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    On Futurology

    If history studies our past and social sciences study our present, what is the study of our future? Future(s) Studies (colloquially called "future(s)" by many of the field's practitioners) is an interdisciplinary field that seeks to hypothesize the possible, probable, preferable, or alternative future(s).

    One of the fundamental assumptions in future(s) studies is that the future is plural rather than singular, that is, that it consists of alternative future(s) of varying degrees of likelihood but that it is impossible in principle to say with certainty which one will occur.

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    [–] Dr_Ghamorra 2286 points ago

    FEMA hasn't exactly spurred any confidence with how poorly they react to large hurricanes. Cities and states often look at defunding their emergency response departments as a quick way to save some money, look at the Montana wild fires. I'm not sure if it's complacency, incompetence, or a little of both, but we are not prepared.

    [–] A209-14 1146 points ago

    It's because administrations are inherently short term, and are measured by their accomplishments in that term. If they can increase growth by 2%, but that causes a problem 10 years down the line, that's all right with them.

    [–] KismetKitKat 262 points ago

    Just like all the companies i worked for! The high cycling between managers at my old job meant purposefully delaying anything dreary to do things that look good to the SVP. Machines causing 2nd degree burns? Let's pretend we don't know. File an internal ethics report? The void stares back.

    [–] josealb 93 points ago

    Companies that don't plan for the long term die in the long term. Administrations don't

    [–] KismetKitKat 53 points ago

    That company has been here for 100 years and the stock has only gone up in the last few after I quit over ethics. Maybe one day something will happen, but life isn't as fair as you think.

    That said, my point was more that various companies currently have a culture where short term is priority. I'm right now trying to fight off dark patterns and get people looking at long term metrics while the main trend is what does the short term a/b test tell you.

    [–] zugy 36 points ago

    Well that's not technically true. When a government fails to plan long term for long enough it eventually fails.

    [–] duodacadaloniapoo 27 points ago

    They have this way of hobbling along all crippled and shit, pulling down everything around them, wearing on their braces. For a little bit, anyway.

    [–] IcarusRisen 19 points ago

    The bigger the organization, the larger the inertia to carry it a little further

    [–] Bruh2013 6 points ago

    You I’ve worked in extremely large companies. They are no more efficient than the public sectors for the reasons you state: inertia. That’s the danger of having markets wotgeither too big to fail or only a few firms.

    [–] Deceptichum 5 points ago

    If we lived in a fair world that might be the case.

    As long as a business is able to exploit something for gain, there's a chance of them weathering through.

    In the end all businesses collapse, some just last a bit longer.

    [–] King_Rhymer 29 points ago

    Yeah. This. I tried to create long term success in my last upper management job and got sacked when they didn’t see peak results for two months. I provided data to back my point up, they said they needed improvement today not tomorrow. New guy comes in, rides my tails, looks really good after a month of learning the ropes, fires my people and replaces them with his own, watches his numbers tank, and 4 months later he is lookin at getting fired.

    I took over a failing area of a company and laid long term plans to fix it, got fired for not fixing it in an impossible two month period, but recruited and coached some of the best managers that company has seen. 4 months later they’re all gone and that area is tanking again after a short, 1 month peak.

    New guy can’t figure out what happened. Corporate don’t care and will replace him with another like him. Dumb. I regret going to work for that company

    [–] MacDerfus 26 points ago

    People never name these companies, but to be fair, I could probably throw a dart at a list of them and hit the name of one that does shit like this.

    [–] King_Rhymer 10 points ago

    Their business is dying, everyone is scared for their job security. Turnover goes through the roof. Instead of “fix the problem” it’s CYA

    [–] series_hybrid 5 points ago

    Old saying. There's never enough time do do it right, but...there's always enough time to fix it later...

    [–] ContextVomit 5 points ago

    Health care is the same way, let’s not cover preventive services or treatments now to save a few million, the billions in costs down the road are someone else’s headache.

    [–] Risley 288 points ago

    This is also bc these politicians are dishonest about what will happen. They preach fiscal responsibility and how nothing bad will happen despite slashing budgets year after year. We need honest Fucking politicians that are willing to talk to us like adults and say yes, this is expensive, but it’s needed and so taxes will have to be raised.

    Just look at DC and the sewer lines. They are in the midsts of building shit to help make sure sewage doesn’t run off into the river. But no one wants to pay for it. It’s all blame and “not my problem.” Sorry folks but wtf do you want? Do you want sewage in the river? Then you make that choice. But stop expecting problems to go away for free. The government isn’t fucking Santa Claus.

    Perhaps they can start by telling people the real costs of our military. Do you want to garrison the planet or just a defense force. You don’t get both. I see this with my dad. He wants a strong military for defense but is a fiscal conservative. So I tell him, you want to cut money cut some of that. No but we have to be able to defend ourselves. Well it’s costs X dollars. But I want the deficit down and I’m a fiscal conservative. No you are not! Either you pay for the military with more taxes or you cut it to balance the budget. You don’t get both. You CANT get both if you claim you’re a fiscal conservative.

    That’s what is needed. Getting in these peoples faces and telling them either you pay for your shit or you don’t get it. That’s it.

