Sunday, May 9, 2010

GCR Ch 4: Millenial Tendencies in Response to Apocalyptic Threats

I read Global Catastrophic Risks not only to deepen my understanding of global risks, but also to find ways to practically do something about it. Hopefully, blogging about the chapters as I digest them will assist on both accounts.

image This is the weakest chapter so far. Millenialism is the expectation that the world will be destroyed and replaced with a better world. Millenial belief comes in two flavors: religious and scientific. The religious form spans many religions, while scientific millenialism is best exemplified by the Singularitarians, led by Ray Kurzweil.

While the larger portion of the chapter outlines different types of millenialism, the question is: how does it relate to evaluating  global catastrophic risks? This is where the chapter truly fails. While the author brings forward examples (Y2K) where millenial impulses helped to bring risks to the global agenda, there are no genuine suggestions how to factor in millenialism when evaluating risks. The bottom line is “millenialism […] require[s] vigilant self-interrogation to avoid [large risks].” Doh!

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