[ 11/September/21 ]
Several things are required that some will find difficult.
1/ Is accepting that the world is complex, uncertain, and that perfect prediction of anything complex is not possible. That is hard for many, because all human neural networks (brains) come biased by both genetics and culture to prefer simple certain models over complex and uncertain ones. There are good reasons for that. Using complex models takes time and energy, and when both are in short supply, simple works (at least to the degree that it does). Evolution often punishes the slowest far more harshly than the least accurate (ie the last to move is often the first killed – so simplicity has it uses, and it also has issues when things are actually really complex and we do have some time).
2/ Is accepting the idea that the simple model of evolution that most are taught in school, that it is all about competition; is fundamentally wrong. For complex organisms (like us) it is much more accurate to say that evolution and long term survival is all about the levels of cooperation required to sustain complexity. Again, for the reasons in 1 above, that will be difficult for many to accept, and it is now, beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt, the case.
3/ Is accepting that advanced automation fundamentally changes the context of the utility of markets. When most things were in fact genuinely scarce, one could make a strong case that markets did in fact deliver a reasonable proxy for human value generally. In the presence of advanced automation one can no longer make such a case. It is now undeniable that market incentives and the real needs of humanity for long term survival and reasonable degrees of freedom diverge significantly in the presence of advanced automated systems. The advanced automated systems are absolutely required to deal with many classes of already well characterised existential level risk; so it is market systems that now require fundamental reform.
4/ If 1, 2 & 3 above can be generally accepted, then true global cooperation between multiple levels, classes and instances of diverse agents becomes possible. And all need to be very clear that global cooperation is nothing at all like global dominance or global control or global hegemony; and is in fact contrary to all 3 by definition. Any real expression of liberty must, by definition, result in diversity, and any such diversity that is not an unreasonable threat to the existence of any agent must be accepted and respected. This does in fact seem to me to be the only path with any reasonable probability of long term survival (and that is a deeply complex subject that I have been interested in and contemplating for about 60 years).
5/ Once we have real cooperation and respect between multiple levels and classes of diverse agents, and all classes of agent have what they consider to be reasonable degrees of freedom, and all accept that all freedoms necessarily come with responsibilities if they are not to lead to the eventual collapse of the complex systems that gave them form in the first instance, then developing and deploying technologies to allow us to manage climate and temperature are relatively simple exercises (complex to be sure, with lots of work to be done, but compared to the complexities of 1–5 above, relatively simple).
So, do all you reasonably can, in every level of conversation and action you have, to progress 1–5 above. Start with yourself, before moving on to anyone else.
[followed by in reply to a separate answer by Wayne Bogda]
This is a reasonable paper – outlining the evidence, the variability, and the many levels of issues with different ways of collecting data.
And the overall trend is reasonably convincing, and it is a very noisy dataset – there is a lot of natural variability – that is the nature of the system within which we exist. Such is not an excuse to refuse to see such signals as do reasonably seem to exist.
[followed by Wayne replied “Reasonably convincing of what? That there’s a lot of ambiguity and subjective extrapolation and interpolation of just the last 15 years?”…]
We live in a complex world.
There are many sources of variation.
The sun has it’s own sets of sources of variation of outputs, the earth has orbital cycles that vary the amount of energy captured and retained, volcanism contributes to variability, as do comets and meteors, and a host of biological processes.
Yes sure, there are many classes of variation.
And humans are now starting to become significant factors in the larger scales of those.
I am not any sort of “end of the world, all is doomed sort of person”. I am someone who thinks humanity has a reasonable probability of a very long term future, but only if we stop using overly simplistic models and start accepting the multiple levels of complexity that do reasonably seem to exist.
I have driven cars at over 200km/hr on gravel roads, and when one does that very rarely is the car actually pointing in the direction of the centre of motion of the vehicle. That is what “control” in complex and uncertain systems often looks like.
I am no fan of any sort of austerity measures for the masses, and we do need to develop technologies that actually work long term, and there is very little market incentive to do such things, and a great many market incentives for short term destructive practices.
We need to start to generally recognise that markets no longer deliver a reasonable proxy for human values more generally (as they once arguably did remarkable well). Automation fundamentally changes those dynamics. We need automation for long term survival. Thus we need fundamental economic reform. And that is part of a wider and deeper appreciation of the fundamental role of cooperation in the emergence and survival of complexity, and the need for responsibility with every level of freedom if survival is a desired outcome.