October 12, 2023 | By:

Look, where are we going?

[Editor’s Note: We acknowledge that the topics the author discusses in this article may be controversial, and we invite comments and alternative perspectives on the advanced technologies it explores.]

Mardy and Olaus Murie © Roger Kaye

Mardy and Olaus Murie © Roger Kaye

“In all this complexity of things,” wrote Mardy Murie, matriarch of American conservation, “where is the voice to say: ‘Look, where are we going?’” At the time, Mardy and her husband Olaus were leading the wilderness movement and the contentious effort to establish the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, which Olaus said symbolized the emerging question “of what is the human species to do with this earth?” Their thinking was in the context of the future of the Earth, the globe, the planet, and humanity.

They worried about “human arrogance,” “idolatry of the machine,” and “our plundered planet.” “Perhaps man is going to be overwhelmed by his own cleverness,” Mardy presciently wrote, “somewhere along the line we have lost control over the beings we have created.” This was during the 1950s post-WWII march of progress, an era of then unprecedented environmental degradation and technological change. Mardy and Olaus were among the earliest to realize that future generations might not inherit the same Earth. But even these visionaries couldn’t have imagined the terra incognita our accelerating environmental degradations and our exponentially advancing technologies are leading us to.

We are creating an anomalous, non-analogue future with possibilities and perils that now depend on not only what we will do with this Earth but also on how our technology will shape our evolution as a species.

Where are we now?

We’ve entered the Anthropocene, this pivotal era wherein human activity is becoming a dominant, disturbing, and destabilizing force upon the entire Earth system. At an accelerating rate, our species is making this planet less habitable for itself and causing the mass extinction of others.

We are nearly out of time to halt or reverse these changes according to recent climate assessments. Look at today’s trends, and the models, projections, and warnings from the IPCC, NOAA, the National Academy of Sciences, the Nobel Foundation, and the American Meteorological Society. Last year, again, records were set for increased planetary surface temperature, ocean temperature, and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, and this July has been the hottest in recorded history.

You can forget the Paris 1.5 degree C global warming limit to prevent irreparable Earth system change. We’ll likely zoom past it and continue toward climate tipping points. And for the Arctic that the Muries knew, warming is happening twice as fast there as anywhere else on the globe.

But worse, the Anthropocene isn’t just about climate change; it’s everything change. There are also increasing amounts and toxicity of synthetic chemicals humans inject into the Earth’s metabolism, plastic pollution of the oceans and soils, loss of biodiversity, pharmaceutical pollution, changes in the Earth’s surface, its hydrology, and mineral and nutrient cycling. The list of planetary boundaries being pushed and perhaps exceeded is long. These perturbations will increasingly interact synergistically with and exacerbate climate change, weakening the resilience of natural systems.

climate change collage from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

© National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Consider, for example, what a meta-analysis of the best science has documented and predicts for the Murie’s Arctic Refuge: shifts in the range and composition of plant and animal communities, increased shrub cover, decline in wetlands and soil moisture, changes in water temperature, chemistry, and alkalinity, increased fire frequency and intensity, more likelihood of invasives and pathogens, advancing treeline, earlier breakup, later freeze-up, and rapid permafrost thawing with myriad potential consequences from that alone.

Our rate of environmental alteration is markedly accelerating. And looming are those tipping points, “sleeping giants” where change becomes abrupt, cascading, irreversible, and more rapid than humans can effectively respond to. Summarizing our global risk, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres recently warned that:

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres © Salvatore di Nolfi:EPA

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres © Salvatore di Nolfi:EPA

“We are on a fast track to climate disaster: Major cities underwater. Unprecedented heatwaves. Terrifying storms. Widespread water shortages. The extinction of a million species of plants and animals. This is not fiction or exaggeration. It is what science tells us . . .”

Exacerbating the threat are increasing global population and per capita impact. As well, there are some 2 billion people currently living in poverty who, understandably, are seeking the comforts and conveniences of our unsustainable lifestyles. And throughout the U.S. and the world there’s deepening inequity, divisiveness, polarization, instability, and ideological extremism. Every year they further lessen the likelihood of timely, really substantive, international and global-scale action, the only chance for saving humanity . . . as we know it. But as you know, such action is nowhere on the horizon.

Our Failing Conservation Paradigm

The sorry fact is that our 19th century conservation paradigm, still largely focused on maintaining species and conditions as they are or were, is becoming less and less adequate for addressing the impending changes of the Anthropocene. Conservation developed primarily for protecting valued resources and landscapes from local development, exploitation, and damaging uses has been fairly successful, at local scales. But the conservation paradigm is becoming increasingly ill-suited for addressing the ever-more complex and urgent global-scale threats we now face.