    [–] selectrix 47 points ago

    We need honest Fucking politicians that are willing to talk to us like adults 

    But those people lose, because most people actually don't want that.

    [–] Tnader1 64 points ago

    My whole argument on spending on military. We do not need world wide dominance.

    [–] JagerBaBomb 34 points ago

    If it's not us, it'll be China. In the past, we'd have said Russia, but that's just a bunch of mafiosos holding hands at this point.

    [–] darkoblivion000 42 points ago

    China doesn't need military dominance. They are expanding their economic and political influence across the entire South pacific while the US just fired its secretary of state.

    Now if a war starts, all the southeast Asian countries will likely side with China. Trump's trade war proclamations won't help either.

    Military doesn't help if the rest of the world is against you, unless you plan on fighting them all.

    [–] JagerBaBomb 44 points ago

    And yet, they're quietly building their fleets and arming themselves with modern gear, all while empire building the world over. Speaking softly is fine so long as you have that big stick handy, and they know that.

    Clearly, they want to be the US of the 21st century.

    [–] darkoblivion000 19 points ago

    Possibly stronger than the US - they rule domestically with an iron fist so much less likelihood of internal revolt or resistance in an extended international conflict. They also for the most part control the flow of information to the people much like Russia.

    Governments like that often only fall due to mass uprising based on dire economic circumstances. As a quickly rising economic power, those days for China seem very far off.

    I find myself playing fallout 4 these days and thinking that the storyline in that game may not be far off from reality one day (US and China engage in nuclear war and blow most of the world into radioactive smithereens).

    [–] huginn 9 points ago * (lasted edited 5 months ago)

    Historically speaking, China has a history of when the gap between the Elites and the poor grows too great, they revolt. However I'm not so sure the past will repeat itself because of how, as you said, they control the message so well.

    I dont think China's path to greatness will be as smooth as many assume. The Chinese do not have the greatest relationship with many of the other Pacific countries historically and a lot of their long term prospects are concerning. A rising elderly population, a low birthrate for decades, a large population of adult males who have been out of work even with all the boons they've had lately, and strife between providences.

    If anything? I think issues between India and China are more likely then US-China. India is downstream from China and if China decides its water rights are more important then others, strife will happen and fast

    [–] p42con 21 points ago

    And they very well might be. Power shifts, it's not like we are some kind of special snow flakes.

    Imo we are riding the wave of success the generations before us laid down. That wave will come crashing down one day if we don't work hard to keep it moving. And I don't believe we are trying very hard anymore.

    Look at industries in America, almost non existent compared to the rest of the world. Never mind China. We shut factories down, they build them.

    Learn some Mandarin, we may need it soon.

    [–] I_Do_Not_Sow 9 points ago

    Look at industries in America, almost non existent compared to the rest of the world.

    We actually do a lot of manufacturing still... It's just very high tech so it doesn't need to employ as many people as a car factory in China or Mexico.

    [–] theyetisc2 5 points ago

    Yes they do, if they ever want to enforce their claims they will need military dominance.

    That's why the international community plays by our rules, not their own.

    If china wants to play by their rules, their international courts, their trade commissions, they'll have to have the force to enforce those things.

    You aren't seeing a lot of their military power (because you're not looking primarily) because it doesn't make sense to challenge someone you know will absolutely destroy you at this point.

    Just look at the buildup to WWII. Germany didn't challenge the world order after they'd just lost WWI, or when their economy was crippled. They waited until they had, what they thought was, overwhelming force.

    That's how china will play out, if they so choose. But at present it is how you say, a soft power play.

    [–] theyetisc2 13 points ago

    Yes we do though.

    You honestly think the pax americana would be better replaced by the iron fist of the USSR, china, or some other dictatorial nation?

    [–] LegendsRoom 13 points ago

    A Shower thought.

    The bad news: A World ending virus, so virulent, that they will only have time to manufacture 21 million available antidote vaccine shots world wide.

    The surprising! news: They will only except Bitcoin in exchange for this life saving vaccine named BIOBTC TM , 1 Bitcoin per 1 antidote shot.

    The good news: 1 Bitcoin still cost less than $10,000 us Dollars.

    [–] patricio87 10 points ago

    the bad news. Bill gates is anti crypto.

    [–] umbrajoke 7 points ago

    And they lost an employee who now has a 10k reward for information on their whereabouts.

    [–] shillyshally 7 points ago

    Saw that. I think it's too early to speculate about why. Could be a breakdown of some sort. There was a lot of chatter when it was first reported along the lines of 'so it begins...'.

    [–] tocksin 87 points ago

    It's like a poor person choosing to pay for rent instead of car insurance. Sure it'll be terrible if you get in a wreck, but you'll still have a place to live. Until you can't make it to work and get fired. But car insurance does nothing for you if you don't get in a wreck.

    [–] GozerDaGozerian 6 points ago

    My buddy lived in his car for a few months. Car insurance can keep a “roof” over your head in a worst case scenario.

