The world has been extraordinarily lucky since World War II in that none of the more than 2000 nuclear weapons detonated have done so over a city. Unfortunately, as more countries obtain these weapons, the problem of them not being used in an aggressive way multiplies. It has been thought by our political leaders that using even one of these weapons would bring onto that perpetrator an instant and incredibly massive retaliation. Thus, so far, everyone has been afraid to use them.
It doesn’t seem likely that this kind of peace will endure the continuing population explosion, coupled with exploitation of fossil fuels to near exhaustion, coupled with insufficient water for crops, general environmental pollution, and global weather disruptions. Given current political methods of resolving these problems, a disaster returning the population back to pre-industrial levels is probable. This sounds ridiculously gloomy given the fact that our world is overall better off than at any time in human history. The adequate proof of that assertion is that over seven billion people now have a life expectancy of over seventy years. In 1825 there were about one billion with periodic famines and a life expectancy of thirty-five years.
My blogs of this last few weeks have been exploring the idea that we humans are a transition species to a new form of life. Our human civilization at present is capable of creating a self-sustaining chip-based society. My plan is to do what is possible to help us succeed in doing that before what I see as an inevitable collapse destroys our ability to create that society and humanity withers away.
Our civilization will be lucky to survive for a hundred years more, but the chip-based society could survive for a hundred billion years. It would do this by migrating to other star systems with stable long-lived stars with comfortable planets. The Universe has gone through a dozen transformations as strange as our creating a robot society. Through a hundred years of robots manufacturing appropriate robots to manufacture still more appropriate robots, it would be possible to have a stable society.
That Brave New Universe (I beg pardon of Aldous Huxley) would over a very short period of time, as measured by the robots, be able to convert much of the available silicon on Earth to various types of computer components and the necessary mechanical things. It would be interesting to speculate on what a thinking entity of that size would choose to think about. Later?
I began writing this blog post because of a line on page 132 of The Stoic Philosophy of Seneca. “May all the cruelty of Fate be exhausted with me and go no further!” Obviously, a two-millennia-old quote has nothing to do with my robotic society, but that quote seems appropriate; for our species to have a lasting impact on the Universe we need to create this society. Let us see our human-induced shortcomings and transcend them.
This Brave New Universe is now possible for us to create.