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•Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.
•Any monetarily NON-sovereign government — be it city, county, state or nation — that runs an ongoing trade deficit, eventually will run out of money.
•The more federal budgets are cut and taxes increased, the weaker an economy becomes. .
•Liberals think the purpose of government is to protect the poor and powerless from the rich and powerful. Conservatives think the purpose of government is to protect the rich and powerful from the poor and powerless.
•The single most important problem in economics is the Gap between rich and poor.
•Austerity is the government’s method for widening the Gap between rich and poor.
•Until the 99% understand the need for federal deficits, the upper 1% will rule.
•Everything in economics devolves to motive, and the motive is the Gap between the rich and the rest..
The human interim species: If we can’t save the pale blue dot, how can we save ourselves?
Within a hundred years, just about everyone you know, including you, will be dead. Logically, you should care nothing about what happens after that.
But you probably do.
Odds are, you would like to know that the human species will continue for many generations; many centuries. Built into our genes is the intuitive concern, not just for our own lives, but for the life of our species.
That is why, for instance, you probably care about climate change.
Most of the predicted bad effects of climate change will affect you very little. Most will not occur during your lifetime or even your children’s lifetimes.
Yet, you care.
Most species in world history were dead-end species. They evolved, and then, at a certain point, they simply died, leaving no heirs.
A few species were interim species, which eventually evolved to other species, and the line continues to today.
Every species alive today has descended from lines of interim species. These interim species neither expected to be, or tried to be, interim species.
They just tried to survive as species and to procreate under the circumstances and environment in which they lived.
When circumstances and the environment remain constant, species began to specialize, so to be better and better adapted. When circumstances and/or the environment change, species either die, adapt to the change or evolve to entirely new species.
And that is true of the human species.
Our survival has been based on our adaptability to a wide variety of circumstances and environments.
And now, despite climate change deniers, the climate really is changing, and there is a high probability the earth eventually will change so much as to be unlivable for the human species as we know it.
In short, we will become an interim species if we are lucky, and a dead-end species if we are not.
Consider that man-made climate change is but one of the eventualities we face. Atomic war, super-volcanos, meteor or comet impact, monster coronal discharge from the sun, a disease that sweeps the world, the sun grows larger until it engulfs the earth, a passing star disrupts earth’s orbit, the continents sink, a nearby supernova irradiates us — there are many possibilities for our extinction.
All species attempt to survive. Actually, the word “attempt” wrongly implies some conscious activity, when we aren’t talking about consciousness. We’re talking about the natural tenaciousness of life, clinging to the rock of existence, against the pounding waves of extinction.
Example: Some animals experience temperature-dependent sex determination. Some turtles birth more males at intermediate temperatures, and more females at extreme temperatures.
Though this seems to be a survival mechanism, it is doubtful the eggs are consciously thinking about the process. It’s automatic.
Any species, not having automatic survival mechanisms, dies.
Humans are a species, and like all species, we have subconscious survival mechanisms: Hunger, breathing, sleeping, sweating, running away, fighting back. and thinking.
And that brings us to the subject of this post.
At some point in the evolution of earth — the arrival of those eventualities we mentioned above — even our adaptability will be insufficient for survival.
We will die, evolve or transition into an interim species, but interim to what?
Depending on the nature of the eventualities, our descendants may need to survive high temperatures, acidic rain, high radiation, and polluted air and water, the destruction of the earth itself — physical insults living tissue cannot accommodate.
Things could get so bad, we may need to move to Mars or to the moons of Jupiter, Saturn and beyond — trips humans are unlikely to survive.
Built into the human genome is the urge to learn and to explore. That urge, perhaps even more than adaptability, may be an important key to our survival, for we incessantly seek improvement: “The grass is greener” syndrome.
In the name of learning and exploration, we have built computers and computer-run machines that are stronger, faster more resistant to the elements and even smarter in certain areas, than we are.
We are building ever more clever machines, that in ever more ways, can mimic and exceed our abilities to think, observe, sense, feel, act and react.
