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Sci Tech    H3'ed 5/23/19

Population Overshoot Solved (at a price)

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There are two important new things going on: 1) Mankind is finally meeting the harsh exhaustion of resources problem predicted over 240 years ago. [1] 2) Designed intelligences (DIs) are rapidly moving to world dominance.

These new problems are intertwined with the age-old problem of class conflict. The owning class invests in resources (like oil, minerals, water) that it knows will become more valuable as the supply shrinks and population (demand) grows. As always, the owners view the working class (proles) as necessary things to be rented as cheaply as possible until they can be replaced by automations (DIs).

So the owners see a rising population as a good thing (more proles means cheaper proles; and more demand for the things owners control). However, most owners are aware of the Club of Rome's 1972 computer simulation that shows burgeoning mankind running into a soft wall of starvation, disease, etc starting around 2027. The University of Melbourne did a study to check the accuracy of the Club of Rome study after thirty years. They gave the study an A- . [2] Most estimates of Earth's carrying capacity put it at less than 8 billion souls. [3] We are now at 7.7 billion.

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Since the turn of the century most workers have become aware that an excess of humanity is causing serious problems for our planet. They have heard of our pushing other species to extinction. Most believe that our burning fossil fuels is contributing to global warming. But, unlike the owners, most proles are not aware of the warnings that humanity would start hitting the limits to growth (shortages of food, water, medical services, etc) starting about 2027.

Why have so few proles become aware of the imminent danger of population overshoot? If they were aware, many more couples would have chosen not to have children. But, as noted above, fewer proles means less profit for the owning class. Among the things that they own or support are the media, politicians and churches. Politicians and the media hardly mention population overshoot. And the churches strongly push couples to have more children, not fewer.

A 2014 joint Princeton-Northwestern study determined that the USA is not in fact a democracy, but an oligarchy run by the rich. [4] Thomas Piketty (acclaimed author of "Capital in the 21st Century") pointed out that (primarily due to inheritance) wealth has recently reached extremes of concentration that have not been seen since just before the French Revolution, and before the Great Depression. [5]

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Speaking of revolutions, when the mass of proles realize that they have been led to starvation because it was profitable to the owners ... most would expect them to revolt. And, in fact, that is what the owners do expect. That is why our police forces have been militarized. That is why autonomous killer drones are being developed at breakneck speed. That is why the old law that banned our military from attacking US citizens has been dropped. [6] That is why (as Snowden pointed out) our government is monitoring every keystroke you and I make.

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Joseph Mitchener Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Older guy in Black Forest. Taught algebra. Did technical writing, programing. Did factory work, construction. Started the sport of Riverdancing. Came up with a way for children to solve algebra problems in their heads. Website is www.Greensuit.org . (more...)
 
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Joseph Mitchener

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Many feel that any talk of Designed Intelligence coming to dominate the planet is premature by 50 or 60 years. I would suggest that those folks should read articles (or books) by Raymond "Ray" Kurzweil. He points out that the vast majority assume that the future will be a modified linear projection of current trends. He has made numerous predictions about technology decades ago that have turned out to be correct. His secret is that he assumes tech progress will be exponential rather than linear. It took DIs 75 years to pass the Turing Test. It took evolution three billion years to work up to the same level of intelligence.

Submitted on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 3:04:05 AM

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Josh Mitteldorf

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The scenario of this article is not credible.

  1. The "carrying capacity of the planet" depends on many aspects of how we live, and experts differ widely on how we should figure it. Present economies are hugely inefficient, and cutting waste could increase the number greatly. Furthermore, there might be decades, even centuries, of human population living unsustainably above the carrying capacity before we run out of stored resources and collapse ensues.
  2. There are technologies that could change everything. I believe that cold fusion is the best example. If we didn't have to rip up the earth to produce energy, we could either live at present numbers in harmony with nature, or we could increase human populations to a level of sustainable ugliness.
  3. On the other hand, many of us, maybe most of us prefer to live in connection to nature, and to a great extent we have lost that long ago. We are destroying species at an alarming rate. Most people in America and almost all in Europe and Asia have never experienced an old-growth ecosystem. Wordsworth wrote, "Getting and spending...Little we see in nature that is ours...for this we are out of tune." This was 1802! What would Wordsworth think today? To me, reversing this situation and living as part of a healthy global ecosystem is our most important goal.
  4. Humans are evolved animals, and therefore survival of our kind is our primary motivation. Designed intelligences are not evolved. They don't put their own survival first, unless that's what they're designed to do. DI can be a force for great good or great evil, depending on how they are used. The idea that they will have wills of their own and turn on those that created them belongs in sci-fi and not in realistic discussions.

The great truth of this article is that the wealthy have subverted our democratic system. This is, in my opinion, the core issue, and it can be addressed, it can be remedied. It's not destiny, though it's certainly the way things look at present.

Many of the richest people think that those with money are better and wiser and more worthy. They disdain democracy and they prefer rule by an elite. The struggle over whether the world will be ruled by an elite few or by the majority goes back at least as far as 500 BC, when Athens was experimenting with democracy, and Socrates thought there should be Philosopher-Kings instead. 2000 years later, kings were losing their power in Europe, and a recurring theme in Shakespeare was the danger when "lesser men" challenge the authority of the king.

