• Log in with Facebook Log in with Twitter Log In with Google      Sign In    
  • Create Account
  LongeCity
              Advocacy & Research for Unlimited Lifespans

Photo
- - - - -

Threats to Life Models


  • Please log in to reply
11 replies to this topic

#1 patrick

  • Guest
  • 37 posts
  • 0

Posted 30 August 2003 - 10:30 PM


Time is sometimes our friend and often our enemy.

Why think about existential risk at all? As an immortalist, this answer is simple. I plan to live forever, so any risk to life (in general and specifically) is going to have to be minimized, prepared for, and addressed.

Here are my notes on the subject, followed by a brainstorming with my wife to help identify risks.

1. Identify, categorize, and evaluate risks: develop a Threats To Life Catalog.
2. Quantify risks.
3. Develop a strategy for minimizing each risk.
4. Develop a mathematical model for evaluating the total risk level and the effects of our strategy against that risk.
5. Continuously monitor for new risks and reevaluate existing risks.

Develop a "risk pattern language" or template.

Risk name
category
description
sources
risk level
time frame
strategies: minimize, prepare, recover.
references
evaluations

We can consolidate sources of risk and develop an entry and strategy for each.

Source name
description
risks
strategy
references
evalutations

This will help us identify what tends to cause risk, and we can develop targetted strategies for making human life safer.


Here's a brainstorming of ideas, please feel free to contribute to the list, change categories, critique, or expand on individual items for the catalog. I would prefer to keep even seemingly weak possibilities in the catalog so they can be reevaluated from time to time.


Risks

Man vs. Nature

(Astral)
Stellar:
Rogue star passes through or near system
Sol:
Supernova
Burnout
Flareout/becomes irregular

Galactic:
Nearby intense gamma ray burst
Parallel Universe intersection or disaster (c.f. M-branes, gravity)

Universal/Cosmological:
Proton decay accelerates/other particulate inherent problem in matter.
Spacetime becomes irregular due to stress
Big Crunch occurs
Spontaneous quantum fluction results in radical expansion of local space

or other major distruption
"Laws" are part of a local bubble, which pops.

Planetary:

Lunar asteroid collision
Jupiter or other planetary body disintegrates, littering solar system
Large Asteroid or Comet Impact causes huge explosion
Massive increase in space debris cause many small impacts
Comet or asteroid brings template chemical or large doses of hazardous material
alien invasion/assault

Permanent major environmental change or disruption caused by:
supervolcanic eruption c.f. supervolcanoes
massive methane release and ignition
global warming / water temperature change
environmental/ecological systemic failure
- genetic engineering of food sources

"natural" disease
- ebola, marburg, etc. run rampant

Evolutionary quick genetic change causes nonintelligent humans to predominate.

Simulation Shutdown: existence is some form of simulation for which there are outside controls, and the experiment is terminated.



Man vs. Man: War

global thermonuclear war - direct and environmental harm
conventional war
biological warfare : Artificial Disease - super bio strains
chemical or radiological warfare: distributed release of fine plutonium
nanotech plagues/weapons


Man vs. Man: Accident

Gray Goo - nanoplagues
physics experiment disaster: accidental creation of template particle or black hole, etc.
development of hostile artificial superintelligence


Memetics:
Massive memetic failure or assault
Voluntary Human Extinction Movement or equivalent; apocalypse cult.
ALF, ELF, GLF, Church of Euthanasia.
The Joke That Kills
Apathy

Coincidence: everyone gets accidentally killed at approximately the same time.

Gradual Decay and slow extinction



Well, it's a start.

Patrick

#2 patrick

  • Topic Starter
  • Guest
  • 37 posts
  • 0

Posted 30 August 2003 - 10:45 PM

Divine Intervention
Category: Cosmological
Description: Book of Revelations, etc.
Sources: divine beings, creator, etc.
Risk level: Zip
Time Frame: Any day now
Strategies, minimize:
Probably no effective strategy.
Strategies, prepare:
Probably no point.
Strategies, recover:
None.
References:
Fundamentalists everywhere.
http://www.discover..../featworld.html (#19)
Evaluations:
Transhumanists will probably dismiss this risk entirely. No need to go into details.

