Quora – greatest danger to the world

Quora – What is the greatest danger to the entire world today?

Our unexamined assumptions and oversimplifications that we accept as truths, rather than seeing them as contextually useful approximations.

Arthur C Clarke once said “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”.

Most people now live in a world that is essentially magical, because they do not understand enough about the real dynamics of the many levels of very complex systems to have a reasonable probability of guessing what is going on and where it is going.

Most people work on simple ideas that might have been useful in history, but are no longer good enough.
Perhaps most dangerous is the idea of money, and the type of scarcity based value encapsulated in it by using it as a measure of market value.

Markets measure value in exchange, and to exchange something one needs a relative surplus of something to be given and a relative scarcity of something to be gotten.

Fully automated systems are capable of supplying a large and rapidly expanding set of good and services in universal abundance, but there is no market value in anything being universally abundant, and there is no value in labour if machines can do a job cheaper than the cost of food enough to live.

So the idea of market value, that was a reasonable proxy for value more generally when most things were genuinely scarce, and human labour had a real surplus of value, is now becoming the single greatest risk as fully automated systems change the systemic landscape.

The incentives of the market are now posing many levels of rapidly increasing risk, in the sorts of behaviour they reward.

Markets are rapidly moving into the territory of generating far greater risk than value.
And that is really dangerous, because many of the essential distributed functions we rely upon are deeply embedded in the market system.

That needs to change, and quickly (next decade), and it is far from a trivial set of problems; it is a very complex set of problems, and there are solutions; but those solutions do not make sense in a market based context. They do make sense in a context that values individual life and individual liberty in contexts of social and ecological responsibility.

Technical solutions to global climate change are trivially simple in comparison to this problem. Solve this, and global warming is “easy” to solve.

Most of the solution to this is awareness.

Getting people to think about things they had never thought to question.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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