Thursday, May 16, 2019

Another Reshuffling Of The "Worlds 10 Worst Problems"

AI Is Moving Up The List Of "Dangers" We Face
Another Reshuffling Of The "Worlds 10 Worst Problems" is in order. Generally, we see little movement in the list as counted down from least to most crucial. In fact, little has changed until now from late 2013 when this list was first composed. The list of the "Worlds 10 Worst Problems" was last updated to reflect the growing drumbeats of war flowing out of Washington and the capitals of other nations. This resulted in jumping "Weapons of war and mass destruction" from fourth to first place. This is extremely significant and highlights the fact it can be very difficult to get this particular genie back in the bottle once it is out.

Of course, when composing this list the term "most crucial" is very subjective, meaning that it depends greatly on an individual's interest and priorities. Today's change is the huge leap from ninth to fifth for Creating an environment that allows and encourages people to develop fulfilling lives. This is an issue that has recently been turned upside-down do the rapid expansion of artificial intelligence (AI) and robots being introduced into society. Using the metaphor of a double-edged sword that cuts both ways, this technology has both advantages and disadvantages for mankind. With AI there exists great potential but also the dangerous possibility and risk that technology could create an environment where mankind is rendered redundant.

The angst between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had a great deal to do with moving nuclear war into first place. That situation has cooled but other problems have recently intensified. Between Pakistan and India the disputed border region of Kashmir again becomes an issue. Both countries have nuclear bombs which elevate fears of a major conflict. Also, tensions remain very high in Ukraine where warmongers continue to push Russia and Putin which has no intention of backing down. Last but not least it seems some people are now hellbent on escalating the bad blood with Iran into a full-fledged conflict that once initiated might spin out of control. Mosul and Aleppo are examples of how death and destruction can turn once proud cities into rubble. They stand as monuments to man's inhumanity towards man, however, these were the result of conventional warfare which pales next to the devastation a nuclear attack would wreak.

Future Generations Depend On Us
The problems facing mankind impact the shape of our lives' and our very existence. Most of these are issues that center on our sustainability which means we must begin to address these many problems with long term solutions. History has shown politicians do not deal well with such things leaving society without a great deal of direction. As we look at the human condition we can let fate take us where it may choose or we can take control of our future by proper planning and by guiding it as best we can.

Below is a list of the world's ten most crucial problems. Remember the position a problem holds on this list can shift from time to time as events take place, but expect most of them to remain on the list. Unless a black swan event such as a meteor heads our way this is what you have. Some problems have been grouped with the collateral issues associated with them, this may include the current "buzz words" used to describe their importance. Different people would group these issues in a variety of other ways and move about their priority. As always your comments are welcome.

10.   Demographics of an aging population;   As the population grows older euthanasia and the quality of life will become an issue. This must be handled in a fair, honest, humane, and compassionate way. The alternative is to simply let many older people wither and die hungry while existing in pain and squalor.

9.  Hunger and starvation;    Severe malnutrition can make life unbearable and because of it many people only go through the motions of being alive. People that are starving cannot learn and take a role in society. Starvation and addressing the need for basic sanitation must be addressed.

8.   Income inequality and economic stability;   The uber-rich should not become exempt from all common woes and untouchable. The uber-rich and political elite should not comprise a special class who are immune and able to ignore the rules of society. Nor should the masses be deemed deserving of an equal share of the wealth society creates merely by being born. Fairness in handling the world's economic systems and currencies that allow for a solid way to exchange goods and services is necessary or other world support systems will suffer or fail.

7.   Man's inability to take control of his future by creating responsive and responsible governments;   The masses have been lulled into complacency, in many ways we are all slaves, this is not a new role for man. But we can think and should make an effort to do so, we must push our chosen leaders to do the right thing and make long-term plans that are sustainable. We must shape our future and the values of the society in which we live. Sadly, a sharp rise in Orwellian trends which lead to police states is threatening the concept of freedom in countries across the globe.

6.   The last few years stand as proof of man's cruelty to man. Strife between religions and tribes must end; We need to develop a new tolerance that allows people to live in peace. A safe place to live for a person and their family is one of man's most basic needs. The political elite must not be held harmless for the grief and death they cause over large swathes of mankind. War crimes cannot be tolerated. While this is easy to say deciding exactly who is responsible for these crimes is often easier said than done.

5.   Creating an environment that allows and encourages people to develop fulfilling lives;  This means improving the educational system and having an opportunity to find fulfilling work, seek happiness and express their individuality. It also means ending corruption and extending equal protection and fairness under the law. Today many people see expanding the ability of machines to actually think might help us achieve this goal but there also exists the possibility that a machine might reach the point of self-actualization and become a threat to our existence.

 4.    Wasting Earth's limited natural resources by not conserving and the continued destruction of our environment;   I contend that many of the "green solutions" being proposed such as ethanol fuel are not a solution at all and just ways for business to profit. A solution is not truly green unless the environmental cost of "maintaining" it is very low.

 3.    Pollution and the resulting climate change it may bring;   This is showing up in oceans that are sick and being depleted of life. This also may result in rising oceans and crop failures. Either scenario will mean massive suffering across the world and could tear the social fabric and alter our day to day lives.

 2.    Overpopulation;   This is the overriding problem facing Earth and the most difficult to address. If the problem of overpopulation is not addressed all the other problems on this list will most likely become much greater. Many people still rejoice in the idea that we should be "fruitful and multiply" ignoring or oblivious to the problems it creates in the long-run. The quality of life in many ways is more important than quantity.

 1.    Weapons of war and mass destruction;   This not only includes nuclear bombs and chemical weapons but drones and the killer robots now being developed. One big mistake or going down the wrong path in developing new weapons could change life as we know it!

While people and their families go about life each day having children and doing the things we all associate with our day to day existence most people concede that something is wrong with a world where many people lack even basic sanitation and watch their children die before the age of five. I'm not saying developed countries should give everything away or bring all the people of the world up to an American standard of living. It is not our responsibility to do so and probably impossible.

In my book, Advancing Time I highlight and bring focus to the massive changes that have taken place over the last two hundred and fifty years. History viewed in the framework of man's time on Earth forms the crux of my perspective. The oldest fully developed humans based on DNA research supports the theory that Africa was the area man first inhabited between 200,000 and 140,000 years ago. In 1800 the population of the world was around 900 million, by 1900 it had soared to 1.6 billion since then it has exploded to over 7 billion.

When you chronicle the journey from the beginning of man to our current state it becomes clear that the world has never before experienced such rapid change. This perspective helps us make sense of our fast-changing chaotic world while illuminating and clarifying the responsibilities society faces. It is important we recognize this ever-quickening pace of change and keep in mind that if these problems are not addressed there may be no future for mankind or it may be much shorter and difficult than many people expect.


  1. Japan recently joined with those calling for regulating killer robots. With the policy shift, Japan is now hoping it can play a more dynamic role in crafting international rules on what have been called lethal autonomous weapons systems, or LAWS.

    Falling into this category are killer drones, however, there is also the growing concern of how drones might become or be used as weapons of mass destruction that would leave humans utterly defenseless. More on this subject in the article below.

  2. Anything bad you say "man", anything good you say "people. You remind me of this

  3. #7 that is why Trump was elected!

  4. Also see: