Perhaps it’s not a technological challenge that will ultimately end us all, perhaps it’s a societal one we’re all too familiar with.
I’m a little obsessed the the idea of a Great Filter, to be completely honest, and spend increasing amounts of time pondering what may be coming along in our future which would have the capability to render us extinct as a species.
For one reason, our universe is so vast that statistically there must be other life somewhere. Additionally, I have great faith in science first finding it, allowing us to communicate with it, and more fancifully one day even meet it too.
Therefore, it’s one of my worries, right in there with the rest that we haven’t found any of it yet. Sure, perhaps we’re just about to with our ever increasingly sensitive scientific instruments, but it still sometimes keeps me awake with a kind of cosmic angst.
Oftentimes a Great Filter is presented in the media as some cataclysmic natural event such as a giant meteor, supervolcano eruption, or pandemic.
Indeed, we’ve already had some close calls with regard to many of the already considered scenarios and, thankfully, understand more about each one as the years pass.
More rarely the Great Filter is presented as some societal issue, similar to one idea I’ve written about previously about how society deals with potential threats.
My previous idea outlined out society fails to deal with specific threats, such as a pandemic, though rendering itself unable to respond through a deluge of self-poisoning social media leading to conflict, mistrust, and an ultimate lack of concerted effort to deal with such a threat on a large enough level.
Fortunately, at least for now, we seem to have prevailed.
I never really thought it was the nuclear age, as that’s still here with us every day, simmering away quietly in the background waiting for a mistype, intrusion, or psychopath to click something red and flashing.
However, what if instead of fighting amongst ourselves at the behest of a tsunami of poisonous social media or being evaporated by an intense fireball of nuclear radiation — what if, as a society, we just can’t be bothered with responding to a potential…