Right here’s a yet one more seemingly far fetched piece by yours really, speaking about things like selecting between the potential destruction of all humanity and evolving endlessly right into a god like race. Intrigued?
I’m clearly not the one one to assume in such dramatic and marginal phrases. Along with the hordes of nerds entertaining comparable ideas as a part of their science fiction leisure we’ve Steven Hawkins, that wheelchair scientist that everyone loves, final yr telling us but once more to get off this rock or die. Being motionless, caught to his wheelchair, and speaking solely via a pc voice it virtually appears as if he’s out of this world himself telling us from such a distant perspective what we’d not see from inside our typical every day lives right here on Earth.
What he stated is that area colonization is important to the long run survival of humanity, and I agree. As a math professor in an important video you’ll ever see eloquently defined and demonstrated the Earth has a restricted carrying capability, even when it comes to one thing as easy area to occupy.
Sure, if the variety of people continues to develop because it has been lately sooner or later we’ll actually not have the ability to match on the floor of the Earth. Skyscrapers or underground cities would solely postpone the issue considerably whereas nonetheless making life on Earth rather a lot much less nice.
Except for the difficulty of overpopulating this planet there’s additionally the difficulty of dangers we take by persevering with to wage wars, and develop ever extra highly effective applied sciences, not that the 2 have to exist aspect by aspect or feed one another (significantly). Some amongst us are so mentally unstable they will’t actually resist the thought of spending stolen cash on giant scale warfare powered by loopy conflict tech, and due to such people we proceed to danger cataclysms brought on by nothing however sheer stupidity of those that can’t management their rage or lust for energy (as a result of their mother and father have been imply to them).
Then there’s a considerably extra innocuous danger that comes from experimenting with loopy new tech that’s truly helpful for empowering everybody, not simply disempowering a favourite enemy of the day. Experimenting with nanotechnology? There’s this entire “gray goo” state of affairs to be careful for. Biotech? Be careful for uncontrolled virii that make swine flu or chook flu look like widespread chilly. Cognitive know-how and synthetic intelligence? Cautious to not create terminators which see people as fly-like nuisance to be squat.
In different phrases, area colonization represents a little bit of an insurance coverage coverage. In case we actually destroy ourselves right here on Earth it helps if there’s a couple of peeps hanging on the market in area, able to procreate. It means human race continues to be not over, though I’m conscious that that is little comfort to the lifeless individuals again on Earth, which is all of the extra cause to get on the case of area colonization, and getting off this rock!
What about stopping our progress?
Getting again to outgrowing our planet, nevertheless, Hawkins right here follows an assumption that humanity will or ought to develop indefinitely, and experiment with loopy new tech within the course of. That is, for higher or worse, not the idea everybody takes.
There are those that consider we should always cease rising, within the identify of sustainability, and settle at a degree that may be endlessly sustained by this planet. This implies stopping inhabitants progress, stopping financial progress, and stopping technological progress. It additionally means utilizing dying as a inhabitants regulator (sorry Immortality Institute).
This can be a relatively bushy difficulty as a result of there are each good and dangerous motivations fueling the thought of infinite progress.
On the great aspect we’ve human curiosity growing our understanding of the universe, creating new applied sciences, rising the usual of dwelling up the Maslow’s Pyramid, and consequently making individuals extra more likely to convey up youngsters into this courageous new world. I can hardly think about it attainable to tame this curiosity with out concurrently killing a elementary a part of what makes us human.
On the dangerous aspect we now have badly introduced up irrational people taking cost of different individuals via states and push for a not nicely thought out concept of financial progress for the sake of accelerating their tax inventory and by extension their energy. In different phrases, the large dick contest, the place progress isn’t a lot about curiosity driving technological improvement driving financial prosperity as a lot as it’s about whose energy block has extra energy, and who results in management.
In different phrases, it’s science, know-how and enterprise pitted towards the one issues that may corrupt them: politics, faith and warfare. Psychologically it’s a distinction between child-like marvel and curiosity and psychological sickness beget by dangerous parenting that instills in individuals the concept the world is evil and that the one method to be “glad” in it’s to regulate as a lot of it as attainable, top-down, with out mercy.
