Answers to the catastrophism surrounding the prospect of a radically longer life
Catastrophism often arises when it comes to radical life extension, because people think that we are condemned in the long run anyway. As if this were a way to convince oneself of not wanting to live as long as desired since the end is inevitable.
If we applied this logic to the current state of the world, it would not be worth living today either, because we are systematically subjected to the worst shipwreck: aging! This on the short horizon of a few decades only….
Let’s look at some of these fears.
Infinite nuisance potential of an individual
A single twisted and evil individual with the technologies of tomorrow could annihilate human civilization, with a bomb of infinite power, or by launching the exponential self-replication of molecular-sized robots that would cover and devour the planet within a few hours. These scenarios are nightmarish, but the question is legitimate: at all times isolated individuals or small groups have attacked society in order to inflict maximum casualties. Could these individuals armed with tomorrow’s technologies annihilate human civilization?
Not in our opinion, because our human organization benefits from an insurmountable positive bias. Any attack would be circumscribed, manageable. The nihilistic individual could prevail if our society was chaotic, but this is not the case as we will demonstrate. The entire history of humanity tends toward order and security.
If a technology allows an individual to commit a mass crime, there will be even more technology to protect ourselves … thanks to the positive bias. It’s a causal link, nuisance technology cannot exist without its positive counterpart.
The organized form of today’s society, the state, always has much more means than any individual. If today an individual has the means to create a bomb to commit an act of terror (and these individuals usually have at their disposal only artisanal means), the organized society possesses thermonuclear bombs. If in the future an individual had the means to launch the self-replication of molecular nanorobots to annihilate the world (very unlikely scenario) … imagine what the organized society will have at its disposal to counter such an attack… Self-replication will not sprout miraculously … it will be the product of the effort of a positively organized society. A self-replication attack will not go unnoticed … society will have setup a positive overall immune system. To “gray goo” will be opposed, “blue (police) goo.”
If by magic you had explained to cavemen that powder would be used to make bombs, probably they would have imagined a catastrophic and chaotic scenario where individuals would have placed bombs everywhere causing the chaos of perdition. At least the powder would have allowed a clan to annihilate all its rivals. But the powder has been used for centuries and civilization is still standing. Certainly we have terrorists, and if their attacks cause terror, they are by no means an existential threat to the civilized world. We are in the post-September 11 world, and the economy has been growing steadily ever since. Even if the terrorists managed to place an atomic bomb in the capital of the Western world, it would not be a lethal threat, no more than the collapse of the World Trade Center. The only way for terrorists to destroy the Western world is to place dozens of bombs that would explode simultaneously in all major cities on the planet. It cannot happen. This will never happen because of the positive bias. Their attempt would be detected before it happens.
And so it will probably be in the future, because the positive bias will always be overwhelming. And it’s not Big Brother, because the positive bias is decentralized. It’s people like you and me who yearn for a peaceful and positive life. The positive bias is in us. What percentage of the world’s population has ever committed murder? This rate is not 50%: +99.9 …% of people have never murdered anyone throughout their lives. This is proof of positive bias. In a world without positive but chaotic bias … 50% of individuals would have committed murder.
The positive bias precedes us in everything we do, shapes and guides our development. The bias is like a force, an order in the universe, a direction like gravity. We do not progress toward chaos, we progress toward order and harmony.
The Earth Will Eventually Be Destroyed by the Sun
It is indeed a scientific certainty: the earth is doomed to destruction. Several astronomical phenomena are dooming our planet to become unlivable. Let’s mention the most common: the evolution of our sun. This star is currently burning hydrogen continuously in its core, but this reaction will eventually spread to a layer surrounding the core. When that happens, the core will shrink and the outer shell will gradually expand to swallow our earth and well beyond. This will be very gradual, the brightness of the sun will increase, as well as the heat … it will be a deadly hell.
If the earth is doomed to extinction, why live indefinitely? Some seem to invoke this curious pretext to reassure themselves of not being able to benefit from radical extension of life today. Let’s be serious, the astronomical causes of earth annihilation are at horizons of hundreds of millions, even billions of years. In 1000 years, 500, 300 and certainly less, mankind will have achieved so much technological progress that it will have the means to establish itself out of its home planet. In 10,000 years … 100,000 years … the degree of progress will be such that it is simply impossible to imagine today. The fate of humanity will be decoupled from that of our planet. Perhaps we will even have the means to save it.
The fear of the unknown
Finally, an individual may fear many unknowns that lie in the future.
Often people are not aware of the positives technological scenarios that lie in the future. They have only a fragmentary, “Hollywood” vision and have never considered the fact that the future may be better than the present.
If the imponderables will not miss the party, it does not seem unrealistic to expect from the future significant advances in medicine, and technological advances allowing us to make radical improvements in areas such as energy, food and pollution.
We hope that Future Is Great will have contributed to clearing our vision of the future and point out positive paths ahead.
POST’S CALL TO ACTION
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