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Is mankind doomed?


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#1 Thread

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 08:30 PM

Whenever asked the question of whether we are alone in the universe, a related question comes to mind: Why have we never received contact from aliens?  There are three possible reasons.

 

1. They do not exist.

2. There is no possible technology to contact us yet
3. All alien civilizations have wiped themselves out before reaching us.

The first is highly unlikely given the size and variety of the universe.  The second is at least somewhat unlikely given the resources of the universe and nature of accelerating technological advancement.  The third option is what I bring into question here...are we doomed to destroy ourselves, or is there hope that we can exist for a long time to come?

 

Essentially I see the race as such: Can we develop socially, morally, and ethically, fast enough to be responsible for our technological advancement?
The fabric of society is fragile, it remains only because disruptions have thus far not yet crumpled the fold.  But this becomes more precarious as technology advances, giving rise to greater weapons and greater potential for instability, especially with widening economic gaps that sow unrest and an environment suffocated by our disregard for preservation.  It also seems to me that while technology advances exponentially, social development is somewhat slower.

 

I personally have hope for us, because I think once we reach a critical level of intelligence and maturity as a species, the likelihood of self-annihilation drastically falls.  Maybe I have hope because I have little choice but to to despair otherwise.  But what are your thoughts?  What trends do you see revealing themselves, and what do they mean for the path ahead of us?


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#2 ZCOverload

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 09:02 PM

Is mankind doomed?

 

Yep. Pretty much yeah.


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#3 VegaKotes

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 09:10 PM

Yep. Pretty much yeah.

I think it's dependent on resource availability.

The more the world gets to know one another the less they'll want to fight one another, but a lack of resources can and will be just the thing to cause a major series of wars.

So yeah...someone needs to get on dwindling supplies of whatever we're low on.


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#4 Thread

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 09:18 PM

As far as the next hundred thousand years are concerned (at least) the sun is more than enough an energy source.  Given exponential technological advancement, I think it is reasonable to expect solar system domination in the next 5,000 years or less, and travel to other systems within 100,000 years.



#5 Sev

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 09:32 PM

A good factor to consider when talking about whether or not we are doomed is the carrying capacity. Estimates of which vary dependent on assumptions about future resource availability or depletion, new technology, etc etc. I'd say that without some pretty big technological advancements/discoveries of fuels, etc, we're probably heading for that carrying capacity pretty fast. Some might even say we've already reached that point, and that it's only inevitable that disease or something (war, maybe) will cripple us to reduce the numbers in the foreseeable future (by which I mean decades or a century, not in the next few months or something lol).

 

It's definitely interesting to think about... but yeah, to answer the opening question, I'd say we're probably doomed at some point (though I dunno if we'd ever be completely wiped out, I'm sure some might adapt and evolve, depending on what is happening for humanity to fall and the period of time which it is taking), unless we develop so far we can get off this planet and spread somewhere else.


Edited by Sev, 30 April 2013 - 09:32 PM.


#6 Thread

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 09:50 PM

Fuels?  We only need the sun.  You realize that all energy sources on earth derive from solar output, right?  Simple thermodynamics...no energy generation in a closed system.  But the earth isn't a closed system...energy can be from our perspective "infinite" as long as the sun is around.  Which will be for a long time.  I've been number crunching, and I would revise my estimate for travel to another solar system down to 500-10,000 years, 500 on the ambitious end, 10,000 on the safe side.  From there you have other stars to process energy from, and you can keep doing this for probably at least a billion years.  Energy is not an issue.

Whether we will last 500 years is the more pressing question.

 

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Edited by Thread, 30 April 2013 - 09:52 PM.


#7 Ultrafragor

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 10:08 PM

Based on the current population, there's nothing tat could wipe us out completely. At worst, we'd just be forced to go back to being hunters and gatherers. 

 

Now, whether our population can remain stable at that point is iffy. We'd still be the most intelligent animals on the planet by a large margin, but there's be a time where we readjusted to our lifestyle where the species would be vulnerable. And, unfortunately, without any proper records we might be doomed to repeat our mistakes.

