Future historians might call this the period of Artificial Intelligence, and not for the reasons we’d like.
Our tiny brains aren’t emotionally equipped to handle the very world our massive brains have created. Future humans will look back at this current era and will ridicule us. They will pity us. Look at the primitive fools! They thought they were so smart.
We think we’re intelligent. We think we know it all. And yet I suspect we’re nearing the time when we’ll realise how stupidly short-sighted we are.
We’re so smart that we we can do anything, and yet so stupid that we will, knowingly, continue on a journey that will lead to deaths and extinction.
Our intelligence which allows us to invent, manufacture and distribute destruction is much stronger than our emotional intelligence which might otherwise prevent us from doing so.
Our ability to convert a habitable, sustainable planet into something unstable, something ultimately fatal to our continued existence is unparalleled.
We collectively know we are condemning future humans. Maybe not our kids. Maybe not even our grandkids. And beyond that, who cares right? So long as we can hoard as much $ as possible, what else truly matters?
We are hopelessly short-sighted as to the trade-offs between immediate wins and longer terms losses. We’re hurtling from 10,000 ft and we’ll sell our parachute for a buck. 💸
Let’s burn all the oil. Let’s burn all the gas. Let’s frack, and mine and plunder anything plunderable. Let’s utterly devastate a delicate ecosystem that has survived for billions of years. We’re so smart. We can turn our home, the only one we’ve got, into a literal deathtrap. But them precious $ though, right.
Let’s shoot each other. Let’s bomb each other. Let’s kill each other over whose unprovable belief is the one true answer.
We invented guns, and then we needed to sell those guns so we invented enemies, too. We turn people against other people while selling guns to both of them.
We invented bombs, and then we went nuclear with it. So much destructive force we can not only kill those alive today, which is always handy, but can also render the area uninhabitable for future life. We can scorch the earth and salt the soil.
We package poisons in pretty bottles, or wrap them up in little papers and convince people it is unnatural not to kill ourselves.
We take sleep, nature’s most effective strategy at prolonging life and worry that when people are sleeping, they aren’t making us money and so we rebrand sleep as something for the weak.
We invented plastics. Then we made everything with it. Stuff we don’t need. Stuff that doesn’t need to exist. We made it all. Sure, we might destroy the oceans, the planet and ultimately ourselves, but it’s shiny and we needed it.
People don’t have homes and that makes us feel bad. Not bad for the homeless people, of course; no. We feel bad because they might lower the value of our homes. Bad because we might have to look at them. Bad because they might dare to exist in our presence.
People don’t have food and that’s terrible, we should help them. Oh wait, they live in another country? That’s different. That’s not us; that’s them. We feel the burning hot, palpable, indignation that these people dare to clutter our TVs, our timelines or our thoughts with their visible struggles. We don’t need to see that when we’re eating brunch. We don’t want to be reminded of how we don’t really care.
We created industries. We created factories and jobs; gave people ways to provide and contribute. We invented mass production. We mass produce food but we don’t let the hungry people have any. We mass produce homes but we don’t let the homeless people live in them.
We invented computers, and then joined the computers together, so that now we aren’t limited to only those nearby; we can be horrible to anyone, anywhere. We have the ability to make a transformative effect on the way in which we communicate and share knowledge, at our literal fingertips. We could bring our smartest minds together and solve all of the problems, but we’re more interested in watching cat videos and masturbating; not always as separate events.
I don’t know when this era will end, but I suspect sooner than most would think. Human progress will, for perhaps the first time ever, need to stop, reverse and find a new path. Because right now “progress” is hurtling us towards mass extinction. And we incentivise anyone who can further accelerate us 🚀💥
We know we are making bad choices and we are do it anyway. We drink the poison. We sell the parachute. We destroy the planet.
But don’t worry; humans won’t go extinct 😥. We are far too adaptable for that. We’ll be judged as pre-intellectuals; mocked for our pursuits in creating artificial intelligence when we were, ourselves, only ever artificially intelligent.
We’ll take the knock, fall down a peg or ten, and perhaps then put a different foot forward. That’ll probably end badly too, but it’ll be ok for the next few hundred years – for some anyway; many will die of hunger, and a few people will become even more insanely rich. And what else really matters?