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Interstellar foreign policy

interstellar diplomacy first contact fermi paradox jakob is messed up

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#1
Jakob

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I was thinking a bit about this just now. What if the only alien races that survive first contact are the ones that wipe out the other race before the other race can wipe them out? It makes a sort of messed-up half-sense when you think about it.

 

If you accept the possibility of aggressive intelligence in the galaxy--and there are many reasons for such, from simple terrified xenophobia to complex, highly calculated game theory to highly alien moral systems--the only safe response for humanity is to preemptively destroy any alien civilization we can. This is because whoever makes the first move in an all-out interstellar war will automatically win thanks to innovations like relativistic kill vehicles and berserker probes; they will arrive so quickly that the target cannot mount a defense. You cannot adopt a policy of not attacking unless attacked first, because by the time you know you have been attacked, it is too late to do anything except maybe launch a revenge strike before you go extinct. Furthermore, the benefits of a peaceful contact are tiny--what are the odds that any given civilization will be technologically close enough that we will both have something to offer each other? Every civilization will undoubtedly realize this and thus (nearly) every civilization will adopt the following 'interstellar foreign policy':

 

  1. Destroy any alien civilization that is detected.
  2. Launch all attacks from a sparsely populated, non-habitable system and abandon said system immediately after the attack is launched. (This is to avoid any humans being killed by a fail-deadly attack.)
  3. Attempt to mask all traces of human civilization to prevent a strike against humanity from taking place.

 

This obviously does not apply to Earth wars, where weapons do not travel at the speed of light, the aggressor is not guaranteed victory, and all parties already know about each other.

 

I only half believe it myself, but it seems eerily plausible. Perhaps we are only still alive because we have not yet been spotted, or because we are too primitive to waste valuable weapons on, or because the RKVs and berserkers have not yet arrived.

 

Hmm...this might be a good idea for a timeline: humanity taking its first steps into a harsh and dangerous galaxy filled with relativistic kill vehicles, self-replicating warprobes, and alien races that justify genocide with game theory.


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#2
TheComrade

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You're not the first who came to this idea :)


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#3
Jakob

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You're not the first who came to this idea :)

I have to get around to reading that. Looks good.



#4
TheComrade

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You're not the first who came to this idea :)

I have to get around to reading that. Looks good.

 

 

Yes, he's one of my favorite sci-fi authors and i strongly reccommend him.


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#5
Unity

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The question you're not asking is what would prevent such a civilization from self-imploding?



#6
Jakob

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The question you're not asking is what would prevent such a civilization from self-imploding?

What would cause it to implode?

 

A race could be very peaceful and not warlike at all, but still see the game theory benefit in blowing up every civilization that's not them.



#7
Unity

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No species contains complete self-similarity.  It is impossible for that to be the case on the scale which you are describing.  The case which you are seeing cannot be.



#8
Jakob

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No species contains complete self-similarity.  It is impossible for that to be the case on the scale which you are describing.  Your question is not a question.

They would already have an existing, positive relationship with each other. It would not be beneficial for anybody to stage such an attack against their own species.



#9
Unity

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If I am a species I require many other species to survive for example as humans we require many animal species as food sources, bacteria in our gut to do digestive functions, many insects to pollinate our crops, many plant species to create oxygen for the nitrogen cycle, etc.  So I am an alien species as I move out onto many different types of planets the number of species that "my" species becomes intertwined with will expand exponentially with the variations in habitats.  Alien x living on planet y after 10,000 years will be very different from y living on planet z.  We as a species find ways to try to kill ourselves and we are VERY closely related much moreso than such a theoretical alien species would be.  So what will keep their species unified especially if the speed of light is hard coded as a limit in the transfer of information in the universe?  Notice my argument would not just apply to biological "species", but to information systems.  What you're talking about that a "society" on the order at least of 3.5 x 10^19 self-replicating units will all be "one species" or "one society" is unlikely/impossible in my view.



#10
Mike the average

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Hahaha with policies like the o.p.

I would back the aliens.
'Force always attracts men of low morality' - Einstein
'Great spirits always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds' - Einstein

#11
BinaryStar

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I sincerely hope that these hyper-intelligent beings are above the idea of war and fighting with the need to be supreme. It's a very primitive and backwards way of thinking/living. (Plants competing for sunlight + water, lions fighting for territory, birds fighting for mates and humans blowing themselves up over religion.)

 

In my opinion, it would be a lot better to befriend and become allies with other races so we can share/find resources and work together to provide for one another than to bicker about who gets the greenest grass to eat up and who dies first.

It reminds me of the video game, Spore, where your alien species can either become trade partners and friends with other races, or divided enemies with everyone. There's just no benefit in being violent to everybody- it'll just make the race look like a bunch of douchebags.

