The entire climate change debate is a total ruse. On both sides. When looked back on in the future by our grandchildren, they will have no idea why we sweated, fought and clawed at each other over such a massive nothingburger.
Don’t get me wrong. There is ample evidence of climate change being caused or at least influenced by us. I’m sure that we can all lather ourselves up in giant bathtubs full of convincing data or go trekking across ice glaciers with Leo DiCaprio and Al Gore while we scream in agony at the sky. And wax poetic tales of woe of what kind of country we’re going to be passing on to our kids.
That particular aspect is beyond debate, at least for anyone who doesn’t have oil or nonrenewable energy interests or people on the right who are gullible enough to believe false narratives about climate change that have been hatched by oil and nonrenewable lobbyists. That’s a separate issue worth discussing at another time. Maybe a separate post on the mass neglect of the reform needs of the public education system and how much the 1% stands to gain by keeping the 99% undereducated or at least disadvantaged.
The problem with climate change is why such a monumental fuck is being given about it. The spirited, moral grandstanding has fully transcended the issue. Protesters take to the streets equipped with obligatory talking points on the surface issue. But what they lack in knowledge, they make up for it in the crusade to rail about corporate interests and the 1%. And everyone, especially the right, is missing the larger issue which is far more fatal to the long-term interests of the United States than water levels rising a little bit longer than a ruler in 80 years.
Bear with me as we first take a look at the good news.
The Paris Accord’s primary aim is to prevent the global temperature from rising 2°C by 2100. That’s not just our kids we are talking about. But their kids and the kids of those kids.
The debate rages on about the welfare of our future generations from the lens of where we are at 2017. With zero consideration on how much tremendous technological change we are going to be facing even in the next 25 years, let alone 80 years.
I’m talking about the coming technological singularity and how every single microcosmic facet of our society stands to change and we’ll have AI transcending the limitations of the intelligence of even our best scientists.
Before going further, read the easy-to-understand intro to the AI revolution that was brilliantly written by Tim Urban. If you can’t stand reading and prefer digesting 140 characters or less, then just read the first few paragraphs. It covers enough to help make my point.
To summarize, take a look at the below picture. This is how we look at the future. The assuming comfort that we can look at it with the same gradual trajectory as we’ve lived in the past. This is also how Paris Accord forecasting has been done.
The next image helps reveal what happens once AI transcends the human capacity to think. And not just one human. But within a relatively short amount of time after exceeding the intelligence of a single human, Moore’s Law estimates that AI will exceed the collective intelligence of all humans in the world. And once we’re at that point, maybe just a few weeks later, AI will exceed the collective intelligence of every single human that ever lived. And that future trajectory looks like below:
Notice how in the first graph that we can’t see that big spike coming?
Take a look at this next graph and see how flawed our personal forecasting is when relying on past growth trends.
Point being, everything around us is on a course for fundamental change. Most futurists estimate that, rather than being frightened by the prospect of a dark and dreary AI future like what we saw in the Terminator, humans will piggyback on the AI explosion by adopting BMI. The crudely named Brain-Machine Interfaces.
Scoff all you want, but you won’t be waking up one day and reading that there are line-ups for a new store offering chip implants or Matrix-like wires coming out of the base of your neck. It’ll be like the principle of how to boil a frog. You start off with the slow burn and warm up over time and then suddenly, we’re in a whole new era. For example, Apple is developing a Deep Learning OS for their iPhone that is so robust that it’ll be able to read your health vitals by simply having a patch on your skin that sends signals to your smartphone. That’s how it starts. Getting technology on us or in us for the betterment of our health. Then things go from there, especially once 3rd party app developers and investors start going in new directions with the technology. Can you imagine living with your pager in our current time of smartphones? Imagine your reaction if you traded up from a pager to a smartphone in 1990. The transformation is palpable. But things are moving far quicker now in terms of innovation.
The most widely praised futurist, Ray Kurzweil, has indicated that we’ll reach the point of Super AI, technological singularity, before 2045. In fact, things have changed since he predicted that. For example, the Asian game of ‘Go’ has been referred to as the final frontier of game mastery for AI. Far more sophisticated than chess. Last year, the handlers of Google’s AlphaGo only expected for the AI to win one out of five games against 18-time world champion, Lee Sedol. Instead, the AI won 4 out of 5 games and the human player was only able to win his game due to what Go experts call a masterful performance that will be studied for the ages. But the bigger story was how much further AlphaGo had developed that it blew away even its developers’ expectations. As a result of that, AI experts remarked that the AI behind AlphaGo was ten years further along than they expected in terms of amassing its own intelligence. And just last month, AlphaGo took on the reigning world champion, China’s Ke Jie, and beat the human player 3 games to none.
Because of this and other factors, it comes as no surprise that Kurzweil has been re-emphasizing his prediction that AI will attain human levels of intelligence by 2029. Just 12 years away. And then go on to attain a level that exceeds all of the brainpower of mankind by 2045.
Why is this important in a Paris Accord context? Because even us dim-witted humans have already started down the road toward switching cars and commercial vehicles to clean energy, a feat likely to be widely realized in 10 years’ time. And then it won’t take much for that to transition to the shipping and transportation industries. Then you’ve got biotech and nanotech, with the potential to have nanobots released into the atmosphere to help dial back the environment to a pristine, pre-Industrial Revolution state.
And this is all based on human-led innovation. Imagine when the singularity comes and we bootstrap intelligence. Imagine that if Kurzweil is right and this all comes down the pipe in 2045, well before the 2100 goal to bring down global temperatures a smidgen. Even if Kurzweil is way off, 2100 is still a joke in terms of forecasting. If we don’t have the environment receiving a proper spit-and-polish by 2100, we’ve got bigger problems. As in, we’d be all dead due to some cataclysmic event that took place before then (and that won’t happen. Just as we give safe distance to Amazon tribes to evolve without the influence of advanced society, we only intervene when it appears their mass survival is at risk. It’s safe to assume that aliens are also giving us our needed space to evolve but will or even have covertly intervened when we put our civilization at risk of mass extinction).
To sum up, by mid-century, this will all be sorted out. Regardless if the US signs the Paris Accord or not. But there’s a far greater problem related to all this that Trump’s oil lobbyists and everyone else are missing that has crippling consequences for the US. Which I’ll address in my next post.