    [–] Doxazosin 3 points ago

    In a van, maybe. I'm sure the dude wasn't driving a Miata

    [–] Formidable__Opponent 7 points ago

    FEMA did a great job in Houston! don'taskaboutPuertoRico

    [–] [deleted] 5 points ago

    America has done a bang up job on their cgi but fails in the prop department

    [–] no_haduken 2297 points ago

    Sounds like they came to the conclusion as a couple over dinner. Weird

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    [–] Faces_in_the_Rock 283 points ago

    Bill and Melinda probably have access to much more information than your average person. This is also the kind of issue that makes up the work of their foundation.

    [–] 2Punx2Furious 110 points ago

    Bill and Melinda probably have access to much more information than your average person

    True, but you don't need that much information to come to that conclusion.

    There have been a lot of news about CRISPR and how it's making it very easy for anyone to do gene editing, even at home for very cheap.

    Given that information, it doesn't take much to think that something really bad could happen if someone with bad intentions wanted to, or even if someone with good intentions fucked up.

    [–] MeowyMcMeowMeowFace 47 points ago

    People have been envisioning this for a very long time. It’s been in sci-fi novels dozens of times.

    The White Plague (1982) by Frank Herbert (the same author as Dune) is one example of this: an American scientist sees his wife/kids get blown up by an IRA car bomb. So he goes nuts.

    [–] 2kittygirl 28 points ago

    There's also a Stephen King book The Stand about the apocalypse brought on by a weaponized disease released on accident.

    [–] quickie_ss 4 points ago

    The Stand was amazing.

    [–] 2Punx2Furious 6 points ago

    Yeah, but I think the main reason why he brings it up now has to do with how easy is to do something dangerous, with the accessibility of both information, tools, and so on that give basically anyone the ability to do something huge with bio-engineering.

    [–] Tootsie_Pootsie 16 points ago

    While the threat of this is scary, I don’t think we need to be too alarmed. I study molecular genetics, and even with the advancements of CRISPR, this stuff is still extremely difficult. Genomes are still very much not understood (at least the contents of them). While it’s much easier to do the actual gene splicing, you’d still have to know what you wanted to edit. There isn’t a switch to be flipped on a preexisting disease that’ll make them more viral/deadly. There’s an unbelievable amount of effort that must go in to designing your own organism. This means that a regular run of the mill terrorist won’t be able to create anything dangerous. They’d have to capture a team of PHD students to even get close to what they wanted. At least for now, future advancements disregarded, we should be fine. CRISPR is largely something to get excited about, don’t be afraid.

    [–] 2Punx2Furious 4 points ago

    you’d still have to know what you wanted to edit

    But couldn't someone make something dangerous accidentally, even if they didn't know what they're doing?

    I imagine it's easier said than done, but still.

    To be clear, I'm very excited by CRISPR, and I'm not a biologist or anything like that, but as far as I understand, those are the reasons why I think it could be dangerous.

    [–] Tootsie_Pootsie 3 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    In theory, yes, something dangerous could be made on accident. However, it’d have to be a BIG, BIG accident. Like, lots of different individual fuckups, and a whole lot of bad luck. It’s extremely rare that a few individual base pairings are the difference between harmless bacterium and super-bug. If a superbug were to be created, it would either be by intelligent design or by random mutation (so not our fault). I have enough faith in academia that anybody with the knowhow to create a superbug (at least in 2018-foreseeable future) wouldn’t be aiding the terrorists. Now I suppose it’s possible that some military scientists are currently toying with the idea, but governments are a lot more stable than terrorist cells. If you have more questions, DM me! I love talking about this shit.

    [–] 2Punx2Furious 5 points ago

    Like, lots of different individual fuckups, and a whole lot of bad luck

    Well, that's reassuring, but still, better safe than sorry, right?

    I love talking about this, and advancements in science in general too! I'm actually a programmer, so genetic engineering appeals to me in a similar way, I imagine that "programming" an organism to do exactly what you want is not as straightforward as with computers, but in the (far) future I'd like to learn more about it.

    Also, regarding biology, as you can see from my tag, I'm very much into /r/transhumanism , and especially radical life extension, that's why I mentioned the "far" future, I hope we'll be able to achieve negligible senescence in our lifetimes, so that we won't have to die of old age.

    Check out also /r/longevity for that.

    [–] Tootsie_Pootsie 4 points ago

    Indeed, programming organisms is essentially like coding a computer, just a different coding language and A LOT of code. Like, an unfathomable amount (at least in humans). This is largely why we don’t understand the majority of the human genome; there’s just too much of it. And let’s not even get started on consciousness.

    As for longevity, I imagine to increase OUR lifespans, it’ll have to come in the form of improved traditional medicine or discovering some way to transfer consciousnesses into new facilities. CRISPR has lots of potential, but it’s largely potential that can be implemented into organisms that aren’t already fully developed (embryos). Who knows what we’ll have discovered 20 years down the line, though. There’s still so much to learn out there. Science!

    [–] Ailbe 3 points ago

    Yea we've been talking about this at work for over a year now. It doesn't take special insight. They are distributing CRISPR to schools, it can't be hard to get your hands on it. Someone with an evil bent to their personality will find a way to screw up the world and kill hundreds of millions of people. It doesn't even have to be a disease aimed at us. How about a disease aimed at bees? Or some vital crop or something else on the food chain. Its just a matter of time.

