Wisdom > Power – Day 11

30-Day Writing Challenge

“With great power comes great responsibility” – Uncle Ben (Spiderman)

Humanity could use a wise Uncle Ben right about now. 

Never in human history have we ever held as much power as we do right now. Before Nuclear weapons, there was no way any single group of humans could erase our species from the planet, but the more we advance our technology the easier this becomes. Today we’re playing with fire in many fields such as biotechnology, artificial general intelligence, nanotechnology, and geoengineering, just to name a few… The thing about technology is that it’s neutral, the only way to harm humans is through incompetence or abuse and we have plenty of both. 

There are many extremely smart people working to advance this technology, which takes plenty of niche knowledge and creativity but lacks wisdom. Wisdom is a rare trait that very few people have (including myself), but this is the trait we need now more than ever. For humanity to survive another two thousand years or more, we’ll need to apply wisdom to our use and development of this continuing awesome power we’re building. 

If we continue down this path of knowledge and advancement of technology at all costs, without heavy doses of wisdom, we’re in for a rude awakening sooner, rather than later. 

Honestly, I’m not sure how we’re going to increase our collective wisdom, but there are a few tips on how to get started… 

  1. Second-order effects – When developing a certain type of technology, always keep in mind the downstream effects of what this could do to others… Envision the indirect impacts, both positive and negative. 
  2. Longertemism – Think further into the future! Whatever your current long-term perspective is at the moment I want you to double it. Think is generational timeframes (100’s years), instead of decades.
  3. Worst case scenario – When developing a piece of technology think about what are the absolute worst-case scenarios on how this could be used… What would Dr. Evil due if he could get a hold of this tech? – Remember negative use isn’t always conscious, many historical events originated from a place of ignorance.

Good luck and let’s all work on our “wisdom” muscles and make Uncle Ben proud.