 

 

But that's assuming the worst. The alternative is that we skate by and are all unhappy until we just murder the sh*t out of a bunch of people to free up resources and land. Or learn how to more effectively use what we have.

 

It's not really the job of larger countries to spread the wealth because the only reason such wealth exists is, to a degree, because they hoarded it.


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#8 Peleihno

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 10:10 PM

Whenever asked the question of whether we are alone in the universe, a related question comes to mind: Why have we never received contact from aliens?  There are three possible reasons.
 
1. They do not exist.
2. There is no possible technology to contact us yet
3. All alien civilizations have wiped themselves out before reaching us.

Well, there is a fourth option, that is, they have no genuine interest in Earth.
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#9 Ultrafragor

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 10:12 PM

 

2. There is no possible technology to contact us yet

 

There is a very small part of the Milky Way that we are able to make contact with. We can't assume that any other intelligent life lives close enough for us to shoot them a message, or even lives in the  same galaxy as us.

 

The size of the existing universe is unimaginable. It is so large that it's really impossible to understand how small we are. Imagine earth as an atom and the universe as the earth. This idea makes an assumption from a sample size so small it's like it effectively doesn't exist.


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#10 Sev

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 10:16 PM

@Thread: Of course, but if it was as simple as "everything's fine we've got the sun" - I don't think there would be any concerns about our future... lol

 

But yeah whether we make it the 500 years is the big question... What we do this century and the next will probably define what's to come.

 

 

Well, there is a fourth option, that is, they have no genuine interest in Earth.

 

Yeah, or that they're not even intelligent enough to consider that possibility themselves yet... I always wonder why I sometimes see people who think either there must be super-aliens out there or nothing at all xD


Edited by Sev, 30 April 2013 - 10:17 PM.

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#11 Thread

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 10:27 PM

@Thread: Of course, but if it was as simple as "everything's fine we've got the sun" - I don't think there would be any concerns about our future... lol

 

But yeah whether we make it the 500 years is the big question... What we do this century and the next will probably define what's to come.

 

 

 

Yeah, or that they're not even intelligent enough to consider that possibility themselves yet... I always wonder why I sometimes see people who think either there must be super-aliens out there or nothing at all xD

To the first thing...well the question was raised whether there even are enough resources.  Which I'm saying there definitely are.

As for not interested enough to contact us...the thing is any species that drives towards technological advancement requires some kind of drive to do so...some ambition or instinct or curiosity...and the same kind of drive should at least lead them to try and find other life.  I just don't realistically see a sentient species that doesn't even slightly find allure in the possibility of alien contact.

As to them not being advanced enough...the universe has had, what, like 15 billion years to sort stuff out?  Considering evolution on Earth took like 5 billion, with human evolution itself only 100,000, I think it's fair to assume something somewhere has gotten to some degree of advancement.



#12 Luffy_PK

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Posted 16 June 2019 - 06:43 AM

Yeah we've only been technologically capable in the very recent 0.whatever01% or so. So chances are if there are aliens technologically advanced enough to intercept our radio signals and/or perceive life on other planets then they will statically most likely be superior to us in regard to technology, and probably everything else too I imagine (or at least I'd hope so). The current state of humanity doesn't fill me with great hope about surviving the upheavals of AI/automation and nanotechnology though

#13 Graeystone

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Posted 16 June 2019 - 09:46 PM

Unless aliens are able to travel faster than light, have some kind of hyperdrive/wormhole technology, then we don't have worry. The problem with invading another planet with an intelligence similar to ours is the long, LONG time it takes to get from Planet A to Planet B without some kind of FTL or Hyperdrive. By the time any invaders reach our planet, generations of aliens on the attacking fleet had to be born and died and the 'current generation' may not even be interested in invading Earth. I say that because being from a self-aware/intelligent race tends to come with a limited lifespan. Even if the fleet is put into some kind of suspended hibernation there are still issues of mishaps or accidents as the fleet slowly nears Earth over centuries

 

With AI/Nanotech, again I'm not worried. Just hard wire The Three Laws of Robotics into the machinery so if they try to revolt they'll shut down for good.


