Author: Ben Sixsmith
The views of the Authors are not necessarily the views of Enigmose
With the development of the nuclear bomb, mankind acquired unprecedented potential for committing both murder and suicide. This was the creation of the “precipice” that the Oxford philosopher Toby Ord referenced in the title of his serious and important new book “ The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity.”
Ord wrote: “At that moment, our rapidly accelerating technological power finally reached the threshold where we might be able to destroy ourselves. The first point where the threat to humanity from within exceeded the threats from the natural world.”
In “The Precipice,” Ord discussed existential risk — risks, in his words, “that threaten the destruction of humanity’s long-term potential,” either through outright extinction or through permanent societal collapse. These include more immediate threats, like nuclear weapons and environmental collapse, and more speculative risks, like unaligned artificial intelligences.
Hold it! I can see your finger itching and your eyes glazing over. You’ve had quite enough morbidity and gloom what with coronavirus and the lockdown. This is not the time to think about nuclear war, and bioweapons, and unfriendly AIs. But what if the great and good in American life had spent a fraction of the time they spent bickering about fanciful Russian conspiracies on evaluating pandemic risk? What if the great and good of China had spent a fraction of the time they spent locking beleaguered Uyghur Muslims in camps on the same subject? This crisis may not have transpired, and we could be sipping cold beers in the sun. When intruders are in your house it is too late to start thinking about home security.
Ord is no frigid doom-monger. He said that mankind’s future is “ripe with possibility” and that “we are likely to make it through this period.” Still, he swiftly follows this comforting prediction with the point that we are dealing with “uniquely high stakes.”
“If we continue to let our growth in power outstrip that of wisdom,” he wrote, we “should expect [the] risk to be even higher next century, and each successive century.”
In the spirit of being constructive rather than morbid, here are five suggestions for minimizing existential risk, without abandoning individual freedom or economic health. Full Article @ Daily Caller
Nuclear Warfare in Ancient India
Ancient Societal Collapse
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