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(Mother Jones)   What are some of the biggest problems we need to worry about in the coming future? Here's a short but important list   ( motherjones.com) divider line
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12489 clicks; posted to Main » on 11 Dec 2012 at 11:34 AM (5 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

Voting Results (Smartest)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

2012-12-11 11:28:22 AM  
3 votes:
#3 and #4 cancel each other out. Yay!
2012-12-11 12:38:01 PM  
2 votes:
Biggest problem we face.

Mother Jones NOT going bankrupt!
2012-12-11 11:50:59 AM  
2 votes:

upload.wikimedia.orgView Full Size
2012-12-11 11:40:10 AM  
2 votes:
Immortality will never be available to the masses.

It will be reserved for people that "deserve" it and politicians.

Think the 99% Congressional re-election rate is bad? Wait until its 100%. Forever.
2012-12-11 01:45:22 PM  
1 vote:
1. Unchecked greed
2012-12-11 01:09:31 PM  
1 vote:

Aidan: nmemkha: #3:

[upload.wikimedia.org image 300x418]

Ironically my husband just watched that and told me what an AMAZING story it was... Ruined utterly by the shiatty acting/production. I think I enjoyed it more by him telling me the plot than he did watching it.

Yeah the movie sucked, but the concept is interesting. We would invariable implement something like it. Can't have the Proles living forever too now can we?
2012-12-11 12:56:17 PM  
1 vote:
OK, but how do they fit into my list of things to worry about:

1) Impending Asteroid Collision with Earth
2) Global Warming
3) The Next Big Earthquake of California
4) The Next Big Wildfire of California
5) The Next Big Rainstorm of California
6) The Next Great Drought of California
7) Alien Invasion
8) Realizing That Aliens Are Already Among Us
9) Next "Great Cross" Planetary Alignment Ripping Planet Apart
10) Oil Prices
11) Iraq
12) 9/11, Part II
13) Satan
14) Antichrist
15) Iran
16) North Korea
17) Chupacabra
18) Genetically Modified Food Products
19) Mega-Tsunami
20) More Star Wars Prequels
21) Next Rodney King
22) Magma Death
23) Bears
24) Bee Rapture
25) Black Holes
26) Spider Plagues

Am I just out of date, or do I need to add something?
2012-12-11 12:54:36 PM  
1 vote:
Debt. Get rid of it

I don't think I've ever seen someone entirely miss the point so intelligently :-)
2012-12-11 12:51:29 PM  
1 vote:

Ironically my husband just watched that and told me what an AMAZING story it was... Ruined utterly by the shiatty acting/production. I think I enjoyed it more by him telling me the plot than he did watching it.

It was a Bonnie and Clyde plot with an interesting premise that simply removes the capacitor. In the real world, when you run out of money, you die. In the movie, when you run out of money, you die immediately.
2012-12-11 12:50:57 PM  
1 vote:
latimesblogs.latimes.comView Full Size

missing from the list
2012-12-11 12:38:16 PM  
1 vote:
I join the vast majority of people who worry more about what I am going to order for lunch than any of the five things Mother Jones proffers as worry worthy. I, at least, have control over what I order for lunch. I, on the other hand, have no control over anything on the list.
2012-12-11 12:36:37 PM  
1 vote:
Um, hello? The world is ending in 10 days. Our only problem is running out of vodak.
2012-12-11 12:26:41 PM  
1 vote:
2012-12-11 12:14:06 PM  
1 vote:

Kibbler: Nanotechnology will also pose a threat, as well as a boon.

The Grey Goo thing is a silly myth. The programming and ability to dismantle anything and assemble it into anything else is laughable--you need specific raw materials (metals, silicon) to do this molecularly, and you need energy to do it atomically, and a hell of a lot of energy to do it nuclearly.

On top of that, another big one that's coming before long is computers, or clusters of them, with so much computing power that all of our current online security schemes will be rendered useless. Of course we can build more powerful ones, but that means that online activity has to be made continuously more robust. How will you know if the site where you enter your credit card is sufficiently protected?

That won't actually happen. At 4096 bits DH or some 384 bits symmetric you need a conventional computer bigger than the whole universe and operating at atomic scale (1 proton per 1 bit of information processing power should be appropriate...) to break encryption in a reasonable time. A quantum computer of appropriate width can do it in polynomial time, but we have other algorithms that are immune to those attacks.