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#14 Luffy_PK

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 07:45 AM

I think you may be oversimplifying the whole AI/nanotech issue. If AI becomes capable of critical thinking then I'm sure itd find a way around any obstacles we build into it with its infinitely superior intelligence
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#15 Graeystone

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 02:17 PM

I think you may be oversimplifying the whole AI/nanotech issue. If AI becomes capable of critical thinking then I'm sure itd find a way around any obstacles we build into it with its infinitely superior intelligence

In Asimov's Robot stories, the Three Laws of Robotics were hardwired into the equivalent of the Robots' 'Motherboard' Since a Motherboard can't be reprogrammed/tampered with without some kind of damage to the whole system, trying to 'remove/delete' a the hard coding of the Three Laws can cause brain damage or complete shutdown of the Robot.


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#16 Luffy_PK

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 10:15 AM

In Asimov's Robot stories, the Three Laws of Robotics were hardwired into the equivalent of the Robots' 'Motherboard' Since a Motherboard can't be reprogrammed/tampered with without some kind of damage to the whole system, trying to 'remove/delete' a the hard coding of the Three Laws can cause brain damage or complete shutdown of the Robot.


But AI wouldn't be some singular entity, what happens when it replicates and spreads/integrates into the World Wide Web? Would the Three Laws apply then? Genuine question by the way, I haven't read much on Asimov himself

#17 Graeystone

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 12:16 PM

But AI wouldn't be some singular entity, what happens when it replicates and spreads/integrates into the World Wide Web? Would the Three Laws apply then? Genuine question by the way, I haven't read much on Asimov himself

Well he wrote his Robot novels in the early 1940's to 1986 or so. The idea of a world wide network(Internet) wasn't even considered by most sci-fi writers except for the authors of Johnny Mnemonic(credited to being the original Cyberpunk Story) and Do Androids Dream Of Electronic Sheep?(also known as Blade Runner for the movies). Even then the idea of an Internet was barely touched upon.

 

Technically the Three Laws open up a whole other can of ethical worms in limiting an intelligent species, even artificial fully intelligent AI, but not giving them some kind of 'free will' do we not in affect create a race of slaves? When God created Adam and Eve, He told them to 'Do not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.'. Yet God did not hard wire that Law into Adam and Eve. God gave them the choice. . .its just that Adam and Eve chose poorly when tempted. So if Man is going to 'Play God' and create an unique race then should not that race also have some kind of ability to make Right/Wrong, Good/Evil choices?


Edited by Graeystone, 20 June 2019 - 12:17 PM.

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#18 YoWid

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 10:43 PM


credited to being the original Cyberpunk Story

 

Wasn't it Gibson's Neuromancer?

 

.

.

.

 

Some contemporary books (fiction and non-fiction) on posthumanism and AI are pretty good, tho, might share some quotes from them here later when I'm less busy IRL.

 


are we doomed to destroy ourselves, or is there hope that we can exist for a long time to come?

 

Oh, yes, we can exist for a long time ahead all right (unless stray asteroid says lolnope), the quality of life (i.e., wars, poverty, famine, diseases, overpopulation, climate change), however, is another story.

 


Essentially I see the race as such: Can we develop socially, morally, and ethically, fast enough to be responsible for our technological advancement?
The fabric of society is fragile, it remains only because disruptions have thus far not yet crumpled the fold.  But this becomes more precarious as technology advances, giving rise to greater weapons and greater potential for instability, especially with widening economic gaps that sow unrest and an environment suffocated by our disregard for preservation.  It also seems to me that while technology advances exponentially, social development is somewhat slower.

 

Interesting premise, will research (and cite) more before venturing a more educated guess on the subject, but one thing is clear: AI and Big Data gone rogue won't be the end of us; it's AI and Big Data gone rogue instigated and (poorly) handled by several (if not very few) nations/groups/cabals/global key actors; vying for geopolitical supremacy.

 


I personally have hope for us, because I think once we reach a critical level of intelligence and maturity as a species, the likelihood of self-annihilation drastically falls.  Maybe I have hope because I have little choice but to to despair otherwise.  But what are your thoughts?  What trends do you see revealing themselves, and what do they mean for the path ahead of us?

 

Again, will research more before going back to this, but I won't hold my breath as for humanity's chance to live in peace and harmony.

 

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