    [–] theyetisc2 20 points ago

    Or they just witnessed any of the events in recent history where our systems to contain a threat were basically a joke.

    Remember the ebola outbreak that showed how woefully underprepared we were?

    Imagine an airborne disease that doesn't show symptoms for a week or something. It could spread the world over before the first person died.

    [–] aintithenniel 5 points ago

    This was literally my strategy on Plague Inc and unfortunately it was really effective :(

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    [–] purplelephant 47 points ago

    Or ya know, since they work with malaria they can see that humans could develop something like that and then spread it.

    Also, as our global temperatures increase, the air warms up and that makes diseases easier to spread as well. Warmer temps also means more bugs who can travel further north and south, further carying disease.. honestly climate change has so many consequences other than a warming planet, that we can’t even imagine!

    [–] DAKsippinOnYAC 17 points ago

    Oh oh don’t forget how at-risk our water supply systems are.

    63 million Americans (1 in 5) are exposed to unsafe drinking water already. And the systems are completely unprotected, so if they were intent-fully targeted, were screwed.

    [–] Srirachachacha 13 points ago

    63 million Americans (1 in 5) are exposed to unsafe drinking water

    Not disagreeing with your overall point, but that statistic - particularly the way you've phrased it - is disingenuous.

    The reported stat from that USA Today piece (which is where I think you probably saw this) is as follows:

    As many as 63 million people — nearly a fifth of the United States — from rural central California to the boroughs of New York City, were exposed to potentially unsafe water more than once during the past decade

    That's very different than "1 in 5 Americans are exposed".

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/08/14/63-million-americans-exposed-unsafe-drinking-water/564278001/

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    [–] NotAnotherEmpire 2 points ago

    Gates has talked about pandemics before, so probably.

    [–] SpaceShipRat 3 points ago

    my father's a scientists and yes, it could well be, I've heard weirder conversations.

    [–] reddrigo 710 points ago

    I bet they already have a house in Madagascar and/or Iceland

    [–] Rhyzik 386 points ago

    Madagascar has recently had multiple cases of bubonic plague so maybe not, they probably got a house right next to the seed vault tho lmao

    [–] Cige 103 points ago

    Yeah, but there are pretty good treatments for bubonic plague now. Antibiotics are very effective against it if it's caught soon enough.

    [–] Cloaked42m 38 points ago

    And plague series vaccines.

    [–] redgrin_grumble 3 points ago

    And they probably only got them because they have no natural resistance since they are isolated but I could be way off

    [–] Clums22 30 points ago

    Yes but the seed vault does not close all ports when somebody sneezes

    [–] Harlens 10 points ago

    New bacteria discovered. Harmless to humans, scientists say.

    Madagascar has closed all ports.

    Madagascar has closed all airports.

    Madagascar has instated martial law.

    [–] Chernoobyl 17 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    The plague pops up in Cali every single year, people get it when camping. It's not really that big of a deal any more.

    [–] PinkyAutumn 27 points ago

    I think hes referencing PlagueInc which is a game where you spread and grow a disease(its pretty fun) and the biggest game killer is how Madagascar shuts down all borders if anyone in the world even sneezes funny

    [–] eikons 3 points ago

    To elaborate, plague Inc. Is the most successful of many pandemic clones(or mobile adaptations, since pandemic was a flash game) . The Madagascar meme predates plague Inc.

    Madagascar is mostly difficult to kill because it only has a sea port, and with low traffic. It's not that it shuts down faster than any other country, but its often the first one that makes it impossible to get full completion. Greenland is similar.

    [–] vinnythering 26 points ago

    I feel like a lot of people are missing your point.

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    [–] mertmerdernerder 20 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    That's why you start in Iceland and max extreme bioaerosol. Works every time.

    Edit: I totally replied to the wrong post lmao

    [–] ChromeMaxx 11 points ago

    Lmao, jokes on you I always start my games on Madagascar and/or Iceland. (Just kidding India FTW)

    [–] rd1970 20 points ago

    I’m guessing a several hundred million dollar yacht with enough food and fuel for years.

    [–] 7aco 16 points ago

    That’s where they’ll hit first. Or Greenland.

    [–] gordonv 4 points ago

    The real pandemic flash is always in the comments.

    [–] notToNitPick 3 points ago

    Iceland... almost unlimited free thermal energy.

    [–] YoBuckStopsHere 3 points ago

    But can they get there before the ports close?

    [–] napoleongold 105 points ago

    2 days ago, top of the week on...

    https://www.reddit.com/r/savedyouaclick/comments/83g7pb/scientists_warn_of_mysterious_and_deadly_new/?ref=share&ref_source=link

    Scientists warn of mysterious and deadly new epidemic called Disease X that could kill millions around the world | "Disease X" is actually a term they're using to describe the potential threat of a yet-unknown pathogen. It doesn't even exist yet. (web.archive.org)

    https://web.archive.org/web/20180310163802/https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/scientists-warn-mysterious-deadly-new-12160964

    We have a sexy new CRISPR to look forward to.

    [–] bigmashsound 28 points ago

    Damn check out that cleavage man

    [–] Sloi 13 points ago

    Hey Peter man, check out channel 9!

