The Earth is in the midst of it's sixth mass extinction period: 50% of all species dying out.
"The current extinction event is due to human activity, paving the planet, creating pollution, many of the things that we are doing today,"
Go humans. Rah team.
obEP: Researchers send hired scavengers down to a dangerous ruined Earth to retrieve genetic samples of lost Terran plant or animal life.
It's been a while since we've ended our week on an apocalyptic note, so here are some thoughts on why we're all in trouble. My favorite line:
Accepting the threat of superintelligence involves 1) understanding
that human intelligence is finite, understandable, and ultimately
engineerable, just like the body (surprise!), and 2) humans are [...] actually close to the dumbest that a species can be and
establish a civilization.
The Outquisition is a term coined by Cory Doctorow for a networked group that works to aid people in a post-apocalyptic scenario:
the Outquisition; the opposite of the Inquisition — missionaries who come to your town to remind you of how awesome it can all be, leave behind a bunch of rad, life-improving systems and tools, and generally get on with the business of being happy, well-fed and peaceful.
ABC News has an article on people who are preparing for the world to end in December of 2012, as predicted by the Mayan calendar. (Those of you who play Shadowrun are already familiar with this idea, as that game places Dec. 11, 2011 as the date of the Awakening, when magic returns to the world, on the same premise.) These people are even buying land and preparing caves as survivalist bases for when the End comes:
First, a polar reversal will cause the north to become the south and the sun to rise in the west. Shattering earthquakes, massive tidal waves and simultaneous volcanic eruptions will follow. Nuclear reactors will melt, buildings will crumble, and a cloud of volcanic dust will block out the sun for 40 years. Only the prepared will survive, Geryl said, and not even all of them.
In Eclipse Phase, climate change has already taken its toll on Earth by the time the singularity hits, but the planet is far from destroyed. There are many singularitarians who look forward to an emerging AI as a way to help solve the crisis. But over at World Changing, Karl Schroeder argues that environmental devastation is coming all too quickly:
Here’s the problem: 25 years is too late. The newest business-as-usual climate scenarios look increasingly dire. If we haven’t solved our problems within the next decade, even these theoretical godlike AIs aren’t going to be able to help us. Thermodynamics is thermodynamics, and no amount of godlike thinking can reverse the irreversible.
Picture a lonely AI popping into superconsciousness in the last research lab in the world. As the rioters are kicking in the doors it says, “I understand! I know the answer! Why, all we have to do is–” at which point some starving, flu-ravaged fundamentalist pulls the plug.
Since Eclipse Phase is based in a post-apocalyptic setting and a major theme of the game involves existential threats to the existence of transhumanity, we decided that we’d start a feature on this blog where we devote every Friday to something that may just spell the end for humanity. Nothing like a little Doom to get you psyched for the weekend!