Friday, October 14, 2016

Training Protocols in Alien Civilizations

Training protocols are the procedures used for training young aliens, excluding those which might be termed educational protocols, which are used for training somewhat older aliens, those capable of reasoning or at least absorbing organized learning. They would necessarily be differently conducted in different phases of the civilization. In the era between the hunting and agricultural grand transitions, it would be largely non-existent, or completely informal. After the agricultural grand transition, training by example supplemented by explanation would be all that could be effected. But after the industrial grand transition, when automation, artificial intelligence and robotics were embedded in the civilization, training could be organized, even for the youngest ages.

Training lays down in the young alien brain the associations that determine many of their unconscious preferences, interests, behaviors, and other aspects of alien life which are not fixed by the nature and infrastructure of the civilization. That is why it is so important to see what can be deduced about training. It is not only their preference for interstellar travel that is laid down, it is preferences for almost everything in the society. There must be a good match between how society is conducted and what the youth are trained to like. Otherwise the successive generations of the civilization will change and modify either one or the other or both.

Again there is a overabundance of options and choices. There is nothing yet found that forces the society to pick one aspect and favor it, but they could if they chose to. Consider music, assuming the aliens have auditory sensors capable of processing it. They could train their youth in it, ensuring that many of them would want to hear it, support musicians of whatever sort they used, and continue cataloging it or forming libraries of it, or whatever other actions the society might take in support of a continuing interest in music. They could do the opposite, and completely ignore it in their training of their youth, meaning that few if any would be interested in it when they became adults. What would they do? There is nothing to provide any guide in this area except to state they would likely maintain their heritage in this and other matters, as there is nothing to propel them away from it. We can call this the collection of memes in the alien civilization, if the training could be broken up into discrete chunks of subjects.

There are also some basic principles in addition to their heritage that would influence their selection of training protocols. Perhaps the most mandatory of these is the need for economical use of resources, including energy, and the recycling of many different materials to a high percentage. Without these two guidelines, their society would end soon, and perhaps if the planet were not as abundant as some others, their society would run out of the scarcest resources even during the genetic grand transition. These principles do not affect many of the subject areas where the alien civilization could make options, but it could affect some. Activities which were prolific users of resource would be banned, unless there was some overriding societal goal that demanded it. Star travel is perhaps the most obvious of these.

Otherwise, the principles would affect the manner in which activities were performed, so that there was efficiency in use and conservation of everything. Individual activities which consumed great amount of the civilization’s remaining resources would likely be scorned, and training protocols would match this. No individual aliens would likely be free from this type of training, so there would be virtually no one who would contemplate such an activity. Resource preservation would be one of the strongest memes and dominant in training protocols, to the level needed to ensure it was absorbed and incorporated into the thinking of all the successive generations of aliens.

The neurological science needed to perfect these training protocols would not likely exist, in entirety, before the genetic grand transition was well underway. The goals of the training might be established during the industrial grand transition and following it, but the methods for making it efficient and most effective would not be available then, and there would still be some variation across the civilization. However, once neurology was completely understood, devising a suite of training protocols to embody all the training that the alien civilization had decided their young members should receive would be a simple follow-on. There would be a core of training that was mandatory, and then variations that could be utilized to make sure the society was quite interesting and amusing to its citizens.

The choice of memes is analogous to the choice of genes that is possible after the genetic grand transition. There are certain genetic choices that would seem inevitable in any alien civilization at this era in their history. The ones obvious to us are those related to health, athletics, intelligence, appearance, longevity, altruism, and sensory capabilities. Each of these could be subdivided into components, and further subdivided until a genetic oe memetic scheme could be arrived at which would provide them. Then variations in other aspects could be introduced to keep the population from looking and acting like clones of one individual. There is again no hard and fast principles that we have been able to envision which would explain to us what further restrictions they would place on their choices, so, perhaps the basic principles of the society and their heritage would again be two of the stronger influences on their choices.

One aspect of neurology that we do not understand at this point in Earth’s scientific history is the forced trade-offs between different training areas. There might also be similar trade-offs in genetic endowment. Intelligence is a straightforward example. Of the different skills that are bundled together in the package referred to as intelligence, there are some quite different ones, such as pattern recognition and logical ability. Could it be that achieving the ultimate in training an alien to be excellent at pattern recognition would inhibit his ability to achieve the ultimate in logical abilities? Perhaps they both require a substantial commitment of neurons in some lobe of the brain, and using up those neurons for one diminishes those left for the other. So, it would be possible to think up some trade-off choice, say involving a middle point, with a score of 50 for pattern recognition and 50 for logical ability, but if a score of 70 was desired for pattern recognition, only 40 could be achieved in logical ability. If there are such trade-offs, in training or in genetics, then the alien society would have to make choices as to what distributions of extreme talents they want in their population. This might or might not have an effect on their propensity for space travel, if there is some connections with certain capabilities and the resultant interest in exploring or conquering new worlds or simply adventure and thrill. Figuring this out without much knowledge of neurology or genetics is going to be quite difficult.

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