When I first mentioned doing this series to a certain nerdy red head I know they asked how I’d do it. Partly for my amusement I mostly demurred, for the sake of this series, I decided I’d go part way towards answering. The partway is only because I don’t know the conditions both economic and political that would compel me to create a colony and shuffle off the generative mudball. Another part is the fundamental understanding that whatever plans someone has when thy draw them up, when they build the ship, or when it’s filled and launched are essentially used toilet paper once the hatch is closed and the ship starts moving.
I’m assuming a fairly small colony size of 5000 to 7000 people and the ability to take and backup effectively unlimited data for education and entertainment of the colonists and their descendants. And while most of the colony would be selected for traits they had, there would be some number 3-7% selected for things no one else had or did, maybe in spite of a couple detrimental traits. A rubric that considered health, mental composition, skills, and such would need to be made sorting people into three groups: A: Go B: Maybe C: Nope, nope, nope. The basic high and low points are here, but I have the sneaking suspicion the final list would be longer.
So things that would rule people out of my theoretical colony:
- History of cancer
- Over age 45*
- Unwillingness to have children
- Rape or child molestation conviction
- Severely limited diet
- Evangelical type personality (theocratic, political, social, or even just about a particular type of entertainment)
- Lack of curiosity
- Non-production/low reality profession: actors, politicians, religious leader, and the like who were largely insulated from the world and lack useful skills.
- Other major diseases and disorders that will severely limit lifespan or ability to learn and share knowledge
- Being a sheeple
Things that wouldn’t be a major factor in decisions but would want to be kept to minor levels of the population and would probably pull someone into the maybe category:
- Schizophrenia- This appears in roughly the same percentage of the population worldwide across racial, religious, gender, and social lines. Leaving and having 10-15% of the colony be diagnosed is probably not the best idea, but even at 4% which is double the norm, it might not matter if they are all generally functional and have useful skills.
- Asthma and other largely environmental ailments.
- Paralysis; Got skills? Can you still talk and teach or program or mix chemicals for medication?
- Non hereditary vision issues.
What gets high points for the go list:
- Being a problem solver
- Multi disciplinary knowledge: Are you a molecular biologist who is also a great saxophonist? Do you know particle physics and classic American literature? Do you have a degree in absolutely nothing but can wire a building, fix a leaky pipe, and take a wood working project from selecting lumber to finished project? Do are you a third degree blackbelt, accountant, and accomplished beef rancher? All of you will find room on board.
- Are you mentally resilient?
- Are you the type that doesn’t need anyone to tell you there’s a problem that needs fixing? This might seem different from the top one, but having the ability and proactively using the ability are two very, very different things.
- Is “Not my circus, not my monkeys” or a near equivalent part of your personal ten commandments?
- Can you work well with people you dislike or even detest?
- Are you personally responsible?
- Have you successfully taught and practiced in the same field?
As far as thing went for choosing people within a given field, for things like medicine I’d lean heavily towards people with a focus on immunology, parasites, and contaminants as a new planet and all the bugs in or on the people, plants, and animals on board are likely to encounter or create those things most heavily. For metal workers, it’d be people who worked mostly with alloys and things of that nature. For general biology types, people who had a focus on the edge of classifying species, defining their habitats, and life needs.
The people heavy in the “go” list would make up 85% plus of the colony, but there’d be spots allocated for their spouses, or child or kooky coworker who could translate the various forms of near gibberish that is the dialect of any given field into standard English. There’d also be about 1% selected as what hockey coaches call “glue guys” and sociologists would say were people who were gifted at applying social lubricant. Random people who weren’t excluded, and very rare specialists would make up the rest of the 15% that weren’t on the automatic go group.