Yes, hopeful conservation actions are being taken. People are changing their lightbulbs and bringing reusable bags to the supermarket, some are buying hybrid or electric vehicles, and a few even install solar panels. Politicians pass some modest legislation and businesses buy carbon off-sets. Bless them all. But—and I’m really sorry to say this—such actions are largely symbolic in the larger scheme of things. In reality, these small actions do little more than relieve the dissonance between our knowing what’s happening to the planet and our unwillingness to significantly change the consumptive, profligate, and environmentally degrading lifestyles that we know underlie it. Isn’t that true, and for you too? And really, how realistic is the hope for technological rescue—geo and climate engineering, microbial engineering, and nuclear fission or fusion (all with potential unintended consequences)—for maintaining the planetary boundaries necessary to support humanity . . .  as we know it? The down-to-Earth fact is, we are losing the race to become sustainable before critical tipping points are reached.

A main impediment is that our conservation ethic is deeply grounded in an evolutionary heritage (that is, neural algorithms) that simply didn’t equip us to understand and address complex and rapidly changing problems that are so unlike any in the past, and with such unthinkable implications. Our intuitions, our mental model of the world, and our neural algorithms, evolved for local, gradual, and linear thinking while change is now occurring globally, rapidly, and increasingly, exponentially.

Evolution did, however, equip our minds with defense mechanisms for avoiding or minimizing the stress of multifarious change coming faster than human brains can effectively process: disbelief and denial. We intuitively respond with them, increasingly to our peril. Yes, it’s natural for us to disbelieve or discount the disturbing projections of Earth system scientists and technological trend analysts, just as it was for our predecessors to disbelieve the upsetting findings of Darwin, Galileo, and Copernicus who began our species’s displacement from its imagined primacy in the Universe.

So it’s natural for us to (mis)place hope in our long-standing conservation paradigm, despite its failure to bring us to the substantial lifestyle and economic system changes, sacrifices, and global-scale governance actions necessary, really necessary, for a sustainable human future. You know that it’s just not happening, and without these, I’m afraid that hope for a human (as we know it) future could be just hopium.

But wait—this unfolding reality is not to say there is no hope for the future. There is, but not for a future like the past, and maybe not for future generations . . . like us.

The Exponential Age

A far different future lies ahead and not just because of our Anthropocene Earth system perturbations. Accelerating environmental change is coinciding with exponentially advancing artificial intelligence (AI) systems and related technologies. Snowballing AI is converging with amazing and dazing advancements in nanotechnology, quantum computing, molecular engineering, synthetic biology, genetic engineering, directed evolution, and most recently, organoid computing. More and more, breakthroughs in AI and these fields are building upon and mutually reinforcing each other to a degree that no human mind can grasp the full picture of where we’re going. They are moving us into the Exponential Age, so called because AI and related breakthroughs are increasing at ever-decreasing intervals, faster and faster. The rate of these breakthroughs will eventually exceed the speed at which humans can absorb and effectively respond to change.

the exponential age graphicAs leading futurist Ray Kurzweil says, we won’t experience 100 years of AI progress in the next century—it will be more like thousands of years of progress. Or as Byron Reese wrote in The Fourth Age, his book on conscious computers and the future of humanity, “We will probably see more change in the next fifty years than we have seen in the last 5,000.”

Exponential change is leading to what may come to be the most monumental, epochal mind-step in human history: AI’s emerging capacity for “recursive self-improvement.” That is, it is learning how to learn. Crawling through the internet and absorbing its burgeoning resources, deep learning AI systems are improving their programed algorithms. Really scary though is their growing potential to create new self-improving, self-programming algorithms. AI is evolving the capacity to evolve itself.

AI is thus moving toward artificial general intelligence (AGI) which, if/when it occurs, will have as much cognitive capability and far more memory than the average human. From there, AI engineers now predict the inevitable evolution of artificial super intelligence (ASI), outperforming humans at nearly every cognitive task, and perhaps sentient. Yes, it is possible, as Mardy Murie warned, to lose control over the beings we are creating.

Powered by quantum or perhaps organoid computing, and with immediate access to all the world’s databases, ASI would be thousands of times faster and better at cognitive processing than any human brain. Futurists call it an “intelligence explosion” and if/when it occurs, it will go far beyond the intent, or even the comprehension of human programmers.

