In all geologic time, the responsibilities are on our generation ... including you ...

Should the Human Species Survive?

Imagine you are an extraterrestrial intelligence which is monitoring the development of the universe.

Here is one of those rare planets which is teeming with life, some of it with significant intelligence.

One dominant species arises which develops industrial power.

However, it is an individualistic species which works out of selfish individual interests.

The individuals of this species are competitive. There are traits called "ego" (desire for high status among their group) and "greed".

The individuals also band into groups which compete with other groups.

Out of population explosion plus wanton consumption, this species has destroyed natural habitats, poisoned streams with industrial chemicals, and is wiping out other species at an incredible rate. These other species which took millions of years to develop, and the one industrial species is wiping out a large percentage of the rest in mere decades, an instant in the geological time of this planet.

This species is intelligent enough to understand that it is impacting the rest of the world carelessly, and there is even a small minority of its members which are asking others to cooperate in saving the environment and not engaging in unnecessary destruction. However, this is a small minority and overwhelmed by the vast majority who just want wanton consumption and don't care enough. They have a saying, "Talk is easy." It means that they want to preserve the environment. However, they don't want to make sacrifices to do so, and wanton consumption is much more desired and widely performed.

This species also has a seemingly unlimited ability to rationalize whatever they want to believe. It believes that it is highly intelligent in a narcissistic way without realizing how stupid it is.

This species is not taking responsibility for the biosphere of the planet.

This species establishes artificial "laws" for governing itself, mostly are local laws which vary by region, both in content and in enforcement or lack thereof. There are some worldwide laws, but almost nobody is interested in enforcing them except where they affect self interest.

Everywhere, there is something called "money", which is power to consume and also power to control others and exploit natural resources.

Practically all organizations serve only their own selfish interests.

The largest organizations, "nations", fight wars with each other for access to resources to consume, such as fossil fuels in limited supply.

Renewable energy is not used because it costs more "money", so the species prefers cheaper "fossil fuels" so they can maximize their consumption of the biosphere's limited resources today, instead of pay more money for energy whereby they have a little bit less money for wanton consumption.

This species is not hungry or deprived. It is out for maximum material gain and luxury, with much slower growth in mental development.

The television transmissions are overwhelmingly about violent competition and mating. Most of this is not real but is imagined stories, and the transmission creators compete for greater violence.

The species organizes into "nations" and "transnational companies".

The transnational companies supply foods which are not healthy for the consumers, including wantonly gluttonous high calorie meals, including poisons like "monosodium glutamate" to stimulate the senses of the consumers to make them prefer to buy their product instead of competitors', rationalizing that they have no responsibility, and only wanting to maximize the amount of money they collect.

The vast majority of the consumers don't care. They just want to wantonly consume selfishly.

The species has "laws" and "regulations" which are intended to be a "checks and balances" system between the selfish interests. However, the powers with money have great influence on these laws and regulations, as well as their enforcement or lack thereof.

There is something called "democracy" and "voters". However, in analyzing each "election", if a candidate stands up for the environment, they will surely lose. The winners are those for even more wanton consumption (maximize "economic growth"), and who appeal to lower instincts (emotions).

Of course, there are exceptional individuals, who by some combination of environmental upbringing and DNA predispositions are more responsible and advocate actions in the best interests of the Greater Good. These people often get a lot of publicity.

However, they are a very small minority, and publicity does not translate into effective action. It usually doesn't go much further than publicity. It raises public awareness but it influences only a tiny percentage of the population to actually do something, such as work to save the environment, or give a little bit of the money from their pocket to organizations trying to work for the Greater Good. Sometimes publicity attracts a little bit of funding and volunteers (a very tiny minority), but this is woefully inadequate on a global scale compared to the money of transnational corporations.


This species has developed its technology to the point where it is becoming able to create a biological "virus" to destroy itself.

