UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday warned that the world is on the edge of an abyss and moving in the wrong direction. “I am here to sound the alarm: The world must wake up. “Is he being realistic?

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday warned that the world is on the edge of an abyss and moving in the wrong direction. “I am here to sound the alarm: The world must wake up. “Is he being realistic?

[ 22/September/21 ]

He accurately identifies many issues, but he does not delve deeply enough into the systemic drivers to come up with workable solutions.

The full speech is worth listening to:

The real issue is that market based economics are no longer a reasonable proxy for human values more generally, and second and third order economic incentives are now directly opposed to long term human survival. Advanced automation fundamentally and permanently breaks the assumptions that for a long time made market based economics a reasonable approximation to an optimal solution to complex allocation problems. We need to develop and deploy alternative systems that can deliver long term security and abundance to all.

More people need to start to appreciate that both real freedom and security are optimized in contexts of cooperation and minimized under competition.

Cooperation is not control, it is something quite different.
Anyone claiming freedom must be willing to accept the diversity that must necessarily result from any real freedom.

Hegemony is not compatible with freedom – not at any level.

And in the hierarchy of values, life needs to come above liberty – so any realistic threat to life is a legitimate reason to limit liberty. And in a situation with multiple levels and classes of agents, there are necessarily many uncertain boundaries present.

Liberty without responsibility eventually destroys the constraints that made liberty possible. So any survivable form of liberty has to come with responsibilities, all levels.

It seems beyond reasonable doubt that the universe we live in is more complex than any computational entity can model in anywhere near real time, so all self aware entities must of necessity use simplified models of whatever reality actually is. No entity can avoid that. We all necessarily have our perceptions and models and understandings simplified by multiple levels of subconscious processes. It seems very probable that we all necessarily live in our own personal virtual reality versions of whatever objective reality actually is.

So we have the potential for freedom and security for all; but the tools that classically supported freedom (markets) have now, in the presence of advanced automation, created higher order incentive structures that are now the greatest strategic threat to life and liberty. That reality will be hard for many to accept, because it has no direct historical precedent.

So his warnings are realistic, but his solutions are not, as they do not delve anywhere near deep enough into the complexity that seems, beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt, to actually be present.

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) with reasonable security, tools, resources and degrees of freedom, and reasonable examples of the natural environment; and that is going to demand responsibility from all of us - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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