I don’t like it either. But I take some solace in predictions that for the next few decades AI “progress” will mostly be focused on human intelligence amplification, that is, bionic enhancement of—cyborgizing—the human brain. We’re already seeing computer-brain interfaces that enable telepathic functions like controlling robotic prostheses, operating computers, and even brain-to-brain interfaces (BBIs). AI algorithms like Stable Diffusion are already generating images from not just texts and verbal prompts, but also from human brainwaves.

ellon musk with brain chipYou may well see something like that supercomputer in your pocket, the stuff of science fiction just a generation ago, become integrated with your brain, providing cybernetic connection to the ballooning resources of the internet. It would provide access to all the world’s knowledge bases, with vastly, vastly more processing capability and speed. Maybe you won’t have to ask your personal-confidant digital assistant anything because before you could formulate the question, it will, and then tell you what you should know.

But there are limitations as to how well our stone-age-formed neural synapses, already thousands of times slower than digital connections, will be able to interface with coming AI systems. And given the competitive nature of the world markets, governments, and militaries driving AI, we aren’t likely to stop with just mind and body enhancements. We should face the real possibility that AI will not continue to be just a tool as your computer is today. If or when artificial intelligence exceeds our own, AGI then ASI tipping points could, possibly, usher us into the Singularity.

The Singularity Hypothesis

© othertees.com

Ray Kurtzweil defines the Singularity as the “future period during which the pace of technological change will be so rapid, its impact so deep, that human life will be irreparably transformed.” The Singularity is forecast to occur when the curve of computational and related advancements, having gone from linear to exponential, approaches vertical. Like the black hole-physics the term it was borrowed from, the Singularity is something the human mind can’t see beyond or even fully comprehend.

How might humans, as we are today, interact with ASI in the Singularity? With our cognitive ability, memory, and speed minuscule compared to predicted ASI systems, probably not well. And there is no reason to believe this progeny of ours would “think” like us or even be us. We wouldn’t, and won’t ever be able to compete with AI.

As theorized, the next step for us may be to merge with or upload ourselves to some form of computational cloud, a cyberspace “metaversal” artificial neural network. That substrate may be biologically inspired, perhaps developed through reverse engineering of the human brain or, more likely, engineered from scratch. There are a number of theorized pathways of mind migration to a metaversal life, the most discussed today being mind uploading wherein the human brain is copied and emulated in the substrate. Of course, any form of merger would/will require significant technological advances, but considering the accelerating, even exponential rate of AI-related breakthroughs, it could well happen within this century. If this cognitive revolution is realized, it is predicted to lead us through a trans-human stage when our thinking will be a hybrid of biological and non-biological processes to a post-human, synthetic future.

Likely or not, good or bad (from our anthropocentric perspective) the transformational Singularity is at least plausible. So, given the enormity of the potential outcomes, dystopian or utopian, why aren’t we thinking about resisting or welcoming the possibility? Why aren’t we more proactive in exploring ways of putting safeguards in place, guiding, or at least influencing this potential future?

We’re not, largely because our brains evolved to extrapolate linear trends; disbelief and denial protect us from recognizing and acting toward the approaching exponential transformation. Further reducing the likelihood of significantly restraining the AI revolution is the technological imperative—our seemingly innate tendency and competitive push to develop and adopt technology without adequately considering its consequences. (If we don’t do it now, another company or another country will). And technology is now so embedded in our thinking that we can hardly grasp its impact on us, let alone our future. As Forest Service futurist David Bengston summarized our cognitive shortcomings, “We don’t think about things we don’t like to think about.”

Of course you may not want to think about our species’s possible ascension from organic to synthetic, digital life, about us merging with the technology we are creating. But wishing it weren’t so doesn’t change the trajectory we’re on. And remember, transformative change is how the creative and inscrutable process of our origin—evolution—works. It’s why the progression of life didn’t stop with microbes. It’s why you are not more like a chimpanzee, and the difference between the chimp’s intellect and yours may well be comparable to that of yours and your Metaverse-merged descendants.

My grandson plugged in to his phone © Roger Kaye

As for your self, you are probably thinking you’d rather not merge with a computational substrate. Well, first, you are not likely to be around if/when mind uploading begins. But consider the shifting baseline, that increasing trend of gadget-addicted kids spending less time in nature and more in virtual reality. The prospect of human/AI symbiosis will be much less alien to your grandchildren.

