There’s an easy way to make me stop.
Want my bank account? Pay me 2000 euro a month*, you pay worker taxes and insurances, and I’ll stop doing it.
Until then, fuck you. I can outlast and out-overton you motherfuckers.
* inflation adjusted, indefinitely.
Politics and democracy is broken and under assault. But what can we do? How can we make a difference. Individual citizens feel overwhelmed and intimidated and are likely to just give up. But what if we could change that?
Listen, the idea I am putting forward is un-formed, vague and may in some instances be contradictory, and I leave it up to others to make sense of it and if it has merit, develop it. The concept involves a management suite that helps constituents in any modern democracy to start press for desired change and help them to objectify what’s urgent and what must be done, in what particular sequence of steps, to end up in a better world.
So how does it look? Well, this “app” should be both a desktop environment (or software package) as it should be a mobile phone extension as it should be a comprehensive web site. Ideally the whole infrastructure should allow for inconsistency and political opposition and resulting from that (hopefully dialogue). So let me describe the process to you.
1. You create an inalienable and unique registration somewhere, preferably linked to social media accounts such as Google, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter (and there are many others). The software environment gives “you” a system weight (i.e. credibility) depending on your online activity and general believability of your online presence. As you act, and your existence in the real world is affirmed by other people and events, the system starts elevating your “credibility”. You can choose whether or not you make that credibility and your personal data accessible to other people, corporations, governments, police and such, and the system takes steps to make sure this data is not breached, stolen, abused, farmed, falsified, etc. Yes I know that is a tall order these days, but we gotta try, right?
2. The software environment now starts asking you questions about where you stand ideologically. From your answers the software starts charting what you believe, what you desire, where your ambitions lay, what you expect of your country, what you expect of your politicians, how much time you have to act (vote, protest, organize, rally, provide support, anything as long as it’s legal in your country). The software does not judge however and will objectively make suggestions to different registered users that are contradictory. For example, it may provide suggestions how to take action against climate change, life extension, birth control, atheist values, andsoforth as it just as easily helps people do respective opposites. The software doesn’t care what you want, it only exists to facilitate you being able to do what it is you need to do to affect as much change in the world as possible.
3. As the respective “credibility” levels of people in general, and the respective credibility of these people in respective fields starts coming in to focus, the software can always be consulted by its users why it makes the recommendations it does, but however intricate algorithms it applies, the software environment starts using geospatial data collected by your mobile phone, your previously established choices, preferences, skills, general levels of commitment (etc.) to provide recommendations, in a specific order. At any time the user can decide to scale back recommendations (“I am tired today”. “I feel depressed”. “I am not in the mood”, “I have a flu” etc.) and the app makes as much as possible objective suggestions on how to overcome certain personal constraints as to become more motivated, provided that is what you want. These software recommendations are always legal in the jurisdiction you are in, the software helps streamline what action you can take and actively tried to reduce “bullshitting” as to stop people waste their time when they made absolutely clear they want something. The suggestions provided are color coded, with RED (=critical) suggestions at the top and BLUE (=if you get around to it, sure, go ahead) suggestions listed at the bottom.
Let me provide you with an example.
Let’s say you are really concerned about climate change, and you enter a whole bunch of answers why you are concerned about climate change. The software establishes a profile based on your personal take and beliefs on climate change. The software also tries to get a feel for how open you are to debate and organizing yourself. The software establishes a detailed as much a profile as it can and then starts recommending, based on absolutely unambiguous terms, what you can do, and in what order or urgency. The software determines urgency strictly on what statements you provide the software with in the first place. So if you make clear in unambiguous terms that you regard climate change as an absolute existential risk, and you are social, gregarious, somewhat smart and able to walk some distances the software starts listing a whole bunch of rallies, write-ins, clicktivism, protests, organizations, fellow-organizers and actions you take take in everyday life.
And an important feature is the software works towards hard casual relationships. Right now someone really miffed about climate change might have been led to think that sorting your municipal garbage is a good thing to do. But depending on your geographic location this may not actually be the case. So the software makes a series of judgement calls, based on hard programming algorithms and objective, falsifiable science, established prejudices, statistical heuristics, and mountains of data – and whatnot – what you can do, what you want to do, what kind of thing you want to do, where to do it, and in what order.
An important feature of the software would be to constantly and carefully confront users with hypocrisy, inconsistency, incorrect assumptions, your core values and why you might have them – while all the time actively avoiding alienating the user.
Concluding – all this may seem almost magical to most people in the real world, but I guarantee you, big (data) corporations are right now working hard to use all these technologies to confuse and manipulate you and to spend money benefiting other corporations that pay facebook (et.al.) for such (arguably corrupt) services. So in essence I can guarantee you this technology is very much alive today, and it’s used AGAINST you.
Making the above software would be fucking expensive, but I believe the effort and investment would be worth it a million times over, and the situation on this planet can be argued to be so dire we seriously start thinking about how to get people off their couch and start doing what they can. And in an ideal world such software would bring together categories of people in parallel causes who wouldn’t have met one another in a thousand years otherwise. And it may even make you grow to be a more educated, more gentle, more patient, more socially aware and more effective citizen in an increasingly complex world.
So, I have only one thing to add
I demand my politicians do something about this, and soon. Remember – these technologies can easily be used against politicians and civil servants by non state actors. A well-run campaign can easily murder 90% of all politicians in a country, just a decade from now. At negligible cost, compared to existing military assets.
You can’t stop popular anger. Period. There is no amount of automation force you can must, no amount of property protection law enforcement you can recruit, train and weaponize, there are no amount of crooked judges, lobbyists and politicians you can purchase and slot in. Well, at least until we are further this century, when technology is going to be even more volatile and powerful, but I;d argue the situation halfway the 21st century is going to be even more dangerous for the global elites.
So what am I warning you people for?
I am warning you for very sudden, very volatile, very radical shifts in how people respond. You can see this happen right now and have been witnessing it happening the last few years. Specifically “trump”. Trump is the result of ‘previously’ entitled whites realizing they are now no longer experiencing previous privilege – because rich people. Because Goldman Sachs. Because Jeff Bezos. Because Koch Brothers. By and large because you.
This is normal. This has happened every single time before in human history and it is going to happen now. I understand that for someone the likes of Jeff Bezos, another few billion is much like “I ain’t gona stop with heroin till tomorrow afternoon…”. I understand, affluence, propensity, richess it’s all terribly fun and terribly addictive.
But this can’t go on, and if you think “things will all go pretty well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves”, let me point you at the trump phenomenon.
Europeans are slackjawed with offended about trump. I didn’t think democracy could generate a more ghastly phenomenon than, say, berlusone. But it has. Trump was unexpected even to the last day, to the point that the previous president regarded the idea as patently unthinkable as the elections happened.
You, rich people, can’t control this, and frankly I am not looking forward to a global far left, repressive “death or exile” tyranny. Or far right, whatever the angry leitmotiff du jour because it can swing either way. Let me remind you by going full Godwin – in Woeld War 2 nazi’s can easily be argued to not really be all that interested in killing jews. I can easily argue that german fascists went after jews to liberate and redistribute societal resources and saitisfy their goons and thugs.
In other words, I anticipate a level of very sudden anger, massive instability, massive and totally unexpected re-appropriation of technologies and the literal extermination of select rich people “on some contrived pretext”. I don’t want that, not because I by and large give a damn about what happens to the rich, but primarily because a sudden period of political volatility will fuck around with my standards of living.
Yes, this is yet another pitchforks article. The world rich must stop, and stop now. Enough is enough, and you should do so if you care for your own lives and the lives of your children.
I am not a fan of capitalism, but I grudgingly agree capitalism has its uhm.. functionality. But there need be major adjustments towards rational definitions and algorithms how much disparity is significantly too much (we are there right now) and how to redress this.
I hope this happens organically, without too much looting and fires. But I am pessimistic and I fear it will “take” mass death and lynchings of rich people to turn the tide.
But mass death and occasional lynchings is nothing compared to how bad this can escalate. Be fucking warned.
Let’s establish a few starting assumptions that makes discussion on this topic easier;
I don’t feel myself comfortable with the label “liberal”. I am a progressive and I am outspoken and rather militant in my progressive urges, but I can’t say I am a socialist. I am sympathetic to socialism. I bet fit in what Chomsky labels – a socialist Libertarian (and that is by no means contradictory). I believe in a minimalist, but very reliable state (government) apparatus that primarily (and proactively) serves the interests of its people, (…) with serving the interests of business as a remote second, and I strongly prefer the state does not bother itself with LARP or “religions”. I insist religions should be regarded by the state as a private hobby, and not some excuse to bother (repress) other people.
But – I regard society as a vulnerable endeavour. I expressed my concerns about predatory elements in civil society (off late Facebook comes to mind) and I have -as a personal preference- society, the state and government should have very little patience with these.
I understand crime. I understand why criminals come to crimes and I believe criminal acts are often driven by a mix of poverty and personal pathology and disorders. I believe very few people who have a dignified life (which is definitely more than welfare) and are mostly sane engage in criminal behavior. Crime is generally the result of disorders, traumatic life experience, severe insecurities or structural stupidity.
I have come to increasingly feel extremely intolerant about radical islam. Normally I don’t care a damn about islam. Yes, I am aware I may have been influenced by decades of rather tendentious hollywood pulp that spewed endless islamophobic propaganda over my brain, but even then note that I write islam in lower case. To me islam is just a personal activity – a hobby – a rather contrived LARP. I don’t want to be bothered by its tenets, I am very impatient debating it, and I get positively furious if these people get anywhere close to exerting power, of any kind, over me.
Sure, I am a transgender. But I also hovered close to a black belt taijutsu and having been close to picking up krav maga. I am by no means a weak little filly, or so I like to believe. I am no victim, I feel empowered, and I am very sincere about my convictions.
Hence I believe that I feel I need to express my concerns about islam and its recurrent noisiness. A majority of british muslims (again, both lower case) feel homosexuality (and probably the whole concept of transgenders and treatments of such) should be made illegal. That’s right, these people want to exert political will, on account of them playing some fucking reli-LARP, and demand of the state it treats me as someone fundamentally ‘illegal’.
I have had it with these assholes. That is why I am proposing, advocating and voting (when able) for the following.