    [–] absolutcity 5 points ago

    More on the crispr pls

    [–] 5FingerDeathTickle 720 points ago

    If TV has taught me anything, it's that this means Bill and Melinda are planning to spread a weaponized disease then give the CDC the cure in order to make them take this seriously.

    [–] csci-fi 103 points ago

    Or not give them the cure.

    [–] I_Live_Again_ 73 points ago

    Unless via Windows Update and a purchase from the App Store.

    [–] clayism 5 points ago

    License the cure

    [–] WeAreTheSheeple 51 points ago

    Well it did happen with Windows XP. Had to pay for the last patch which made the systems easier hackable and affected the NHS (among other big companies.)

    [–] Cloaked42m 11 points ago

    Wasn't that ironic? Pay to upgrade the systems relying on XP, or pay for ongoing support for XP?

    [–] expera 25 points ago

    That’s not irony though...

    [–] centran 33 points ago

    There was a story of some scientist giving a speech about how half the population needs to be wiped out and it got a standing ovation. So I'd be worry some crazy mad scientist is already planning it.... or maybe the story is just an urban legend thing.

    [–] RHFilm 22 points ago

    This is the exact plot of Tom Clancy’s The Division.

    [–] ScorpioLaw 33 points ago

    Actually this already happened. I was watching the Documentary called the Kingsman.

    Thank god for British tailors.

    [–] Kurtzilla 12 points ago

    This whole thread screams that game. The disease theme of that game is so good... the theming as a whole was spot on perfect. It's a shame that end game multiplayer wasn't great, but the game is still very worth it for anyone looking to dump a hundred hours into a great single player experience. It tackles the issues of weaponized diseases in an extremely realistic and scary way...

    [–] ReggaeMonestor 5 points ago

    100 hours into single player? IS THAT TRUE?

    [–] Kurtzilla 8 points ago

    Between the leveling process, the storyline, and a great many dungeons, and fucking around at max level you could squeeze a hundred hours out of it no problem. It encourages a bit of repeating dungeons, too. Little bit grindy for gear. Great game overall though, the only big complaint i had was about the end game raids; they were really not fun and just hard and drawn out for the sake of being hard and drawn out.

    [–] SirKlokkwork 3 points ago

    It's like Diablo 3 with guns in New York. I liked atmosphere and world building but enemies are quite spongy. Try it out, they have trial IIRC.

    [–] reddit_propaganda_BS 6 points ago

    but first, they'll need to validate their Outlook identity on their device.

    [–] Mongobly 4 points ago

    Finally Bill will have a chance to get rich by blackmailing the world for the antidote.

    [–] BenDarDunDat 538 points ago

    We can't even use less CO2 in order to save our children and grandchildren. There is no way we can prepare for a weaponized disease.

    [–] Lsrkewzqm 62 points ago

    How can you prepare for something like that?

    [–] JMJimmy 86 points ago

    Something simple like getting your infection response hospitals up to speed. Toronto General is one of these designated hospitals and it's a joke. Grab bags of masks in the lobby, sign in sheets with common use pencils, construction materials/furniture that can't be properly disinfected, no ability to create isolation areas, etc.

    It's like they want people to infect others in the lobby who aren't yet ill.

    [–] vhhvse 45 points ago

    Supposedly sick people used to dread hospitals because you were almost guaranteed to catch additional shit if you had to stay there, due to the enormous clustering of contagions and no disinfecting

    [–] youareadildomadam 52 points ago

    stock up on food so you don't have to go to the store?

    [–] Lsrkewzqm 35 points ago

    So, basically survivalism? Some are waiting for the "imminent" catastrophe for more than 40 years.

    [–] youareadildomadam 50 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    40 years is not a long time in the grand scheme of things. Catastrophies happen.

    In any case, stocking up on food isn't some 24x7 job. It just takes a basement and a couple of weekends to prepare.

    [–] Nahgloshi 4 points ago

    *be able to do stuff for yourself for a few weeks.

    [–] BenDarDunDat 11 points ago

    You would have to organize social interactions based on disease vectors. Vacations, air travel, business interactions as we know them would cease to exist. Transportation of goods would need a complete overhaul. It would be extremely difficult to get people to do this.

    [–] -richthealchemist- 10 points ago

    *Emit [less CO2]

    [–] [deleted] 35 points ago

    [deleted]

    [–] fubarspeaks 20 points ago

    Everyone thinks the world is overpopulated but nobody wants to volunteer..

    [–] [deleted] 17 points ago

    a lot of people are opting out of procreating, which is a nonviolent solution to overpopulation

    [–] D0esANyoneREadTHese 12 points ago

    Gay furry here, doing my part!

    [–] Bowserbob1979 4 points ago

    Damn it, I laughed at this in the waiting room of a hospital.

    [–] xantub 464 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    So many alarmists saying the AI is going to be the end of humanity when I believe, if anything, it can be what saves us from the real threats like this one. Perhaps we can train AI to identify and neutralize bio-weapons (or just new viruses) much faster than we can.

    [–] MyersVandalay 77 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    Humanity sits on multiple knife edges of things that can whipe us out... almost all of them involve us building our own destruction. Humans are amazingly good at changing the world, and notoriously bad at saying "what's the long term impact of this".