This species has already created computer viruses, with malicious ones numbering in the millions and constantly trying to attack all the computers in the world (requiring antivirus technology). These are viruses which destroy valuable data (= higher level mental information), with no gain to the creator except the instinctual satisfaction ("ego") that they could do it. Many of these creators are "malicious" towards other people, but many others are just reckless "ego maniacs".

Biotechnology has advanced to where an individual in the laboratory can now have the power to do the same with a biological virus. Of course, with each year, the power to the individual is increasing with technology development.

Transnational companies are putting a lot of money into virus research, because they want to make drugs to also fight the viruses (anti-virus), which they can sell to the mass population to make a lot of money. The transnational companies are constantly modifying viruses to make them worse, their reason being that they want to be ready with anti-virus drugs for the future. Like individuals, the transnational companies seem able to rationalize anything for money, including creating worse viruses. They rationalize away the risk of creating an extinction capable man made technological virus, even though many scientists have explained that that this is already very possible.

The human species has already created an open electronic information exchange system called "internet" for spreading technology. This makes it easier for individuals to research and disseminate dangerous information.

(Notably, this internet has something called "spam" whereby one individual spammer wastes the time and resources of millions of otherwise productive people for the purpose of selfish money making for one individual, and accounts for approximately 85% of all email traffic on this internet.)

It is only a matter of time until an individual of this species creates a fatal virus which will make the species extinct in the biosphere.

This will probably come before this species creates a nanotechnology virus or self replicating machine to destroy the biosphere entirely.

This will also probably come before this species uses much older technology to create space colonies, simply because nobody is making money from space colonies and government and taxpayers are not interested, in view of competing selfish interests for taxpayer money and government projects.

{If you were an extraterrestrial intelligence, would you save this species, or would you let them go and wait for the next species to arise on this planet?}

It is possible that the small minority of exceptional individuals, who by some combination of environmental upbringing and DNA predispositions are more responsible and advocate actions in the best interests of the Greater Good, will create a self-sufficient space colony, so that this species survives after they become extinct on their original planet.

There has been much publicity of the concept of space industrialization of dead asteroids and the lifeless Moon nearby, instead of destroying Earth's precious biosphere for economic growth. However, this noble request has received practically no serious interest in this solution by the species as a whole.

The national governments are not interested in either space industrialization to save Earth's biosphere, nor in space colonization to save the species.

The transnational corporations are not interested in either because they don't see quick money in it. The transnational corporations are not interested in things more than a few years into the future, and as a money making company don't have any interest in saving Earth's biosphere or the species.

The amount of money needed to create space colonies is approximately 0.00001 (0.001%) of this world's yearly GNP.

At this time, the number of exceptional individuals, and the amount of resources (money) they have, is a very tiny amount, about 0.0000001% of the total asset resources (money) of the world, which is not enough.

There have long been attempts to increase this by publicity, to increase the number of exceptional individuals, or else to find one willing individual who has a very large amount of money to take any interest in the survival of the species. There are thousands of extremely wealthy individuals who could make space colonization happen, but none have come forward to do so yet. The careless still dominate.

At this point in time, it looks like the race between an extinction virus vs. a self-sufficient space colony will be won by the extinction virus, because the desire for money and greed which will lead a transnational company to create a virus, or else the individual ego desire to create or copy a virus, are much stronger than the desire to give money or actual work towards a self-sufficient space colony.

When the time comes that an extinction virus is spreading, many of the individuals will look up at the sky and ask us, the extraterrestrial intelligence, to intervene. They call us "God" because we have infinitely greater power than all of them combined, and also we have the power to do almost anything they wish.

Most of them realize, in their terms, that the power of "God" is far greater than the power of their own life sciences technology or all their money, so they desire God's power.

They have many different ideas of "God", almost all of them an anthropomorphized god.

Beyond individuals, there are entire "religions" and "sects" which define various Gods.

