According to the authoritative Oxford Dictionary, “climate emergency” was chosen as the “Word of 2019”. This is not a word, actually, but two ... And in the Russian version there are three at all: "extreme climate situation." Well, not the point. Actually, the point is not in these philological subtleties, but in addition to the problem of climate change, which certainly exists, the population of planet Earth lies in wait for a whole series of no less, if not more, serious dangers.
Nevertheless, for some reason, their humanity prefers not to notice, not to raise it to the shield, not to turn it into an object of universal concern and anxiety. Does this happen because of myopia inherent in people, or is the reason here that it is much more difficult to earn popularity and make a career on these issues? One way or another, but ignoring these threats can lead us all to an outcome no less sad than global warming and the melting polar ice caused by it. What exactly is it about? Now let's figure it out.
A long time ago, the story of how the mayor's office of London at the beginning of the twentieth century sounded the alarm and predicted a disaster for the townspeople for a very specific reason turned into a textbook example. The pundits there quite accurately calculated that at the current rate of development of horse-drawn transport, the capital of Misty Albion would be littered with horse manure at about the level of the third floor of the year by 1930 ... What happened next, it’s clear that with urban waste products in cities okay. Instead, not only London, but also other world capitals are in kilometer-long traffic jams and choking in exhaust fumes ... What am I for? Moreover, the statement about the always-on “preparation for the last war” seems to be relevant not only for generals. Risks and challenges - both local and planetary, are often calculated based solely on the current level of development of society, science and of technologies. And this despite the fact that tomorrow has repeatedly presented surprises to humanity that should teach us that, firstly, the notorious “far” is by no means always beautiful, and secondly, trouble often comes “from nowhere waited. " It is possible that the problems described below will also lose their relevance some time later. However, in the current realities it is still worth paying attention to them.
1. Slow extinction
Having safely forgotten about world wars, total pandemics, and similar disasters that have plowed people into millions, mankind, which seems to have built a cozy and well-fed world for itself, began to die out - slowly, but steadily. Paradoxically, the fact - a constant decrease in the birth rate is observed just in the most prosperous countries of the Earth, to the citizens of which the expression is applicable: “live, let live”. But no, it does not live ... In any case, extreme concern today is expressed in the catastrophic decline in population reproduction in the countries of Europe, America (both North and South), and Asia. Far fewer babies are born, even where a family with three children was not so long ago considered inferior. The Arab East, Central Asia, traditionally incredibly “prolific” Mexico, Turkey, Thailand - all of them are approaching the “European norm” of one or two children per family. And even then not for everybody ... The most threatening situation is observed in the Old World. There, in fact, the institution of the family, as such, dies. For example, in Britain the number of marriages concluded during the year fell from 1970 to 2015 by almost half - from 400 to more than 200 thousand. At the same time, the number of creating family of young people under the age of 56 decreased significantly (by 66% for boys and 20% for girls). The average age of the "marriage" for Misty Albion today is 37 years for men and 35 for women. What big families are there, where can they come from ?! Similarly, the picture looks in almost all EU countries. So it turns out that according to the forecasts of the same Euromonitor, by 2030 the number of children per family in “developed countries” will decrease by another 20%. Although, where else to cut something ?! Countries like Nigeria, Somalia, and Mozambique continue to be the flagships of childbearing. But is this easier for us? In particular, given that, according to official figures, in Russia, alas, there is also a decline in the population.
At the same time, it is extremely unpleasant that if the situation continues to develop in this way, then residents of the states of the same European Union will have to work up to a hundred years. And there will be no one else! In any case, this is exactly what both the analysts of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the experts of the International Fund say. The OECD predicts a 2030-20% reduction in the number of real workers in developed countries by 40, and the IMF fully supports them, adding that countries in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe will be particularly affected by the decline. However, in the same Germany, whose population in 2018 seemed to have grown by 200 thousand people, this figure was not provided in any way by the child-loving Frau, but by migrants who flooded the country. And they "plow" for the good of the Vaterland are not at all torn. So Berlin has to seriously think about increasing the retirement age to 70 years. By 2023, he will definitely be 67 years old in this country. In Norway, however, this is already the case, and in neighboring Denmark, the corresponding changes will probably be adopted in the near future - with an aim to increase the age for reaching a well-deserved rest to 72 years by 2035. Some of our fellow citizens who are protesting against the domestic pension reform (albeit fairly) should not forget about these figures. As Alan Pickering, who headed the National Association of Pension Funds of Great Britain, once said, “during your work you simply won’t create as much added value as you have to retire for 40 years ...” Alas, the population of “civilized countries” has a clear dilemma: either more actively, excuse me, multiply in my youth, or work hard until the end of my days. At the same time, understanding that with the current trends in the field of fertility, we will simply die out, leaving the world to immigrants from the Black Continent. Well, if they do not slide into childbearing to the level of "civilized" ...