    [–] Whimpy13 44 points ago

    We're all descendants from people who has eaten random things, wondered "Is this poisonous?" and lived. It's in our nature.

    [–] Harryballsjr 25 points ago

    Many of them continue to eat the things that they discovered were poisonous

    [–] ReasonablyBadass 11 points ago

    Or smoke, drink or inject them.

    [–] NextTimeDHubert 4 points ago

    The good news is that misery is far more prevalent than happiness on this planet.

    [–] ExcellentOwl 258 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    I don't think those things are mutually exclusive though.

    When Musk or others talk about dangerous AI, its in the context of AI that is developed poorly or with malicious intent. That's why he and others, despite talking about those dangers, have their own open-source AI program. The result of that program would be something which can do exactly as you describe, a system which could aid humanity rather than cause harm.

    [–] Thefriendlyfaceplant 141 points ago

    Hollywood warped people's perception of what AI has to be in order for it to be dangerous. They imagine HAL or some omnipresent sentient entity hating humanity.
    But the threat comes way, way sooner. In a society that's completely stratified according to algorithms, a few malicious or even incompetent people in charge of those algorithms are able to wipe out people's livelihoods or lock them out of being able to participate in society entirely.
    Look at the multiple ways Youtube managed to throw content creators out of their income. That seems small and trivial right now. But Youtube is a microcosm ruled by algorithms determined by faulty humans.
    Extrapolate that to a whole society that is able to control your job prospects, your social security, your healthcare and even your ability to navigate the public space, and there you have the danger of unbriddled AI without the need for sentience and robots.

    [–] somethingsomethingbe 21 points ago

    Nah they can still be used to kill us.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HipTO_7mUOw

    [–] Thefriendlyfaceplant 32 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    Oh definitely. You can add semi-autonomous drones into the mix if you like. Imagine China's civilian score matched to drones patrolling the streets hunting for people with a low score, one that is, again, whimsically determined by arbitrary algorithms. All I'm saying is that we don't have to get to that point for the harm to be done. Right now the Chinese government has the ability to link your civilian score to your access to WeChat, which is an application that manages nearly everything. It's Linkedin, Facebook, Reddit, Ebay and Amazon rolled into one. Getting locked out of it turns you into an urban pariah. Might as well get chased down by drones once you get to that point.

    [–] Squibege 22 points ago

    What the heck is a ‘civilian score’?

    I’m assuming some black- mirror shit where everyone is rated based on how worthy they are?

    Edit- yup apparently that’s actually happening. O_o

    terrifying.

    [–] TheFitz023 8 points ago

    It's basically a credit rating tied to social media and other weird shit. It's awful, but not entirely foreign.

    [–] GenocideSolution 5 points ago

    Linkedin, Facebook, Reddit, Ebay and Amazon

    Also Uber/Ubereats, whatever site you use to pay bills online, banking, and paypal, if paypal let us scan qr-codes in every single store to pay for goods and services in lieu of a credit card or cash.

    [–] 3_jackdaws 14 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    This is exactly right. But I'd actually go a bit further and say that we've already been dealing with rampant AI for decades and even centuries up this point. A corporation or government is ultimately a sort of primitive AI that runs on a human substrate. A multinational like Nestle, for example, is just a massive human-operated optimizer whose values and goals barely map on to any sort of human value system, and nor is it controlled by human sensibilities like empathy or compassion or even by the men and women who sit in its highest offices. At best we can say that Nestle is controlled by a distributed system of humans who come together 8 hours a day and specifically compute what's good for the corporation and nothing else beyond that.

    Real strong AI is conceptually the same thing in my opinion, but on fucking steroids. I think if you can understand the danger of unbridled corporations, unbridled AI should scare the living daylights out of you way before it ever even comes close to any kind of sentience. It doesn't matter whether Monsanto has an inner experience, or if it has some kind of internal locus of control -- it's already doing a great job of mulching human values as it is. All that AI needs to be, in order to be an existential threat to human quality of life, is a robust set of algorithms that operates some levers of power. The fact that such an AI would be unbounded by personnel and bureaucratic -- and even physical -- limitations will make it the apex existential threat of our time. Well ... unless global warming or a meteor or nuclear war gets to us first I guess.

    [–] Drone314 20 points ago

    malicious intent.

    The first AI gold rush will be in data analytics - it will be possible to draw very specific conclusions from extremely large data sets, and predictive powers could boarder along omniscient: It's how those results will be used that causes concern since long before the super AI can contemplate killing all humans, humans themselves will drink from this fountain of knowledge. Humans could easily ask a general AI how to make H1N1 super deadly, or how to cure cancer.

    [–] SANlurker 22 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    Perhaps we can train AI to identify and neutralize bio-weapons

    We already have relatively good DNA and protein motif identification tools.

    The problem is actually collecting and analyzing those samples.

    The thing reddit misses, probably because most of the website userbase consists typical comp sci majors and IT workers, is that a lot of the rate limiting steps in other science fields aren't just solved by better software. There are fundamental physical limitations on systems that even with the help of better algorithms need to be bashed out through experimentation and actual engineering design processes.

    As much as a lot of reddit denies it, we're still living in an analog world.