But might some people opt to remain biological and live in something like an Amish colony? Some believe it possible, but as historian of the future Yuval Harari says, to best imagine how our post-human descendants would relate to such holdouts, we should look at how we treat animals. This is how different our intellects may be. And you know how we treat animals.

But wait again—this isn’t likely to be the dystopian nightmare of science fiction that you might be thinking. Try to imagine one’s mental world uplifted to a Metaverse, with these vulnerable, aging, and death-bound carbon-based bodies replaced by an enduring silicon-based synthetic existence with vastly more understanding, insight, memory, and creativity.

Perhaps you resist or deny the possibility of the Singularity out of fear that what you most value—those human feelings and sensations, your personal identity and consciousness—may be lost in a metaversal existence. But they needn’t be. Consider, for example, how neuroscientists can induce various emotional states by stimulating the right neurons—without embodied experience. And consider what neuroscience is revealing about those feelings of satisfaction, well-being, happiness, love, passion, joy, contentment, imagination, spirituality, and such that are central to the human experience and identity. Those are, we are learning, just functions of electrochemical data processing algorithms that evolved to regulate mood and emotion hormones beneficial to our survival and reproductive fitness. Such algorithms might also be uploaded, and even enhanced. If/when that happens, what need would there be for these flesh and blood bodies?

Again, I don’t like it either, but these disconcerting ideas need to be discussed. We need to recognize that in light of recent breakthroughs, it’s at least possible (and would certainly be beneficial for other species on the planet and probably our descendants as well) for humans to become beings of pure mind.

AI-istockphotoMany AI engineers are now asking what we might do to avoid or make the best of runaway AI’s potential threat to humanity as we know it. Recently over 100 prominent AI experts and tech company leaders issued a Statement of Risk, warning that “The risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war.” And Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak are among the 1,100 prominent AI technologists and researchers calling for a moratorium on producing AI systems more powerful than GPT-4. But such a moratorium would only work if it were global and enforceable. And given the enormous investment in AI by nations and powerful high-tech corporations, and the world’s inability to halt even the proliferation of nuclear weapons, a workable global moratorium on the race toward AI seems quite unlikely.

Let’s face it, if we can’t or won’t apply the precautionary principle and significantly slow AI development down and, if we can’t or won’t consciously decide what Homo sapiens are to do with this Earth and how we will evolve as a species, it may be futile to resist a Singularian future, for which we are manifestly unready. Given that the Singularity is at least plausible, we ought to be thinking about how we might best make the transition. We ought to address the fundamental questions: What would/will it mean to be human in the ASI-Singularity? How might the essence of our specie’s and our individual identity be retained in an evolving metaversal substrate? What might we do to ensure that its values and goals would align with ours? And the overarching question: To what degree would the human component even remain in control?

But then, why should it?

So let’s step outside of our specie’s bias for a moment, look beyond our human-centric worldview, and imagine humanity’s future from a larger, more Earth-system, cosmological, and perhaps even spiritual perspective.

Transcend Our Species Supremacy?

Whether grounded in the belief that the planet was created just for us humans and that it is the will of Providence that we subdue and have dominion over it, or from a secular perspective presuming Homo sapiens to be the pinnacle of the Earth’s four billion-year-old process of life evolution, our species supremacism inhibits our thinking about what could be our descendant’s place in the Brave New World we are creating.

Perhaps they will live in a Metaverse with no dependence on, domination of, or impact upon the Earth system (once the energy requirement for powering the Metaverse is solved). Just a few generations hence, our descendants may be pioneers in a new realm of evolution, one in which we don’t compete with other lifeforms. If so, there would be no more human-caused extinctions; the other life forms and their ecological and evolutionary processes left free to follow their unfettered destiny. The myths, dogmas, and supernaturalism that have sanctioned our speciesism and treatment of the Earth and each other are replaced by unity with an ultimacy as unimaginable and incomprehensible to us today as our lives and technology would have been to our Homo erectus ancestors.

Look, where are we going?

When Mardy Murie asked that question, the answer we must now give would have been inconceivable. As she and Olaus feared, future generations won’t inherit the same Earth, and as she predicted, we are losing control over the beings we are creating. We don’t know if our species will be augmented by, merged with, or live within AI systems. We don’t know if those systems might save us from ourselves or, if so, at what cost to our humanity.

But we are only emulating ostriches if we go into the future thinking it will be pretty much like the past. And we are terribly short-sighted if we don’t rethink conservation and technology and proactively confront those fundamental questions of what humans are to do with this Earth and how we will evolve as a species.

