Reasons why an advanced alien species might uplift the human species

2017-04-21 12:02:25

What are the practical reasons advanced for sapient aliens to want to uplift our species to a higher level of intelligence or sapience?

This question is a reaction to this one. Reasons an advanced alien race might want to share technology with humanity?

Because that question dealt with technology transfer rather uplifting in its original sense, and as coined by David Brin, of raising the intelligence level of a species to a higher one.

Think of raising the sapience of a sheep dog to that of a human being. The advanced aliens are offering to uplift humans by a similar amount. Why would they do it?

Because accepting the uplift also carries the obligation to offer to uplift others under the same terms. It’s a viral licence.

The whole thing is a plan to get evolved intelligences, which are generally warlike, irrational in large groups, and spamming the galactic communications, to “grow up” and make the galaxy safe for all.

Uplift isn’t just smarter as in able to

  • Because accepting the uplift also carries the obligation to offer to uplift others under the same terms. It’s a viral licence.

    The whole thing is a plan to get evolved intelligences, which are generally warlike, irrational in large groups, and spamming the galactic communications, to “grow up” and make the galaxy safe for all.

    Uplift isn’t just smarter as in able to solve more problems, but rational and better able to play nice with others.

    2017-04-21 12:02:50
  • Reasons for the uplift:

    Communication is difficult. We are simply too stupid for them to communicate with us fully, and some factions don't believe it is fair to take from our planet without an uplift. Likely they will have a "Jane Goodall" type figure who insists that we are intelligent enough to communicate with and insists that we be uplifted so that deals can be made or that resources shouldn't be taken at all.

    They think of us as pets They have limited communication with us and think it would just be the best if we could talk as they do. Sort of a "if dogs could talk situation." Because communication is always measured by the species looking at it.

    Pure Science They'll want to do it because they can, because they want to see the results and/or because they've done everything else, and the development of a species is exciting.

    The way we think is unique Our method of thinking can advance them, if only we were a little more advanced ourselves. Whether they need it to fight an e

    2017-04-21 12:10:40
  • Similar to Rory's answer, I asked myself "Would I uplift my dog?" - Yes "Would I uplift ants?" - Yes. But why?

    And the answer really is because I could, and just to see what would happen. What would making ants smarter do to their society? We are a species who are very interested in exploring the unknown and learning new things about other species, because it tells us a little more about ourselves. I would suggest that the alien species have this same impulse.

    2017-04-21 12:17:01
  • This looks somewhat related to the anthill theory. But where the alien race would like to lift the "ants" or humans to a level where they could communicate with us.

    Why would they do that? Beside being the good guys and being ok with it as Z.Schroeder suggested in his question, they might actually need us.

    If the race would be something like eg. predators that uses artifact weapons they looted from other races, but are unable to produce their own. They might need our creative thinking, pattern recognition and ingenuity to help them produce new weapons for their hunts.

    A friend of mine told me that the mage in an RPG would buy the largest armor and sharpest steel, and give it to the warrior, because he would need his allegiance and strength to protect the meek body of the spell caster, while he is casting spells. If the aliens are fighting someone else, they might need meat shields capable and stupid enough to fight for almost any reason (humans).

    Just two of a large amount of pos

    2017-04-21 12:23:44
  • It happened by accident

    My initial thought was build ship that is indestructible by a dog, so I did it by building the ship with grey goo. By coincidence this made the ship indestructible to meteors - but it's pure coincidence.

    Afterwards it was so good, I decided to entertain my dogs, as I have an opportunity to play with goo, which makes the dogs' existence entertaining on the ship. It also was entertaining to devise new entertainments for them, by playing with grey goo.

    Now 10k years later, the descendants of the alpha dog demands I not slurp when I eat.

    Probably I should skipped that space dog scout game, find the alien game, dog hive mind game, find a bone in a planet game - hm do not recall them all but they were fun times.

    2017-04-21 12:30:56
  • As you're well aware minister, the galaxy is 99% filled with spectacularly peaceful civilizations, who long ago in their evolutionary development realised that co-operation was the best way of achieving success not just for the individual, but also the collective. This lead not to just highly co-operative groups of single species, but planets with highly symbiotic lifeforms, with everything from the largest organism down to the smallest bacteria working together for the common good of all life on the planet.

    These civilizations never fought an aggressive war in their entire histories, from stepping out the primordial ooze to reaching the stars and beyond. They only wars they've ever fought were defensive ones against the other 0.999% of the galaxy who were primarily made up of poor, desperate and struggling species battling to survive on border worlds at the edge of their respective solar systems Goldilocks zone. Once it was discovered that these wars were mostly about getting just

    2017-04-21 12:37:47
  • Because They Have Reached a Plateau

    Imagine for a moment that you are part of an ancient and extraordinarily long-lived super intelligent race. You mastered all realms of physics/mathematics/chemistry/biology (etc) to the best of your knowledge over a thousand years ago. For centuries now you have existed with deep curiosity (the trait that allowed you to reach this point), but very little is left to interest you.