 

Peace and non-violence seems like the best policy for me! It's not just about "not having something to offer", but just getting on happily and not being warmongering.



#12
Jakob

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You miss the point. It isn't about dominance, it's about freaking survival: if a species doesn't attack unless attacked first, then it WILL die because whoever attacks first automatically wins.



#13
BinaryStar

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I haven't, what I'm saying is that none of these trigger-happy races should be attacking in the first place.Their will to survive by killing another race (which they don't even know if they've declared war yet) is linked in to dominance over one another. If a race does destroy another, then they should be punished by all those bound in the Policy to show that their actions have consequences, and any violent races won't be tolerated.

 

One lone race is not going to declare war on a unity of say, 5 with different clans all spread out throughout a galaxy. They simply won't be powerful enough. Strength in numbers will protect the targeted race.

 

It's also highly unlikely that a single space-age species will all be in one place in the universe and be wiped out with a single attack. My final point is that the whole concept of killing a most likely innocent species is unnecessary and avoidable.
 


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#14
Jakob

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I don't think you understand the nature of what an interstellar war would look like. There wouldn't be huge starship fleets showing up blasting away with lasers and missiles and packed with Space Navy and Space Marines. There would be no 'ships' as we know them. There would be no soldiers either.

 

Instead there would be Relativistic Kill Vehicles--rocks plowing into planets at nearly the speed of light. Berserker Warprobes--self-replicating robotic fleets that slowly dismantle entire worlds to copy themselves endlessly. Weaponized Strangelets--chunks of strange matter that convert everything they touch into glowing lumps of degenerate matter. Hawking Bombs--microscopic black holes that constantly spray toxic radiation and energy, like a nuke that explodes continuously for years. And those are just 3rd millennium era weapons.

 

The conflict won't look like this:

Defense_Technica_Background_SPACE_BATTLE

(credit:Defense Technica)

 

They will look like this:

rkks.jpg

(credit: Orion's Arm)



#15
BinaryStar

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I don't think you understand the nature of what an interstellar war would look like. There wouldn't be huge starship fleets showing up blasting away with lasers and missiles and packed with Space Navy and Space Marines. There would be no 'ships' as we know them. There would be no soldiers either.

 

Instead there would be Relativistic Kill Vehicles--rocks plowing into planets at nearly the speed of light. Berserker Warprobes--self-replicating robotic fleets that slowly dismantle entire worlds to copy themselves endlessly. Weaponized Strangelets--chunks of strange matter that convert everything they touch into glowing lumps of degenerate matter. Hawking Bombs--microscopic black holes that constantly spray toxic radiation and energy, like a nuke that explodes continuously for years. And those are just 3rd millennium era weapons.

 

The conflict won't look like this:

Defense_Technica_Background_SPACE_BATTLE

(credit:Defense Technica)

 

They will look like this:

rkks.jpg

(credit: Orion's Arm)

I understand that it won't be Star Wars type battles, but I'm saying that a species probably won't limit their living areas to a single planet like how we humans do; they would have separate colonies thriving elsewhere, be it spaceship or another planet which they're more than capable of doing. Provided some of their kind are smart enough to take to the stars safely, their race won't perish.



#16
BinaryStar

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This theoretical policy reminds me a bit of the Cold War. Race A is worried that Race B is going to kill them, and Race B thinks the same thing of Race A, so they're living in fear, anxiety and tension. It shouldn't be like that- they should break the ice and become allies so they can live in harmony.



#17
Jakob

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You could destroy all the colonies. Von Neumann warprobes can seek out any remaining space habitats and survivors in a system, finishing them off with gray goo, strangelets, and Hawking bombs. A smart civilization following the aggression policy won't attack worlds one by one; they will attack at once. There can be no warning, because any warning would be confined to light speed.

 

I did go for a walk and think of two exceptions--and only two--to this rule. Neither would allow for humanity to establish a (stereo)typical sci-fi universe.

 

1) The Hidden Race. Simple: we hide as best we can and leave no evidence whatsoever that we exist. We move underground, as suggested by Outlook in this thread. Everything goes underground, so that not a trace remains on the surface. We do everything possible to disguise any waste heat as natural emissions, make our best effort to prevent any unnatural chemicals from getting into the atmosphere, where they might be seen by alien spectrometers. We could even dig into the asteroids and inhabit those, thus spreading out a bit. And for God's sake, don't keep screaming into the void! If we discover any aliens in our territory, we simply watch them, give no sign of our existence, and hope they will go away. It could be that many or even all Aggressor Races are also Hidden Races to prolong their own survival.