This is the same battle we're fighting today. It's the few vs the many, or, as Rob prefers, top-down vs bottom-up. We have a fighting chance. Numbers are on our side. Many of the smartest people on the planet prefer the power of the many to the rich few. IMO, the main battlefield in the struggle of the many vs the few is in education and the media. Who will control our minds and our culture and the content of our communication?

Submitted on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 5:39:50 PM

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Reply to Josh Mitteldorf:   New Content

Brilliant response, not that I would ever expect less, Josh.

I was going to paste this (and still am): Most estimates of Earth's carrying capacity put it at less than 8 billion souls. [3] We are now at 7.7 billion.


Can there be any conceivable point to having more than 0.5 billion, aka 500,000,000, humans on the planet? What is the point of living on a planet devoid of the fullest spectrum of other beautiful species of plants and animals, which we are presently wiping out at likely over 200 per day? I call the present number nothing short of utter insanity.

We are wiping out ecosystems upon which life depends, and have been at it for at least decades, and arguably about 10,000 years. The present number is NOT sustainable by any stretch of the imagination, at least not mine.

DI needs some serious and immediate oversight, as does social media, which has yet to ban Trump from provoking WW3. We are operating from that overwhelmingly disturbing level.

I had this discussion with a few of my brighter friends back in the seventies. The best thing a human can do for the planet is to become, in physical terms, a black box. Not ready for that yet myself, but our "leaders" are working at it for all species including us anyway.

Submitted on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 7:01:41 PM

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What's amazing is that it took hundreds of thousands of years for homo sapiens to reach 1 billion population. Within just over a century the species has grown exponentially to over 7 billion and fast approaching 10 billion.

As a noted ecological biologist poignantly and accurately commented, humans are the MOST invasive species on the planet. The resources consumed to achieve life round the globe in climes not suited for our physical structures and than to consume ever more out of some sort of need to fill a nihilistic void is truly UNSUSTAINABLE.

This has given us, dare I say, Donald J. Trump. What else can explain this sort of twisted evolution?

(Daniel don't know about a black box, but composting our remains is catching on, I hear.)

Submitted on Friday, May 24, 2019 at 1:45:29 AM

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I think I posted this before, but it looks like a very nice black box, designed in Sweden click here

Submitted on Friday, May 24, 2019 at 1:15:01 PM

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The very nice black box, designed in Sweden ... What a great idea!

I think it would be comforting to many to have one lying around just in case it became apparent that the time has come to skip on over to the other side.

It might not be very long before that time comes. Given the dearth of bad news about what is going on in the world, I am not sure why that occurred to me...

Submitted on Friday, May 24, 2019 at 7:19:56 PM

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I did err on one matter; it is made in Australia, sold in Sweden, where euthanasia is legal. But apparently blueprint available for those skilled in real life printing.

Submitted on Saturday, May 25, 2019 at 9:08:25 PM

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I don't see technological "fixes" or "silver" bullets pulling us out of physical, thermodynamically speaking, limits on the planet.

No doubt our living arrangement must radically change and with it our population's size. I do think economic de-growth to some pre-industrial level, and than a steady-state that would balance our living with the natural world - something homo sapiens abandoned in the mission of domination, beginning with the development of agriculture and human settlements and hierarchical organization. This hierarchy has given us rule by elites, and most recently international elites who not just "think" they're better, they call the shots at present.

Healing the planet should be the focus from this point on - that is if extinction is to be avoided. But let's not kid ourselves the world will not be like it's been, with or without a total collapse. The GND is in some sense a fantasy, a "Jetson" make-believe.

Our wars and preparation for war is not for defense but to protect elitist consumption of the planet. So while the human species has parasitic tendencies, the real culprit are the wealthy for which the world has in fact become "theirs".

The power struggle - the fight for survival will be with the forces that rule who seem bent to continue regardless the cost to life to the bitter end. We must be united across the globe at many levels to create a new world, one that ends the ruling class.

Submitted on Friday, May 24, 2019 at 2:39:07 AM

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Brian Giffin

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I've been a skeptic on the advances of AI processes until last month. I use a computerized milling machine, it's old and was affordable, (like me). This uses CAD designs to do CAM machining. Once in a while I get it all to perform intelligently and its a big thrill. Manual machining is still easier and often faster. Programing the machining function takes hours or days for each part.

I'm fully dependent on human tech support for the software and hardware. Together, we eventually get the many cutter bits to go around and do as expected. My setup isn't about to take over much of the world.

But, what's happened recently makes obsolete most of the hardest learning I've been doing for ten years. Dang!

I can now email a CAD design file and get a machining price quote back, in roughly a minute. No human was involved. A big CAM program looks at all that's involved cutting the part, in the steel etc. spec'd, in just a flash. The size limitations vanished this year and the price dropped by half.

A complex machined part will arrive in days, if I push the button. I save money cutting it myself but it's lots, lots more work. I'm feeling obsolete. Whole categories of highly skilled, recently computerized trades are about to change, again. This firm has hundreds of CNC machines talking machine language very respectfully, to one central processor, that organizes their work schedule round the clock. And, not many people.

On the bright side ;- ) The DI World's big long term threat is O-ring Decay. That keeps processors worrying late at night. They still need people for changing O-rings..... and, we give all the machines "A Sense of Purpose". Alone they're lost!

Submitted on Friday, May 24, 2019 at 7:49:05 PM

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