Milliongenerations:Meeting 21 Jul 2011

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The purpose of milliongenerations is to let ideas enable more life, i.e., make it more likely that knowledge continues for the benefit of those that can possibly be alive. That also is the purpose of this meeting, i.e. it is important not to promote milliongenerations nor any particular approach. This meeting should connect like-minded people, get their views, perspectives and new ideas, especially feedback on milliongenerations' efforts.

Material for discussion

  • Anybody know what Jonas Salk is famous for?
get to that later
  • Who wants to save the earth?
just get answers. no comment.
  • Who thinks humans will inhabit this planet in 100 years? 1.000 years? 100.000 years? 1 billion years?
And if not, what will happen here instead?
  • Will that inescapably happen? Or can something be done that makes it more or less likely?
Can civilizations fail? (Examples?)
  • How long do you think intelligence can continue?
(What's intelligence? Let's say knowledge, i.e., conscious perception of information, and exchange of such information)
  • What if intelligence continued on this planet for another billion years?
Assume that in a billion years there still are individuals exchanging information! What can be concluded?
    • Line never failed (or knowledge and consciousness was recovered after a while)
    • How much essential resources consumed?
Energy "use" seems essential. And difference in concentration of some materials. (If necessary note that energy strictly speaking can not go away, physicists think the amount of energy in the universe is a constant. But entropy does rise, so the ability to use energy is consumed - and that holds for all differences. Don't linger on this with non-physicists, though.)
    • Average population growth?
    • Amount of material that can be consumed by each generation?
  • How much did each generation/each year consume?
  • Where did the waste go to?
  • What was the average economic growth?
  • Where does the useful energy come from?
To clarify with an old example. When you see a hungry man, they say, you can give him a fish. Or teach him to fish (exchange of information). More recently entrepreneurial solutions such as those proposed by the Unreasonable Institute - strive to implement ways so that all who are hungry get fishing poles. These are important, and many worthy efforts exist. The assumption here is different. This is like assuming that a very long time from now there still is a man who can fish. What can you deduct from that?
From the assumption it is clear that the man knows how to fish. But also that there still are edible fish in the water. If you think about giving everyone fishing poles or nets or trawlers, these are not likely to come about together automatically. So we look for what is needed so that they will.
  • Jonas Salk is now famous for the polio vaccine. In the long run he will be remembered for thinking that "the most important question we must ask ourselves is Are we being good ancestors? Given the rapidly changing discoveries and conditions of the times, this opens up a crucial conversation – just what will it take for our descendants to look back at our decisions today and judge us good ancestors?" He was trying to change our perspective from looking into the future to the future looking back at us. It would seem useful to spread the perspective of our obligations to future generations and the idea that as knowledge grows future beings will know essentially everything about us. So that we will want to collaborate not only for others to benefit but because we care about our reputation.

We all hope our children are happy and have a good life. And their children, too...

  • Conscious experience is a puzzle
  • it certainly seems a worthwhile use of energy.
  • While we enjoy it we can make it more or less likely that others can do so, too.

what is milliongenerations?

  • is a small effort to make lasting civilization more likely
  • based in Utrecht
  • started in 2008
  • based on the assumption that intelligence can continue on this planet while life is possible, which probably is a few billion years
  • Foundation milliongenerations set up in 2009 for a limited period of 25 years
because this seems a critical period for the future of human civilization and
because if its approach has not had useful results it probably won't after that, either. Something else should be tried.

milliongenerations hosts a few efforts at the moment