Sunday, November 23, 2014

Stephen Hawking's Theory of Everything (TV)

Unnecessary and impossible probability calculating.

Hawking, in an effort to dramatize and to express the “dangers of technologies,” says that intelligence may not be completely beneficial to survival, and gives the idea of a 1 in 1,000,000 chance of a nuclear war that devastates life. He then ups the ante, tells us to imagine humans over 100,000 years, and says we are now looking at the very scary odds of 1 in 10 that humans will experience a nuclear war.

Nuclear war is bad, we should try to avoid it.

The capacity to make a nuclear weapon should become easier, and we should develop ways to make even deadlier weapons. But trying to create probability of human use of such weapons seems a rather futile process. I think this may edge into something I complain about Joshua Greene (Moral Tribes, recommended). We can boil the position down to something like we have natures and a social world that is immutable. 

I have faith that in 300 years (say maximally) that we will greatly overhaul inter-nation relationships. Any body of people who have the hardware to create an arsenal of nuclear weapons (though this will get cheaper), will fully accept that inter-nation hostility, and particularly hostility to the point of war or nuclear war, will be unthinkable. On a global scale we will put social safeguards against nuclear war, as well as safeguards of say the arise of a Nazi-Germany like state (or I guess an United States during the 1940's).

The threat that madmen may release a few nuclear weapons may be more real for longer, but this would not constitute nuclear war. Furthermore, detection capacities (probably including invasive monitoring tools) should also continue to expand, which negate the lone crazies to some extent.

To do what I complain about, it seems like there is a much lower possibility of nuclear war within the next decade than the possibility of nuclear war during the decade of the 60's. Though some (fools) think we are entering a new cold war, there is not good reason to think nuclear war will be that serious of a threat going forward, unless something dramatic changes.

Such a complaint probably sums up what I think of the show. Overly dramatic, cool graphics, low narrative sound so that you have to pump up their theatrical music, some good general information.

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