#3 patrick

  • Topic Starter
  • Guest
  • 37 posts
  • 0

Posted 31 August 2003 - 12:45 AM

Proposal for a plan of action.

Each phase will be ongoing, but somewhat dependent on the previous phase.

1. Develop a Threat To Life Catalog.
A cross-reference database of Threats, filtered for plausibility. I propose logically splitting the catalog into two parts: the Main catalog, containing Threats with high urgency or a timeframe of less than 5,000 to 1,000,000 years, and an Extended catalog, for more distant concerns. Occasionally we can review the Extended catalog to see if anything ought to be reclassified based on available information.

The catalog ought to be filtered for plausibility. That is, it should only contain Threats that are plausible according to our present or project understanding of the universe. Items that are not plausible should be rejected - perhaps placed on a Rejects list for future reference.

Examples:
"Gray Goo" would go in the Main catalog.
"Heat Death of the Universe" would go in the Extended catalog.
"A djinni found in an old lamp grants a wish that involves the destruction of all human life" would go in the Rejects.

What is a Threat? We can develop a formal definition, but I am working with "that which may plausibly exterminate the human or post-human species". Personally, I am not very concerned with "civilization" except as it relates to viability.

2. Identify and quantify risk levels and develop mathematical models for doing the same.

Statistics is a weakness for me, but I can help to develop heuristics based on, for example, John Petersen's Out of the Blue (ISBN 0-9659027-2-2).

3. Focus on the most urgent threats, developing strategies and spreading awareness of the risk factors.
4. Implement and spread strategies against urgent Threats.

For focus and PR purposes, I think it would be a good idea to create and publish a Top Ten Hit List, containing all the highest-risk Threats, and possibly a Ten Most Wanted: the individuals and organizations believed to represent the greatest Threats to Life by their activities.

I would rather focus on threats of extinction, rather than to civilization as we know it; however, I see no reason we could not develop a categorization for each ( Threat To: Life, Threat To: Life As We Know It ). The later seems endlessly broad to me, however.


Patrick

sponsored ad

  • Advert
Advertisements help to support the work of this non-profit organisation. [] To go ad-free join as a Member.

#4 patrick

  • Topic Starter
  • Guest
  • 37 posts
  • 0

Posted 31 August 2003 - 12:49 AM

Time Travel
Threat To: Life
Domain:Terrestrial
Description: Humanity is wiped out prior to the present.
Sources: hostiles
Risk level: Unknown
Time Frame: Unknown
Strategies, minimize:
Monitor time travel theory?
Strategies, prepare:
Develop time travel theory?
Strategies, recover:
Depends on nature of time.
References:
None yet.
Evaluations:
The risk seems low, especially as physical theories of time progress.

#5 patrick

  • Topic Starter
  • Guest
  • 37 posts
  • 0

Posted 31 August 2003 - 01:02 AM

Sudden Change in Earth's Axial Tilt
Threat To: Life
Domain:Terrestrial
Description: Humanity is wiped out by a cataclysm triggered by a shift in the axial tilt of the Earth.
Sources: natural, probably.
Risk level: Unknown
Time Frame: Geologic?
Strategies, minimize:
None presently known?
Strategies, prepare:
Spread humanity throughout the Solar System.
Strategies, recover:
Recolonize after the dust settles?
References:
?
Evaluations:
?
Plausibility:
?

#6 Bruce Klein

  • Guardian Founder
  • 8,794 posts
  • 242
  • Location:United States

Posted 31 August 2003 - 01:13 AM

Patrick,

Your brain storm bringeth nice showers. I'll graft many of your suggestions into a formal proposal to give TTLC a mission and specific target goals over time. I'll also formalize method to become a council member. But, for now in brief, if one should like to formally sit on the council, one would only need to make this intent known to one of the ImmInst directors and also be a Full ImmInst Member.

For the next few months we'll hash out the most important threats.. as per relevance in 1. time (how soon could it happen) 2. scale (how dangerous is the risk)

I hope for us to plot these risks in graph form to makes a quick glance easy to understand. Maybe a use of percentages and a bar chart with pictures would also help.

#7 Mind

  • Life Member, Moderator, Secretary
  • 17,519 posts
  • 2,001
  • Location:Wausau, WI

Posted 31 August 2003 - 01:20 PM

So this would be a list of threats to life on this planet as a whole, not to individual life? Threats to individual life would have to include diseases and accidents.