1 – the state should, through well-founded legal means, define a category of violence that stems from radical ideology, religion, racism, lifestyle or whatever, that actively seeks to spread state violence. I am in favor of freedom of expression, but I am against this freedom of expression being repeatedly and consistently used to sneak repression in to the societal Overton windows. And I am especially keen on seeking to hold particularly accountable any people who degenerate from espousing state active violence (as opposed to defensive violence) to themselves initiating actual active violence. Period.
2. I believe acts of the above nature should be (well defined) regarded as a form of insanity. I am strongly in favor of holding people that apply violent ideas in to promoting forms of repressive state violence accountable, and treating them as psychiatric patients. I strongly express my conviction these people have no place in prisons. I am convinced prisons have become a completely useless tool, other than as some form of counter-productive genetic stopgap. People with a certain violent ideology should be categorized as having a severe mental disorder. People that have mental disorders and preach hate, and then act accordingly, should receive treatment for medical conditions. In some cases that means isolating them.
3. I believe above people, if (and here is where it gets hairy) received in their lifetime an immigrations based naturalization, a permit to stay (while not yet being dutch/eu citizens) the state should strongly consider in clear cases of ideology inspired violence to rescind dutch/eu citizenship. If these people were previously of another nationality, the netherlands should reserve the right to strip religious people of their dutch nationality, assume they now have the previous nationality, and deport them, OR (if deportation is n ot possible) treat them as psychiatric patients, with the distinctive possibility of TBS – which essentially means, you become a ward of Dutch society, received medical and psychiatric care in an institution – But as indicated those affected should then be free to relinquish dutch nationality and permanently leave.
4. I may even consider applying the above (in extreme cases only) to second generation immigrants. In other words, if some guy A immigrates in to the netherlands (yes, lowercase) gets dutch nationality, his daughter B then commits a serious act of religiously (respectively ideologically, belief in some computer-game, being a brevikite, whatever) inspired terrorism then the Netherlands can unilaterally decide that daughter loses dutch nationality as is deported.
I am sure we can find countries somewhere willing to take these people. If not, we put these people in humane enclosure, medicate them as needed, apply humane treatments, suspend their capacity for self-determination until that day we can either kick them the hell out, or we (society, the people, the state,m government) can safely conclude they are “cured”.
Let me specify that – take the example of an hypothetical american guy who is an active nra member (the national rifle association) which is a radically insurgent political lobby in the us that is largely based on racist ideologies. The nra is proactively preparing for non-state violence against other human beings. Let’s assume guy A behaves within the bounds of the law. He then has a son and this son is born with a dutch citizenship. This son then proceeds to murder a bunch of people, based on belief that dutch society is “a socialist shithole” because “donald trump” or “alex jones” or whatever.
I then say, strip the son of a bitch of dutch citizenship and deport him back to the US – or place him under above illustrated TBS, and place him in a humane psychiatric enclosure, medicate him, apply therapy, until either result of (a) banishment or (b) being cured is met…
In other words
A – the thug willingly steps on an air plane, accept relinquishment of dutch nationality and leaves for parts unknown, permanently, (and under no circumstance gets back in) (or)
B – the thug stays in psychiatric care, until we can conclude with certainty he is cured. For the duration of life if need be.
So I hopefully established consistency here. But let it me known that I am looking at these muslims with considerable distrust at this stage, and I am becoming increasingly willing to vote my distrust. It may be self-evident I will never vote wilders (lowercase), since he is a right-wing lunatic and a brevikite, but one day there may be progressively inclined alternatives for me to vote for.
I hate facebook and all that it stands for. I loathe Marc Zuckerberg. That is in itself a harsh statement but judging from coverage of what facebook has been up to the last years I am prone to classifying facebook as unmitigated evil, in numerous domains. I quit facebook in December last year and haven’t looked back despite cutting ties with several thousands people there. My resentment towards facebook has been building for quite a while now, and in my ideal future this aberration would go geocities as soon as humanly possible.
How can we expedite this process? Quite easily actually – use blockchain to boot up a decentralized PeoplePages (HumanityManual, whatever), or something catchy along those lines.
How do I visualize this?
Well, if I were to delineate a prototype of some sort I’d first prefer that information you put out to be saved on your computational device. If other people want to look at your profile they would have to be actively licensed to do that, and the software would have hurdles in place that make it hard to willy-nilly share private content about other people. This alternative to facebook would also allow users to suck all their information out of facebook itself, save and organize it locally, and then use your harvested facebook date to populate the alternative PeoplePages. In essence you import your facebook profile, and then invite all your contacts to install PeoplePages.
But the coup the grace would be advertising. Sweaty Marc (my pet name for marc zuckerberg) makes hundreds of euro equivalent income, per year, per profile. That is what you are worth in these systems, and the running proverb introduced in to the public consciousness by Charles Stross is – “if it’s for free, YOU are the product”.
In my ideal PeoplePages you would have the ability to switch on or off any advertising, and people who would send adds to you would have to pay you in your digital currency of choice. That way every human being on the planet can generate hundreds to (in some cases) thousands of euro per year in advertising revenue. Personally, I viciously hate advertising and in a perfect world I’d want to heavily regulated and advertisers would have to pay a ‘nuisance tax’, for the Greater Good. If you’d implement such a system, you would benefit and not that asshole Zuckerberg. If you chose to share private data to third parties, say because you “have nothing to hide” and you support “the law” or whatever higher value, then you would be totally in your right to actively switch data with respective partners.
But the unique qualities of blockchain allow us to contain our private data and selectively share it.
Millions of busineses and police states world wide would weep crocodile tears if this wear to come to fruition, and hopefully Marc Zuckerberg would end up impoverished as a result of a catastrophic collapse of this perverse phenomenon that is facebook. Bah.
This is a guesstimate for being an active observer of life extension of what, I believe, we can anticipate. The following list is intended to make you think about the various levels of aging reversal treatments. These are all sign points for some future date where we can, at that moment (or in retrospect later on) decide “see, here is where we made significant progress”. My question to you, my reader, where do you guesstimate these dates? Yes I ignore the possibility or relatively plausibility of a technological “singularity” occurring – This list is my estimate in case a hard take-off of A.I. does, for some reason, not occur.
Update as always reddit gives me some fierce dismissal, and I am going to the source in terms of updating the below guesstimates. If I rephrase a guesstimate, or update a guesstimate I will post in superscript updated and mention the debate, consensus and feedback down below. Please keep insults in any comments to a minimum, thank you very much, I am a sensitive girl.
First developed nation corporation-funded >b>trials (beyond research) to actively mitigate the effects of aging with existing substances such as Metformin, Rapamycin, etc.
First developed nation implements a basic income.
The United States implement single payer health care.
First human babies born of which can be determined with certainty significant portions of their genome have been ‘improved’ or ‘repaired’.
First known peer reviewed scientific study reports strong statistical certainty that the effects of aging can be significantly mitigated in vertebrate animals.
Average lifespan for people in a specific country (both sexes) rises above 90 years.
First widely publicized private sector “hacking” attempted to significantly (years) extend life by means of genetic stem cell treatments that turn having tangible measurable physiological beneficial results, but do not pass scientific peer review in terms of proving this is aging mitigation; Very sharp decline in available jobs world wide. Most countries have double unemployment levels relative to 2015 – period of mass global instability and protests.
Temporary period of decreasing lifespan that lasted a decade is reversed in the United States – average lifespan start slowly going up again.
Nearly all cancers can now be cured.
First developed nation corporation-funded trials (beyond research) to actively significantly constrain the effects of aging with existing substances in humans.
First known peer reviewed scientific study reports strong statistical certainty that the effects of aging can be significantly mitigated in higher order mammals; first country attempts (albeit briefly) to make treatment or reversal of aging illegal.
First life insurance pension found reports going bankrupt from the alleged effects of fairly rapidly extended lifespan in its clients – largely due to unanticipated fast onset of increased on average lifespan in clients.
First effective treatment of diseases using animate nanotechnology (nanoids).
First known peer reviewed scientific study reports strong statistical certainty that the effects of aging can be mitigated in monkey studies.
First human born in zero G environment in space.
First developed nation corporation-funded trials (beyond research) to halt mitigate the effects of aging with existing substances such as Metformin, Rapamycin, etc.
First known peer reviewed scientific study reports strong statistical certainty that the effects of aging can be mitigated in humans.
Most the developed world has implemented some form of basic income.
Average lifespan for people in a specific country (both sexes) rises above 100 years.
First known peer reviewed scientific study reports strong statistical certainty that aging can be halted in humans, assuming extremely expensive, invasive and uncomfortable treatments.
Most forms of mental diseases can be cured.
First developed nation corporation-funded trials (beyond research) to actively reverse the effects of aging with existing substances. First known peer reviewed scientific study reports strong statistical certainty that aging can be reversed in vertebrate animals; First country in the world makes procreation without genetically repairing imperfections illegal.
Average lifespan for people in a specific country (both sexes) rises above 110 years, largely due to advances in regular treatments and better and more affordable care for the elderly.
First known peer reviewed scientific study reports strong statistical certainty that aging can be reversed in higher order mammals.
Most commonly occurring diseases can now be cured, if treatment starts promptly.
First known peer reviewed scientific study reports strong statistical certainty that aging can be reversed in humans.
First human infants born that have been genetically altered as to significantly increase their average lifespan.
Average lifespan for people in a specific country (both sexes) rises above 120 years, largely due to advances in regular treatments and better and more affordable care for the elderly but increasingly because of mitigation or reversal of aging.
Most forms of mental diseases are now cured in most countries in the world.
First country makes treatment of aging obligatory by law for its citizens.
Average lifespan for people in a specific country (both sexes) rises above 130 years.
Most countries in the world have made births of humans without having first fixed any genetic errors illegal or some form of child abuse.
Average lifespan for people in a specific country (both sexes) rises above 140 years.
Almost every country in the world has some kind of single payer health care.
The poorest country in the world now has a better average standard of living than the richest country in 2015.
Average lifespan for people in a specific country (both sexes) rises above 150 years.
First country in the world makes having children without implementing significant genetic upgrades (i.e. transhumanism) to their genome illegal. Most countries in the world have made births of humans without having first fixed any genetic errors illegal or some form of child abuse.
