IS HUMANITY HEADING IN THE RIGHT OR WRONG DIRECTION?
By Nikhil Handa
So, we’ve all studied history at some point in our lives, whether that be at school, at university or even currently. However, a subject that I’m sure none of you have ever studied is ‘future’. And then I start to wonder, why? It seems vital that we should know what could be the issues for our generation, future generations, and what could eventually be the cause of our extinction. Sure, we learn about global warming now, but there are definitely other threats, as well as hopes, for our future.
Take artificial intelligence, for example. AI is definitely one of the components of our future that has a blurred line between whether it will have a positive or negative impact on our society. In the past few years, we have made amazing advancements in the field of AI, with the development of self-driving cars and the advancements in construction and medical robots. Most of you even have some of the most obvious evidence of AI in your own homes, through the means of Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. But many are scared that we will take AI too far, very soon. They are scared of ‘the singularity’. Bet I sent shivers down your spines with that word. Really has a daunting ring to it. Scares the ‘bejesus’ out of me, sort of like Michael Flatley’s ‘Lord of the Dance’. If you got that reference I officially pronounce you a deity. Anyway, back to the point, I’m procrastinating more than I do with my biology homework. The singularity is, according to Wikipedia, ‘the hypothesis that the invention of artificial super-intelligence will abruptly trigger runaway technological growth, resulting in unfathomable changes to human civilisation’. Translated, that means the robots go berserk, a lot goes down, nearly everyone dies and it’s just not a good day at the office.
But it’s not all doom and gloom for the destiny of humanity. Of course, AI has better, non-psychopathic elements to it. The main objective of AI is to do jobs, so we don’t have to, which certainly sounds like a lifestyle I don’t mind. It seems rather likely that AI will eventually take over the whole of the workforce, and although there would be a plethora of complications that would arise with that, it might, for the most part, benefit the lives of humanity as a whole.
Nevertheless, it’s time to return to the aforementioned ‘doom and gloom’ as we address the elephant in the room, global warming. I won’t spend too long on this, as I’m sure you’ve heard it all before, but it seems like it could be the biggest problem humanity faces in the worryingly near future. Now, unless you’re a blonde-haired ape (and also happen to be the most powerful man in the world), the evidence is clear. Temperatures are increasing, with 2017 being the second hottest year in history, and the general climate has been all kinds of messed up, with hurricanes and tornadoes taking place left, right and centre and more severe than ever. The polar caps are melting, and with regards to climate change, the future of our race isn’t looking so bright.
Although each of these threats are immensely dangerous, none of them are quite as scary as the threat of a nuclear war. Although it’s not necessarily the most likely threat, the chance of dying and burning in a huge explosion of radioactivity surprisingly doesn’t appeal to some people.
With all these dangers for our future, it seems like we are definitely not heading in the right direction as a race. Too many problems have we allowed to simply worsen, whilst we just ignored the implications they could have on our future. However, although we’re headed in the wrong, extremely perilous direction, that’s not too say we can’t change our direction. There are multiple possible solutions we could use, the use of renewable energy sources and nuclear disarmament, to name a few.
But, us humans have an inclination to not care about our future generations, so I’m not too hopeful. I suspect we’ll all be dead within the next few centuries.
And on that happy note, I’ll see you in issue 5.