Why are we building such machines? Is it strictly a matter of our wanting convenience and economic progress, or is there a deeper urge?
Is the ongoing development of ever-more-human machines an intuitive survival process? Are we, without conscious intent, building the next species?
Consider an entity that has your thoughts and your emotions, but unshielded, can travel interstellar space. It (you) could go to Mars, surviving massive radiation and lack of water, build a colony, and be your perfect surrogate.
Are we building our descendants as our subconscious method to continue our existence?
The earth is a “pale, blue dot” in the cosmos (the barely visible white dot, nearly centered, in the topmost band):
To say we are hanging on to life by our fingertips, would be a profound understatement. We are created to survive only on that tiny blue dot, and even then, only in very limited circumstances.
Long term, the best way for us to survive is to increase our odds, by spreading through the universe: Not one pale blue dot, but many. Not one sun, but many, or no need for a sun at all.
How will we do that? As humans we will not. Our human bodies cannot. Even our human brains cannot. But our thoughts can. Our essence can.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is growing exponentially:
The future of artificial intelligence
The latest breakthroughs in artificial intelligence are the result of core advances in AI, including developments in machine learning, reasoning and perception, on a stage set by advances in multiple areas of computer science.
There also have been great strides in probabilistic modeling, in which computing systems consider uncertainties and make the best solution or recommendation, and machine learning, in which a computer gets better at something based on the data that it receives.
The new capabilities also are coming from advances in specific technologies, such as machine learning methods called neural networks, which can be trained from massive data sets to recognize objects in images or to understand spoken words.
Another promising effort is “integrative AI,” in which competencies including vision, speech, natural language, machine learning and planning are brought together to create more capable systems, such as one that can see, understand and converse with people.
Big technology companies are growing more dependent on building successful artificial intelligence-based systems.
“AI has become more central to the competitive landscape for these companies.”
Though some believe no machine ever can be as intelligent as a human, that really isn’t true. The AI problem is hard, but not impossible.
Think: Why do we so dearly desire to create machines that think like us? Why do we take such delight in a machine that can, for instance, recognize faces — something a month old child can do?
What is the evolutionary purpose of this delight?
Is it part of our species’ genetic desire to survive?
Many groups have been formed to help assure the survival of our species. Consider the hundreds (thousands) of environmental groups, public and private: Here and here.
Many organizations are involved in plans to protect the earth from a collision with a large asteroid.
Many others plan for pandemics.
There are peace organizations.
Astronomers look to spot threats to earth. Medical researchers look to cure threats to life. The list goes on and on, thousands of organizations, millions of people dedicated to saving the human species — each focused on a particular problem.
They face two problems:
1. Despite having the same fundamental goal — saving the human species — they aren’t coordinated.
Some want to find easier ways to desalinate water; some want to intercept giant meteors; some want to ban atomic bombs; some want to walk on Mars. All have the potential for saving the human species from extinction, but there is no central “Anti-extinction Agency.”
2. They are underfunded.
The reason they aren’t coordinated and are underfunded is: Despite our standing tiptoe on the precipice known as the “pale, blue dot, there is little emotional concern that the extinction of our species is a real danger.
So, rather than increase funding for the various sciences that could help prevent extinction, we underfund them. Then when something bad happens, and it will, we will be caught short, and if it’s bad enough, our species will end . . .
. . . unless by then, we have created AI sufficiently powerful to do what we logically should, and if necessary, to take our place.
Logic dictates that taking preventative action should be in proportion to the penalty for not taking it. Death of our species is a pretty strong penalty.
And given all the possible threats and all the possible actions, the development of AI should be at the top of our action list, for ultimately it could provide a pathway to all other solutions.
Bottom line: I suggest that the development of AI is of overriding existential importance, both near-term and long-term.
Near-term it can help us anticipate, prevent and cure species-ending disasters..
Long-term, it can be our proxy, spreading through the universe.
Atomic energy was funded by the federal government. It did not wait for private industry.
NASA was a federally funded program that took us to the moon. The U.S. did not wait for private industry. (Now, many years later, privately funded spaceflight still is in its infancy).