Average lifespan for people in a specific country (both sexes) rises above 150 years.
Average lifespan for people in a specific country (both sexes) rises above 160 years.
The vast majority of human beings living in developed economies can (if so desired) obtain indefinite youth and broad range health from simple, comfortable and affordable biogerontological treatments; Average lifespan for people in a specific country (both sexes) rises above 170 years; Audrey de Grey celebrates her 147th birth date.
If you disagree with me on some dates or other guesstimates (or want me to add new categories of guesstimates), please email me and I may add some of these comments below here.
Relevant Comments User runnyhungo via /r/IsaacArthur comments
its already wrong, rejuvenation treatments is already in human trials for Parkinson’s disease, and uses vastly more advanced methods than Metformin (which was discovered in 1922). The cause of Parkinson’s disease is the aging process of gradually losing cells that die for a million reasons we can’t stop, but stem-cells can replace the lost cells so that’s rejuvenation. It should be noted that before 2000-ish they actually tried to prevent the cells from dying in the first place, from a million different causes, none of which were properly understood. Hence today people think rejuvenation is properly impossible, like lightsaber impossible not supersonic flight impossible. Reply:
For the last 10-20 years I have spared no words to express my extreme disgust about the pathologies in US society. I have publicly predicted the irreversible decline of this beautiful nation, and its imminent collapse into a dystopian state we have never seen before on this planet. I wish it were different but every day I see continued signs of this decline and further evidence of the outcome.
The Strange New Pathologies of the World’s First Rich Failed State
You might say, having read some of my recent essays, “Umair! Don’t worry! Everything will be fine! It’s not that bad!” I would look at you politely, and then say gently, “To tell you the truth, I don’t think we’re taking collapse nearly seriously enough.”
Why? When we take a hard look at US collapse, we see a number of social pathologies on the rise. Not just any kind. Not even troubling, worrying, and dangerous ones. But strange and bizarre ones. Unique ones. Singular and gruesomely weird ones I’ve never really seen before, and outside of a dystopia written by Dickens and Orwell, nor have you, and neither has history. They suggest that whatever “numbers” we use to represent decline — shrinking real incomes, inequality, and so on —we are in fact grossly underestimating what pundits call the “human toll”, but which sensible human beings like you and I should simply think of as the overwhelming despair, rage, and anxiety of living in a collapsing society.
Let me give you just five examples of what I’ll call the social pathologies of collapse — strange, weird, and gruesome new diseases, not just ones we don’t usually see in healthy societies, but ones that we have never really seen before in any modern society.
America has had 11 school shootings in the last 23 days. That’s one every other day, more or less. That statistic is alarming enough — but it is just a number. Perspective asks us for comparison. So let me put that another way. America has had 11 school shootings in the last 23 days, which is more than anywhere else in the world, even Afghanistan or Iraq. In fact, the phenomenon of regular school shootings appears to be a unique feature of American collapse — it just doesn’t happen in any other country — and that is what I mean by “social pathologies of collapse”: a new, bizarre, terrible disease striking society.
Why are American kids killing each other? Why doesn’t their society care enough to intervene? Well, probably because those kids have given up on life — and their elders have given up on them. Or maybe you’re right — and it’s not that simple. Still, what do the kids who aren’t killing each other do? Well, a lot of them are busy killing themselves.
So there is of course also an “opioid epidemic”. We use that phrase too casually, but it much more troubling than it appears on first glance. Here is what is really curious about it. In many countries in the world — most of Asia and Africa — one can buy all the opioids one wants from any local pharmacy, without a prescription. You might suppose then that opioid abuse as a mass epidemic would be a global phenomenon. Yet we don’t see opioid epidemics anywhere but America — especially not ones so vicious and widespread they shrink life expectancy. So the “opioid epidemic” — mass self-medication with the hardest of hard drugs — is again a social pathology of collapse: unique to American life. It is not quite captured in the numbers, but only through comparison — and when we see it in global perspective, we get a sense of just how singularly troubled American life really is.
Why would people abuse opioids en masse unlike anywhere else in the world? They must be living genuinely traumatic and desperate lives, in which there is little healthcare, so they have to self-medicate the terror away. But what is so desperate about them? Well, consider another example: the “nomadic retirees”. They live in their cars. They go from place to place, season after season, chasing whatever low-wage work they can find — spring, an Amazon warehouse, Christmas, Walmart.
Now, you might say — “well, poor people have always chased seasonal work!” But that is not really the point: absolute powerlessness and complete indignity is. In no other country I can see do retirees who should have been able to save up enough to live on now living in their cars in order to find work just to go on eating before they die — not even in desperately poor ones, where at least families live together, share resources, and care for one another. This is another pathology of collapse that is unique to America — utter powerlessness to live with dignity. Numbers don’t capture it — but comparisons paint a bleak picture.
How did America’s elderly end up cheated of dignity? After all, even desperately poor countries have “informal social support systems” — otherwise known as families and communities. But in America, there is the catastrophic collapse of social bonds. Extreme capitalism has blown apart American society so totally that people cannot even care for one another as much as they do in places like Pakistan and Nigeria. Social bonds, relationships themselves, have become unaffordable luxuries, more so than even in poor countries: this is yet another social pathology unique to American collapse.
Yet those once poor countries are making great strides. Costa Ricans now have higher life expectancy than Americans — because they have public healthcare. American life expectancy is falling, unlike nearly anywhere else in the world, save the UK — because it doesn’t.
And that is my last pathology: it is one of the soul, not one of the limbs, like the others above. American appear to be quite happy simply watching one another die, in all the ways above. They just don’t appear to be too disturbed, moved, or even affected by the four pathologies above: their kids killing each other, their social bonds collapsing, being powerless to live with dignity,or having to numb the pain of it all away.
If these pathologies happened in any other rich country — even in most poor ones — people would be aghast, shocked, and stunned, and certainly moved to make them not happen. But in America, they are, well, not even resigned. They are indifferent, mostly.
So my last pathology is a predatory society. A predatory society doesn’t just mean oligarchs ripping people off financially. In a truer way, it means people nodding and smiling and going about their everyday business as their neighbours, friends, and colleagues die early deaths in shallow graves. The predator in American society isn’t just its super-rich — but an invisible and insatiable force: the normalization of what in the rest of the world would be seen as shameful, historic, generational moral failures, if not crimes, becoming mere mundane everyday affairs not to be too worried by or troubled about.
Perhaps that sounds strong to you. Is it?
Now that I’ve given you a few examples — there are many more — of the social pathologies of collapse, let me share with you the three points that they raise for me.
These social pathologies are something like strange and gruesome new strains of disease infecting the body social. America has always been a pioneer — only today, it is host not just to problems not just rarely seen in healthy societies — it is pioneering novel social pathologies have never been seen in the modern world outside present-day America, period. What does that tell us?
American collapse is much more severe than we suppose it is. We are underestimating its magnitude, not overestimating it. American intellectuals, media, and thought doesn’t put any of its problems in global or historical perspective — but when they are seen that way, America’s problems are revealed to be not just the everyday nuisances of a declining nation, but something more like a body suddenly attacked by unimagined diseases.
Seen accurately. American collapse is a catastrophe of human possibility without modern parallel . And because the mess that America has made of itself, then, is so especially unique, so singular, so perversely special — the treatment will have to be novel, too. The uniqueness of these social pathologies tell us that American collapse is not like a reversion to any mean, or the downswing of a trend. It is something outside the norm. Something beyond the data. Past the statistics. It is like the meteor that hit the dinosaurs: an outlier beyond outliers, an event at the extreme of the extremes. That is why our narratives, frames, and theories cannot really capture it — much less explain it. We need a whole new language — and a new way of seeing — to even begin to make sense of it.
But that is America’s task, not the world’s. The world’s task is this. Should the world follow the American model — extreme capitalism, no public investment, cruelty as a way of life, the perversion of everyday virtue — then these new social pathologies will follow, too. They are new diseases of the body social that have emerged from the diet of junk food — junk media, junk science, junk culture, junk punditry, junk economics, people treating one another and their society like junk — that America has fed upon for too long.
I am witnessing the signs all around – even though birth rates are low in many most developed countries, we still have very fast and objectively unsustainable birth rates in most of the world. Making babies is still beyond discussion, let alone critique, but my prediction is that we will soon herald a major paradigm shift.
I am against “historical” (fascist) eugenics. I am against inflicting suffering or punitive, vengeance-based legislation. I am vehemently against tyranny and for a better, more fact based democracy. I am all for freedom. But we as a human species have long since entered the era where we have entered complete unsustainability in terms of global human procreation.
Thus my prediction is this will end in less than two decades, and we will witness a major political shift in a decade. This will primarily be spurred by rich nations that increasingly become terrified of waves of immigrants and the perceived (if not plausible) societal disruption and dehumanization of labour as a result of such immigration. Rich nations will come to realize the hard truth that immigration will increase exponentially, largely because of climate change and technological unemployment hurtling the developing nations in to an abyss of poverty. Starving and desperate people will move – in numbers exponentially bigger than they already do.
I am for freedom, and that included the freedom of people to live somewhere else. But I am selfish, and if I perceive that such migration plausibly threatens my standard of living and sense of entitlement I will, like hundred of millions in richer nations, come to resent and vote against this migration. Yes, this instinct is largely a racist instinct, but there are some practical sides to the feeling you don’t want your country overrun by people with radically different values.
This will spur a decade, and quite soon, of rich nations demanding lower birth rates, and quite soon development aid will become a major instrument of global reproductive quota. So there you have it – we have reached a point where people will start waking up and start demanding constraints to other people’s freedoms. I can’t sugarcoat this prediction – we live on a finite planet, and we are routinely witnessing the freedoms of the many encroach on the freedoms of the few. The unconstrained freedom to reproduce is encroaching thus as an exponential rate and I predict it will end well before 2040. One way or another, the other way historically has always been through massive deaths. We may have to come to accept that we will do this legislatively, since the other alternative is categorically unacceptable.
This is Part 1 of a two-part article that introduces space economics as a field of study. Part 2 will outline how a self-sustaining space economy with markets operating within the functional interplay of state and private imperatives constructed on the foundations of the international regime called for in the Moon Treaty. Whatever international rules or understandings will ultimately be adopted to govern the emerging space economy will involve political decisions that should not ignore economic questions.