    At some point in your intergalactic travels you come across the human species. They are more advanced than the non-sentient creatures you have found recently, and you can see that they too are curious and always working towards their own self-interest. There are also billions of them.

    An idea sparks! Your species has not been able to think of any new challenges or unravel any new secrets, and frankly your existence has become soul-sucking and empty. You will therefore uplift human intelligence, providing twofold benefits:

    1. Perhaps they will think of something yo

    2017-04-21 12:43:45
  • Uplift is an economic harvesting technique. Our planet has many wonderful things which the aliens want. Our history, our culture, our art and our literature are all worth a fortune on the galactic market.

    But it is illegal to transact trade with immature species. Much like our own laws which make contracts signed by children invalid, the galaxy sees trade with un-upgraded species as potentially exploitive, therefore illegal.

    They uplift us so that they can invite us into their economy.

    2017-04-21 12:51:04
  • Many humans would, if it were at all possible, uplift their cats and dogs. Because they love them and care for them, and would like to be able to communicate more fully - to have them as more of a companion.

    I know I'd like my cat to be much smarter - so she could understand me when I ask her not to bring me more "presents"...

    So would aliens want to uplift us because they care for us, or are annoyed by us being stupid enough to make a mess of our world? Maybe.

    2017-04-21 12:53:57
  • Spirituality. They believe in a natural progression of all sapient beings towards an ultimate level. Humans are on a lower-to-middle level right now - quite intelligent, but obviously with much room for improvement (just look at all the wars, crime, greed,...). Part of the uplifting would be an immanent wisdom to end wars and poverty, and a deep understanding of the natural progression of sapient beings. Freed from these burdens and equipped with far more powerful minds, earth would join the other advanced species on their journey to the ultimate level, uplifting others species as well when they are found.

    2017-04-21 13:03:00
  • Childhood's End by Arthur C Clark posits and interesting notion: that uplifting is how they reproduce. By elevating humanity to their non-corporeal state, they add our potential to their own.

    There is another series where uplifting is basically what races do to get prestige and power in the galactic community. No species would let any one other species get too powerful, so a compromise is to uplift a species that serves you until they grow up enough to negotiate or fight their way free of you. For the life of me I can't remember what the series is called, but in it humans had uplifted apes and dolphins. The book I read was about a crew of humans, dolphins, and one ape that crashed on an ocean world.

    2017-04-21 13:06:19
  • Same reason you build schools in third world countries.


    For just pennies a day you can help earthlings free themselves from the ravages of poverty, war, and daytime talk shows.

    Or maybe they just want us to live long enough to see how Game of Thrones ends.

    2017-04-21 13:10:10
  • In A Deepness in the Sky, the alien culture--in its current state--wasn't useful to the humans in orbit around their world.

    2017-04-21 13:14:31
  • Because however advanced they are, they still feel like the universe is a humongous, empty and cold sad place, and it's a low cost for them to uplift us and get the help of 8 billion new wet computers in their existential quest to make the universe less senseless

    2017-04-21 13:20:21
  • Imagine you had traversed the know universe, then the unknown universe, then made a pit stop in the "kind of known but not that well" universe when your super advanced star ship, full of massively intellectual comrades, stumbles upon a signal coming from the third mud ball adjacent to a tiny star. You decide to investigate, it takes a few days to decipher the language and over the course of the next few weeks you begin to realise that there are people who actually want Donald Trump to be president, after several discussions and debates you have decided that blowing the planet out of existence for this lack of intellect isn't quite the legacy you want to leave behind, the only option left would be to make the people more intelligent so they have a chance at realising how stupid they were to let themselves get so close to extinction.

    of course there is always that one person on a star ship of this kind that believes Donald Trump should also be uplifted, naturally leading to the constr

    2017-04-21 13:29:11
  • Religion

    Why every one thinks advance aliens as non-believer species? They could have a religious duty to share the wisdom and technology with other races. In the end, they will ask us to believe in what they believe and with their gifts, we might just say yes.

    Bring light to those who have none.

    Bring wisdom to the fool for you have some.

    Bestow them the intellect that is given to you,

    So that they would understand the Collective Sun.

    2017-04-21 13:35:01
  • Have you tried recruiting decent engineers lately? In order to maintain the technology of a galactic empire, you need lots of engineers. Uplift a species sufficiently and you won't run out of new talent.

    2017-04-21 13:42:17
  • Don't ever give kalashnikovs to monkeys. It would be very funny, I know, but what if they chase you down to hell?

    Every civilization should have evolved from basic forms of lifes and competition is the essential way to push evolution forward. Those aliens should be smart enough to not raise our technological level up to where we could pose a threat.

    Someone above has mentioned a "proxy war strategy". I like that idea.

    2017-04-21 13:45:46