Similarly, the federal government should fund AI as a massive “NASA-like,” “Manhattan Project-like” program, and not wait for private industry.
If you think AI represents a “Terminator” type existential threat, remember this: We already face several existential threats of our own making.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Ten Steps to Prosperity:
1. Eliminate FICA (Click here)
2. Federally funded Medicare — parts A, B & D plus long term nursing care — for everyone (Click here)
3. Provide an Economic Bonus to every man, woman and child in America, and/or every state a per capita Economic Bonus. (Click here) Or institute a reverse income tax.
4. Free education (including post-grad) for everyone. Click here
5. Salary for attending school (Click here)
6. Eliminate corporate taxes (Click here)
7. Increase the standard income tax deduction annually
8. Tax the very rich (.1%) more, with higher, progressive tax rates on all forms of income. (Click here)
9. Federal ownership of all banks (Click here and here)
10. Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99% (Click here)
The Ten Steps will add dollars to the economy, stimulate the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and the rest.
10 Steps to Economic Misery: (Click here:)
1. Maintain or increase the FICA tax..
2. Spread the myth Social Security, Medicare and the U.S. government are insolvent.
3. Cut federal employment in the military, post office, other federal agencies.
4. Broaden the income tax base so more lower income people will pay.
5. Cut financial assistance to the states.
6. Spread the myth federal taxes pay for federal spending.
7. Allow banks to trade for their own accounts; save them when their investments go sour.
8. Never prosecute any banker for criminal activity.
9. Nominate arch conservatives to the Supreme Court.
10. Reduce the federal deficit and debt
No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth. Monetary Sovereignty: Cutting federal deficits to grow the economy is like applying leeches to cure anemia.
1. A growing economy requires a growing supply of dollars (GDP=Federal Spending + Non-federal Spending + Net Exports)
2. All deficit spending grows the supply of dollars
3. The limit to federal deficit spending is an inflation that cannot be cured with interest rate control.
4. The limit to non-federal deficit spending is the ability to borrow.
THE RECESSION CLOCK
Vertical gray bars mark recessions.
As the federal deficit growth lines drop, we approach recession, which will be cured only when the growth lines rise. Increasing federal deficit growth (aka “stimulus”) is necessary for long-term economic growth.
8 thoughts on “The human interim species: If we can’t save the pale blue dot, how can we save ourselves?”
I’ve sent this article through to Gail Tverberg’s blog’Our Finite World”
Plenty to read there!
We will be destroyed by methane hydrate dissociation. Fossil fuel freaks have been creating the hydrates with fresh water intrusions into the earth’s crust since at least 1941.
Even as the species have become extinct, the “pale blue dot” has survived, and it will survive even if our species doesn’t.
It’s probably an unwarranted assumption that the survival of our species is a good thing for the earth, and for other species.
“Zeitgeist : Moving Forward” is a must see movie for this topic.
THIS WEEK IN CRAZY
“And now, despite climate change deniers, the climate really is changing, and there is a high probability the earth eventually will change so much as to be unlivable for the human species as we know it.”
Concerned about your alternative energy investments I take it. Or do you hold lots of carbon credits.
I’m all for clean energy and looking after the planet. But a small PPM increase in CO2 destroying the planet unless we invest massively in carbon credits is a sham that only the truly gullible believe in. Most know now its all about money.
And the danger based on genuine science is rapid global cooling (a truly scary prospect especially as we will not be prepared for it due to the AGW fraudsters) not more warming. But even with cooling (or warming) it will not wipe us all out. As you very well know.
What does it mean to be, “. . . all for clean energy and looking after the planet”?
What would you do, and why?
The only clean energy option that can replace coal etc is nuclear. Wind is a waste of time and solar at present not much better. The other alternatives are poor as well. And easily the best nuclear option is mini nukes. These could be developed to use so called nuclear waste.
But why aren’t the AGW alarmists promoting this. Funny this don’t you think. They think (or claim) CO2 will destroy the planet. Yet are mostly against CO2 free nuclear.