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What analysis has been done of space colonization as a cause area?

by reallyeli1 min read9th Oct 20198 comments



From "Reducing the Risk of Human Extinction", by Jason Matheny. (http://wilsonweb.physics.harvard.edu/pmpmta/Mahoney_extinction.pdf)

Colonizing space sooner, rather than later, could reduce extinction risk (Gott, 1999; Hartmann, 1984; Leslie, 1999), as a species’ survivability is closely related to the extent of its range (Hecht, 2006). Citing, in particular, the threat of new biological weapons, Stephen Hawking has said, "I don’t think the human race will survive the next thousand years,unless we spread into space. There are too many accidents that can befall life on a single planet" (Highfield, 2001). Similarly, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin (2006), recently remarked: "The history of life on Earth is the history of extinction events, and human expansion into the Solar System is, in the end, fundamentally about the survival of the species."

Can anyone point me to existing thought on space colonization from an EA perspective?

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Some have argued that space colonization would increase existential risks. Here is political scientist Daniel Deudney, whose book Dark Skies is supposed to be published by OUP this fall:

Once large scale expansion into space gets started, it will be very difficult to stop. My overall point is that we should stop viewing these ambitious space expansionist schemes as desirable, even if they are not yet feasible. Instead we should see them as deeply undesirable, and be glad that they are not yet feasible.[…] Space expansion may indeed be inevitable, but we should view this prospect as among the darkest technological dystopias. Space expansion should be put on the list of catastrophic and existential threats to humanity, and not seen as a way [to] solve or escape from them.

Quoted from: http://wgresearch.org/an-interview-with-daniel-h-deudney/

See also:




Regardless of one's values, it seems worth exploring the likely outcomes of space expansion in depth before pursuing it.

"Will Space Colonization Multiply Wild-Animal Suffering?" by Brian Tomasik https://reducing-suffering.org/will-space-colonization-multiply-wild-animal-suffering/

(I have a feeling that Tomasik and others at the Foundational Research Institute might have written elsewhere about how space colonisation might affect S-risk)

I shared some prelimenary thoughts to influencing the governence of yearly off-earth civilizations. I remember a brief search of existing literature focused on the governance perspective, but did not find anything. This review by Nick Beckstead tries to clarify whether we will ever colonize space.