h+ Magazine

Summer 2009

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Page 58 of 83

59 WWW.HPLusmAGAzINe.COm Fully developed biotechnology and genetic engineering will allow the creation of tailored plants, animals, chimeras, and whole biomes. and destruction, of warming-induced ecological collapse and mass deaths, or perhaps some miserable but survivable combination thereof. We can illustrate the challenge with this simple chart, (see below) where we see an early period, the near-term, with levels of existential danger somewhat evenly matched by our abilities to adequately manage and avert the worst of those dangers. so far, so good. Over the long term, our human/posthuman civilizations may be able to acquire enough capacity through growth of technological aids and scientifi c know-how that we can dependably stay ahead of the greatest dangers. However, our fates, and those of all our descendants, may well be determined by the underrated, dangerously overlooked time between 2015 and 2030. It is in that mid-range period, as we rapidly develop powerful new technologies — and as we have to grapple simultaneously with huge new problems caused by droughts, crop failures and famines, sea level rise, human refugee migrations, structural unemployment, state failures, pandemics, new arms races, and more — that we will be tested. In the mid-term, will fi nd out whether we are fi t enough, mature enough, and wise enough to make the right decisions. Now is the time to begin making smart decisions — not when the barrage of problems is upon us, but today. mike Treder, managing director of the Institute for ethics and emerging Technologies, speaks around the world on the complex interactions between society, technology, and human nature. 2005 2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035 2040 2045 2050 59 estimated danger Potential vs. response capacity response Capacity Danger Potential

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