Space economics is proposed as a new field of study comparable to other fields, such as development economics, agricultural economics, information economics, resource economics, and political economics. As with other fields of study, college courses will need to be developed to introduce students to seminal works, textbooks will be written, and journals established to serve the field. Moreover, conferences will be organized, books published, and institutes established. These institutional fixtures, however, are less important than the logic of why this field of knowledge needs to be established.
Markets do not exist for products produced from space resources. There are no plausible scenarios for widespread sale of space resources to existing markets on Earth.
Economics is a social science that studies the operation of systems involving decision-making by actors often in competition with each other regarding production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services under conditions of limited resources and competing interests.1
Outer space is often described as a realm of boundless, widely distributed resources spread across great distances and outside of the gravity well of Earth. While there are millions of asteroids and comets with resources of significant value on Earth, some with potential values in the trillions of dollars,2 space resources are extremely difficult to reach and transform into saleable products. As a result, no outer space economy has emerged thus far outside of satellite services provided to users on Earth.
Markets do not exist for products produced from space resources. There are no plausible scenarios for widespread sale of space resources to existing markets on Earth. The very high cost of acquisition and transport to Earth and the time required for transportation would make sale of all but extremely valuable materials to Earth markets unviable. However, even in the case of highly valuable materials, such as platinum group metals and diamonds, the sale of large quantities of highly valuable materials would drive down their price. Significant sale of rare space materials could potentially destroy markets, lessening the allure of the trillion-dollar asteroids containing rare materials.
While the emergence of terrestrial markets for some space resources cannot be excluded and remains a topic of economic analysis, the emergence of such markets cannot be assured, even if production capacity were to be developed. In the early stages of the space economy the most likely value, therefore, of extraterrestrial resources will be in the on-site efficiencies derived from the savings of transportation costs from delivery of materials from Earth. In the longer term, as increasingly large facilities are developed in outer space, particularly if they house and employ large numbers of people, the space economy can become self-sustaining.
Utility of space economics
A field of study can be sustained if it has use and meets needs of society. A utilitarian goal of space economics is to show conditions under which a self-sustaining outer space economy could emerge, despite multiple questions that arise if outer space resources appear to have little market potential in terrestrial markets:
How could the huge investments required for development of infrastructure and enabling technologies needed to develop a self-sustaining space economy be justified unless investors on Earth can realize returns that are competitive with other investments?
If an investment cannot lead to rights to realize economic returns from the investment, it would be irrational. Rights to economic returns from investments, or property rights, or use rights, are a necessary pre-condition of rational investment decisions. If the Outer Space Treaty (OST) excludes economic rights to resources in outer space, how can a space economy even emerge?
If known technologies can reduce the market value of a resource to a small fraction of its initial value in a defined period, how would this influence decision-making regarding a resource like lunar water?
Article I of OST states: “The exploration and use of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries, irrespective of their degree of economic or scientific development, and shall be the province of all mankind.” How can this statement be interpreted as an economic assertion with operational implications for economic actors rather than just a principle of political philosophy granting opportunities and benefits to humankind as a whole?
If known technologies can reduce the market value of a resource to a small fraction of its initial value in a defined period, how would this influence decision-making regarding a resource like lunar water? Alternatively, massive investments applying known technologies could reduce the acquisition cost of metals such as titanium, iron, and aluminum from lunar regolith significantly below acquisition costs from terrestrial sources. This could enable the creation of large solar arrays and megastructures in near Earth orbits that could deliver electrical power to Earth at highly competitive prices and have the potential for very large returns on investment. However, the timeframe to realize such returns may be in the decades. How can decision-systems be structured to analyze and potentially justify such investments?
Economic actors are implicitly understood as being individual humans or corporations formed by humans endowed with corporate personhood that can make economic decisions. Insofar as outer space activities may be dominated by robots and other artificial entities that may be involved in economic decision-making largely independent of human actors due to extreme distances, space economics need to address what is the role of robotic economic actors in the analysis of economic systems in outer space?
Architecture of space economics
Assuming a space economy emerges and that the issues, challenges, and barriers identified above can be overcome, what are principles and architecture that will define the field of space economics?
OST is viewed as the legal foundation for space law and, by implication, for the rules that will govern space commerce and the functioning of the space economy. But OST defines outer space as a commons3 belonging to all humanity. Sovereign ownership of the Moon and other bodies in the solar system is excluded. The rights to economic benefits resulting from investment is fundamental to market economies. If rights to economic benefits cannot be guaranteed, there will be little if any investment.4 Property rights are one example of rights to economic benefits of an investment. Mining rights and land use rights are other examples. Internationally accepted rules have not been developed for assigning mining or use rights to resources on the Moon or elsewhere in outer space. Domestic laws of many countries largely fail to even reference outer space.
Space economics must address the challenge of ownership rights in outer space in view of the condition that ownership of the Moon and other celestial bodies in the solar system is excluded by OST, and that outer space is the province of all mankind. If this issue cannot be resolved, then needed multi-billion-dollar investments cannot be justified and no space economy can emerge.
The emerging field of space economics potentially includes multiple subdisciplines that draw on analogous disciplines in the terrestrial realm: economics of space development (developmental economics), space resource economics (resource economics), economics of human/autonomous-robotics systems (information economics), lunar economics, Martian economics, multi-planetary economics (macro-macroeconomics?), and more. The range of economics issues to address is considerable and includes political economy. The guarantee or assignment of rights to the benefits of investment in assets is fundamentally a political decision, and as a result a point of discussion in political economy.
Successful economies such as China (and historically when Britain ruled Hong Kong) exclude private ownership of land in urban areas,5 yet millions of individuals have developed great personal wealth and Chinese corporations have become successful global competitors. It appears that a functioning and growing economy can be constructed in the absence of real property rights as understood in some countries. Nevertheless, the recognition of the lawful right to economic benefits from investment in assets is a fundamental condition of a functioning economy.
Can a functioning and growing economy be constructed based on the principles of the OST?
Proposals have been advanced to build a solar system civilization6,7 based on the exploitation of the vast resources of the planets, moons, asteroids, comets, and other bodies present in the solar system. How the economy of this solar system civilization is to be built will be determined by the policies negotiated among the participating states and defined in the founding documents covering its formation. Thus far, there is no agreed to process or even a forum to negotiate the rules to govern the emerging outer space economy.
Outer Space Treaty
The Outer Space Treaty (OST)8 is recognized as the foundation of international law pertaining to outer space. Article 1:
The exploration and use of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries, irrespective of their degree of economic or scientific development, and shall be the province of all mankind.
Outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means.
These and other principles embodied in OST define outer space as an international commons. They differ radically from principles followed by states in the Age of Empires when France, Britain, and other European states seized control of territories in Asia, Africa, and the Americas to multiply the benefits to the colonial powers, their national elites, and the commercial businesses therein domiciled. Additionally, if states cannot appropriate territory on the Moon or other celestial bodies, then leasing rights would appear precluded in outer space.
Can a functioning and growing economy be constructed based on the principles of the OST? A functioning and growing economy can be understood as an economy where economic agents can invest financial and other resources to create productive capacity that can process material resources into higher valued products that can be sold at a profit to generate wealth for the owners of the means of production. If the benefit from the use of space accrues to states irrespective of their degree of their economic or scientific development, national laws are needed to translate rights and benefits granted to states to benefit the economic agents, which conventionally are not states but rather are individuals or firms. National space laws in Luxembourg and the US attempt to cover this, but the issue remains that OST language does not recognize the rights of economic agents. Attempts to interpret OST to allow recognition of the rights of economic agents have been criticized most recently by Russia, which claims to “protect the independence of the asteroids.”9
Without an international regime that defines how OST principles can be interpreted to enable a functioning economy, such an economy cannot be constructed. In the absence of an internationally agreed-to process to negotiate rules to govern the emerging space economy, it is useful to consider the Moon Treaty, which was negotiated specifically to provide such a process.
The Moon Treaty10 was unanimously accepted by the UN General Assembly on December 5, 1979. It represented an attempt of UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space to attempt to define general principles for the use of the resources of the Moon and other cosmic bodies in outer space. The Moon Treaty is widely considered a failed treaty because only 17 states have ratified it, with an additional four signatories that have not ratified it. No spacefaring power capable of reaching the Moon has done so although two of the signatories, France and India, essentially have such capability.
Like OST, the Moon Treaty defines the Moon and other cosmic bodies in outer space as an international commons. Article 4, par. 1:
The exploration and use of the moon shall be the province of all mankind and shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries, irrespective of their degree of economic or scientific development. Due regard shall be paid to the interests of present and future generations as well as to the need to promote higher standards of living and conditions of economic and social progress and development in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
1. The moon and its natural resources are the common heritage of mankind, which finds its expression in the provisions of this Agreement, in particular in paragraph 5 of this article.
2. The moon is not subject to national appropriation by any claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means.
3. Neither the surface nor the subsurface of the moon, nor any part thereof or natural resources in place, shall become property of any State, international intergovernmental or non- governmental organization, national organization or non-governmental entity or of any natural person. The placement of personnel, space vehicles, equipment, facilities, stations and installations on or below the surface of the moon, including structures connected with its surface or subsurface, shall not create a right of ownership over the surface or the subsurface of the moon or any areas thereof. The foregoing provisions are without prejudice to the international regime referred to in paragraph 5 of this article.
The Moon Treaty explicitly calls for the negotiation of an international regime in Article 11, par. 5:
States Parties to this Agreement hereby undertake to establish an international regime, including appropriate procedures, to govern the exploitation of the natural resources of the moon as such exploitation is about to become feasible.
Par. 7 sets forth principles guiding the negotiation of the international regime:
7. The main purposes of the international regime to be established shall include:
a. The orderly and safe development of the natural resources of the moon;
b. The rational management of those resources;
c. The expansion of opportunities in the use of those resources;
d. An equitable sharing by all States Parties in the benefits derived from those resources, whereby the interests and needs of the developing countries, as well as the efforts of those countries which have contributed either directly or indirectly to the exploration of the moon, shall be given special consideration.
While at this time the Moon Treaty can be considered as having no effect in matters concerning space development, the principles proposed to govern the international regime offer a starting point that is absent in the OST.
