My latest progress in the pursuit of a simple, objective measure of values has yielded a testable model based on estimated distributions of resources throughout the global population. I’m presenting the model as a set of concepts and simulations for use in discussing and exploring ideas and explanations about the world as I’ve been doing in my first blog, Idea Explorer, and more loosely in my fiction as embodied in the BIOME/Lights Out books and the Simulated News blog.
To the extent that my current simulation is applicable to actual history, I can characterize my lifetime as coinciding with a period of human history when economic activity in the production of waste has had more value than people and is likely to result in the extermination of our species along with many others that are even more undervalued. I have personally pursued waste, which I define as resources that do not meet basic biological needs, and/or they eliminate the ability of others to meet those needs. In particular, I have devoted most of my life to the enabling and development of technology that can acquire and manipulate the world’s resources at an accelerating rate.
One aspect of the simulated world’s future is rapid production of waste even as the world’s population crashes, which might be explained by the influence of artificially intelligent machines taking the place of humans to serve the purpose of their own continuation as the ultimate embodiment of waste. While I have not directly contributed to that, I have enough experience and knowledge to closely follow it and use some of its precursors in my own work, making such speculation more than an extrapolation of science fiction.
Interest in the role of values in the determination of humanity’s fate has always had an emotional component, alternating between the elation of discovery and the guilt of being part of a global killing machine that enables that discovery. What felt like a binary choice between personal longevity and happiness aided by employment of technology and waste creation, and long term longevity of the biosphere that encompasses and nourishes life, has been largely verified by study and evidence. Hope has driven the search for a third choice that optimizes both, and frustration has accompanied failure in that search.
Technology as the answer to many of humanity’s wants, fulfilled by waste, has sabotaged our desire for a long future that only a replenishable and diverse habitat can provide. In the terms of the simulation, serving the value of waste ultimately overwhelms the values of habitat and people. By pursuing waste as a default in a culture where personal survival is contingent on it, contribution to the demise of life has been all but inevitable.