Each religion or sect has a set of moral laws, similar to national laws and corporation rules, but more individually oriented.

Their idea of "God" is created in the image of man -- sectarian, self-centered, narcissistic.

This species even immorally fights over "God", killing others who do not believe in their particular religion or sect. Many religions and sects fight other religions and sects. Some individuals called "terrorists" kill themselves and other individuals around them for this "god". Amazingly, it is with a moral rationalization, too. They actually believe that a God would condone this morally. Each thinks that they are actually morally right to do so. They actually believe that we, "God", wish for them to do these things, and to reward them for doing so.

Leaders in human society have created some good rules of behavior which say that if the individual follows these rules, then God will give them life after death. Most of these rules conform with higher thinking, such as not killing others, not mating wantonly and irresponsibly, not stealing, and working for a better world.

However, many of these people follow these rules in order to get a reward from "God", which is using God's power to save them individually (life after death), and provide what they desire while still alive, as well as heaven after death.

Many rules and beliefs vary from religion to religion, and sect to sect, but most individuals believe that the sect they were born into by chance is the "right" sect. This leads to groups fighting each other over "God".

However, only a small percentage of individuals actually follow all the good moral rules of their own God.

An even smaller percentage are actually interested in the Greater Good of life on Earth.

If something doesn't somehow benefit an individual, then they usually are not interested.

The belief in God is mostly an emotional one based on their fear of death and desire to not die, part of the natural survival instinct in animals which gets transferred to lower intelligence. There is only a small minority who actually do anything for the Greater Good on this world. The vast majority only want to save their selfish self by following God's rules for this reward.

Yet, they want God to be interested in working to help them, even though most of them don't want to do real work to help the Greater Good.

The individuals will not ask "God" to save their species or to save the environment or to save the world. Instead, the individuals will ask this "God" to save themselves as an individual, and not be interested in much else, except the people in their proximity they love, such as the family instinct.

They will ask the god to put them into a place called "Heaven". They have not developed much of a concept of "Heaven", but there are variations. For example, one large religion has sects which promise that their reward for obedience to their god includes things like wanton mating with "virgins" who have never mated before (without asking where the supply of such a disposable commodity may come from), and other silly things, including still more unlimited wanton consumption.

This is what most of them will look up and ask us as "God" to give to them.

Most of them did not look up at space resources like the Moon and asteroids near Earth and say "there are the heavens where we can develop lifeless resources and space colonies instead of hurting life on Earth and fighting each other for Earth's limited resources, and we can save the Earth's biosphere while also enjoying luxurious consumption in space". Most of them are not interested in what they can do for the Greater Good. Most of them are interested only in what God can do for them, because God has greater power, and despite their own moral shortcomings in deed.

Should "God" tell all these individuals "too late" in all their various languages?

Why should "God" be interested in either them as individuals, or their entire species?

Should God, in infinite patience, just wait and see what the next industrial species looks like?

The above is a theoretical viewpoint of a superintelligence vastly beyond our own.

Now let's look at ourselves.

In looking at our future as a species on the planet, we have to look at the vast majority vs. the exceptions.

In looking at our future as a species beyond the planet, we should be looking at the exceptional people and screening likewise, though in reality, if space tourism takes off, it will probably include if not be dominated by those with the maximum individual wealth, rather than individuals chosen for their track record as working for the Greater Good. I'm hoping that I'm wrong about this, but in any case, it is best to get people off the planet self-sufficiently in a less than ideal way than to fail due to too much idealism.

The surviving individuals of the human species will be responsible for creating our descendant artificial general intelligence (AGI), which will be created in their own image, as discussed in the section on AGI. We can start to define guidelines for this AGI -- values and interests -- today, and hope they catch on, but we won't get that far if we don't save our species first.

Examples of Human Species Flaws

Government leadership is important in guiding us, but try to win an election based on environmentalism or some form of responsibility for this planet. You may get a few percent of the vote. The winner with the majority will be the person who says they will bring lower gasoline prices, grow the economy into even more unbridled consumption, and give you more wanton consumption.

