(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists are actively discussing the geopolitical implications of potential contact with extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI).
A new paper by a team of authors led by Jason T. Wright entitled “The Geopolitical Implications of the Successful.
‘Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence’ (SETI) Program”, accepted for publication by Space Policy, is a response to the paper “The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence: Realpolitik Considerations” published in 2020.
The authors are Kenneth Visian and John Traphagan. We will refer to their paper as WT 2020.
In WT 2020, the authors noted that much of the thinking about ETI is focused on the risks of searching for and communicating with extraterrestrial intelligence.
But the authors of WT 2020 have focused on another risk that does not attract as much attention. On our realpolitik.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines realpolitik as “politics based on practical and material factors rather than on theoretical or ethical ends”.
When it comes to contact with ETI, monopolizing that contact represents a potential benefit for the monopoly nation. It may gain a technological advantage, which may lead to undesirable consequences.
In WT 2020, the authors say real policy considerations should be important when planning for a successful passive SETI.
They suggest that scientists working in the field should engage with local law enforcement and strengthen the perimeters and security of their institutions.
But the new article doesn’t see these security measures as helpful. The authors also do not agree that one of the nations will be able to somehow monopolize the connection with ETI.
The authors believe that there are shortcomings in the WT 2020 analysis and that “sufficient evidence has not been provided to consider this potential scenario as a guide to action.”
WT 2020 claims that a contact that seems trivial to ETI may contain valuable technical information.
The authors of the new paper disagree: “Above all, science is cumulative: for new knowledge to be useful, we must first have an appropriate scientific context to understand it.”
Could medieval scientists have used a textbook on the design of nuclear weapons?
According to the authors, this is unlikely, and the same is true for advanced technology information from the highly advanced ETI.
Also, what specific technological advantage could be obtained?
Humanity already has enough weapons to destroy the entire civilization. Can ETI share information that will allow us to create some kind of superweapon?
According to the authors, this is something from the realm of science fiction. They believe that the best way to thwart a monopoly is through openness, not stronger security measures.
There is some agreement among the authors regarding the risks inherent in contact.
“WT’s legitimate concern is that the mere perception of an information monopoly may be enough to engender dangerous conflict,” write the authors of the new paper.
Another point of the agreement concerns the safety of scientists working in contact with ETI. They may well become targets of persecution and even attacks.
The authors also say that WT 2020 is based on the premise that political leaders will use contact with ETI to manipulate other states.
While the authors believe this fear is not unfounded, they do not agree with the WT 2020 recommendations. In their opinion, the world should strive for transparency, data sharing and education.
Contact us: [email protected]