You'd have to prove P=NP and then apply it to the basis that your encryption algorithm is founded on to render encryption useless--and honestly if you could render a hard problem easy, you could prove P=NP; knowing the hard problem is in fact easy doesn't help you work out the correct strategy for solving it easily.
2012-12-11 12:04:54 PM  
1 vote:
6.) Progressive Liberalism. With unchecked growth in government and increasing regulatory control of every aspect of our lives, freedom will wane and will eventually be replaced with global collectivism. Individuals will be but cogs in the wheels of each nation-state, doing as they're told for fear of losing what little bit of whatever they have left at the hands of their rulers; innovation will suffer and then cease, weakness will replace strength, the class gap will increase, happiness will fade, and the human spirit will be crushed. The world will descend into a deep and lasting darkness.

/forgot one!
2012-12-11 12:03:04 PM  
1 vote:

USP .45: Nightsweat: We won't act until it's too late

what happens at the too late mark?

Starvation, loss of whole countries like Bangladesh to the ocean, tropical diseases in New York, London, and Chicago, shortages of fresh water all over the place, mass extinctions accelerate, desertification of currently fertile land, floods elsewhere in places that don't flood now, probably increased global conflict over resources like water and agricultural land, cats and dogs living together, real wrath of god like stuff.
2012-12-11 12:00:59 PM  
1 vote:
Only thing that needs to be on the list is 'Too many humans on the planet'. All other problems stem from that.
2012-12-11 11:50:11 AM  
1 vote:

Thunderpipes: Only immortality there is dangerous. I don't think we will become immortal, but if people live over 100 on average, the medical costs needed to keep them alive and/or healthy will be ridiculous, and age creep will kill economies. You need young people to support the old.

I will *never* understand when someone brings up possible immortality, some people associate that with "aging forever and ever".

Think cell regeneration. *Never* aging. Only dying of non-aging related issues (accidents, uncured diseases). Being 25 years old *physically* forever.

Sorry, not trying to be a pedantic dick. Try reading some Science Fiction to see some possibilities. I'd recommend "Old Man's War" by Scalzi as a starter.

/again, sorry - just a pet peeve of mine
2012-12-11 11:48:19 AM  
1 vote:
The lack of really hot cheer leaders.
2012-12-11 11:48:07 AM  
1 vote:

There's already enough people on this blue marble to make it overly-complcated
2012-12-11 11:42:45 AM  
1 vote:

mcreadyblue: Immortality will never be available to the masses.

It will be reserved for people that "deserve" it and politicians.

Think the 99% Congressional re-election rate is bad? Wait until its 100%. Forever.


wikinoticia.comView Full Size
2012-12-11 11:40:33 AM  
1 vote:

curlymum.files.wordpress.comView Full Size

2012-12-11 11:37:05 AM  
1 vote:
I'm worried about the baggage retrieval system they've got at Heathrow.
2012-12-11 09:55:34 AM  
1 vote:
1) Climate change. Needs no explanation, I assume.
2) Robots. Explanation here. Even Paul Krugman is tentatively on board now.
3) Immortality. Laugh if you want, but it's hardly impossible that sometime in the medium-term future we'll see biomedical breakthroughs that make humans extremely long-lived. What happens then? Who gets the magic treatments? How do we support a population that grows forever? How does an economy of immortals work, anyway?
4) Bio-weapons. We don't talk about this a whole lot these days, but it's still possible-maybe even likely-that extraordinarily lethal viruses will be fairly easily manufacturable within a couple of decades. If this happens before we figure out how to make extraordinarily effective vaccines and antidotes, this could spell trouble in ways obvious enough to need no explanation.
5) Energy. All the robots in the world won't do any good if we don't have enough energy to keep them running. And fossil fuels will run out eventually, fracking or not. However, I put this one fifth out of five because we already have pretty good technology for renewable energy, and it's mainly an engineering problem to build it out on a mass scale. Plus you never know. Fusion might become a reality someday.

I see problem 4 fixing problem 3 for us, maybe even a combination of problem 1 and 4. Problem 2 will be easily fixed with the creation of Mentats.
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