Should superpowers announce?
like, say I've invented a magic trick that I don't know how it's done. What is my moral obligation to report novel phenomena? If a divine singularity spontaneously opens up in my living room, or in my kidney, and somehow I harness it and taught myself to fly -- do I have to tell people, or do we think it would be too scary? It seems really obscene and disruptive to announce something so premise-shattering. Shouldn't I labor in secrecy? Do I have to expose my abilities to some sort of mandate before I can start?
I think it depends on your ethical framework. From a strict utilitarian perspective, immediately proving your ability in front of a group of scientists relevant to the field that your superpower overturns would most quickly start the dissemination of new knowledge and thus benefit to humanity (with only a small potential side effect of personal loss of life/liberty depending on the state of your kidneys.)
But practically, most ways you could benefit the 8 Billion people on Earth would be by increasing the knowledge that's broadly available. You could personally save the life of a person every second, (31,556,926 per year) and you would still only save a little bit more than half of the people who die every year (58,390,000.) It's through the collective motion of humanity that things happen, and personally flying would change the status quo less than helping to understand why you can fly.
I'll start with the basic premise: anything that helps humanity as a whole should be exposed.
That is, any thing that has the potential to notably improve quality of life for the majority of people, you (the wielder of said thing) have at least some moral impulse to relate it to people. Humans being a pro-social species, I assume this moral impulse applies by default to most people.
Not "must", not "ought to", not "have to". I'm not a fan of imposed imperatives, because I believe people have the capacity to and should, therefore, have the power to decide for themselves. (Then again, I'm biased by having a strong moral core.)
Beyond that, one must consider responsibility.
I don't strictly believe that all consequences of an action is within one's responsibility. That is, you can't possibly predict that the air you blew in your son's face will, 15 years from now, cause the last strong tissues of a tree to break, resulting in the tree falling on a forest worker. There are limits to foresight of any single person: that's the reason we sometimes gather together to think of what may or may not come. There are, indeed, limits to foresight of the whole species: we can only reliably predict what we can meaningfully communicate above the noise across the largest possible informational surface, which is barely anything at all.
Basically, if you can reliably go beyond first-order consequences of your actions, you should, but you can't be blamed for not having the capacity to do so. So, go as far as you can in predicting the outcomes of your actions, and base your decision on the results.
These results are likely to change your decision. Governments that value power over the well-being of their citizens would likely abuse this new power when given access; so, don't release it in such a way where such governments can easily access it. Individuals likely to use this new power to only further their own gains would equally likely abuse is; so, make sure there are boundries between such individuals and the source of the power. And so on, and so forth.
I reckon that if your conclusion here is "no one can be trusted, I must keep it hidden", then you've done a poor job assessing the situation. For one, "no one" means you too, so you should recluse yourself from handling it. (And if you don't, see the "individuals" example above.)
This is about as far as I'm eager to go here: establish simple heuristics for someone to base their decisions on. Yes, this one has its roots in morality, which is a murky subject at best when it comes to power. But then, we aren't deciding the fate of the world here. :P
Limited discussion welcome, however.
Well, the reasoning here is usually that yourself is the only person you can truly know. The best person to assess whether they could handle unlimited power is that person themselves, no one else truly knows what your impulses or drives are.
If I found a way to create nuclear weapons level explosions with a mere thought, and I was reasonably sure that no one else would be able to discover that ability, I don't think I'd trust anyone else with that knowledge. Not the federal government, not a foreign government, not the police, or scientists, or even my friends and family. I'd keep it purely to myself unless a situation where it was absolutely vital to reveal it came up, judged solely by me (Alien invasion or something).
I know myself pretty well, and I know I'd never use that knowledge to do a terrorist attack, or to preempt another country or person for becoming too powerful, or as petty revenge. I know my friends and family pretty well, but I don't know them THAT well, and I'd rather just not risk it.
Obviously, there are things that that ability would be useful for (space travel maybe, or deflecting asteroids, or mining), but the risks outweigh the benefits for me.
For something like flight, or curing disease, or matter manipulation, it would be a little bit less clear. The issue is that once the cat is out of the bag, it can't be put back into it, and there are a TON of knock on effects that no one person could ever predict. Assessing the situation is literally impossible, because widespread changes to the social order are inherently unpredictable. Letting that kind of knowledge out is basically a giant dice roll against the well being of all of humanity.
Yes, I fear that any panel set to me would be immediately and catastrophically distrusted. I would start by reaching out to a close friend, but I can't certify that he will handle the revelation without pulling out his hair and becoming very confused. I could get him to swear not to tell, if I told him it is still a secret, but I'm more concerned that it would turn his brain inside out to deal with the implication of what I think I'm showing him. I am wrecked, psychologically, by the situation. Why should I risk that he be, too?
But even keeping it to myself has many issues. I really am not equipped to suss out what are appropriate interventions, and what might be terrible horrors. I have the basic morality I grew up with, but that is not broad enough to account for anything beyond very limited and personal contexts. How do I even begin to conceive of the wider picture??
You do your best, and accept that not everything is going to be perfect.
But also, nothing can be kept secret for very long. If you swore off the power entirely and never ever used it, maybe. But (assuming flight) you'd be caught on radar, or filmed by airplane enthusiasts, or something. Your only practical choice is how you reveal, not whether.
Who is? There's no one qualified to determine when it's ok to unleash otherworldly powers on humanity, because its not been done before. Anyone else's opinion will just be informed by their own personal sense of morality and priorities anyway.
The original argument was: if you think humanity cannot be trusted to hold the knowledge of this power, so by extension can't you. Anything else would simply prove this same point: fueled self-interest is only likely to cause harm.
It's less about what you as a person are capable of, and more about whether you have enough trust in humanity in general and in any specific group of people in particular. If you have no trust in anyone else, there's hardly any reason to trust yourself with it still, since you too are human and are susceptible to breaks of morality and virtue.
Doesn't really track, for two reasons.
The only person you really know is yourself. You can choose to trust someone else, but it's always a leap of faith, because you never truly know someone else. You are capable of knowing yourself though and trusting yourself isn't a leap of faith if you know yourself.
You already have the knowledge. The question isn't whether or not you'd accept the knowledge, its whether or not you'd share it. Even if you don't trust humanity, including yourself, choosing not to share it could still be a consistent choice, because you already have the knowledge. You can't choose to not know it anymore. The only thing you can do is choose whether to share it with even more people you don't trust.
It's really hard to answer that because it depends on what you discovered. Some things are consequential while others are not. I'm not well versed in physics or science as a whole, but if a black hole showed up in your room and it posed an existential threat to humanity, than yes, of course, you have a moral duty to inform the scientific community. But if your dog gave birth to a litter of purple puppies, maybe it wouldn't be so bad if you kept it to yourself.