2. Too smart technologies
However, with regard to labor, there is another problem. With every decade, finding a skilled and well-paid job will be increasingly difficult. Especially in the current "white-collar" field. Clerks, managers, client managers, and operations officers are already being replaced by artificial intelligence today and, according to experts, the process is just beginning. So, IHS Markit firmly believes that over the next 10 years, as a result of replacing people with “smart” machines and computer programs, millions of people will be unemployed on exchanges and in the financial sector. One and a half million - in the USA alone. However, the rapid robotization and computerization affects more and more sectors of human activity, intruding not only in industry, transport and agriculture, but also in medicine with education. On the other hand, all this is still the most innocent thing among those that humanity can encounter, too trusting in artificial intelligence and the technology “tied” to it. What could be worse? The answer to this question is, first of all, two terrifying plane crashes of Boeing airliners, when a "too smart" computer program that took over control of the aircraft sent hundreds of people to the next world. And this, alas, is not an “out of the ordinary” case, but one of the eerie signs of the present. In any case, this is exactly what I am convinced of, for example, Bruce Schneier, a cybersecurity specialist from the USA, who recently published a book with the cutest title: “Click Here to Kill Everybody”. Accordingly, in Russian: "Click here to kill everyone." Unfortunately, such an opportunity - to destroy hundreds, thousands, and even millions of people with one click of a computer mouse, has long moved from the realm of black fiction to the category of realities in life.
The same Schneier, in his work, considers three options that are simplest in his opinion, in which technological progress can go sideways to the people who gave birth to it. First of all, this is a hacker attack, which, at a minimum, will "lay down" the infrastructure of one of the major megacities, in most of which all city services and life support systems today are more or less controlled by artificial intelligence. And maybe the worst option is, for example, gas gushing out of water taps ... In any case, chaos, human casualties and destruction are guaranteed. The second example is a terrorist attack using a remotely hacked vehicle, which today is also crammed with computers to the maximum. Okay, if we are going to talk about some small car ... And if it will be a bus? Heavy truck? Or the same plane, which is not at all excluded? Well, the third option is a “furious” 3D bioprinter, the use of which is becoming increasingly popular in medicine today. But imagine that this is a very clever “machine” with someone’s feed that suddenly began to stamp not the organs necessary for transplantation, but some deadly virus, in comparison with which the Ebola seems like a runny nose ?! Agreeing with Mr. Schneier in his fears, it should only be noted that for some reason, in his work, as sources of global threats, he considers exclusively terrorist groups or crazy maniacs. As for me, artificial intelligence, the further it is, the more it is introduced in the same military sphere, which is much more dangerous in the hands of megacorporations and states. Indeed, today there is already a lot of talk about the creation and implementation of fully autonomous combat robotic systems that do not have external control, but are designed to strike the enemy in accordance with some “software settings” laid down in them. Hello Terminator? It may very well be ...
3. Global dullness
Incidentally, the total computerization, as a result of which our world is increasingly turning into a network of hundreds of millions of interconnected gadgets, we can safely say “thank you” for another threat that has crept in, as usual, unnoticed. This is a process that can safely be called the "global stupidity" of mankind. In truth, I don’t really trust the IQ measurement system, the so-called IQ (as well as many other standards invented in the West), but since it has been adopted all over the world ... Recently, scientists have sounded the alarm about this from both the Old and the New Worlds - from Americans to Norwegians. The latter conducted a very large-scale study, the depressing results of which were shared with the most respected public on the pages of the authoritative scientific publication Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Well, if you believe the data they received, then since 2000, the “average human” IQ on the planet has been steadily falling by about 7 points with each generation that is born (that is, once every 20-25 years). Moreover, over the past century, everything was exactly the opposite - people's intelligence grew by an average of 3 points per decade. The reverse process began in the 70s of the twentieth century ... And this is very sad, because with such a rate of degradation, the world's population risks becoming a crowd of degenerates in the next couple of centuries. This is when you consider that the average IQ is considered to be 100 points, and an indicator of 70 is already considered the level of serious mental retardation. However, as I have already said, the concept of IQ itself is quite controversial and has repeatedly been subjected to derogatory criticism, in particular, by domestic scientists. However, other scientific studies conducted using other methods and indicators also do not add optimism.
According to the authors of an article published in the Intelligence magazine five years ago, our “think-tank” is not suitable for outlining ancestors from the 25th century. Our reaction rate, ability to make quick decisions and creativity have fallen seriously (by more than XNUMX%). People began to "slow down" pretty much! Yes there is the century before last! Anthropologists say that their ancestors from the Stone Age were much more “brainy” than modern inhabitants of the Earth. And in the most literal sense - their brain volume was significantly larger. What is the reason? Here opinions are divided. Many scientific luminaries tend to believe that technological progress nevertheless played a cruel joke with Homo Sapiens. Well, why should a person be smart today and know how to get a ton of a variety of things - with search engines, databases and satellite navigators, moreover, collected in a compact smartphone that is always accessible, just lend a hand ?! It was in the past that he simply had to possess a mass of various knowledge and practical skills, since his survival in the most literal sense of the word depended on it. Today, alas, the main skill has become to understand which buttons and in what sequence you need to press ... The education system, which is increasingly simplifying, if not becoming primitive, does not contribute to the development of intelligence. At the same time, school and university education in Russia, which some people scold for "retrograde," outperforms, let us say, average education in the West by many points. Some of the researchers sin on genetic mutations that began almost in those distant times when mankind took possession of agriculture, and recently, for obvious reasons, which have taken on a straightforward avalanche-like character. British and Spanish scientists, in turn, tend to derive a direct correlation between the decline in intelligence and environmental degradation, environmental pollution. It’s just some kind of vicious circle: humanity foolishly turns its planet into a garbage dump and as a result it becomes even dumber ...
From time immemorial people have been accustomed to paint global and gloomy pictures of the “end of the world”, the death of their own civilization. The first, if I am not mistaken, the ancient Aztecs succeeded in this. So far, fortunately, not one of these predictions has come true, and people have the opportunity to make more and more mistakes. However, is there enough time to fix those that may turn out to be really critical? According to some, especially cynical scientists, the real end of the world, if it comes, is completely different from the reasons that were once predicted.