Is human extinction as imminent as this article claims or is the writer trying to scare people?

[The comment was – Is human extinction as imminent as this article claims or is the writer trying to scare people? – but I didn’t record where I wrote it, and can’t now (2 weeks later) find it again or the article it referenced.]

[ 16/April/21 ]

Like others here, I do not find this article or any of its primary references convincing.

Taking one example that I did follow in detail, the reports of impacts of 5G were at power densities of 3W/m2 and at cell depths of one or two layers. That is high power (like standing next to a transmitter). The outer 7 layers of cells on our bodies are already dead, and would thus harmlessly absorb most of such energy. So I find the arguments against 5G unconvincing (as I have each time I have devoted more than an hour to looking at the details of claims made). Nothing that stands out to me as a major threat – deaths from vehicle accidents seems likely to be far more common.

So the article does not appear accurate in any of the dimensions I looked at.

And there are very real threats to human existence, but most of them come from variations on a couple of themes: a strong tendency of the human brain to over simplify complex situations, and a strong tendency of individuals to defend ideas that they consider “True”, even when the evidence is overwhelming that the simple model that gives them that particular truth does not work in all contexts; and a tendency for people to prefer group agreement over agreement with reality and experiment.

Very few people are prepared to say that the emperor has no clothes.

So there are very real threats from things like nuclear warfare, and bio-warfare, but the far greater threat is from the global financial system; and in most domains of economic thought that comes at base from a failure to understand the strategic basis of the evolution of complexity.

If most people think of evolution at all, they tend to think of it as competition; yet the reality of the evolution of complexity is that every new level of complexity is built on a new level of cooperation, and at every level competition is actually destructive of complexity. The mathematics and logic of that is now beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt.

Thus the commonly held notion that free market competition is the friend of liberty itself could not actually be further from reality.

Liberty always finds its greatest expression in cooperative contexts, and any real expression of liberty results in diversity (by definition) – which must then be accepted and respected (if one is committed to the notion of liberty in any sense what so ever).

So the currently dominant idea of global hegemony of one particular type of politics or thought or culture or anything is not an expression of liberty, but of its direct opposite. Real liberty can only exist in a context of cooperation between diverse agents. That applies at all levels (and we have many levels and classes of agents present right now).

So it is very much the case that our long term survival probabilities now rest on us being able to accept this reality of strategic systems, and to be able to build globally cooperative (as in accepting of diverse classes of agents) economic and political and legal systems.

And that requires that all agents accept that all freedom requires responsibility if it is to survive.

Every level of structure has necessary sets of constraints required for the maintenance of that level of structure in any context (such constraints are often very context sensitive).

So at every level, any form of “freedom” that is not responsible for the necessary levels of structure required for the existence of that level of complexity, necessarily destroys itself.

Freedom without responsibility is suicidal – always – necessarily.

So we live in very “interesting times” with the rapid emergence of new levels of complexity, without a simultaneous emergence of the levels of responsibility required for the survival of all the levels of complexity present.

So we need much more awareness.

Environmental awareness and responsibility.

Cultural awareness and responsibility.

Ethical awareness and responsibility….

Climate change is a real issue, but technical solutions are relatively simple. The real issue is that without global cooperation between all levels of agents any of the solutions that might actually work are actually more dangerous than the original problem.

So cooperation and responsibility have to come first – all levels.

It has to start with each and every one of us, to the best of our limited and fallible abilities.

I still see a significant level of existential threat to humanity, from multiple sources, but in my estimation that risk has actually been going down (not up) over the last 40 years. We are creating new classes of risk, and we are also creating new classes of risk mitigation and awareness and cooperation.

We need new classes of risk mitigation at the highest levels.

Cooperation is always vulnerable to exploitation by cheating strategies. It can only survive if there are evolving ecosystems of cheat detection and removal systems that do in fact detect and remove all classes and instances of cheating strategy.

One can now make a reasonable case that most of the economic, political, religious, philosophical, educational and legal systems of the planet have been effectively taken over by cheating strategies at some level. Not entirely, and to far too high a degree. That needs to change, and change quickly.

So I am relatively optimistic for the future of humanity in the long term, and we are in a time where our survival is predicated on us developing sufficiently effective cheat detection and mitigation systems that an entirely new level of cooperation will provide a new level of security, freedom and prosperity for all (no exceptions).

And there is always the danger that cooperation can degenerate into control. Cooperation is a very different thing from control, and cooperation does have very real boundaries of responsibility that are demanded for continued existence.

Most existing systems teach obedience of rules, rather than responsible assessment and response to context.

In truly complex systems (and we are truly complex systems) hard rules will always make the system become brittle and break. Boundaries need to be flexible to survive. Responsibility can deliver such flexibility.

We all need to practice it, all levels we are capable of!

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
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