 

2) The Nomad Race. It could be that even a Hidden Race will eventually be detected, no matter what. Perhaps there are civilizations that carry out brute-force attacks on every civilization in their reach. Perhaps there is no way to truly hide waste heat from everyone. Perhaps the warprobes will find and destroy even underground asteroid colonies. If such is the case, then star systems are too obvious a target, and must be abandoned. In some ways, this would be the ultimate Hidden Race, though their methods would be very different. Great interstellar arks would be built and launched--not to any destination, but to simply drift through the great void between the stars. This realm, at least, is so vast that we would stand a good chance of never, ever being found by any alien race, aggressive or not--and even if they did, we would be light years away by the time they saw us.

 

We would bring our own stars: fusion plants fueled by interstellar gas. Occasionally, we would cautiously tiptoe to the outermost reaches of a star system once or twice a century to collect raw materials for more habitats, so that our race may expand. (Perhaps right now there is a Nomad Race scrounging for resources in the outermost reaches of the Oort Cloud, praying that we will not notice!) It's undoubtedly a limited way of life. Not every race could take it. But there are other advantages. Wean yourself of planets, and you can survive any planetary disaster. But wean yourself off stars and you can survive until the universe's bitter end.



#18
BinaryStar

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You could destroy all the colonies. Von Neumann warprobes can seek out any remaining space habitats and survivors in a system, finishing them off with gray goo, strangelets, and Hawking bombs. A smart civilization following the aggression policy won't attack worlds one by one; they will attack at once. There can be no warning, because any warning would be confined to light speed.

 

I did go for a walk and think of two exceptions--and only two--to this rule. Neither would allow for humanity to establish a (stereo)typical sci-fi universe.

 

1) The Hidden Race. Simple: we hide as best we can and leave no evidence whatsoever that we exist. We move underground, as suggested by Outlook in this thread. Everything goes underground, so that not a trace remains on the surface. We do everything possible to disguise any waste heat as natural emissions, make our best effort to prevent any unnatural chemicals from getting into the atmosphere, where they might be seen by alien spectrometers. We could even dig into the asteroids and inhabit those, thus spreading out a bit. And for God's sake, don't keep screaming into the void! If we discover any aliens in our territory, we simply watch them, give no sign of our existence, and hope they will go away. It could be that many or even all Aggressor Races are also Hidden Races to prolong their own survival.

 

2) The Nomad Race. It could be that even a Hidden Race will eventually be detected, no matter what. Perhaps there are civilizations that carry out brute-force attacks on every civilization in their reach. Perhaps there is no way to truly hide waste heat from everyone. Perhaps the warprobes will find and destroy even underground asteroid colonies. If such is the case, then star systems are too obvious a target, and must be abandoned. In some ways, this would be the ultimate Hidden Race, though their methods would be very different. Great interstellar arks would be built and launched--not to any destination, but to simply drift through the great void between the stars. This realm, at least, is so vast that we would stand a good chance of never, ever being found by any alien race, aggressive or not--and even if they did, we would be light years away by the time they saw us.

 

We would bring our own stars: fusion plants fueled by interstellar gas. Occasionally, we would cautiously tiptoe to the outermost reaches of a star system once or twice a century to collect raw materials for more habitats, so that our race may expand. (Perhaps right now there is a Nomad Race scrounging for resources in the outermost reaches of the Oort Cloud, praying that we will not notice!) It's undoubtedly a limited way of life. Not every race could take it. But there are other advantages. Wean yourself of planets, and you can survive any planetary disaster. But wean yourself off stars and you can survive until the universe's bitter end.

You make some good points, but it sucks that we'd have to hide away like that away from all the violence and weaponry; it makes my inner hippy cry things like "Why can't we all just get along?!" Lmao


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#19
Jakob

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I know, right? But sadly such is the way of things on the galactic stage.


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#20
Unity

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I sincerely hope that these hyper-intelligent beings are above the idea of war and fighting with the need to be supreme. It's a very primitive and backwards way of thinking/living. (Plants competing for sunlight + water, lions fighting for territory, birds fighting for mates and humans blowing themselves up over religion.)

 

In my opinion, it would be a lot better to befriend and become allies with other races so we can share/find resources and work together to provide for one another than to bicker about who gets the greenest grass to eat up and who dies first.

It reminds me of the video game, Spore, where your alien species can either become trade partners and friends with other races, or divided enemies with everyone. There's just no benefit in being violent to everybody- it'll just make the race look like a bunch of douchebags.

 

Peace and non-violence seems like the best policy for me! It's not just about "not having something to offer", but just getting on happily and not being warmongering.

The other thing is it is just more costly (ie not logical) to engage in conflict if there are alternatives like trade which is what underpins modern economic theory and the idea of capitalism making the world a safer place.  I believe an information species like an AI would likely pursue alternatives that are amicable if possible because it simply makes sense from a mathematical point of view.  It is like Tit-for-Tat in game theory.

 

https://en.wikipedia...#In_game_theory


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