Space economics will consider issues involved in the construction of a functioning and growing space economy made possible by a suitable international regime. How the international regime should be framed is a relevant concern of space economics and will be addressed in Part 2. The pathway to development of such an international regime is a political question that lies outside of the economic issues addressed in space economics.
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) suggested Thursday that American women need to have more babies or risk the US being unable to pay its (over 20.5 trillion and counting) state debt and be unable to afford all of its 600 billion annually on military expenditures.
“This is going to be the new economic challenge for America: people. Baby boomers are retiring — I did my part, but we need to have higher birth rates in this country,” Ryan, a father of three, told reporters as he riffed on how Republicans will be discussing the hell they will be able to afford paying off even a miniscule amount the gargantuan collective state debt in 2018 and onwards. Right now this debt is only growing, at a rate of about 666 billion, annually. “Baby boomers are retiring and we have fewer people following them in the workforce. US women need to pitch in, after all squeezing a watermellon from their uterus is a negligible effort compared to congress actually doing something, right?”
”We have something like a 90-percent increase in the retirement population of America but only a 19-percent increase in the working population in American,” he continued. “So what do we have to do? Be smarter, more efficient, more technology … still gonna need more people to be birthed by women.”
In 2016, the United States saw a record low fertility rate. There were 62 births for every 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44, down about 1 percent from a year earlier, according to The New York Times.
Republicans, such as Ryan, believe American women need to birth more children to pay more taxes to at least lower the deficit, and maybe one day, when congress gets it act together, gradually move towards lowering the state debt. Baby boomers that retire or pass away won’t be doing much repaying of the currently 63.106 per citizen, and 170.000 per taxpayer. For one, Ryan proposed disallowing Americans to emigrate and turn in their passport with the intent purpose to stop paying taxes – “Once an American, always an American. There is no quitting american nationality – and tax burdens. Nobody should be allowed to weasel out of shouldering his or her part – or its part, in case of these transgender folks – of the 170.000 per taxpayer state debt. And for women that means – enduring pain and disfigurement inflicted by child birth at least several times more.” Ryan droned on. “we should hunt down renegade taxpayers, regardless of their delusion they are now citizens of another country and we should properly incentivize women who haven’t given birth yet.”. Democrats are more open to seeing many in the baby boomer generation replaced through immigrated taxpayers to offset the low birth rate.
In addition to boosting the U.S. birth rate, Ryan argued that Congress needs to help those relying on welfare to also start paying taxes, one way or another. Plus maybe it’s time for some kind of enforced “Wombs to Work” program.
“And when we have tens of millions of people right here in this country falling short of their potential in paying taxes, not working, not looking for a job or not in school getting a skill to get a job, or not finding some ejaculate to reactivate their barren vaginas with – that’s a problem,” Ryan said. “At some time in the future there may even be talk of slightly lowering the current 666 billion dollars a year defense budget, and we simply can’t have that”.
* all above is sarcastic parody. It’s loosely based on this article.
Here are some conceptual alternatives, (1), (2),
Slide 00, Introduction, Short Synopsis, Definition of Terminology
I am Khannea S. Dirven, member of the Hague chapter of the Basic Income society. My philosophical home is the IEET, or Institute of Emerging Technologies in the US and I have spoken and written about this topic (technological unemployment and resulting displacement of humans, humanism and human morals) for some time.
So, Synopsis – today’s topic is largely a matter of the language we use – what is actually happening? The problem at hand is now widely referred to as “Technological Unemployment”, and that problem has been with us to an ever increasing degree since for centuries. Technological unemployment started a long time ago with mechanization, but became an ever more pressing problem in the last few decades. Mechanization gave way to automation, and this process has now evolved to robotization, and within years the main driver of job destruction will be caused by implementation of Artificial Intelligence. This is a potentially gruesome problem that has capacity to literally cause massive suffering and political instability, far worse than any conflict in the 20th century. I can even argue that it has the capacity, if left unchecked by politicians and democratic infrastructures, to prematurely cause the death of (literally) billions of human beings, somewhere later this century. This may seem overly alarmist, but do consider what people in Greece, people in poor midwestern states, or completely desperate people fleeing the Middle East and Africa are now enduring. These ordeals only needs magnifying this by, say, ten and you have a fairly good idea of the visual horrors that can be directly and causally attributed to technological unemployment.
So I say it is extremely shortsighted or downright dangerous to keep perceiving this displacement problem in strictly Netherlandcentric or Eurocentric terms. If “we” in the Netherlands or Europe decide to curtail the progress of automation, robotization or AI in some manner, “we” will also suffer in traumatizing loss of global economic competitiveness. There simply isn’t an opting out in this area, and countries that do try to opt out are invariably left impoverished, politically unstable or isolated from wide progress.
As with most other power point presentations, I am a dwarf standing on the shoulder of the giants I will quote. I don’t consider myself anything more than a Bard singing other people’s tunes.
Slide 01 – How to Convey the Immediacy and Urgency of Imminent Change
When you begin describing a future danger, there’s always the risk of being interpreted as “alarmist”, or “grandiose”. So in illustrating sudden and catastrophic change I was looking for a particular example in geological history, where relatively placid processes on the planet resulted in the accumulation of sudden and catastrophic potential for change. The best example I came across was the Zanclean flood, an event (or series of repetitive catastrophic events) where through relatively slow moving processes the Mediterranean got cut off from the Atlantic. As it turns out, it doesn’t take long for the Mediterranean to dry up, only a few thousand years. A dry Mediterranean would be mostly tropical rain forest surrounding inland salt flats, kind like the image in the slideshow. No doubt there would be extensive and humid rain forests along the slopes of this hot, dry and arid inland basin, unique animal species, and even populations of early hominids, such as now extinct branches of Ardipithecus. We can easily speculate about whole types of early hominids who only lived in these massive sprawling lowlands. For these ecologies there was sudden and quite catastrophic change as, maybe on account of a minor Earthquake, the Gibraltar straight opened up, and a river flooded in to the Mediterranean basin by means of a waterfall. This waterfall would have quickly opened up into a deluge, and in a matter of days a region with the combined surface area of six times Spain would have become flooded, most plant life and animals in the area left extinct. For these early hominids living there the sudden disappearance of all their habitat completely submerged by kilometers of sea would have been unthinkable, as much similar imminent catastrophic upheaval is patently unthinkable for most people alive today. Yet nonetheless, today we live with similar unstable situations, and imminent and highly disruptive change is arguably mere years away.
Slide 02 – Denial, and ‘Vested Interests’
In the history of humanity, most progress is of a disruptive character and hence a threat to vested interests. Hence, certain self-appointed paragons of status quo declare themselves champions of common sense and resist what they regard as unacceptable by all means possible. The above image showcases a particularly iconic such episode, i.e. the sentencing of Galileo by an elaborate papal court. To the pope and his ilk, the very idea that the Earth revolved around the sun was an unacceptable idea. Finding truth in periods of heated debate remains always problematic, and most people only gradually change their mind, and only when evidence has become incontrovertible. As we staggered in to the 20th century, we seen increasingly troubling number of such debates. There are parties that still opt to defend what soon after turns out to have always been indefensible. There are many examples where factions have seen their position, power or sources of income threatened by novel ideas, and some keep sowing disinformation long after the fact. Whether it is the insistence the Earth is flat, the balderdash idea of evolution being a fad, US southern states treated slaves quite humanely, women are unable to have the reflective powers to be able to vote, cigarettes are a perfectly fine treatment for asthma, there’s be no such thing as a Shoah, AIDS is caused by drug use, deviancy or poverty, climate change is a ridiculous idea, lowering taxes always creates more economic growth and wealth does indeed trickle down, or the advance of technologies has always created new types of employment and will do so in the future.
The unifying theme here is fear of the powerful for change that tends to reduce their power, prestige and affluence. Hence in these paradigm shift we tend to see that progress in understanding of reality is quite often interwoven in processes of emancipation and an increase in societal justice.
What happened after the start of the industrial age was partially counter-intuitive. Increase efficiency triggered the start of what we may label consumerism. In short, automation and product standardization made products so cheap compared to previous products, previously impoverished people were effectively impoverished no more. The category of producers that were able to automate production, streamline efficiency and ondemand production and standardize respective product categories were able to offer their staff higher pay, thus creating a demand-production cycle. This in turn was possible because of increasing energy concentration of petrochemical products, and it was catalyzed in turn by advertising and marketing. This signified the advent of a new kind of “consensus building” kind of “managed” democracy.
The 20th century was in significant part about the confluence of corporations and governments, and especially in the US – making the electorate docile, complacency industry, creation of dependence, consumerism and the active culling of revolutionary thinking. A lot of rich early in the 20th century were quite concerned about socialism, revolution and communism. Mass production allowed the ‘capitalism’ system to offer a viable ideological alternative to communism by making life a lot better than it had been in earlier ages. This was by and large a good development, even though there were eventual losers to this change in terms of the environment, and people in the developing world. But life got better for most people in developed countries. So it bears to reason to conclude that the underlying mechanisms of automation, industrialization, mobilization were good, and would continue to be good. For a long time the capitalist ideologues fiercely resisted the notion this utopian state would be anything but. For capitalism the mere idea that technology would make jobs go away was functionally anathema. So when this started occurring, in the 1970s, free market liberals (and thus neo-liberals) agitated with characteristic lack of patience when people started protesting against capitalism, globalization (and arguably neo-colonial conditions) and unbridled technological progress (including climate change). Francis Fukuyama argued that Liberal Capitalist Society was effectively the endpoint of history.
Something did in fact change in the 1970s. In all of the developed world the increase of over a century and the linked increase in electoral income became decoupled. We can argue long about why this happened, but happen it did. The undeniable effect was that those who held capital started making more income, in absolute terms, and in nearly all cases constituents and consumers made about the same or less, in absolute terms. Capitalism occasionally acknowledged this fact, but defended status quo by claiming people could obtain services and goods for ever cheaper. At the same time technology started accelerating faster and faster and it was no coincidence that the trend in the below graph started breaking not long after Moore’s defined his law (1965). So, is this time different? Is technology now, a good 40 years after the first recognition of doubling rates in computational hardware/price relationship, starting to eliminate jobs faster than new types of employment it is creation?
