Over the past 200 years, machines have released large numbers of humans from lifetimes of physical drudgery — and literally from slavery — in the advanced world. But as machines learn to replace more and more human jobs, vocations, and professions, humans may soon look back fondly on the ancient age of drudgery.
Our current societies cannot function without their machines. But machines are evolving in capability far more quickly than humans are adjusting to the new age of more capable machines.
In order to move beyond the tragic limitations and precarious dangers of our existence in this one solar system, humans will need help. As it dawns upon us that “we cannot solve our current problems using the level of thinking which caused our problems in the first place,” we need to learn how to think on more levels. And we need to devise a wider array of approaches to problem-solving.
If not for the machines of computation, communication, energy, and production, we could not hope to move any part of human science, industry, and community out into space. The more powerful and versatile the machines, the further humans will be able to go. The smarter machines become, the better they will be at helping humans to solve problems.
But machines are a double-edged sword, and frankly mere machines are not enough to get us where we need to go. We as humans need to wake up to stark reality. Some of us are better suited for the past, and some are better suited for the future. Not everyone will survive.
We know that we can’t go back. But among the many diverse populations of humans scattered around the world, which populations are capable of going forward? Which cultures have the inventiveness and organisational abilities, and which have the resources of mind and production to climb to new plateaus and levels of ingenuity?
As it happens, nations with higher average population IQ also tend to have higher levels of prosperity and inventiveness. Inventiveness helps to generate productivity and prosperity for the future. Conversely, societies with low IQ populations tend to be more impoverished and less inventive.
It is becoming clear that in the emerging age of ever-evolving machines, those populations that can best innovate, operate, and maintain their advanced technological machine infrastructures are best placed to move through whatever bottlenecks and catastrophes that fate may place in their way.
Cultures that Achieve Symbiosis More Likely to Survive
Human populations have experienced divergent evolution on many levels and for many traits, caused by divergent environments and levels of cosmic luck. Some cultures and societies have higher average populations IQs, some have higher average levels of conscientiousness and impulse control. Some populations are simply more clever and inventive than others. If a clever and inventive people are also higher in conscientiousness and executive function, their societies are likely to be more prosperous, resilient, and more future-oriented. In general, nations of Europe, the Anglosphere, and free East Asia, fall into that category.
High IQ populations that are imprisoned within tyrannical cultures of top-down control are likely to develop a society low in trust, low in prosperity, and brittle to unexpected shocks — as in a North Korea or an East Germany. Communist China and the Russian Federation are intermediate on such scales — handicapped by top-down rigidity and abysmal corruption, but not completely paralysed.
Low IQ populations that are also corrupt — such as one sees across Africa, much of Latin America, much of tribal Asia, and within various immigrant populations inside more advanced regions — fall on the lower levels of competence, and will find it increasingly difficult to negotiate the coming catastrophes brought on by machine evolution combined with willful governmental and societal blindness.
One aspect to the dark side of an adjustment to the age of machines — the transition is not likely to be quick, easy, or universally pleasant.
Better Humans Needed
Machines will keep getting better, and more powerful. Simple rules of profit-making will see to that. Even the most clever, inventive, and resourceful of humans will find themselves hard-pressed to shield themselves and their societies from some of the damaging fallout that will necessarily come from direct contact with quickly evolving machines.
That is why humans need to devote just as much, or more, attention to developing the human substrate of their societies as they are devoting to their advanced technological machine infrastructures.
The alternative to the development of smarter, more clever, more independent humans, is a widespread descent of human societies into a subservient existence. Subservient to what, or whom? If you must ask that question, it may already be too late for you and yours.
Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. It is never too late to have a Dangerous Childhood ©.