Being Technological

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Abstract

SETI’s essential premises involve evolution in multiple domains: cosmology, biology, culture, and technology. Comparatively little has been written about the last of these, technology, in relation to SETI’s targets, but it is a crucial variable, and well worth deep examination. In particular, it would seem prudent to consider carefully our assumptions about hypothetical extraterrestrial societies which have developed technology that SETI could detect, or which could detect, at interstellar distances, the existence of intelligent life on Earth. This chapter contributes to that effort by reflecting upon our habits of projecting terracentric assumptions onto hypothetical worlds, exploring dominant narratives about technological development, and presenting varied philosophical theories about the nature of technology. It highlights the cultural aspects of technology here on Earth, particularly their role in the development of radio technology.