The Ethics of First Contact

It’s a common trope in science fiction. We make first contact with an alien species. Either we’re more powerful than they are or they’re more powerful than we are. Either intentionally or unintentionally, the stronger of the two wreaks havoc on the weaker. The trope is taken from pretty much every human encounter with a […]

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Cognitive Astrobiology

So here’s a cool combination of fields: neuroscience and astrobiology. Let’s call it “cognitive astrobiology.” What is cognitive astrobiology? It can take several forms. The first is figuring out how to communicate with extraterrestrial life. The SETI Institute, devoted to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, has a resident psychologist on board, Douglas Vakoch, whose job […]

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