Is this time different? The answer is a resounding yes. This time is different. Technology has entered a new kind of potential to instill change in society. Jobs that are destroyed will never come back, and if they come back new jobs (a) require extremes of talent and training, (b) several orders of magnitude less people are needed to provide the same of corresponding services. There appears to be a consensus on this destruction of jobs in reality-based technical professions, whereas the denial such a process is occurring is prevalent with the more theory-centered economical professions. In essence, the economical professions have reverted to become a type of clergy of capitalism, to put it cynically, a branch of marketing or “cheerleading” of the capitalist ideal itself. Decreasingly the established science of economy is dealing less with reality and is evolving to become a pseudo-science that is interested only in providing arguments in favor of status quo. We have of course seen this before in all status quo defending, progress resisting publicity movements of the past. The longer latter-day economists keep defending the blessings of globalism, keep denying things like climate change, or technological unemployment, the longer we get to address these major confluence of crisis.
Any objective extrapolation of trends in the next decades produces results that are completely absurd. I can make this a very elaborate story with lots of caveats, but the only conclusion I need to share with you, and one I stand behind, is that any trend we can as humans make understandable breaks in no more than 75 and no less than 25 years. That is – the future becomes to inconceivably strange in “about” 50 years, we can no longer extrapolate meaningfully using only our arguably limited brains. This is where most audiences give up and revert to denial, dismissal, feeling deceived, etc. The simple statement – “everything flies of the rails in about 1-2 generations” is unacceptable, and as a consequence people do not accept it. Technology is a force amplifier. That means that the entities wielding the force, be it corporations, governments, multi-billionaires, oligarchs, facists, putin, trump, skynet, Ze Germans – it matters not, the force or “will” gets amplified, and as years go by exponentially more so. And this is true of the reality mere decades ago. Most preedictctions I would have cared to make to your parents in the years ranging from 1968 to 1992 (50 to 25 years ago) would have entailed completely ridiculous (and subjectively, “insulting”) imagery of the year 2017. The years 2042 to 2067 will be substantially more absurd in comparison to 2017. What’s even worse, I can not paint you any road map to altering this process, changing it or making it manageable. People at these kinds of presentations often ask me, “what should we do”, or (even more silly) “what does all this mean to my position as account manager for the second half of calender year of 2019” and I simply have to shrug. In any increasingly turbulent system of outcomes near future trends tend to be the most banale extrapolations of current trends yet the further we go, the more things we currently find important quintessentially lose any meaning we currently attribute to them.
Having looked at the (potentially shocking) bigger picture, there is a need to chart out short term trends. The long term trends (2030+) can be best summarized as “a complete end to all normal”, the short term trends are all about fast deteriorating societal disruption. The first thing we need to look at is competition. As jobs diminish, it stands to reason to anticipate the negotiations position of typical employee’s deteriorates even worse than it has deteriorated today. Right now we are already intimately familiar with zero hour contracts, one-person businesses making less than minimum wage, constant reorganization, a ruthless management culture, high stress environments, ‘bullshit jobs’ (and why they emerge) and massive burnout.
If workers were rational, they’d organize in to unions immediately but for some reason this doesn’t happen. It may be the case that deliberate neoliberal policies have made unionization untenable – for example, it is a long known maxim that workers with a mortgage do not strike or protest as readily. The overwhelming theme here is “divide and rule”, where the revolving door of politicians and private sector executives may exude an institutional and pervasive contempt for workers, voters, consumers, constituents.
Average workers need to come to terms with the fact we are being played, and that situation is not likely to change or get better.
Technological Unemployment, without much doubt, is here. It is destroying jobs, and its capacity to make sure new jobs do not emerge to replace old jobs is diminishing. Even in highly imaginary theoretical realms there is little reason to believe the current geopolitical neoliberal stranglehold on international capital and policies will allow for systems to emerge in the very short term that mitigate mass dependence on wage-based income. In the bigger picture, pensions, welfare, unemployment, disability, et.al. are rounding errors in an economical sense. NOT Compensating 12 years of inflation means you effectively lose 25% of your pension. As technological unemployment increases, for individuals personal resilience is the only solution – but the problem lies precisely therein that the vulnerable are most likely to fall off the wagon. In my online discussions with people, I often get quoted horrible examples – even now in an allegedly civilized, developed country such as the UK the frail unemployable have a risk of dying from literally starvation. Add to that low quality foods, and you have a recipe for a gradual attrition of the underclasses. And we haven’t even touched on the high odds of low incomes and a pervasive lack of perceived societal meaning to induce severe and chronic psychiatric problems, such as anomie, nihilism, substance abuse and terminal depression. The best defense for any individual in the next few years or decades is to actively prepare for the onset of existential crisis. Kind of that kind of mass killer you see with people who hit their pension age and die because they have no idea what to do with their free time.
For organizations, the one overwhelming question is – do your “cheerlead” for the system or is your urgency to protect vulnerable individuals. If the former, technology makes society a lot more efficient and you might be overjoyed by all this. If you are however concerned about the vulnerable in society, my prediction is you are probably already massively underestimating the problem. My aim is to warn you and remind you – at the end of the story about the boy crying wolf, the wolf did in fact showed up. The best metaphor we may face as nongovs or govs is more like the metaphor of the bucket of crabs – individually the crabs all can get out just fine, but the crabs below them tend to pull them back. It is extremely difficult to tell an already traumtized welfare mom with chronic depressions to “become more resilient” in the foreseeable future so the only solution available is to organize ready-to-use means of personal empowerment to individuals. Give a persona fish and he’ll eat for a day, teach a person to organize in to a Union and he’ll eat well the rest of his life. Or teach them to Dance, best cute for lack of personal empowerment and depression ever.
To be honest, politics as it is right now sucks. I recently discussed this with Charles Stross, a leftist science fiction writer, and he shared an article with me on this topic on “Beige Dictatorship” and my fear is that we are stuck right there. Let me run down the list of reasons why governments will rather sit it out a while when it comes to solutions to technological unemployment (rather than more of the same stuff that hasn’t worked for decades now).
Let me say one positive thing. A world with fast technological advances, amazing health care and massive prosperity, maybe even unlimited energy to cheap to meter, everyone only having to work a day a week, and maybe even nano-technology making everyone young – such a world could be paradise. The problem isn’t lack of resources, the problem is one of lack of imagination and lack of flexibility. The problem is that we have lost a mechanism for changing society because ‘the system’ is too scared people are too stupid to change society for the better. We have seen that before in history, “divine right of Kings to govern” and all. And yes, as Brexit and Trump has evidenced, voters who are scared tend to vote rather dismally sometimes. But do bear in mind, if given an alternative, the people tend to be pretty smart about the deal offered to them.
This is my idea. Copyright, patent, whatever, Khannea 2017.
1. Find a gravel pile asteroid. Could just as easily be Metallic, Rocky, Muddy or Icy asteroid. Reduce spin of the asteroid (may also be done later, depending on how much energy it takes).
2. Vertically dig a hole in to the asteroid, about a mile deep, about (estimate) 10+ (?) meters thick.
3. Use small demolition charges to thoroughly crack and powderize the insides of the bore tunnel, redrill as required after “softening up the insides”.
3. Sink a inflatable pillar structure in to the tunnel. The inflatable structure is folded very tightly around a central axis, and the material is some kind of ultra-tough kevlar/mylar material.
4. Very very gradually inflate the structure inside the asteroid with a non-reactive gas, preferably helium. But I suppose Nitrogen will do. This inflatory process will gradually proceed, pushing the asteroid material to the sides and outward, much like a molehill. The material weighs next to nothing, or in case of a few kilometer asteroids hundreds of what it would weigh on earth. Mass is an issue, as well as friction, so inflate very gradually.
5. At total inflation the structure is a rugged mylar “zeppelin” that’s embedded inside the asteroid. It should be well over a kilometer big. Modern flexible materials are capable of this inflatory process.
6. Inject liquid water around the inflatable structure. Most asteroids should be very cold on the insides. Water will free and act as a cement around the inflatable. It will also isolate the inflatable from reactive gasses or fluids (methane, primarily) inside the asteroid’s interior.
7. Check the insides of the inflatable for holes. This inspection can at this stage be done with humans with air masks. If there is no influx of dangerous asteroidal material proceed.
8. Erect a structure of high rigidity, low mass girders that supports the balloon from the inside, since it will still be under significant atmospheric pressure. When a gridwork has been establishes, triplecheck for structural safety. Keep reinforcing the gridwork until the spherical chamber is absolutely safe.
9. Fill with earth-standard atmosphere, maybe a little extra inert gasses for safety. Wouldn’t want to have any big fires inside. Warm the space up to a balmy 5-15 degrees centigrade. Cap the outside end. In the end capping there are several human sized hatches, and one really big hatch that snuggly fits a spaceship.
10. Construct, with human engineers working in very very low gravity conditions and perfectly fine air pressure and heat, under well illuminated conditions the basic metal structure of a spin-habitat. The way to keep the spin structure in place (asteroid might get quakey/rumbly as it heats up) would ideally be with several round maglev rings, safely placed against outer inflatable walls.
11. Spin the habitat, much as if it were a clothes centifuge, inside the habitat. Add mud, air, water and trees. Add ergonomic, jacques fresco style housing. Add illumination on the inside. Raise kids there, walk (jog) the dog around the uhm “equatorial” avenue. Say hi to the neighbours.
12. Insane profit.
I call these “Khannea Habitats”. Full of hot air, spinning in place forever.
I must apologize for translating an article. In making a translation, I interpret. In interpreting I subject the article to subjectivity. But I do nonetheless, with this disclaimer, and I urgently invite you to disagree with me and my lousy translation.
The Beatles were most certainly blissfully ignorant of a concept such as Transhumanism – the idea of uniting the human with machine-based Artificial Intelligence, but she could certainly sing a tune about the topic of Transcendance – because they were practicing a thing called “Transcendental Meditation”, which somehow alludes to meditating having something to do with some kind of “superconscious” to be working behind our personal, individual Consciousness…
Oh for fucks sake, where do I start? First – Transhumanism is generally defined as …
the belief or theory that the human race can evolve beyond its current physical and mental limitations, especially by means of science and technology.
