Non Interference “Prime Directive”

The “Prime Directive” is a philosophical viewpoint that civilizations making first contact with more primitive cultures should avoid contaminating the primitives with their advanced technology, science and way of thinking. It was promoted by the science fiction television and movie series, Star Trek, and has been adopted as a common theme in science fiction.

A non interference directive has two primary motivations:

  • To prevent harm to other cultures
  • To allow cultures to find their own developmental path

There are ethical dilemmas that can be presented by the use of a non interference policy:

  • When a culture is experiencing a threat against its existence, failing to take action to save it may be unethical
  • Preventing one primitive culture from interfering with another would pose a non-interference paradox.
  • It is often difficult or even impossible to accurately predict the balance of the positive effects of action or inaction against the negative effects

The Prime Directive – A Real World Case – []

Trying to observe but not harm another civilization can be tricky business, as Michael Michaud explains in the article below. While Star Trek gave us a model for non-interference when new cultures are encountered, even its fictional world was rife with departures from its stated principles. We can see the problem in microcosm in ongoing events in Peru, where a tribal culture coming into contact with its modern counterparts raises deeply ambiguous questions about its intentions. Michaud, author of Contact with Alien Civilizations (Copernicus, 2007), draws on his lengthy career in the U.S. Foreign Service to frame the issue of disruptive cultural encounter.

A Quarantine of Intelligence
The Sequence of Contact
Old Intelligence is Already Here

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