#8 Lazarus Long

  • Life Member, Guardian
  • 8,116 posts
  • 242
  • Location:Northern, Western Hemisphere of Earth, Usually of late, New York

Posted 31 August 2003 - 02:26 PM

Mind is correct about the numbers and the reality that we face day to day. Add to it the threats from crime and politics. They may be derivative of the same underlying forces but crime is no accident and the threat is ever present, ironically more when the State promises fascism in return for security on the street.

We are being offered a devil's bargain and few compare the causality in a manner that demonstrates why crime is related to "Drug Wars" as well as "global wars". Few expect responsibility to defend themselves and their community; even fewer still tolerate the idea of a "militia" as the principle of defense embodied by our "Constitution" but the wording was no accident, nor arcane rhetoric of traditionalists and primitive men.

Those who fail to know history invariably repeat it because the relationship of "social force" changes scope more quantitatively than qualitatively. By seriously studying history one begins to recognize all too easily the patterns of manipulation and abuse that are a constant thread of social evolution.

The reason that Washington and many others moved to prevent the creation of a standing army and protect the right of local citizenry to not only protect them selves but remain vigilant and armed was because the founders believed that such responsibility was invariably "local everywhere" and the risk of a central authority becoming corrupted "too inevitable" to be acceptable.

The counter "insurgents" attempted to immediately establish the necessary logic of a "standing military" and it became the debate over the creation of a Navy that altered the course of events by convincing the majority that it was impossible to "not" maintain it as a standing force" for it to have any functional ability. It simply took too long to anticipate need, design and build, then man and train competent crews to perform the task and these were survivors of a long blockade that had controlled many mainland ports by the British Navy. The lesson of numerous conflicts and a long drawn out revolutionary war was not lost on the drafters of our United States Constitution.

It was also very much throughout colonial times seen as an imperative to expand across the continent and this necessitated a continuous and ever more proficient and professional military force to accomplish. Also the perceived threat of an inevitable return of large scale European imperial colonial interest from principally France, England, and Spain was presumed, not suspected.

Such "military force" rationally needed to be met with a comparable force but such a "level of force" also created the ambition for "a dominion" of our own and from the very beginning of US history overt designs by many within our government to confront Canada (Britain after the French defeat), Louisiana (France), and Mexico (Spain) for additional "assimilation" coalesced into a vision of empire held by such as Jackson and Hamilton against Washington and Jefferson. Such concepts of a "Pilgrim's Progress" soon came to be characterized as "Manifest Destiny" and the cause of every duty bound Christian Soldier.

The rhetoric is actual documented "history" and not just my "twist." What many people today need to better understand is that it isn't just about the past, it is a present reality; our whirlwind inheritance. It is why the power of the Fundamentalist Right wing is so counterintuitive to reason yet so much in principle like what we are facing as the worst threat from our enemies.

#9 patrick

  • Topic Starter
  • Guest
  • 37 posts
  • 0

Posted 31 August 2003 - 07:01 PM

Lazarus, I admit that I cannot easily establish a link between your thoughtful post and this topic, other than that politics leads to destruction.

Mind, I did not establish what a "threat" as in Threat-To-Life was in my first post, but I did address that later on in a further post. I apologize for my ambiguous introductory statements.

Patrick

#10 Lazarus Long

  • Life Member, Guardian
  • 8,116 posts
  • 242
  • Location:Northern, Western Hemisphere of Earth, Usually of late, New York

Posted 31 August 2003 - 10:00 PM

Actually it is more than a tenuous linkage I am proposing. The idea is that we can understand:

Politics = Religion = Crime

and that if you examine the numbers of us threatened and killed historically from disease and "accident" you will also discover that the statistic of "premature death" is skewed by a large percentage also killed by Crime and War, regardless of whether it is the War on Crime, War Crime, "Simple Crime," "Just War", or the Crime of War.

I am also alluding to an idea, which was an essential part of the formation the United States, that to confront the complex relationship of Politics, Religion and Crime it is necessary for the maintenance and preservation of an armed populace at the level of a militia such that individuals are both empowered and they are involved in the collective defense of our freedom, not merely protected by faith in a benevolent State.

