ISDC  2013     International  Space  Development  Conference  2013   May  23-­‐27,  2013   Hyatt  Regency  La  Jolla

  San  Diego,  CA     ABSTRACT     TITLE:  

 

What  Can  Maori  Culture  Teach  to  a  Future  Starfaring  Civilization?  

The  careful  design  of  appropriate  memetic  components  can  maximize  the  fitness  of   cultural  units  in  long  term  isolation.     Keywords:   Maori,  Culture,  Long  Term  Planning,  Identity,  Heritage,  Robustness,  Tolerance     Author:   David  Orban   CEO,  Dotsub   Advisor  &  Faculty,  Singularity  University     david@davidorban.com   917-­‐657-­‐1928     http://www.davidorban.com   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Orban     Abstract:     The  challenges  of  designing  interstellar  travel  and  colonization  are  manyfold.  To  the   unknown  unknowns  of  the  engineering  problems  that  we  are  going  to  face,  certainly   we  have  to  add  those  represented  by  the  conditions  of  long-­‐term  isolation  under   which  space  travelers  will  find  themselves.     Thousands  of  years  ago  during  the  period  of  the  human  colonization  of  the  Pacific   islands,  another  civilization  found  itself  under  similar  evolutionary  pressures,  which   shaved  its  culture.     The  islands  would  call  New  Zealand  were  some  of  the  last  to  be  colonized  by  the  

Maori  people,  who  then  inhabited  them  for  hundreds  of  years  before  the  arrival  of   western  explorers.     The  Maori  faced  immense  challenges  during  the  original  colonization  process,   planning,  executing,  and  succeeding  in  projects  that  were  analogous  in  their   proportional  effort  and  scope  to  the  ones  that  our  future  technological  civilization   will  face  in  planning  interstellar  travel.     Their  culture,  mythology,  resilience,  and  the  complex  adaptations  needed  to   preserve  their  cultural  identity,  form  useful  lessons  that  can  be  applied  to  the  design   of  missions  for  the  long-­‐term  human  exploration  of  space.     With  input  and  interviews  with  a  native  Maori  expert,  this  talk  will  analyze  these   lessons,  and  indicate  design  principles  of  memetic  components,  that  maximize  the   preservation  of  cultural  units  under  extreme  conditions  of  variability.   As  the  long-­‐term  evolution  of  humanity  will  impact  rapidly  our  body  shapes,  senses   and  sensory  experiences,  goal  sets  and  goal  seeking  algorithms,  what  are  the   invariants  going  to  be?  What  is  our  duty  today  to  create  components  in  our   planetary  culture,  which  will  preserve  our  humanity  as  humanity  radically  changes?     Our  empathic  capacity  to  identify  with  our  descendants,  however  far  removed  from   us  in  time,  will  in  turn  shape  if  not  even  define  their  level  of  tolerance  for  cultural   variations  that  might  occur  in  their  radius  of  influence.