Energy of the Mind-adobe stockIf the Singularity is where we’re going, this century could see our descendants—hybrid, synthetic, or virtual—become the natural next step in the unfolding of life in the Cosmos. They might, as some predict, become the pivotal step in the evolution of the Cosmos becoming conscious of itself. Enlarge, transcend your received thinking for a moment and consider: Might that not be a better legacy to leave, and might that not be a more hopeful destiny to aspire to than the one we’re going toward now?

*             *              *

This essay was written without the use of AI generative technology.

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Admin
4 months ago

I wonder how this and other essays like it will be perceived in a future where some or all of this happens and we don’t like where it has taken us or the planet. Thank you for making me uncomfortable and forcing me to “Enlarge, transcend [my] received thinking for a moment…” I will try to do it more often, especially as it relates to what role an aggressively rewilded world would play in such possible futures.

Valerie
4 months ago

A few quick points:
– Generative AI “harvest” and “extracts” real intellectual work by hundreds of years of human beings. It is a continuation of the extractive/stealing mode of industrial capitalism (similar to declaring an old growth forest private property and chopping down trees that grew for thousands of years, for a one-year profit to a company).
– If humans start using generative AI tools to a large extent, their own skills in those areas will not develop and will atrophy (for writing, composing music, making visual art, etc). This is a real danger, especially for the next generation.

– Some humans are so in love with their technology; however, they fail to recognize that it took billions of years of evolution on Planet Earth to reach the abundance that the Earth once had, which we as humans are now squandering in under 200 years. The Earth’s systems are the true advanced “technology,” and if we are to survive as a species, any human technology should be put in service of:
1) Restoring and regenerating the Earth’s systems
2) Stopping the destruction and destabilization of Earth’s systems.

– Human Technology is so unadvanced and of miniscule importance compared to the vast intricate life-web of microorganisms, intricate chemical processes tuned exactly to Earth’s conditions, vast interwoven, ecosystems, plant/animal species interactions, fungal networks, etc. that encompass Earth’s systems and that humans are still far from truly understanding.

– Anything else is just distraction, pipe dreams and human hubris (once again). We have to GET REAL about what is at stake and stop worshiping the false god of technology. Humans have NEVER created life, only hacked existing life.

Please, just stop with the worshipping of technology.

The true “technology” of vast immeasurable value is Earth’s natural systems which we as humans can either fully destroy, or start to recover as aware and responsible stewards.

Note: I have worked in the technology sector and so I’m not a luddite. But I’m sick of all the Venture Capitalist fantasy world masturbatory glorifications of abstract technology ideas and exploitative technology products, when hundreds/thousands of species are being lost every year, never to be born again! Extinctions is the death of birth. If the ocean acidification reaches the level where plankton can no longer form their shells and the ocean collapses, it will be game over for the human species. There is not much time left to change course. Certainly no time for waxing on about the “singularity.”

Ned Mudd
4 months ago

When in doubt, remember the Luddites! New book by Brian Merchant: Blood in the Machine. “The ‘rich and gripping’ true story of the first time machines came for human jobs—and how the Luddite uprising explains the power, threat, and toll of big tech and AI today”(Naomi Klein)

https://mitpressbookstore.mit.edu/book/9780316487740

bruce morgan
4 months ago

Finally, something with teeth! The wilderness conservation movement is senescent. All that is left are reminiscences of a once vibrant world which the youth of today consider to be quaint and irrelevant, like a boring history lesson. Those who are plugged in are on the fast track to the singularity, but I have hope. As we continue to breed beyond the carrying capacity of the land the savage nature of mankind will surely emerge. We see it today among the Palestinians who use pro-natalism as a weapon, and are happy to see their own people being slaughtered on behalf of their irrational ideological hatred. It is a testament to our failure as a species that we have elevated “rights” over reality. By fulfilling Jesus’ dictum that the meek shall inherit the earth we ensure the ultimate destruction of civilization, and will thus derail the runaway train on its path toward the singularity.

4 months ago

I think we better focus the singularity on slowing reproduction of humans and on getting our numbers down. To save the wildness that will sustain a humane human populace along with healthy ecological biomes and other species resilient to the climate change we must get our numbers down to around 2 billion. Put AI to work on this biggest problem, but keep our own brains working on it, too.

