Sunday, October 05, 2008

Technology intervention is moral

Advanced civilizations may have policies for interacting with civilizations deemed to be less advanced than their own. On Earth, there is currently no cohesive national or global view on contact with any non-Earth based intelligent societies. In the case of Earth-based societies, interventionism has been the norm.

Assuming safe interaction and communication can occur and intelligence or proto-intelligence has been established,

it is the moral obligation of any more advanced society to interact with any less advanced society.

It is a moral obligation to intervene for the purpose of technology-sharing first and most importantly to ameliorate suffering and improve quality of life, consider vaccines for example. Second, it is patronizing to decide whether or not to expose the less advanced society to more advanced technologies. The moral and respectful path is to expose the newtech and let the other decide.

Third, a broad goal of humanity is to lift all intelligent beings to an optimized state of fulfillment and contribution, so absent existential risk to the more advanced civilization, there is no reason not to share technology. Fourth, considering the 'do unto others' principle, the majority of humans would likely support intervention.

An alternate but less tenable view is that intervention is immoral, that the independence of the other civilization should be respected. The more advanced society does not have the right to interfere. It is better to let someone learn for themselves instead of teaching them; forget the matches and wait a few more centuries for lightning to zap the meat. However, even if the intervention is resented later, it is still more moral to intervene in the sense of improving suffering, quality of life, etc.

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