Who can save Humanity from Superintelligence?

April 24, 2017

In this presentation, Tony Czarnecki, Managing Partner of Sustensis, will share his views on how Humanity could be saved from its biggest existential risk, Superintelligence.

The presentation will cover four overlapping crises Humanity faces today – crises in the domains of politics, economics, society, and existential risk. The presentation will also provide a vision of a possible solution, with a reformed European Union becoming the core of a new supranational organization having the best chance to tackle these problems.

 About the crises:

The world faces a series of existential risks. When combined, the chance of one of these risks materializing in just 20 years is at least 5%. We already had one such “near miss” that could have annihilated the entire civilization. That was the Cuban crisis in October 1962, which almost started a global nuclear war. Today, the biggest risk facing our civilization and humanity isSuperintelligence.

Additionally, mainly due to the advancement in technology, the world is changing at almost an exponential pace. That means that change, not just in technology but also in political or social domains, which might previously have taken a decade to produce a significant effect, can now happen in just a year or two. No wonder that people, even in the most developed countries, cannot absorb the pace of change that happens simultaneously in so many domains of our lives. That’s why emotions have overtaken reason.

People are voting in various elections and referenda against the status quo, not really knowing what the problem is, even less what could be the solution. Even if some politicians know what the overall, usually unpleasant solutions could be, they are unlikely to share that with their own electorate because they would be deselected in the next election. The vicious circle continues but at an increasingly faster pace.

The crises that we are experiencing right now lie in four domains:

  • Existential survival – the biggest crisis because it is barely visible
  • Political – the crisis of democracy
  • Economic – the crisis of capitalism
  • Social – the crisis of wealth distribution where the wealthy become wealthier even faster.

At the same time, anyone wanting to improve the situation faces three problems:

  • Existential risks require fast action, while the world’s organisations act very slowly
  • People want more freedom and more control, while we need to give up some of our freedoms and national sovereignty for the greater good of civilisation and humanity
  • Most people can’t see beyond tomorrow and act emotionally, while we need to see the big picture and act rationally.

Therefore, anybody that sees the need for the world to take urgent action faces a formidable task of proposing pragmatic, fast and very radical changes in the ways the world is governed.

The key problem is that the world cannot put faith in the United Nations – the organisation that should by default be responsible for leading the humanity through this most difficult period of existential threats. Neither do we have time to build such an organisation from scratch. But more importantly, we cannot reasonably expect that all major blocs – the USA, China, Russia or the EU – would suddenly replace their own set of values and interests with a unified set of new human values and responsibilities.

Therefore, the only plausible solution is to rely on an organisation emerging from a deeply transformed existing organisation, such as the European Union and/or NATO, which would lead humanity to a new era, where we may be living side by side with Superintelligence. This would also mean that in the transition period, this enlarged organization would have to co-exist with China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and many other countries with deeply different values and interests.

About the speaker:

Tony Czarnecki is Managing Partner of Sustensis, a management consultancy that has specialized for over 20 years in the area of long-term sustainable growth. The objective of Sustensis is to help companies make a gradual transition from a short-term to a long-term business growth.

In recent years, Tony has applied his experience in “long-termism” to find solutions for the crises facing our civilisation and humanity – the subject that has been the focus of London Futurists.

Meeting logistics:

2pm-4pm, Saturday 29th April 2017.

Venue: Room TBA (to-be-announced), Birkbeck College, Torrington Square WC1E 7HX, London.

Room TBA is on the TBA-th level in the main Birkbeck College building, in Torrington Square (which is a pedestrian-only square). Torrington Square is about 10 minutes walk from either Russell Square or Goodge St tube stations.

Coffee and other light refreshments can be purchased from the Costa Coffee shop in the reception area of the building, either ahead of or after the meeting.

The event will be followed by a chance to continue the discussion in a nearby pub – The Marlborough Arms, 36 Torrington Place, London WC1E 7HJ.

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Covering meeting costs:

A small fee (£7) is payable to attend this meetup. This fee covers room hire costs. Please pay in advance, online, after you RSVP.

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Journalists are welcome to attend the meeting free-of-charge – please contact the organiser, notifying us in advance of your plans to attend.