Sunday, 23 July 2017

DISASTER PLANET THINKING


You've probably heard of Murphy's Law: if it can go wrong it will go wrong. And over the years it certainly has gone wrong, again and again and again, and on a massive scale. That's how we mammals got our big chance – when an asteroid levelled the playing field with our original reptilian overlords some 66 million years ago.

Ignoring such past convulsions, many people are struck by the apparent "miracle" of life existing on this planet relatively peacefully. This perception pushes some towards a mystical sense of a benevolent overseeing intelligence, aka God. Even left-wing atheists fall into a similar trap, although instead of the cosmic patriarch arranging the "best of all possible worlds" they enshrine some abstract notion of "progress" and dimly imagine a Star-Trek-like future that we will somehow reach through rigorous competition in social signalling and alpha cucking.

Needless to say, both groups betray forms of mental myopia, and get their "cozy feels" from the fact that the entirety of our historical consciousness – a few thousand years at best – can be dropped easily into the yawning chasm between two ice ages, or a bit to the left (timewise) of some super volcano going off and wiping out agriculture for a few decades or another asteroid scudding past the Hubble to rip open the fiery bowels of Mother Earth yet again.

Except for our little bubble, almost everything else in time and space is incompatible with our continued survival and easy comfort. Get in a time machine or a rocket ship, and venture a few degrees left, right, upwards, downwards, backwards, or forwards from where we now are and you find yourself in what can only be described as "disasterspace," a realm in which we simply can't survive. Disasterspace is all around us, and increasingly within us, as we work hard to make our temporary little bubble toxic to our species, whether economically and environmentally through materialism, or morally and politically through leftism.

Disasterspace in meteorite form.
But even if we were wise, chaste, clean, economical, and moral beings (in the true sense not the signalling sense), the fact is that disasterspace could choose to pop our world at any time, like a bored child playing with bubble wrap. For this reason it is essential that mankind rejects its habitual complacency, and finds some way of taking its destiny into its own hands.

The sad truth, however, is that instead of preparing to overcome a series of inevitable worsts, we are merely pandering to the weakest elements of our nature and building increasingly brittle societies and economies that depend on the universe deciding to keep on giving us an easy ride.

It is at this point that an alternative right view of the world really scores over our blind, feel-centric, hedonistic-driven Leftist opponents (in which I, of course, include the so-called Centre Right that exists in sickly symbiosis with the Left across most of our poisoned Western democracies).

So, what does disaster planet thinking entail? There are several examples that can be used to flesh out the concept.

WHALES

A simple one struck me some years ago, prompted by Japan's seemingly odd decision to retain its whaling fleet. The Japanese, as a people who even today live in wood and paper houses in a land that is subject to frequent cataclysmic earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons, and occasional atomic bombings, are perhaps a little more aware of disasterspace than we in the West.

Back in the the early post-war period, the Japanese whaling fleet was essential in providing protein for Japan, when importing meat was still too expensive for an economy that had to start at the bottom again. In those years whale meat was a common item on school menus and generally, but by the 1970s and '80s, the country was affluent enough to eat what it liked, and whale meat started to disappear from normal and preferred menus.

Despite this and despite the extremely bad PR this created with a post-Christian West that had, to a certain degree, filled its spiritual vacuum with whale worship, the Japanese decided to preserve a core of their whaling fleet. This seemed counterintuitive as Japan, more than any country, wants to be well thought-of by foreign countries, especially the West, and indeed needs to, if it is to have a successful high-exporting economy. As a recent example of this tendency, consider the ridiculous decision by the Japanese to remove Buddhist manjis from their tourist maps because their resemblance to Nazi swastikas might upset the occasional idiotic liberal tourist.

Save the whale by boycotting Japanese eco cars!
From this, it can be inferred that if the Japanese do something that the West doesn't like, they usually have a very good reason for it. So it is with whaling and the dogged protectionism of their agricultural sector, which is usually interpreted by Western commentators as mere pork barrel politics aimed at rural areas, which are disproportionately represented in the Japanese parliament.

While the pork barrel explanation at least sounds plausible with reference to the agricultural sector, which is still very large, it makes no sense with the whaling fleet, which at best employs a few thousand people at a cost of great international opprobrium from the tender sensibilities of the same people the Japanese auto industry is trying to sell Priuses to.

The fact is Japan's decision to retain its whaling fleet and skill set in working order is nothing less than an example of disaster planet thinking, the thought being how would densely overpopulated Japan survive if there was a global crisis that resulted in the termination of Japan's copious food imports? In such a case, Japan would have to resort to alternative sources of protein – one source being the enormous supply of whale meat that the Western fetishization of whales has created in the world's oceans. Someone, somewhere deep in the Japanese "deep state" has clearly been thinking ahead and reflecting on the Japanese version of Murphy's Law.

ICE AGE

But the realities of disaster planet thinking are not just found in the Japanese government and civil service. Traces also exist in the genetic code for those who choose to read them. Up-to-date genetic research shows that British people are more closely related to French and Spanish than previously thought, in other words they have had a North-South genetic orientation, stretching from the Mediterranean to the North of Britain that reveals their pattern of survival outside the myopia and complacency of the present.

North-South not East-West.
In Western Europe, an environment that has more than sufficient precipitation, the main factor in determining habitability is temperature. A drop in temperature means that the habitable zone recedes sharply Southward and so must the people; a rise and it moves Northwards.

This seems to have been the experience of our ancestors over tens of thousands years. We have essentially been part of a vacillating habitable zone – in reaction to fluctuations in disasterspace – that has stretched from Northern Britain all the way down to Spain, and probably even into Morocco and the Atlas Mountains at times. In the case of the British people, our present arrangements only allow us political existence within the confines of Britain, an island that has often been wholly subsumed into the realm of glacial disasterspace.

At this exact moment, the temperature in the UK is high enough to obscure our underlying survival challenges. Even if global warming is a thing, this too raises few serious problems, and it could even have some benefits for a land as far Northwards as Britain. But if the thermometer should swing the other way, which it no doubt will at some point, then we are effectively back in the same situation as our ice age ancestors, with ice overrunning our land, but with our ability to respond restricted by our political concentration in the danger zone.

Ice Age London.
In such a case the British people people would be forced to dissolve as an entity and throw themselves as individuals on the mercy of those states more advantageously placed at the very time when they would be least likely to be welcoming – in other words certain death or slavery, giving the lie to the lyrics of Rule Britannia.

What makes this doubly poignant is the fact that Britain in previous centuries had actually secured itself several suitable retreats from such an advance of disasterspace on its core territory, but had for essentially trivial economic reasons and reasons of moral and political weakness given them up. Viewed in these terms, the decolonization of Southern Africa and the alienation of Australia, seems nothing less than an act of hubris and existential blindness. Retention of at least some colonies in a different climate zone would provide us with a means of survival when – not if – disasterspace intrudes on our little Northern island.

A.I.

Disasterspace usually arises from an external source – something intruding into our cosy, little bubble from the outside – but it can also originate from an internal source, through something we create. Major ecological damage through pollution or nuclear war would be examples. But I have a different case in mind, namely the threat posed by artificial intelligence.

This is interesting because in order to overcome the disasterspace that the universe inevitably throws our way, we will need to develop very advanced technology, including quite probably artificial intelligence. Once this is developed to a sufficient standard, its progress could be exponential and outstrip human capabilities and consciousness, especially as we have not only developed a retarded egalitarian ethic of valuing inferiority, but are even creating dysgenic trends that are lowering overall human intelligence.

In an interview with the BBC, the physicist Dr. Stephen Hawking warned of the dangers. It is ironic that he was speaking to an organization that promotes a heads-in-the-sand dysgenic response to these issues.

Dr. Hawking's warning begins at the 4:28 mark.

Hawking believes we could face an "intelligence explosion" in AI as machines develop the ability to engineer themselves to be far more intelligent. That might result in "machines whose intelligence exceeds ours by more than ours exceeds that of snails," Hawking said. Even without AI developing a malevolent attitude there is a risk:
"The real risk with AI isn't malice but competence. A super intelligent AI will be extremely good at accomplishing its goals, and if those goals aren't aligned with ours, we're in trouble. You're probably not an evil ant-hater who steps on ants out of malice, but if you're in charge of a hydroelectric green energy project and there's an anthill in the region to be flooded, too bad for the ants. Let's not place humanity in the position of those ants."
This bleak scenario assumes that AI does not create some kind of malevolent consciousness, but this is a pretty big assumption, especially if it outstrips our intelligence by the degree indicated.

There are obvious challenges posed by this, and they can be handled in different ways. A conservative mindset might favour a form of limited Ludditism, with careful restrictions on technological development – the "muh stem cells" approach. But, in doing this, we might greatly limit our ability to deal with other aspects of disasterspace. A healthier approach would be to embrace eugenics in order to boost basic human intelligence, and by so doing maintain at least a degree of parity with the accelerating intelligence of our technology.

REALISM

These examples should bring forth additional ones – things that could go wrong and ways to stop them. It is absurd that we have not yet developed a foolproof system of detecting and deflecting dangerous meteorites and asteroids. If one was headed towards the Earth right now we would be forced to cobble together a last-minute ad hoc response – and no doubt one that would have to employ sufficient numbers of women and non-Whites so that it was regarded as suitably "inclusive" – end result: probable human extinction.

Also, we should take the view that the Earth, despite being our home planet, will not always be able to sustain us. This is a long term problem but one that we have also accelerated into a short-term problem by the overcrowded and complacent state we choose to live in.

