Published: Saturday, January 8, 2011 with 0 Comments
So, Kitty’s starting off the New Year in a hopeful mood. Not so much me. I had the misfortune of watching a fascinating show on the History Channel the other night that scared me witless. Now, I’ll be the first to admit there is a lot on that cable channel that is basically BS, created to pull in big ratings. (Ancient Aliens, anyone?) But Prophets of Doom, which aired on Wednesday, was both sobering and pretty much legit, based on the news and articles I’ve already read.
Six gentlemen, students of various apocalyptic scenarios, discuss their fears for America’s and the World’s future.
Check out their bios, plus any links I’ve provided to their written work:
Michael Rupert, a controversial investigative journalist, spells out the big picture, focusing on the collision of peak oil and the population explosion. He’s author of Confronting Collapse and Crossing the Rubicon.
Dr. Nathan Hagens, economist, sees an economic collapse in our future. He compares our current world economy to a “global ponzi scheme.” Hagens is also fascinated with humanity’s inability to confront long-range problems because of our built-in cognitive dissonance, which lets us “discount” dangers if they are not staring us in the face. (You can read Hangens’s ideas on human “discount rates” here.)
John Cronin, co-author (with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.) of The Riverkeepers, reminds us that life itself is not possible without access to clean water, access that is dwindling rapidly as the world population grows and pollution increases. Time magazine named him a Hero of the Planet in 1999.
John Howard Kunstler is the author of The Long Emergency and Home From Nowhere, as well as other works that deal with the depletion and increasing costs of fossil fuels and other converging world crises that demand we transform the way we live if we are to survive.
Professor Hugo de Garis is a researcher in the field of Artificial Intelligence, and his concern is the eventual evolution of AI intelligence to the point where our machines will become hostile to humanity.
Following a round table discussion, the six gentlemen decide that the coming water and economic crises are the most pressing, although all admit that a large enough bit of nuclear terrorism could trump that. The threat of hostile AIs is considered the least eminent, since the other potential crises could slow down or even halt further technological development.