People will say that they care about the environment, but talk is easy. When given a choice, the vast majority will selfishly not practice what they preach, and rationalize it away.

When faced with the prospect of biotechnology extinction and space colonization as a solution, the vast majority will:

  • Rather not deal with the issue, because it is not fun for them, or doesn't make them feel happy, or doesn't make them money
  • Rationalize why it's not true, so there's no need to worry, and many will actually ridicule the concept
  • Wait until it becomes mainstream thinking before they accept it

It is a challenge to get these two issues into mainstream thinking, biotechnology extinction and self-sufficient space colonies.

It is even more of a challenge to get people to do anything about it.

After all, we know there is a mass extinction of many species already happening, loss of wildlife habitats, global warming already occurring (except many people and right wing politicians are still in denial and rationalization because they don't want to believe it, most often out of selfish desire for expanded wanton consumption and votes...), and so on ... but what are we, as a species, doing about it?

Little things here and there, but overall not nearly significant enough.

It is possible for a species on a planet to see the logic and take responsibility to cooperate to implement solutions.

But the human species on Earth? The proof is already here. Just look around. Responsible for the Greater Good does not describe our species.

Humans' instinct is to do what feels good, not think about things which do not feel good. Humans live in their own individualistic world. We still live and behave like a small tribe of cave men who had limited impact. The problem is, we are no longer cave men, and our impact is now globally.

There are other species on this planet which are more community-first oriented, even sacrificing their individual lives for the greater good of their community, albeit this describes only a small minority of species on this planet. However, it's possible that a particular species may evolve a higher intelligence because of these advantageous traits and someday come after us. If it's possible, then it has surely happened somewhere in this universe or another universe. It doesn't exist here on Earth, that's for sure!

So, what if life from Earth just doesn't make it? So what. There are billions of other galaxies, each with billions of other solar systems. Probably trillions. We're just one.

As regards Earth, there is no species on this planet which takes responsibility for other species or life on the planet itself. That requires intelligence overriding instinct. Humans are short on thoughtful intelligence and long on instinctual feelings.

Sure, there are many individuals in this world with this intelligence, moral upbringing, genetic offshoot leadership ability, and self-discipline to face and deal with unpleasant matters, and who strive to develop the Greater Good. However, they are a very small percentage, and overwhelmed by the vast majority.

The vast majority are the feeling, not thinking, wanton selfish consumers.

Even look at business. I am an employer, and most interviewees I find unsuitable for hiring, plus many I must let go of or else put into limited roles most of the remainder. Those who truly work for the best interests of the customer and/or the organization are a precious small minority (and have often been the reason I continued to pursue some projects -- for those people and their dependents, not because the project was exceptionally good).

One thing I learned early in personal life as well as business is that you don't go by what people say, you go by what people do.

People often talk in lofty terms. Look at all our hypocrite politicians, preachers, and associates.

When somebody says "we should save the environment" or "we should create self-sufficient space colonies", I ask them "what have you actually done to help out"? Talk is easy, but have you ever tried to walk the walk?

Likewise, in hiring, by far the best thing to go on is track record. (Sometimes there are exceptions, and it's good to keep an open mind, but it has to be a very strongly exceptional presentation to be comparable in weight to track record. Most people who I gave a chance to did not get far, and many stole or were careless to customers and other staff ... though there are some big exceptions.)

So, after people read all of this, I must ask: Are you part of the problem, or part of the solution?

Out of all geologic time, we are in a very special generation, where we are wreaking unprecedented damage to our environment, and facing potential species wide extinction. Whether we want to accept it or not, the responsibility is on us.

If you want to be part of the solution, on the side of the Greater Good, then you need to start to create your track record. > Human Extinction, Bio and Nano Tech > Cosmic Flaws in the Human Species

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