Can Deep Altruism Sustain Space Settlement?
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Space settlement represents a long-term human effort that requires unprecedented coordination across successive generations. In this chapter, I develop a comparative hierarchy for the value of long-term projects based upon their benefits to culture, their development of infrastructure, and their contributions to lasting information. I next draw upon the concept of the time capsule as an analogy, which enables a comparison of historical examples of projects across generational, intergenerational, and deep time. The concept of deep altruism can then be defined as the selfless pursuit of informational value for the well-being of others in the distant future. The first steps toward supporting an effort like space settlement through deep altruism would establish governance and funding models that begin to support ambitions with intergenerational succession.
I thank Lauren Seyler, Sanjoy Som, and Martin Elvis for helpful suggestions. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
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