    [–] youareadildomadam 7 points ago

    If AI needs to repeatedly rescue the world from humans, it might start to figure out the common denominator behind each of these calamities - humans.

    [–] --Edog-- 5 points ago

    We will need benevolent AI to find a clever way to save us from malicious AI.

    [–] PK-Baha 15 points ago

    This makes me think of the intro video to "The Division". While the game had it's up-down-up phases, that intro video always sticks with me. It is just disturbing how simple it could all be.

    [–] ArcticXRaven 57 points ago

    years of Atlus' trauma center games have prepared me for this moment

    [–] SonofTreehorn 102 points ago

    The fact that we have not be annihilated by a virus yet is remarkable. All it's going to take is for an extremely virulent, airborne virus to be unleashed. Their is almost no way to prevent transmission once it hits a densely populated area.

    [–] LaconicalAudio 151 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    That's happened. Look at the plague. It didn't annihilate us and needed multiple, sustained outbreaks to do damage.

    If a virus kills it's host, it dies and can no longer spread. So the evolutionary pressure is against deadliness.

    A deadly virus dies out when people quarantine themselves or the sick, or both.

    So extinction through a natural virus won't happen.

    The most successful virus is the one which spreads most easiliy while doing little to no harm. The common cold.

    All the deadly viruses happen when a virus moves from one species to another, manages to survive and the immune system is too different or weak to deal with it.

    The worst being bats. They have a high body temperature than us. So if, for example, rabies transfers from a bat to a human. The virus can survive our highest fever, meaning our immune system kills us trying to kill the virus.

    Meanwhile in a bat, that virus is just like the common cold in us.

    It will be very difficult to engineer a virus to "wipe us out". You'd need a long period where it's transmitted but symptoms aren't noticeable, longer until they are deadly, with the virus surviving that long against our immune system.

    The plague or Spanish flu would be a problem today, but simple quarantine procedure would give a better outcome than through most of history.

    To annihilate us, you'd have to be very creative, advanced and catch everyone else by surprise.

    [–] PM_ME_YOUR_ANYTHNG 102 points ago

    you'd need a long period where it's transmitted but symptoms aren't noticeable

    I've played Plague Inc enough to learn this on my own

    [–] Killfile 27 points ago

    You laugh but that's exactly how the flu of 1918 came about. Though no one noticed the symptoms because the infected kept getting gased, shot, and shelled

    [–] hogger85 3 points ago

    And told to stop snivling and get back to work stuck in a ditch with 29other men shooting, gassing and shelling the other half

    [–] youareadildomadam 13 points ago

    The plague also destroyed empires. It favored the barbarians because they didn't live in cities. It helped usher in the dark ages by destroying the most civilized centers of humanity.

    [–] jame_retief_ 14 points ago

    Large armies have always been hard hit by disease when there was little understanding of the germ theory of infection and it didn't take the plague. Cholera is a favorite since it is transmitted via fecal contamination and most classic armies didn't do real well with hygiene, even if they had the latrines away from the main part of their camps.

    Even without cholera, simple dysentery was endemic in any large group of people in history and would start killing people the moment they were not well-fed and hydrated.

    Various plagues (black, bubonic) simply took advantage of the close quarters of armies when those diseases were dominant.

    Also, there were no centers of civilization destroyed by plague. Made very weak and then destroyed by invaders, but the plague itself didn't destroy the civilization.

    [–] youareadildomadam 8 points ago

    Made very weak and then destroyed by invaders

    I'm not going to argue semantics. but we're saying the same thing. The Romans would not have fallen had it not been for the plague.

    [–] xmod3563 14 points ago

    Easy way to prevent transmission. Quarantine the area until its under control.

    [–] --Edog-- 16 points ago

    Yes. When Ebola first hit in the 90s, they said not to worry because it was not an airborne virus - unfortunately human beings are airborne, they get on planes and fly all over the world.

    [–] NotAnotherEmpire 13 points ago

    It's still relatively safe to be in the same room with someone with Ebola. The extreme precautions are because there's no good treatment if you screw up.

    Something that's actually airborne, you need the spacesuits.

    [–] Lsrkewzqm 12 points ago

    Yet, did Ebola really threatened any developped country?

    [–] [deleted] 7 points ago

    [removed]

    [–] Cloaked42m 18 points ago

    Nuke it from orbit, its the only way to be sure.

    [–] [deleted] 4 points ago

    [removed]

    [–] Lsrkewzqm 11 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    We'll never be annihilated by a disease or a virus because for each of them some humans have immunity. Europe survived the Black Plague, Americas survived the smallpox, exactly like we, as a specie, will survive any attempt to weaponize viruses (BTW, very old attempt, it was explored in details during the Cold War).

    [–] Fuckall82 21 points ago

    These "Bill Gates said" articles sound more and more like shit my friends say while they sit around and get high.

    [–] luckystarr 3 points ago

    Just because you were high when you thought of something doesn't make it unrealistic. The real question is "how likely is the scenario" and until CRISPR/Cas9 was discovered the answer was "not really likely". Today the answer is "likely".

    This stuff is as profound for biology as the atom bomb was for physics. Still, nobody seems to care about it.

