What would happen if you tripled the US population? Join Matthew Yglesias and Charles Duhigg at 1pm ET on Monday, September 28.
Virtual reality is more than a trick. It's a solution to big problems.
- According to projections shared by the UN, Earth's population is expected to reach 9.7 billion in 2050. By the year 2100, that number could increase to 11 billion. Virtual reality will be necessary to reduce the waste of such a large population in industries like transport, retail, and manufacturing.
- As an existing technology, there is a lot that virtual reality can do: rich and immersive environments, heightened storytelling, emotionally resonant experiences, and increased productivity in retail. But it's only in its infancy.
- As the world's population continues to grow, the technology will need to evolve to facilitate a larger network of users, and developers will have to think harder about the technological potential and the ethical, neurological, and emotional side effects.
Having lots of kids is great for the success of the species. But there's a hitch.
Is that such a bad thing?
- According to new research at the University of Washington, a significant population decline will begin after 2064.
- The reasons include more access to contraception and better education for girls and women.
- Many countries will have to grapple with the social and financial consequences of their decline.
Mapping global population and the future of the world | The Economist<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e2cc6601e6772f8d94e215e973ba61fe"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Ur77lDetI9Q?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Dr. Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet, <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/07/200715150444.htm" target="_blank">comments</a> on the study, writing, </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"It offers a vision for radical shifts in geopolitical power, challenges myths about immigration, and underlines the importance of protecting and strengthening the sexual and reproductive rights of women. The 21st century will see a revolution in the story of our human civilisation. Africa and the Arab World will shape our future, while Europe and Asia will recede in their influence."</p><p>Indeed, the populations that will shrink the fastest include Asia and central and eastern Europe. Japan, which has been <a href="https://qz.com/1295721/the-japanese-population-is-shrinking-faster-than-every-other-big-country/" target="_blank">grappling with this reality</a> for years, will drop from 128 million in 2017 to 60 million in 2100; Thailand, from 71 to 35 million; Portugal, 11 to 5 million; and South Korea, 53 to 27 million. </p><p>The study focuses on expansion, though it doesn't discuss how quickly we've reached current levels. After 350,000 years of <em>Homo sapiens</em> on Earth, we hit one billion people in 1804. It took 123 years to add another billion; 33 years to get to three billion; 14 years to four billion. If we hit eight billion by the end of this decade, we'll have quadrupled our population in just a century. </p><p>Those are unsustainable numbers. As the COVID-19 pandemic has proven, supply chain management and health care systems in many countries are broken, especially in America. Thanks to the outsourcing of labor and our for-profit health care model, income inequality is breaking our society. Adding more humans to our population during a pandemic, with seniors being the most vulnerable population, should give us pause.</p>
Stein Emil Vollset, et al.<p>Of course, procreation is more a biological process than a philosophical one. Survivability is the goal of every species. That said, we've mitigated the potential damage of overcrowding by contraception and education, as the study suggests. Either we need to more fairly distribute resources around the world—tough to imagine in a capitalist system—or pay the price for birthing too many humans. The latter could be quelled if we have fewer children.</p><p>Stein Emil Vollset, Professor of Global Health at IHME and lead author of the study, <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/07/200715150444.htm" target="_blank">weighs</a> the costs and benefits:</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"While population decline is potentially good news for reducing carbon emissions and stress on food systems, with more old people and fewer young people, economic challenges will arise as societies struggle to grow with fewer workers and taxpayers, and countries' abilities to generate the wealth needed to fund social support and health care for the elderly are reduced."</p><p>The researchers believe immigration will be an even more pressing issue in the coming decades. This might mean less surface area being inhabited as people crowd into environmentally and financially robust regions—a forthcoming reality due to climate change anyway.</p><p>In conclusion, Professor Ibrahim Abubakar at University College London comments on the study, noting, "The distribution of working-age populations will be crucial to whether humanity prospers or withers." Depending on your age, you might not have to worry about this, but our children and grandchildren certainly will. </p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Pew Research Center data shows that most people think diversity improves lives in their countries.
Does diversity improve lives?<p>The center surveyed more than 28,000 peoples across Columbia, India, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Tunisia, Venezuela, Vietnam, South African, and the Philippines on their opinions of diversity within their borders. These countries were chosen based on their middle-income status, differing degrees of technology ownership, and high levels of migration (internal or external).</p><p>The survey asked respondents how they viewed increasing numbers of other races, religions, and nationalities and what effect that had on the quality of life in their countries. Additional questions were tailored to a country's unique demographics and circumstances.</p><p>For example, respondents in the Philippines were asked how favorably they viewed Muslims and Christians, while Tunisians were asked about Sunnis and Shiites. Others, such as Mexico and Lebanon, were asked about asylum seekers fleeing to their countries.</p><p>Pew found that "[a]cross the 11 countries surveyed, more said their countries are better off thanks to the increasing number of people of different races, ethnic groups, and nationalities who live there." A minority said the increase made no difference, and an even smaller minority said their country was worse off.</p>
Testing tribalism<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQwODQyMy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NzIwODg3N30.vO03jZ1PziezobG9vuLqDI64jiu_93HJ-7prbrE9Enk/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C215%2C0%2C91&height=700" id="63e80" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e05016b95976d40d499a0820b055e74b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="crowd of Syrian refugees" />
Lebanon and Jordan took in millions of Syrian refugees during the civil war, helping to explain their complex relationship with diversity in their borders.