…so why redefine it as the merger of artificial intelligence and the human? What does AI have to do with anything? Transhumanism is a significantly more broad enterprise than the relatively narrow field of AI. AI is emerging as something of a hipster term, because there’s so much discussion about it, but essentially AI right now is about using machine-based learning to make machines perform tasks humans can’t be bothered to do – i.e. all the boring stuff. Yes, you can merge AI with the human domain, in numerous ways, but what about merging humans with scizzors? You can merge humans with magnets, Binoculars comprize transhumanism. Pacemakers. Jet Skies. But mentioning “Artificial Intelligence” will of course allow the author of the article to make the mental leap towards some kind of transcendental universal consciousness.
Provided one exists. If you choose to discuss those things you are essentially appealing to people who somehow decide to miss the divine in their lives, but who in turn don’t like organized religion. We call those people “Itsists” in the Netherland, because these people find a necessity to believe in ‘something’ without having to define it. Defining religion quite often means you have to make statements about what must be done, or is disallowed to do. Religion is making statements about some kind of metaphysical entity or force, and that tends to imply transcendentally derived morality. In other words – if you say something about Metaphysics, you tend to also say other people must do or must not do. Before you know you have Sharia, or Dominionism, right? Maybe I am exaggerating. The Beatles were not very big or finger wagging and berating, granted, but they were exemplary of the definitive and visible unease of people in the baby boomer generation that found themselves bereft of guidance, divine or otherwise. Because we feel alone, we start doing shit that at least temporarily dispels that makes us feel lonely. And if we postulate the idea of some kind of transcendental universal consciousness, we get to not be alone.
This Transcendental Supra Consciousness isn’t always accessible for experience for just about anyone…
which is clearly evidenced by all the religious myths and ritual busywork people have crafted around it.
Assuming there’s an It, clearly. Which is still an assumption.
It is a very small minority of Yogi’s and Adepts who have generously shown us the way forward, but sadly their generous guidance was often co-opted by some old guy behind a curtain as to allow these guys to claim exclusive dibs on having access to the Divine.
No shit sherlock. I can easily claim that all of human progress so far has been the result of the twin tagteam all star wrestling effort between autocrats and religious leaders systematically terrifying and culling humanity to start listening to aforementioned spiritual leaders, “or else”. That a spiritual leaders sits all modestly in a cave or wear a loincloth somewhere doesn’t mean he still doesn’t get to enjoy the fruits of his fame.
Nowadays we have access to more and more information and tools to allow us to penetrate in to he depths of our very own ‘soul’.
One of the wizards who truly found her life’s passons in discovering and describing -and applying!- the wealth of ultra modern devices that allow us to enrich life with life force and similar stuff, long ago associated with this primal biological spiritual essence, is Yfke Laanstra.
Yfke Laanstra is awesome. I actually met her a few times, and her business model seems to be, and I am viciously crudely paraphrasing my impression here, to somehow link up tangible technological progress with the Transcendental. So as to not feel lonely, as I explained earlier in this article. She is doing a really good job at it too, as she’s now written a book about this whole endeavor.
From her deep experiences with (among many many many others) Deepak Chopra as her teacher, she now has access to an amazingly lucid perspective on the far-reaching potental (AND!) serious dangers of this whole computer revolution we are now in the middle of.
You are starting to see a pattern here? Yfke climbed some mountain and had a bunch of talks with a guy of which the media says he’s pretty awesome and it rubbed of and consequently Yfke inherited some of that awesome. And you can now also share in the awesome for just 19,95 euro.
Really really you should not take my bullshit translations seriously here. I mean, I am really bad at translating.
However, we might as well put all the hardware and software to facilitate us looking for liberating knowledge and to dissolve (?) the bars that have for centuries encased the human heart.
Hardware and Software, now dedicated towards the search for universal solvent!
On the website of this remarkably attractive and amazingly enterprising lady you can read all kinds of stuff about combi-discipline of consciousness- as well as computersciences.
Again, she talked to Deepak Chopra and nobody beats the Deeps. Combi-Discipline and all.
In the next month, say around may 2017, there’s this new book coming out she wrote about all this intensely deep forest of seriously related topic, and we call it “Bits, Bytes and Consciousnessness”. You can actually reserve your copy of this book. As soon as it arrives in our store we’ll send you a copy of this bookwritten by Yfke. Who talked to Deepak Chopra.
My suggestion? Buy the book in question and give Yfke your money. You’ll be able to read stuff written by the pretty lady who talked to THE Deepak Chopra.
And then people have the gall to label me cynical. I wonder why.
America is sick. It’s pretty obvious to the world and has been for some time. America has cancer. It is a cancer of special interests, and those special interests are white. You can call it the Military Industrial Complex, Big Oil, the Beltwey, Shills, The Two Party Political Stranglehold, The Deep State – but at the end of the day these are primarily white interests, favoring nothing short of white eugenic interests.
This is a polarity that pervades US society, and it is a deadly disease. The Cancer has progressed in to a lethal state, is widely gestating and is now becoming blatantly obvious to the world, a world that may in part be racist, but is also composed on countries with pervasively non-whites.
“I think there is blame on both sides,”
— Donald J. Trump
Trump made it grotesquely obvious. Now it is plain for all to see what the US stands for. Charlottesville is the turning point – either this ends now, or the United States will end, in a truly horrific manner.
The time for talk has ended. It is time for chemotherapy. It is time for radiation therapy. It is time for cauterizing the contaminated parts and try and salvage what is left.
In modern policy and futurological analysis there is an increasing contamination by ideology, which right now manifests as denialism. This is now one of the most corrosive problems in western modernism. Of course denialism has always been a problem, but increasingly it has become a mindset in so many people that it destroys dialogue, problem-solving and proper science. We are as a modern society increasingly unable to accept what we decide to be ideologically unacceptable, and we demand that all other parties come with compromises first, even when making such demand is self-evidently impossible.
I shall paint you a number of such examples, and try to illustrate where this inability to “swallow the bitter pill”, i.e. “accept what is a priori determined to be unacceptable”. There is of course a flipside to this, where as a culture we become unable to rationally dismiss things that are essentially wrong, out of sheer pigheadedness.
Problem one – the inability to accept what’s established fact, and rationally act upon it.
Example 1 – Climate Change
There is no amount of regurgitating facts that can convince people who do not “believe” in it but climate change is established fact and science. The problem is that there is a statistical chance people of a certain demographic, people of a certain political bent, people of a certain income strata who have major stakes in denying it exists, because in affirming this is a reality, these people would also be very likely to suffer major losses in affluence, status and income as a result. Clearly, certain industries have been quite active in conspiring with media to insist climate change isn’t real, isn’t caused by human activity, or (even more insidiously) it is irreversible and we might as well roll with it. The inability to accept this will have profound consequences, arguably as implicitly violent as actual warfare. The number of people thrust in to migration, systemic poverty or literal death might easily lead to more quantifiable hardship than 2 world wars, in a comparable time interval. This is in itself a completely rational, fact based statement, yet simple statements such as these are like vinegar to the people who won’t have it. In essence, people who have accepted the dictum that climate change isn’t real, or isn’t human-made, or is already a certainty, or isn’t that bad, or trying to reverse climate change with political measures and treaties would cost more than the actual cost of corresponding climate change itself can not accept the mere idea.
So let’s talk consequences – any level of severe climate change will almost certainly trigger a mass migration the world has never seen. Mass migration can not be easily stopped, or at least not without prohibitive costs that would cripple modern society. You’d have to pretty much dismantle democracy and the fair rule of law, to make society impervious to the degree of mass migration that is certain to be causally linked to correspondingly severe climate change.
But discussing this whole (and other) causal consequences and conclusions of the one is not debatable as the first is not accepted. And this is a major problem.
We have seen that similar mechanism, scaled down, with cigarette smoking. It is established fact that cigarette smoking costs society significantly more in terms of long term health care costs, than any taxation right now applied. It is thus yet another bitter pill for smokers (and one that has been more or less swallowed by society, after decades of frantic struggle) that their affection with burning chemically treated plant material into their lungs costs them most likely their health, while saddling society with the consequences of having to spend a fortune on mopping up the health care fallout. We have to not merely see our loved ones wither away, grow physically repugnant, get sick and die in a horrible fashion because of smoking, we also get as a society to waste taxpayer money on the whole manifested nightmare. But merely stating this as fact alienates smokers, angers them to no end, and ends all reasonable discussion. It is hence no surprise that a lot of career denialists moved from cigarettes-are-harmful debate leveled up to denying climate change, since conceptually there are so many similarities between the two.
Example Two – Technological unemployment
Technology, increased efficiency, automation, robotization and AI are all displacing jobs, period. They have been for centuries, and we have seen most these jobs be displaced by new and often higher quality jobs. Sad fact is that now we see (a) the allotment of new jobs be of a significantly lower quality, with lower pay, (b) the competition between workers is heating up to often unbearable degrees of ruthlessness, (c) it is becoming societally unaffordable, in terms of retraining and student debts and all to prepare workers for this rapidly evolving disruption and (d) the ability of automated systems, in conjunction with the esoteric and often woefully underestimated field of AI machine learning to wipe out previously automation-proof old jobs as well destroy any possibility of large numbers of new jobs emerging, is winning and will only get worse in decades to come.
This is potentially a societal disaster. Like with climate change we see a lot of stakeholders who can not and hence will not wrap their head around this reality (most people will be unemployable in a few years), or the follow up consequences (we will somehow have top artificially pump up useless jobs to employ people, or somehow societally have to levy a tax that’s a bigger redistributive effort than anything we have ever seen in history, allowing people that are already widely regarded with contempt to not work. Technological unemployment is unacceptable. Higher taxes are unacceptable. A basic income give out to (fill in your preferred dark skinned minority you hold most in contempt) and have these people live off a bare bones minimum income in what will prove to be teeming banlieux-style slums all across the developed world is thus unacceptable, and exponentially so. But as surely s night follows day these are all perfectly sound, perfectly rational, completely fact based and inescapable. But to spell it out forces hard working, middle income, blue collar, often white skinned people to have to swallow the bitter pill of having to see their hard-earned tax dollars go to “those people”.
