Robo apocalypse is the notion that we lose control over technology, that it starts to have its way with us, whether it’s these Hollywood scenarios of artificial intelligence run amuck or just the proliferation and escalation of advance weaponry beyond nuclear. There are many scenarios in which we go through a civilizational meltdown and Ian Morris and others have talked about this.
So, how do you avoid it? A contrast to robo apocalypse is the Pax Technologica. And this is, I think, an important historical point. We name many eras in history after the geopolitical hegemony. Pax Romana, Pax Mongolica, Pax Britannica, Pax Americana. Pax, meaning peace. These have not exactly been peaceful eras. And if Pax Sinica comes next, meaning a Chinese uni-polar hegemony, that’s not necessarily going to be a peaceful world either.
So we’re proposing a Pax Technologica. Technology is the force that actually provides the abundance of resources if leveraged correctly in order to meet the needs of the world’s population. You don’t count on a person or an empire to benevolently provide those things.
It’s about the spread of technology that provides these things. In my book we point to many examples about how technology can do that whether it’s increasing agricultural output or allowing people to trade around the world and maintain healthy incomes and prosperity.
There’s so many examples of a Pax Technologica being a more desirable outcome than any kind of hegemonic kind of future. So we think that investing in technology and investing in the spread of technology and the diffusion of technology, rather than in ideological sorts of things, like democracy and so forth, would actually be a wise investment.
In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.
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