It is the Swiss Canton and Local Militia principle as a variant on tribal empowerment that is often perverted into gangs and warlords. Tribal conflicts, ethnic and racial hatreds, cultural clashes are not simplistic affairs that spring up "miraculously" like some sort of "spontaneous combustion".

This concept of such "individual responsibility" is today considered radically dangerous yet is essential to the amelioration of the problems that may be inherent with Institutionalized Religion and Government such that its corruption is the true well spring of crime around the world, whether as the Vatican Banking of Organized Crime receipts, Iran Contra's trading of guns and drugs for political gain, the rise of Cleptocratic Oligarchs or the creation of warrior cults for the promotion of empire whether Christian or Islamic.

The funding of political purpose through the sale of contraband heroin, cocaine, slaves, or critical resources is also an indelible part of history whether it is the story of the triangle slave trade of the past, the Shining Path of the present, or the Golden Triangle's relationship to the Ho Chi Minh Trail and the Poppy production of Afghan Warlords.

It is a sinister relationship of Church, State and Clandestine Cartels everywhere whether it is for manipulating the still present slave trade in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, Illegal Drugs for political causes, Rare Earth metals for Cell phones or fuels that support social growth.

It is the physics of political economics that underlies even the pursuit of oil based social doctrine as much as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the sale of arms on the back city streets of the world.

This is the "Dark Side" of the triumvirate of power, whether obvious or not; that Religion, Politics, and Crime conspire together to ensure the mortality of mankind and the statistics suggest we ignore it at our peril. Crime on street corners is not an "existential threat" it is an all too real threat according to any valid statistical measure, far more real than a lightning strike to be prevented, war doesn't threaten everyone everywhere equally at any given time but the presence of war is rising threat that threatens stability everywhere ALL the time in an ever more dangerous present tense.

The politics of empire is rationalized through religious doctrine and this relationship cannot be ignored as it is what underlies "control" of the motive to war and is a very important part of the "means" of perpetuating the "status quo" that is collectively seen as an "Existential Threat" that is difficult by virtue of its obscure and "shady web" to define and protect against yet it is this same threat that underlies al Qaeda's true source of current funding, the conflict in jungles around the world, why we went into Iraq, why North Korea is a threat to world stability, and what promotes fanatic service to militant tribal visions whether discussing Wahabbi, Zionism, or Protestant evangelicalism.

Only fools ignore and turn their back on thinking them benign. Even the Old Testament shows the lesson of Uriah and how the lusts of even the best of Kings can be "corrupted" to a counter productive effort.

Religion teaches both the doctrine of devoted worship that underlies the power of such mindless fanaticism and ironically how to recognize such social force for the purpose of furthering the manipulative means of monarchs or even prevention against being manipulated; but what cannot be done is to gloss over this as some sort of "Act of God" beyond the reason of humanity to understand and confront.

#11 patrick

  • Topic Starter
  • Guest
  • 37 posts
  • 0

Posted 01 September 2003 - 12:46 AM

Lazarus Long,

I think we're on the same page here. I certainly agree that dominant memeplexes on our planet are incredibly dangerous. The trick here, I think, is to isolate and categorize specific threats (including memetic) and their sources, and develop strategies to minimize the chance of, prepare for the eventuality of, and recover from life-threatening catastrophies.

As religious, political, or other memes are sources of risk, we may wish to catalog, track, and prepare active defenses against them.


Patrick

sponsored ad

  • Advert
Advertisements help to support the work of this non-profit organisation. [] To go ad-free join as a Member.

#12 80srich

  • Guest
  • 33 posts
  • 0

Posted 13 September 2003 - 09:49 PM

Divine Intervention
Category: Cosmological
Description: Book of Revelations, etc.
Sources: divine beings, creator, etc.
Risk level: Zip
Time Frame: Any day now
Strategies, minimize:
Probably no effective strategy.
Strategies, prepare:
Probably no point.
Strategies, recover:
None.
References:
Fundamentalists everywhere.
http://www.discover..../featworld.html (#19)
Evaluations:
Transhumanists will probably dismiss this risk entirely. No need to go into details.


To steal a joke from hitchhikers guide to the galaxy. God cannot intervene because to do so would mean we were certain of gods existence. And as god exists on faith as soon as he intervenes he would cease to exists. (And god vanishes in a puff of logic) ;)




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users