So what do we get? We end up with evasive behavior, such as in clueless, dimwitted, shortsighted and arguably completely counterproductive approaches (more prisons, i.e. more prison labour, i.e. swarming prison populations ending up competing for hourly pay rates of under a euro competing with you), more police (who end up becoming a societal force for repression, tax collection-through-endless-fines, who’ll cost a fortune in tax payer dollars, who are routinely prone to mission creep, corruption, asset forfeiture, institutional racism, racial profiling and abuse of power. Or, even more laughably, you get these suggestions “we should deport those (differently colored, different gender identity, different socio-economic class, different religion, etc.) people”. Again, a lot of people refuse to swallow the bitter pill, and we end up with a causal chain of aggravated denial. And as a result the whole topic becomes impossible to discuss without instantaneously making people angry when you bring it up.
Example Three – Overpopulation
Let’s not even discuss this. You can see where this is going.
Example Four – Israel is committing crimes
Yes, Israel is a nation composed of people of judeo-christian, christian, pro-democratic, pro-modernity (more or less), post-enlightenment, pro-humanist values. Yes Israel is surrounded by viciously hostile and arguably culturally backward nations. Yes, Israel has a right to defend itself. Nonetheless Israel, with little doubt, steals land, commits human rights violations – if not outright war crimes. Yet this can not be debated. The asymmetry of a prolonged conflict between mostly white skinned people of mostly a western, modernist descent, facing what has increasingly become a study of how democracy turns in o a genocidal, fascist state, where one party is absolved of even the suggestion of having committed any crimes, and the other side is by definition always wrong, “because they are barbarians”.
Topics that inhabit the borderline of what can be determined, and what lies on the borderland of what can still be debated in polite company.
There are topics that are no longer negotiable to a degree above topics are still somewhat debatable in terms of scientific falsifiability or facts, and those are the topics that tend to make people retreat in to well-padded mental seclusion, or well-armed trench warfare. Topics such as these are, and are not limited to, (*) Is 911 an inside job perpetuated or facilitated by parts of US government?, (*) Are muslims destroying European culture?, (*) Does the private use of firearms have a societal cost significantly outweighing the benefits?, (*) Should women have unconstrained access to abortion?. And I can easily degenerate in to an ever more violent realm of topics not to be raised on thanksgiving or christmas family reunions, such as (*) Has the Catholic religion, as an organization, facilitated large-scale pedosexual aggression by its priesthood?, (*) Has feminism overshot its original purpose and are women now effectively the stronger sex?, (*) Is there such a thing as excessive political correctness?, (*) Do jews control the USA?, or (*) Do vaccines pose an unacceptable risk of creating autism spectrum disorders in children?, or (*) Were the Lunar Landings faked?, or even funnier (*) Is Donald J. Trump a completely incompetent president who has absolutely no place in the white house, and is inflicting immeasurable damage to the credibility of the US?
Holy shit yes, these topics are extremely inflammatory, and I am certain large sections of my readership will have just detonated in moral outrage that I even dare suggest these topics fall on either side of the debate. Or that any or some of these topics are even worthy of discussion in the first place.
But that’s where we have ended up now. I am not arguing all the above “politically incorrect” topics either way. I am not saying there’s no such thing as “social justice warriors”, or “private citizens shouldn’t own military grade assault rifles”, or “Catholicism is to a large degree linked to organized pedophilia”, or “Gasoline does not melt steel beams, or no modern high rise building has ever collapsed in its own foot print after a minor office fire”
(etc.) but by disallowing large sections of society to reflect upon any of these, and a multitude of other topics, and to systematically disallow a rational, fact based listing of arguments either way (or an inability to weigh arguments either way) is a recipe for disaster.
We need as a society learn to become reverent of the irreverent again. A refusal to talk about uncomfortable topics should be, forever, be the domain of the cowardly and the simplistic.
Where will you be is a collaborative endeavor where all manner of people are invited to make statements on where they will be and live in the next few hundred years. The project is based on the non-contradiction principle – if someone makes a statement later contributors to the project should make sincere attempts not to contradict earlier statements, and anyone making statements (on colonization of the solar system, and available technologies) should make relatively conservative estimates and statements about the future, as well as statements that allow later makers of statements to seamlessly mesh their statements with anyone contributing later. The goal is to arouse thought on the meaning of technologically advancing technologies, life extension and we can describe a future that’s both meaningful as well as plausible. This project is part collaborative fiction, as well as “crowdsourced futurism”.
This page will chart what’s ‘canon’, i.e. what’s true for the established timeline.
When making a contribution, please read over as much as you can of what has been posted previously, and try to quote as much people as you can that made earlier statements.
The collaborative storyline assumes humanity will soon become immortal, and will soon travel to the outer solar system in large numbers of people. The collaborative storyline assumes there will be no “hard takeoff” and emphasizes as much as possible what will prove to be hard science.
A problem which will no doubt emerge during the collaboration will be based on old trope left/right political divide that has so poisoned the debate in futurological circles. An example of such a topic is climate change, and the effects of heat trapping emissions on causing irreversible and probably catastrophic changes to the planetary biosphere. There are lots of futurist inclined people that swear that CO2 is a healthy gas (plants crave it!) and that there is no man-made climatic disruption of relevance. In case of irresolvable tries I’ll post a query on the group and we vote on what’s canon. Sadly this will cause people to leave the collaboration as they will conclude the vote has created a set of premises and axioms they regard as fictional. It is my goal to work around these ‘irresolvables’ as much as possible, with “creative storytelling”, i.e. many of the statements in respective stories may in fact be disinformation. For instance, you may make a statements where it is proven “smoking cigarettes” has been proven to be healthy in the year 2040, and if you make sure contrarian statements you are invited to make yourself as falsifiable as possible.
– as the project starts up limit yourself to the 21st century.
– If you have the slightest doubt about what will be possible debate and ask for questionnaire/audience feedback
Axioms of the future storyline are as follows
Extremely expensive biogerontological life extension has effects counted in years gained in average statistical life expectancy of several years over the median (non treatment) population by 2030. This increase rises to a decade beyond 2040 and to many decades by 2050. It can be assumed that all very rich people who so desire can live indefinitely (barring accidents or misfortune) by 2075. For all people living in the developed world it can be assumed there will be 1-2 decades of lag, i.e. for anyone of low income living in a developed, modern country it can be assumed they will live indefinitely (if they so desire) by 2100. We’ll assume the number of people making use of life extension options will initially be a great deal less than 50%, so gross human mortality from age related ailments will remain high for the better part of the 21st century.
Solar system colonization
We’ll distinguish several states for settlement of the solar system. The first state will be comprehensive automated exploration. Then will follow semi-automated resource development. The third stage will encompass small crew missions of a semi-permanent nature. The fourth stage will entail expensive (and cumbersome) political or corporate block missions that may evolve in to early settlements. The fifth stage will entail pioneering of logo-wearing corporate and state settlers, and early industry. The sixth stage will entail wildcatter or privateer settlers, and the commencement of large scale industrialization and settlement. We’ll decide on later stages afterwards. We’ll assume that stage six comprises massive automation as well as human presence numbering in the thousands.
I: 2020 II:2035 III:2055 IV:2065 V:2080 VI:2100
Main Asteroid Belt
I: 2030 II:2045 III:2065 IV:2075 V:2090 VI:2120
Artificial Intelligence, Singularity, FOOM, etc.
We’ll assume a world with maximum meaning. That means – the world must mean as much as possible for everyone taking part. That means – no hard singularity for now, and whatever exponential technologies occur, they will occur in a manner that allows for comprehensive and understandable storytelling.
Ask me for additional axioms by mailing email@example.com
There are now arguments to conclude that humanity will enter a terminal decline, or worse, go extinct somewhere this century. Yes it is terribly difficult to destroy the species (there may be a few straggling survivors in deep mountain survival complexes even in the worst case scenario for centuries) but we must conclude that most of terrestrial, human survival is now at stake. For reasons I won’t have to become sensationalistic and point a finger to the trump phenomenon – far more pressing concerns consist of humanity quickly losing its primary source of energy depletion, while we as a species are nowhere near to transitioning to alternative fuel sources. And probably just as horrible are the consequences of catastrophic climate change. If you want a full blast alarmist presentation to that effect, click this link.
So what are we to do in a world where it has now become plausible that all we hold dear may one day lie in ruins?
This sets our mind to the concept of legacy. What does a person do when being told he or she will soon die? The one answer is – leave a legacy. Leave offspring.
Losing civilization is a process that’s too horrific to even start describing. Aside from the movie ‘the road’ there is very little to go around that even gets close to how bad the death of billions of human beings could conceivably be. And yet, here we are, looking at an ever widening set of scenario ranges that at the very least make human extinction in decades evolve from possible to plausible and to likely.
If civilization ends, and the planet itself turns in to a scorched nightmare parody we will leave nothing. All our works will be undone. In a few million years every information carrying medium will have become virtually unreadable. All what humans might value, will have become erased. Sure, if some humans survive we may see some kind of future renaissance but in that case we may have to ask – how relevant would such a renaissance in a barren, resource depleted world be?
There is another terrifying option. We must come to grips with the theoretical reality that there will be an ever increasing percentage of humans (who have access to the prerequisite resources) that comes to a consensus that humanity itself is now under threat. And we must come to the conclusion that these people might decide to proactively leave a legacy.
There is right now one such legacy on the horizon, and it is general artificial intelligence.
if we just go about business our advances are likely to produce a general artificial intelligence before long. We might (or would have been) lucky and have the werewithall to create an at least loyal AGI, but at this stage in human history it may be far easier to create just any AGI, and to quickly advance it to the stage it can start augmenting itself.
An AGI is far better equipped to survive than humans are, or human civilization is. I am not one for dotting the earth with erosion proof stainless steel moments when there may be no humans around to appreciate these monuments. A far more lasting legacy would be an AGI.
We now come to this terrifying choice – at what point will some people decide to go guns blazing and create recursively self improving AGI? The difference between that and the specific outcome of that recursively self-improving AGI being created completely friendly recursively self-improving AGI may be a difference in years we no longer have at our disposal.
I do not advocate any of this, but I sure as hell can contemplate it. And that’s what I say to all of the species reading this, and which is capable of understanding the implications of my words. There may come a time in a few years or a few decades where a total or near human extinction is becoming so probable that some minorities will bet it all on black – leave at least something behind.