[ExI] Existential Risks might be underestimated

spike spike66 at att.net
Thu May 28 12:33:42 UTC 2015

>... On Behalf Of BillK
Subject: [ExI] Existential Risks might be underestimated

>...We May be Systematically Underestimating the Probability of Annihilation
By Phil Torres    Posted: May 27, 2015


>...Phil Torres has an article suggesting that risks might be larger than we expect.
Basically he is saying that unknown unknowns should be given more weight.

>...I'm not sure what we are expected to do about 'unknown unknowns'.
Except keep looking over our shoulder to see if something is sneaking up on us...BillK


Ja.  I have a hard time getting worried about unknown unknowns when we have such an enormous known known existential threat right before us: energy availability.  If we fail to figure out a way to transition to renewable energy sources in time (which looks likely) it isn't so much that humans will face extinction, but our modern way of life would become extinct.  We could die back to leave mostly those who have not mastered or eschew modern technology, such as the people in the Australian outback, the Amazon jungles, the Inuit people of the frozen north, the Amish, the African tribesmen and so forth, the segments of society which are or have been in technological stasis or have suffered retrograde technology.

Then if that outcome occurs, the future of humanity is in their hands.  They might develop religions which teach that technological stasis is good, that the old ones attempted to perform magic, but they flew too high and the sun melted their wings.  Their technology seemed to work well for a while, but it was a bitter illusion and much suffering and death was the long-term result, as they turned away from (fill in name of arbitrary deity.)  Therefore technology should not be developed, and should be eschewed and destroyed where found, that change is evil (etc.)

This future of humanity haunts me, not only because it is the end of every dream, but that its outcome is so easily foreseeable: all we have to do is stay on our present course.


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