Elon Musk Predicts a New Dark Age
We all know Elon Musk tends to push deadlines but according to Musk they will get a rocket to Mars by 2022. That’s just 5 years from now. He also predicts “at some (unknown) point there will be a dark age triggered by a Third World War. Of course, he claims he doesn’t know when that will be but does suspect it will be world ending.
So my question is:
WHAT’S THE BIG HURRY TO GET TO MARS, ELON?
“Expecting a war soon?” Does Elon know something we don’t know? I figure for the purpose of this article, he might. I have a hard time believing someone can put together 3 different world-changing companies by himself or at least without some big powerful interests that know the future backing him.
The guy might be a genius like they say, but no one gets that far that fast without a LOT of help from the right connections. That’s just my suspicion. Of course, I do like to imagine it might be possible to be as smart and capable as he is on his own. It gives everyone hope for success.
Digital Super Intelligence Is the Biggest Threat to Humanity
According to Musk the biggest threat to humanity is not going to be nuclear weapons but digital AI. This stuff is getting smarter all the time at an absolutely breathtaking rate. We as humans can’t even imagine how smart this stuff is going to be….or likely is already.
To make a distinction, Musk says “Digital Super Intelligence” isn’t like “Narrow AI” though that is impressive enough. Within a few years, self-driving cars will be a hundred times safer than conventional cars and they are already in production at the Tesla plant. Absolutely anything we can do, a ‘narrow AI’ robot will be able to do better…anything. Truck drivers will lose jobs first but doctors and lawyers are going to be on the chopping block next. Eventually, he thinks no one will have a job and the biggest challenge facing humanity will be to find existential meaning outside of work.
I Don’t Think That Will Happen
Though I sincerely hope it does happen that way, that no one will have to work and that there will be a universal allowance, what I see happening is more sinister unless I am missing something critical here. Call me paranoid but I like to think of it as just being cautious and thinking on my own.
So all the plugged-in futurists including Musk seem to think that at some point AI robots will do everything and the need for work will become outdated. But I don’t see the need for materials…that is the need for natural resources to power and create the substances to feed the machines going out of style anytime soon. There will still be competition for natural resources and that means there will still be war. It also means a war could become asymmetrical in that those who hold resources within a given country could be targeted. In other words, countries won’t be at war anymore since the concept of countries has been obsolete for decades now. Companies or corporations and military interests will dictate who gets attacked and killed for resources that will be needed by the more ‘useful’ people and powerful systems.
The concept of countries and patriotism is only kept alive to placate the nativistic and ignorant masses into thinking the military and totalitarian corporations are there to protect them and ‘defend’ their ‘interests’. In some ways, they are correct as long as the military needs them to work for them, but at some point soon when AI can do it all, that won’t be the case.
That has led to some people speculating that Americans and people of other wealthy nations (who are holders and consumers of vast resources) could be slated for ‘extinction’ since they will be nothing more than “useless eaters”.
Who is going to need them when they don’t produce anything yet consume so much? Why would an AI robot that is tens of thousands of times more intelligent than we are want to spend all day wasting resources on serving us? The answer is it won’t. It’s just not “logical” as Spock would have said.
There is no doubt that Narrow AI will be astounding and disruptive to society in the near term as far as jobs and poverty go, but that is not what Musk is worried about. He is worried about computers that can think, learn faster and go further than we can imagine. Not only does he think it’s a danger, I think he thinks it’s inevitable to the point where we have to start thinking about how to merge with AI in order to survive…or go to Mars.
Could it be that the day has come when people will not be able to run to the wilderness and hide as they have in the past?
So why isn’t he starting some kind of AI company to protect us from the dangers he sees and is clearly worried about? Why is he at the same time investing in AI companies and planning to colonize Mars of all places, in the very near future?
There is no doubt he is plugged in and is an investor in cutting-edge AI companies, but that just makes me wonder even more if he knows there is something coming that is going to take moving a seed of humanity to Mars just so that we can survive as specimens of consciousness in the universe.
He certainly expects something big is going to happen. whether it’s a war or an AI take over or both. I see that they are both definitely plausible but the time between then and now is what I wonder about. I think there is danger abounding from places we least expect it. There is going to a disruption in ways we can’t really predict very shortly.
On The Other Hand
I am trying to be more positive lately and think it’s worth thinking about how good things might be if technology does somehow make work obsolete for all of us. Suppose we can just lounge around all day dealing with the existential crisis of not having to work for the first time since the agricultural revolution?
Unlike Elon, I don’t think this would be as big a problem as he does. He is a workaholic from what I’ve heard so of course, he would have a crisis but many would not. I think the one thing that would most likely distinguish humans from the far more intelligent AI would be that we have souls and the ability to be connected to a greater divine reality.
Even Elon suspects that we are living in some kind of technological virtual world which presupposes that there would be a reality somewhere else. You know…like the Matrix. I think the one thing that humans would retain that machines would not be the spiritual ability to connect to that original reality. That could cause a new revolution in human evolution toward a higher spiritual place. It might be something like a spiritual revolution. I could see that happening and hope it does. If the makers of AI do so responsibly…but who really knows?
What Happens When All the Jobs are Gone?
By Elon’s reckoning, all jobs will be obsolete in a few years. At some point soon Quantum computers, which are growing in intelligence astronomically by the day will make an appearance. At that point, we won’t be able to go back.
I suppose for a time there might be a universal allowance and that we won’t have to work but that will only happen if some other solution can’t be found to prevent that from happening. As others on the Youtube I posted here have mentioned, life isn’t getting any easier despite all the technological changes. The cost of living has gone up and the ability to create a life has gotten harder right across the world. People are working longer hours for less, not the other way around. So it seems like things are not going the way Musk and other futurists suggest.
I think this suggests the danger is that powerful forces that control our societies might decide that a large portion or even a vast majority of the population is not needed far before any Digital supercomputer decides that. Elimination of the (soon to be jobless) useless eaters is a worst case scenario of course but unless society as a whole makes some pretty major value changes in the next few years, I suspect it won’t go any other way.
So what am I seeing as possible outcomes to the new dark age Elon Musk proposes?
- We will all live in jobless Nirvana OR
- We will be eliminated
- But before either of those happens there will be jobless suffering and the creation of a massive underclass cut from the old middle class
- There is expected to be a war at some point but most likely not before Elon Musk makes a colony on Mars
Now, this is just one scenario facing us in the future. It may or may not happen in this way. It’s just something to think about when making preparations for the future. Let me know in the comments what you think is most likely to happen. In future articles, I will be presenting other theories and predictions floating around that really should be considered, no matter how outlandish they might seem.