( A Six minute Read)
If you were to be asked this question the answer might not be as obvious as you think.
You might say for example: Climate Change, Wars /ISIS, Inequality, Fresh Water, Nuclear Weapons, Donald Trump, Drugs, the list is endless.
All of these are reversible if we applied an ounce of collective world intelligence.
If you were honest with ourselves you would have no option but to point the finger at us as the greatest threat to the world.
It’s difficult to think of a problem in today’s world that it doesn’t either cause or compound by humanity. This is our greatest challenge: learning to live in a crowded and interconnected world that is creating unprecedented pressures on human society and on the physical environment.
Here are two of the greatest threats:
The Smartphone and AI.
With more than 1 billion users worldwide and 2.5 million apps — and counting — available across Google and Apple’s digital marketplaces, smartphones are impacting day-to-day life in some surprising ways.
The smartphone’s role in shaping human interaction is far-reaching,whose functionality is constantly evolving and is now a pocket-size PC. The device seems to have limitless potential. The majority of Internet traffic (60 percent) now comes from mobile devices.
Smartphones are affecting how the brain processes information. Google, fields more than 1 billion search queries per day — is changing how the brain catalogs knowledge. Smartphones have become a kind of “external memory source.”
We are becoming symbiotic with our computer tools, growing into interconnected systems that remember less by knowing information than by knowing where the information can be found.
Information is so rapid and up-to-the-minute. … Ten years ago, we’d all be crowding around a television to hear what’s happening, and now we have our phones.
There’s no longer an excuse for stupidity.
Future generations will have different priorities about what they choose to remember. Smartphones will become more than just a device in our pockets but something closer to a digital extension of ourselves.
The threat to the world is not that machines are taking over. It’s that they’re helping us to be more human, helping us to connect with each other regardless of geography.
60 percent of users don’t go more than an hour without checking their phone.
36 percent of smart phone users would rather give up their TV than their smart phone.
There are more than 125 million people in the Middle East region are online, and more than 53 million actively use social networks.
The widespread use of smartphones was a defining factor in the development of the spread of Arab Spring both in how protesters shared information with one another and how events were documented by legions of impromptu citizen journalists.
Now combine the Smartphone with the impotence of global governance combined with the lack of Inspirational leaders there is an ever growing pool of evidence that we are all becoming dependent on AI-powered assistance intelligence (without a conscience or any long-term planning.)
As AI advances, it will embed itself even deeper into our social fabric, shaping everything from how we do business to how we receive medical care.
It will become so commonplace that we will dependent on it. The technology may pit us against our own human nature:
What happens to risk, or the humanistic notion of what is true, when everything is based on everyone else? When our digitized advisors aggregate, average, and assuage, are we even autonomous beings anymore?
Political positions, financial decisions, attitudes toward social justice—our biggest decisions are often fueled by poor logic and misinformation. In the best circumstances, artificial intelligence could save us from ourselves, by helping us understand each other, see the world more clearly, and collectively make better decisions.
However if we do not acknowledge and take on board people’s valid concerns with AI we risk seeing the potential benefits of these technologies lost under a mountain of fear and negativity.
We need our out of date United Nations to have a mature, informed and inclusive world meeting about the future of automation and the potential impact of new technologies in order to ensure that this new power is used responsibly in the economic and moral sense.
At the moment there is no proper regulation around the use of AI.
Of course the UN is incapable of holding such a meeting so perhaps it is time for a new Institution called World Click (for example) to bring the whole of technology under a world umbrella.
If we care about the world we live in, we should think long and hard about the interfaces, rules, and policies that will govern artificial intelligence and our new way of life.
It would be easy enough for the people who design AI systems, motivated by greed, self-interest, or politics, to train computers to manipulate our lives in subtle and insidious ways, essentially lying to us through the algorithms that guide our thinking.
The coming tidal wave of decision support threatens to give very few people a phenomenal amount of suggestive power over a great many people—the kind of power that is hard to trace and almost impossible to stop.
Every day, Capitalism and the free market is moving into a digital age which is run more and more by algorithms that will only make those that own them richer while the world is about get poorer and poorer due to Climate change.
What is the alternative? Is there an alternative?
Global governance failure is the most interconnected of the global risks—it has a direct connection with 75% of the all the risks covered in this blog.
Of course the next threat Climate Change has the potential to wipe most of us of the face of the earth.
Changes in climate and weather patterns worldwide are converging with social trends, shifting populations, land use change, and increasingly impaired water infrastructure to dramatically make life worse for those across the globe.
Climate change poses several challenges to water management strategies including extreme events, dwindling water supply, and the increasingly incorrect assumption that the past will accurately predict future conditions.
Simply put Climate change “is the greatest collective challenge we face as a human family. It like AI has the capacity to change the way all of us live.
In much the same way great powers have fought wars over land and oil, we could see battles for the control of freshwater supplies.
The growing disparity in the wealth inside countries and among countries is a challenge the world has faced for centuries.
At the end of the 9/11 era, politics is driving the global economy, while economics drives geopolitics. All of this is playing out against a volatile G-Zero backdrop of global leadership in short supply.
Chronic fiscal imbalances are going to emerge as one of the greatest global risk over the next decade.
Moving On. Fresh Water/ Food.
The potential for food crises in poor countries due to Climate change will cause governments collapse. Sustaining growth will be one of the century’s big challenge.
An estimated 4bn to 5bn people in the world suffer from strained access to clean water, with the Middle East in particular likely to be a hotspot for struggles around water supply. Agriculture already accounts for on average 70pc of total water consumption and, according to the World Bank, we would need to ramp up food production by 50pc by 2030 to meet the needs of the world’s population.
Not forgetting Energy.
Satisfying ever-growing energy demand in a sustainable way has become the world’s biggest challenge.”
On top of all that we live today under the threat of global terrorism….Cyber is probably the threat least known, most ignored…and eventually…could be the most catastrophic….
Then we have, the spread of nuclear weapons, and selling of arms.
A potential Donald Trump presidency could be more dangerous to the world’s economy than the rising tide of global terrorism. The greatest risk to global stability over the next 20 years may be the nature of America itself.
If you have got this far I am sure like me you are saying so what. We fucked no matter what we do.
We are on the threshold of a new revolution maybe without a leader but thanks to Technology we have the Smartphone that if called upon could be turned into World people’s power to demand change.
To stop Profit for Profit’s sake, To stop arms trading, To stop CO2 emissions, To stop Wars, to create if not a fair world at least a transparent justice first world before we contaminate the rest of the universe.
The fact is if a million smartphones were to campaign on a daily basis change could be achieved. Of all the threats to human society they have the silent power to unite the little consensus that there is left amongst us all.