Friday, January 11, 2013

The Sky is Falling!

Back when I first started this blog in 2009, I wrote a post criticizing Global Warming Hysteria, and my opposition to population control as a means of combating global warming. I mentioned that our rate of population growth is declining, and will likely peak at nine or ten billion around the middle of the century. After that, it's likely that our population will actually start to fall. I speculated that when this happened people would start panicking, believing we were doomed to extinction.

Well, it's started early.

Slate has an article out warning of this exact situation. They mention that developed countries already have fertility rates well below replacement levels (as I did), and they mention the social problems that this can cause (again, like me). If trends continue, this will soon apply to all Humanity. Does this mean we're doomed? I doubt it. The article only talks about current trends, and projecting them 300 years into the future. They don't speculate about what technological advances will likely be made in that time, and how they would affect fertility. One of the reasons fertility rates are so low is because kids are expensive, and at least one parent has to stay home with them until they start school.  By 2300 (and I'm personally hoping 250 years sooner), we will have achieved a post-scarcity society. Goods will be made by nanofactories from raw materials, which will exist in abundance thanks to asteroid mining. Robots will do all the work, because they'll be better than any human could ever be. Solar and fusion power will provide practically unlimited electricity to run these marvelous machines. We will certainly have achieved life extension, maybe even biological immortality. The only way this wouldn't happen is if civilization collapses, in which case we will revert to historically traditional birth and death rates. In a world where no one has to work, and has inexhaustible wealth, why not have babies? If birthrates get too high again, we can always go to Mars, assuming Elon Musk hasn't become the Tyrant Emperor of the Red Planet.

At any rate, we're far from being an endangered species at the moment. Let's deal with problems has they come, shall we?

P.S. I'm aware that's a duck in the picture, not a chicken.

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