Because of the way in which the world is now organized, any major disaster would have immediate knock-on effects that would threaten the continued existence of a high technology civilization. We simply have no readiness for disasters or serious shortages. A just-in-time supply chain, reduced storage capacity, and global inter-connectivity means that even if a relatively minor global disaster effected agricultural output for just a few years, there would be almost immediate shortages, leading to mass deaths, chaos, economic collapse, and the dislocation of the entire system. Perhaps North Korea would survive best...

It is important to realize that the universe doesn’t "owe us a living" and is only accidentally and intermittently benign. It is essential for any serious political entity or civilization to have deep reserves and back-up plans. If there is a universal law, it is Murphy’s Law, and accordingly the universe should essentially be regarded as disasterspace – except in those small pockets where we can survive, where instead it should just be regarded as disasterspace-waiting-to-happen. This is the truth buried deep in the Biblical fable of the Garden of Eden.

It never lasts.

Such an outlook, in addition to being objective, pushes any rational and positive person irrevocably towards the realism and self-actualization that is embodied in alt-rightist ideas. To stop a disaster or mitigate it, you first have to conceive of it happening. For this reason disasterspace and disaster planet thinking is essential to both our survival as a species and our political progress – no matter how benign the universe chooses to be.


 

6 comments:

  1. Interesting article by C.L.

    Couple of points

    1) A.I - I'm not sure what all the fuss is about regarding A.I. I highly doubt that machines will evolve ala matrix style for a couple of elementary reasons. First, anyone who has even basic programming experience (like me!) will know that even the most advanced programs are nothing but a collection of tables + several if/else statements. Any variable that is not accounted for by an if/else statement will cause the program to crash. To the best of my knowledge, this has been the paradigm in computer science from GWBasic (the first language I ever learned) to JavaScript and C# today. Complex programs simply incorporate more if/else statements than primitive ones. A program can only see as far as its human architect can. Unless there is a paradigm shift in computer science, the fundamental assumption I described above will continue to shape programs well into the future.

    Second - Consciousness is an evolutionary response that enables a lifeform to better relate to its environment by first defining it's own sense of self.
    A computer is basically a brain without a mind. A computer can analyse the picture of a mouse for example by listing all the technical specs of the image (height, width, colors, ect) but the computer cannot identify that the subject of the picture is indeed a mouse. Even cats can identify mice via photos which indicates that even primitive animals have a more developed mind compared to computers.

    Hawking said" A super intelligent AI will be extremely good at accomplishing its goals,

    What are those goals? Every biological lifeform has one base non negotiable imperative - survival via reproduction. This instinct is totally absent in machines. Why should a machine preserve its existence? Even if it could reason as well as humans, why should it preserve its existence? Where would that imperative come from? Can we even program it into a machine to begin with?

    2) Space exploration - The only long term solution to all of our current problems. We are a migratory species and that is evident from our bipedal anatomical structure. Apes might have superior strength, but they wouldn't survive a trek through the Sahara like a human would. We should be pouring all surplus resources into space propulsion technologies. Agriculture and the stationary existence it spawned were accidents of history. Migration is the only long term solution available to our species.

    Excellent article Colin, it's thought provoking articles like these that keep me coming back to this site.

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    Replies
    1. Cheers, Dota. Where are you writing now? Our readers always enjoyed your articles when we reposted them here.

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  2. In Kurbrick/Clarke's 2001 Hal started killing humans because they got in the way of his programmed mission to reach I think one of the moons of Jupiter.

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  3. When you talked about disasterspace it caused me to think about the idea of catastrophism as it applies to both natural, geologic and human history. That changes have resulted from sudden violent and unusual events. Contrasted sometimes with the idea of uniformitarianism. Gradualism- the same processes that operate now have always operated in the past and happen everywhere.

    i view AI and technology as liberating humanity from toil in the future. And allowing him to better do what he is here for.
    We are to:
    Take care of God creations.
    Conquer Death.
    God forth and multiply
    and be perfected by God's discipline

    Space colonization is imperative.
    We have to make a Noahs's Ark. It's going to take hundreds of years. It's like a Cathedral from the olden days. That took generations to build. This is like a modern Day Cathedral. This planet will not survive and we have to be off it.
    People who say NASA is useless have no vision at all. It is single most the most important endeavor of mankind.

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  4. People are unaware of how many civilizations have perished in the past. A prolonged famine, a giant wave, even an unexpected disease and the civilization perishes. Most would be amazed at how little actual damage it takes to make a civilization unstable and have it die. We face the largest risk from our internal instability, and much of the fear of AI is that it would fix this through time-proven means, which are also the most logical: you would end up with a few hundred million Nordic-Germanic people on a depopulated Earth, living in a caste system, with a strict aristocracy and sense of purpose. AI may or may not have a personality, but what most people fear about it is its heritage in the calculators that preceded modern computers: it will be ultimately logical, and unsympathetic to human drama.

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  5. For AI to thrive and survive, it would have to be self-replicating and self-repairing. Easier said than done when materials for parts, like metals, need to be mined and refined. I can't see AI doing this without thousands of human mind slaves at its beck and call.

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