Humanity is in its adolescence
"If we think of one million years in terms of a single, eighty-year life, then today humanity would be in its adolescence—sixteen years old; just coming into our power; just old enough to get ourselves in serious trouble."
Technology is advancing faster than humanity's wisdom. We are repeatedly risking our entire future on idiotic and accidental experiments. Humanity is a teen drunk driving. We know we are risking our future, but we don't feel like we are and we don't do much about it.
If we could actually feel how many lives we were risking when we created nuclear bombs, or the possible futures we could lose from designing even deadlier viruses for research, we would never consider them. But humanity lacks the political will and wisdom to not repeatedly take these risks.
The teenager knows home is only a few minutes away, he isn't even that drunk, and it's always been fine before; nuclear deterrence has worked for the last 70 years, the policy of mutually assured destruction hasn't failed us yet. **Nobody expects to die drunk driving, and nobody gets to learn from that mistake. **
But the incentive structures are already in place and we can't put technological innovations or international relations on pause. We must cultivate our own wisdom and desire to help humanity and it's future because we are just a stupid teenager, and we have so much left to do. We just need to not kill ourselves.
Humanity is like a 16 year old with a gun. We now have the power to get ourselves killed or protect ourselves. To protect the future we need to develop the wisdom and will to control the powerful and dangerous technologies we've created.
The Precipice If we think of one million years in terms of a single, eighty-year life, then today humanity would be in its adolescence—sixteen years old; just coming into our power; just old enough to get ourselves in serious trouble.
The greatest risks are caused by human action, and they can be addressed by human action.
The problem is not so much an excess of technology as a lack of wisdom.
To risk destroying this future, for the sake of some advantage limited only to the present, seems to me profoundly parochial and dangerously short-sighted.
The scientists and military appear to have assumed full responsibility for an act that threatened all life on Earth. Was this a responsibility that was theirs to assume?