It’s clear which of the 2 motivations must be destroyed, however as soon as we accomplish this (if we do), and as soon as we’re left with solely good motivations for progress, what of the thought of infinite progress itself? Is it legitimate? Is it potential?
Right here we return to our pc voiced pal Steven Hawkins, who would in all probability want to interrupt me at this level, and remind me once more: “area colonization”. Sure certainly. We will all the time increase into area, however as a pal tends to say, we might then turn into like “galactic locusts” shifting from planet to planet sucking them dry till there’s nothing left. I do know, that’s like in that film, the Independence Day, besides on this case we might be the aliens and the poor chaps on the planet N down under try to battle off our invasion.
Technically, assuming the universe itself is finite and never increasing (which might be an enormous assumption), area colonization wouldn’t actually take away the restrict to our progress. It might simply place it someplace far out sooner or later, thus far that no sane individual can be pressed to fret about it for too lengthy. I are typically that sort of individual, however much more so I are typically the type of one that would assume it to be a serious disgrace for us to not even attempt increasing into area, and so narrow-mindedly considering that this little blue dot is all we’re by some foolish ethical normal “entitled” to have. No one however the legal guidelines of physics make the principles, and final I checked legal guidelines of physics didn’t endow a commandment that claims “people shalt not colonize different celestial objects”.
So I might dismiss the query of whether or not we should always proceed rising, nearly infinitely, in favor of the query of how we should always proceed rising. That is the place I consider the idea referred to as “sustainable progress”. The other, the unsustainable progress, is the sort of progress that burns via present assets and powers at our disposal quicker than we’re capable of uncover, conquer or develop new ones.
When it comes to actual world issues we face immediately this refers to burning via fossil fuels quicker than we will exchange them with photo voltaic, wind, wave, and different various power sources. It additionally means reaching the efficient carrying capability of the Earth earlier than we’re capable of virtually colonize different objects in area.
Fixing such irrational tendencies would result in sustainable progress. As a useful resource turns into extra scarce its worth ought to go up naturally as an alternative of being held down by subsidies, and options made more durable to develop by way of laws. And who’s imposing these subsidies and laws? Again as much as the place I talked about individuals with dangerous motivations.
There isn’t any justification for what they’re doing. You’ll be able to speak factors towards the free market until you’re blue in your face, it wouldn’t change the straightforward undeniable fact that if we actually had a free market we in all probability couldn’t afford to make use of oil anymore at present.
The sorts of pressures we face at this time to drop oil would’ve occurred many years in the past, and various options which are simply now reaching fruition may need existed way back. Free market is understood for administering one thing referred to as “corrections” when an unsustainable state of affairs begins to develop. The thick head of the state just isn’t solely blind to such un-sustainability – provided that it isn’t the neatest who achieve state energy, however the laziest and most energy lusty – however they’re the reason for such unsustainable conditions to start with.
Dropping the dangerous motivations talked about above, the corrupt influences on the dynamics of human evolution, is definitely the one strategy to obtain sustainable progress. Free market offers a superior paradigm of cooperation on fixing issues due to its decentralized nature, and the truth that it acknowledges quite than fights towards each the self-interested and social nature of human beings.
In conclusion, I feel Steven Hawkins is true. If we’re to proceed rising after a sure level, and enhance our probabilities of long run survival, we do have to broaden into area. To achieve success and well timed about that, nevertheless, we have to pursue the thought of sustainable progress, not loopy speeding-towards-the-wall-because-powers-that-be-say-so type of progress. And to try this we have to eliminate the corruption that’s evident in every little thing that subverts the pure functioning of a free market, from subsidies to laws, to the thought of valuing nations by their tax inventory.
What we definitely shouldn’t do, nevertheless, is repress our curiosity. We should always hold making an attempt to broaden our understanding of the universe. We should always maintain creating applied sciences, and attempt to clear up the urgent issues with them as a lot as attainable. We should always maintain striving in the direction of true financial prosperity, not simply a picture of it mirrored in some barely significant statistics. These are the issues we have to protect, not assault.
Mars floor picture by RidingWithRobots on Flickr, Some Rights Reserved.