologies could leak Earthward and clobber humankind instead. We can stay SciFi-ish and posit that this has happened before. Will cockroaches supplant humanity yet again?
  #61  
Old 11-22-2019, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by eburacum45 View Post
A strategy some advanced civilisations might follow is to select certain members of a more primitive culture for special contact, and introduce those individuals to aspects of their own (more advanced) culture. So you could take an individual, or select group of individuals, into your spacecraft/landing craft and show them some of the advantages of your technology. Basically a kind of benign abduction. Eventually it might be possible to allow these privileged individuals the choice about whether full contact should be made.
Not clear what is the proposal, but shanghaiing people is not cool. Portman's actions on Sentinel Island helped cement the legendary hospitality for which the tribe is known for today (or, to put it another way, they learned all about aspects of the British Empire, in case they were starting to develop some doubts).

The Ursula Le Guin story sounds more like tourism, which seems cool, although you had better take into account that the locals will let you know whether or not this is welcome, as a few people find out in parts of the Amazon to this day.
  #62  
Old 11-23-2019, 01:42 AM
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The Ursula Le Guin story sounds more like tourism, which seems cool, although you had better take into account that the locals will let you know whether or not this is welcome, as a few people find out in parts of the Amazon to this day.
It isn't tourism, as she presents it: (very vague spoilers follow):




the character is more like an ambassador -- the title I believe is "envoy". The envoy's supposed to try to convince the people on the planet to allow further contact and to join the Ekumen, but that agreement isn't taken for granted. And the envoy is accepting significant risk, up to and including risking his life.
  #63  
Old 11-23-2019, 03:21 AM
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It isn't tourism, as she presents it: (very vague spoilers follow):




the character is more like an ambassador -- the title I believe is "envoy". The envoy's supposed to try to convince the people on the planet to allow further contact and to join the Ekumen, but that agreement isn't taken for granted. And the envoy is accepting significant risk, up to and including risking his life.
It should also be noted that the "aliens" being contacted there are mostly, in fact, in essence lost human* colonies.


* or Hain colonies, but same-same.
  #64  
Old 11-23-2019, 01:33 PM
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I think that 'envoys' might be the best way to contact alien civilisations, even ones which are completely non-human (by the time we are able to travel to a life-bearing extra-solar planet I would expect that humans should be able to create an 'envoy' that resembles the local species closely).

Some years ago I wrote this page, giving a range of options for First Contact (note that I don't necessarily think that all, or any, of these strategies could be workable, but I was attempting to be exhaustive).
https://www.orionsarm.com/eg-article/48013b4a38f9c
Note also that this page is written from the point of view of an advanced human civilisation in the future that has already tried most of these strategies, with varying degrees of success.

This current thread may inspire me to add a few more options, so thanks in advance.
  #65  
Old 11-23-2019, 02:55 PM
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I think that 'envoys' might be the best way to contact alien civilisations, even ones which are completely non-human (by the time we are able to travel to a life-bearing extra-solar planet I would expect that humans should be able to create an 'envoy' that resembles the local species closely).
Not sure I like the sound of the space blackface idea, but one fairly standard science-fictional idea is that in order to survive space travel (hard radiation, micro gravity, etc) humans will need to biologically engineer themselves to adapt to that environment, so who knows what the explorers might look like? In any case not like the local population if the latter are 'completely non-human'. In that situation your initial delegation would probably include a lot of linguists, xenoanthropologists and other experts as much as career diplomats.
  #66  
Old 11-24-2019, 10:22 AM
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Not sure I like the sound of the space blackface idea,
Blackface is a problem because of a specific historical context.

But we'd need to bear in mind that the specific historical contexts of the alien culture might produce equivalent metaphorical landmines that we'd have trouble anticipating.

-- huh. Now I've got a germ of a story in my head, in which our attempt to avoid that problem in itself causes us to commit such a misstep --
  #67  
Old 11-24-2019, 02:17 PM
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Blackface is a problem because of a specific historical context.

But we'd need to bear in mind that the specific historical contexts of the alien culture might produce equivalent metaphorical landmines that we'd have trouble anticipating.

-- huh. Now I've got a germ of a story in my head, in which our attempt to avoid that problem in itself causes us to commit such a misstep --
We know TO SERVE MAN was a cookbook. But I recall a pulp SF story of artistic aliens, whose artistry was to dissect races they met and arrange the organic bits in aesthetically pleasing ways. How to counter that? Send in shiploads of human homicidal maniacs. NAZIS VS NAZCA SAUCERS could even happen in Peru; probably with cocaine involved.
  #68  
Old 11-24-2019, 04:26 PM
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The 'blackface' analogy is interesting, but you don't need to go quite that far. If you are trying to make contact with a humanoid species, you just need to make an 'envoy' that is roughly humanoid - not too close or you'll fall into the 'uncanny valley', not too far or you'll look monstrous. But if the species you are trying to make contact with is a centaur, then a roughly centaurian envoy could help to break the ice.

You don't really want to try contacting humanoid aliens if you look like a shoggoth, or vice versa.
  #69  
Old 11-24-2019, 06:20 PM
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You don't really want to try contacting humanoid aliens if you look like a shoggoth, or vice versa.
Shoggoths are OK. Whatever cracked Danforth's sanity like a hypocalcaemic eggshell with one brief glimpse of it, it wasn't any shoggoth
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