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Benjamin C. Kinney @BenCKinney
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Last talk of this block: "Neo-Liberal Space Ethics" with Linda Billings. AKA "Yet Another Thing to Fret About: The Neoliberal Ideology of Space Exploration" #SoCIA18
Speaker is a science communication professional, blogs at
Talking here about exploration (scientific) or exploitation (human). NASA has thus far been driven by search for extraterrestial life, NOT colonizing other planets. Is there any reason to change that priority? (Spoiler: she says no.)
Also, I will reiterate that I'm not a big fan of the word "colonization" for this stuff, but especially while rapidly-livetweeting, I will use the speaker's vocabulary.
Landing humans on mars could (will) pollute future exploration of the Mars microbiome, as we spread our own huge microenvironment there.
Elon Musk's "hedge against WW3" is a terrible idea insofar as it sends an Elite to a safe space (surely not representative of Earth's diversity) while the poor are left to die on Earth.
Now, a definition of neoliberalism... which is a wall of text too quick for me to absorb, sorry. Followed by libertarianism, essentially an extreme neoliberalism, all about individualism, markets, limited government, virtue of production, etc.
More related ideologies: Manifest Destiny (roots in Christian Puritan dogma ~17cen), our right to hold dominion over Earth. Also, American Exceptionalism: apparently summarized by "liberty, egalitarianism, individualism, populism, and laissez-faire"?
How are political-economic forces (e.g. liberalism) affecting technology and its progress/direction?
Obama administration as the biggest one to embrace neoliberal vision of space exploration/exploitation. (But before his time, people like Musk/Bezos didn't exist so much.)
Some pro-colonization groups have some pretty weird/creepy mission statemens. Space Frontier Foundation is perhaps weirdest. Lots of opinions about the Mars Society.
There's a NewSpace movement, whose details I missed. (Sergey Brin?) I think it's about general space entrepeneurship.
Being a billionaire: breakthrough solutions? (Who decides what problems need solving?) Disruptive innovation? (Permissionless innovation)
In Obama years, NASA stepped up space agreements that paid $$ to private corporations to go to space. (Though there's a missing side of the story about offloading insurance risk - there are legal reasons why it's less expensive for corps to go to space.)
(Basically, NASA can't insure its stuff, but private companies can.)
Presidential speeches about space exploration have included stuff about bringing space into Earth's economic sphere.
"Alien" movies are in (small) part a parable about privatization of space, Weyland Corporation trying to extract value without any concern for human or indigenous life.
Ultimately, this talk is seeing private space partnerships as the US government supporting & promoting billionaire dreams of planetary colonization.
Her closing slide is this cartoon:…
Now, a 20 minute break, followed either by one more block of 20min talks, or maybe the panel discussion on space settlement. Iiiiiiif I can get a seat with a power supply.
Er, 10 min. Gotta run!
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