Brian Miller
4 months ago

I was disappointed to see Roger define conservation at only local scales. I had hoped that The Wildlands Project and Rewilding Institute had moved ideas past changing lightbulbs. Also, a lot of criticism was aimed at conservation folks. Introspection is very valuable, but there is another, very powerful, factor in the war against nature. It can’t be ignored in any analysis of the problem. When profit guides policy, nature and people are exploited. The market can tell you what something costs but not what something is worth. Changing this system is imperative. Brian Czech’s book about steady state economics, and David Johns’ book about forging a conservation policy are good reads for folks who resist.

Genesis
4 months ago

Well worth the read! A candid approach to the realities and challenges that technological progress presents is needed in our current age. The issue of denial sort of coincides with the prevailing myth of technological progress.Technology is seen as this saving entity that will someday solve the large-scale problems of our world such as global warming and environmental destruction. It is better to “trust the scientists” and believe everything will work itself out.

I see Neil Armstrong’s quote, “This is one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,” exemplifying this belief that technological advancements are also human advancements. Any negative consequences are framed as just poor decision making or bad policy; but not as an issue with technological progress itself. This outlook produces the idea that the consequences of technology can be circumvented through these very means. Environmentalism itself has changed to support the current trajectory of technological progress; championing on “green energy.” But as stated in this article, the advancements towards AI show more clearly that the future we are told to support might not be a future made for us.

On this very subject, Ted Kaczynski notes in his book, “Anti-Tech Revolution: Why and How” that philanthropic goals are likely to decrease as humans become more superfluous when skills and occupations are taken up by systems that can execute them more effectively. He also takes in account the insatiable need for technology to continuously extract environmental resources for its own survival. Ted Kaczynski takes in the broader view of environmental decay and human suffering and their relation to technological progress; allowing for us to deduce these larger issues to a central causal agent.

Jeff Hoffman
4 months ago

“Yes, hopeful conservation actions are being taken. People are changing their lightbulbs and bringing reusable bags to the supermarket, some are buying hybrid or electric vehicles, and a few even install solar panels.”

There is nothing “hopeful” about any of that except for not consuming shopping bags. All technology is harmful, including more efficient light bulbs and electric cars. We’re fighting a lithium mine on a natural area in Nevada right now. General Motors is part of this evil project, because they want the lithium for their electric car batteries. Etc. The only real solution here is living a lot more simply & naturally. Changing technologies merely changes the TYPE of harms, but it doesn’t eliminate or even seriously reduce them. Read Bright Green Lies by Derrick Jensen for details.

“The down-to-Earth fact is, we are losing the race to become sustainable before critical tipping points are reached.”

That’s the wrong goal. “Sustainable” in this sense just means living in a manner that inflicts the most harm possible on the Earth and all the life here without killing & destroying so much that we kill ourselves too. The correct goal is living in proper ecological balance with the Earth, our ecosystem, our habitat, and the rest of life here.

“A main impediment is that our conservation ethic is deeply grounded in an evolutionary heritage (that is, neural algorithms) that simply didn’t equip us to understand and address complex and rapidly changing problems that are so unlike any in the past, and with such unthinkable implications.”

Um, no. The fundamental problem is people’s attitude toward life in general. People who are more mentally & spiritually evolved feel one with the Earth and all the life here, so they live as lightly as possible. But unfortunately, this is a very small minority of people. The vast majority are very mentally & spiritually unevolved, so their attitude is self-centered. This has little or nothing to do with knowledge. People act based on their feelings, not on facts. Read George Lakoff’s work, for example.

The author, Roger Kaye, is clearly obsessed with the physical world, so he focuses on it and comes to these rather odd conclusions. Humans’ only proper role on this planet is to expand our consciousness. We are much slower and weaker than other similar-sized animals, and we are not necessary for any ecosystem. Therefore, our role here is clearly not physical.

The HBO series Westworld paints a much more accurate picture of what will happen if humans continue on this insane path of technology: there will eventually be no organic life left on the planet. We don’t need inadequate things like safeguards, we need a complete reversal in human attitudes toward life, followed by a complete reversal of our unnatural lifestyles. Anything less, and who cares what happens to humans as they destroy the Earth and the other life here? The needed changes will take a very long time in human terms, because we’ve been screwing things up and living wrongly for thousands of years, ever since humans started killing native plants to plant crops, aka agriculture. Nevertheless, greatly lowering our consumption — including a total cessation of consumption of things we should not be consuming, like trees and fossil fuels, to list just two of many examples — and greatly lowering our population should be our focus. All technology is harmful and just amounts to enslaving the Earth, and our only focus regarding it should be to eliminate it.

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