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Often in science fiction, we see aliens enslaving humans for one reason or another. This is a trope I'm attempting to repurpose, but before I go any farther, I'd like to ask: what possible motive or means could aliens actually have for enslaving humans, particularly enslaving humans and taking them to labor on other planets?

I've been using historical examples of New World slavery as a model, but I'm curious as to whether or not this is realistic. Surely the contact between Europeans and the North and South American peoples would have felt "alien," as would have the great differences in technology, but I'm wondering if, given the vastness of space, it would actually be economic or even conceivable in the first place for aliens to do to humans what the European explorers and conquistadors did to Americans.

It's important to me that I find a way to realistically portray such a scenario or to not portray it at all if, in fact, it's not realistic, even though it's been done many times before.

I know it's a broad question, so I'll summarize: would there actually be any economic incentive and technological means for aliens to enslave humans, or would the vastness of space and drastic differences between our species dissuade them from it?

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    $\begingroup$ What is the incentive for the aliens to get to Earth, in the first place? $\endgroup$ – jose_castro_arnaud Apr 11 '17 at 23:37
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    $\begingroup$ @jose_castro_arnaud, I'm open to suggestions, but I've been operating under the assumptions that the aliens, like us humans exploring the New World, are exploring for exploration's sake, and that they continue to do so when they find anything profitable or interesting. $\endgroup$ – C. S. Wright Apr 12 '17 at 2:51
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    $\begingroup$ Differences between the species would make it more likely rather than less or so I'd imagine. Judging by our own experiences- the more different something is- the less human you have to treat it. $\endgroup$ – Friendlysociopath Apr 12 '17 at 4:12
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    $\begingroup$ Strictly slavery? Or is it just that humans are tasty? $\endgroup$ – Roger Lipscombe Apr 12 '17 at 10:39
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    $\begingroup$ A1: "How are rations?" A2: "Low. Fuel too. We must restock, and soon." time passes A1: "This planet will do. Take what we need." A2: "This may take a while." A1: "Use the natives. Their numbers and knowledge of this world will expedite the process. Bring the strongest among them with the cargo - we will need them if we are to maintain it all properly. Now go. We cannot afford to further delay our mission." --Et. al. We are a means to an end. $\endgroup$ – OhBeWise Apr 12 '17 at 14:26

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THERE'S NO REASON FOR ALIENS TO ENSLAVE HUMANS

With evolution of civilizations the "material" values would go down, while "informational" up (e.g. Kurzweil R. "The Singularity is Near"). For instance, move from paper books to electronic is a good example in case.

The greatest value for, presumably, highly intelligent aliens (since they could travel with close to speed of light velocity) would be "to preserve human biodiversity". They may not even show up to humans for the same reason. "enslave humans" or "play football together" sounds like XX century TV series, movies and popular books themes.

Another useful reading for the subject is (The New Yorker, 3 APR 2017, "Silicon Valley's quest to live forever. Can billions of dollars’ worth of high-tech research succeed in making death optional?" By Tad Friend). It gives some ideas of what advanced civilization values are going to dominate in the future.

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Enslavement makes a lot more sense when it is a means to a profitable end rather than the profit in itself. The most obvious reason to come to Earth is to harvest our natural resources. Perhaps with technological and combat superiority, subduing us is easy and does not require a large-scale military operation. But gathering those resources and shipping them off-world is another matter. Even if it weren't, their highly paid military personnel are above such menial labor.

It's a good thing there are billions of easily controlled humans to put to work extracting the resources, refining them locally, and constructing launch pads, transport shuttles, and cargo starships at scale. Heck, they can even be tasked with expanding the fleet of robots that will maintain control over such a large-scale industrial operation.

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