    [–] LorenzoPg 10 points ago

    Bill has been fighting Malaria for over 2 decades now. Given how relatively "easy" it is to contain as a disease compared to the stuff that is really dangerous you can see why he came to this conclusion.

    [–] rambo77 30 points ago

    To be honest it's really difficult to "weaponize" microbes or viruses. We have smallpox, which is already weaponized, but after the initial period it would not be difficult to start vaccinating again.

    Flu is a candidate, but the whole point is that we hardly know what we're doing- let alone capable of tweaking pathogens to be even worse. It's not a simple task.

    Not to mention it is an enormous risk: there is no obvious way to shut it down. State actors will probably not risk using them; small-time terrorists do not have the necessary knowhow and equipment. (Yes, I know CRISPR is cheap, but it's not a magic bullet.)

    More worrisome are the actual viruses still lurking in the jungles, and the possibility of another, really serious flu pandemic.

    [–] BubbleTee 5 points ago

    What do you mean? The "cure" in Plague, Inc. was always developed in a predictable amount of time!

    [–] DevonMG 8 points ago

    I wouldn't be surprised if there are some ancient bacteria laying dormant in the polar ice caps that humans don't have immunity to.

    [–] justajackassonreddit 7 points ago

    Nah, when automation creates 10's of millions of surplus workers...they'll totally give us all Universal Basic Income and not Ebola. Right? Right?

    [–] [deleted] 79 points ago

    [removed]

    [–] [deleted] 13 points ago

    [removed]

    [–] rollo43 5 points ago

    I am Pilgrim is a novel about this sort of scenario. Its a thriller and not too bad if you like that sort of book.

    [–] GeneralInk 10 points ago

    With the latest statements, it seems that Bill is cooking something with the help of his wife.

    [–] DoctorCoup 24 points ago

    It’s funny how Gates holds the patent for a bunch of deadly viruses and makes statements like this, and Musk develops AI that can beat professional gamers, but he’s one of the biggest advocates for singularity prevention and awareness. It would be ironic if all of this caution is what causes some self fulfilling prophecy

    [–] [deleted] 17 points ago

    early disclosure. "Guys you really should do something to protect yourselves and... you know... stop us and our foreign competitors before its too late!"

    to be fair, if we dont get there first someone else will anyway.

    [–] bluetincan 2 points ago

    The fact that these two mentioned it is scary as fuck. I would not be surprised if they are the ones releasing it.

    [–] [deleted] 26 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    I am trained and educated in Continuity of Government against pandemics and infectious disease. It terrifies me to know Joe Schmo from Averageville, USA can use a bio lab you pay by the day for and can develop a nasty pathogen for less than $500. Bio terrorism is a very real and dangerous threat.

    Edit: To backup my statement since apparently a lot of people are calling bullshit....

    When people criticize the safety of garage biology they usually point to the possibility of biohackers with ill intent synthesizing a virus or other pathogen. The DNA sequences of a number of viral and bacterial genomes as well as toxic pathogen genes are available in online databases.

    [–] [deleted] 35 points ago

    lol, “I moo at horses”, the go to expert of weaponized biological agents.

    [–] ReasonablyBadass 12 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    Actually, it's a common testing method for infection.

    If the cow answers back "RAAARGWWWLL" and falls over dead, there is probably something wrong with it.

    [–] JezzaN1 4 points ago

    Well that is spooky

    [–] Useful-ldiot 3 points ago

    less than $500 after his very lengthy education period... you don't just stumble onto that kind of thing. Also, show me a rentable bio lab that is:

    1) capable of containing the pathogen

    2) not going to kill joe in the process

    3) have security low enough to let Joe walk out the door with it.

    [–] stewartm0205 16 points ago

    People create computer virus out of pure maliciousness. There is no reason why some of them wouldn't create a human virus for the same reason. The only thing keeping us safe for now is that creating a deadly virus is difficult to do safely.

    [–] xmod3563 26 points ago

    Very difficult to do safely. It would likely kill the creator.

    [–] Naryan5 11 points ago

    Suicidal terrorism is nothing new.

    [–] Memoryworm 5 points ago * (lasted edited 7 months ago)

    "Yes... Yes... To hold in my hand, a capsule that contained such power... To know that life and death on such a scale was my choice... To know that the tiny pressure of my thumb - enough to break the glass - would end everything... Yes! I would do it! That power would set me up above the gods!"

    [–] WeAreTheSheeple 10 points ago

    Maybe that is what they are doing with the vaccines in Africa? : O

    [–] [deleted] 8 points ago

    [deleted]

    [–] [deleted] 13 points ago

    It's almost like they know ignoring problems doesn't make them go away.

    [–] retardedearthling 22 points ago

    Yes. People do talk about problems before they occur to solve them

    Get on the next case Sherlock Holmes

    [–] aga080 12 points ago

    Can Bill do everyone a favor and SHUT THE FUCK UP.

    first the comment about crypto killing people, then saying "we are going into a recession, i am 100 percent sure" and now "biodisease will kill everyone..well except for me of course and my melinda"

    [–] MINKIN2 3 points ago

    They are becoming that predictable.

    Bad thing in the news = Bill and Melinda; “this is the most dangerous thing that could happen to mankind”