34 Matching Annotations
  1. Sep 2022
    1. In acknowledging only one side of competition – the constructiveaspect – economic experts are actually making life harder for themselves,like driving with one arm in a sling.

      !- example : progress trap - the shadow side of competition is ignored

    2. This blindness, we explain, isbecause society as a whole only sees competition’s constructive side, whilewe expose its hidden destructive side.

      !- example : progress trap - Destructive Global Competition is the unintended consequence of Constructive Global Competition

  2. Jul 2022
    1. Could artificial intelligencebe an ally in this venture?

      Yes, in servitude of humanity, but that must be done so carefully to avoid another progress trap. Indeed, progress traps need to be advanced as an urgent new explicit field of scientific enquiry to develop a systematic process for avoiding and mitigating unintended consequences as a result of (technological) progress.

      https://hyp.is/IhS3BvotEeylDq8MXFT9xQ/thetyee.ca/Analysis/2019/09/20/Ronald-Wright-Can-We-Dodge-Progress-Trap/

    1. The assumption that we can safely overshoot, then recover temperatures back down by the end of the century, is seriously misguided. Alas, this is the story that we are telling ourselves.

      Progress traps will certainly occur.

      Ronald Wright asks: Can we still dodge progress traps? https://hyp.is/go?url=https%3A%2F%2Fthetyee.ca%2FAnalysis%2F2019%2F09%2F20%2FRonald-Wright-Can-We-Dodge-Progress-Trap%2F&group=world

  3. bafybeibbaxootewsjtggkv7vpuu5yluatzsk6l7x5yzmko6rivxzh6qna4.ipfs.dweb.link bafybeibbaxootewsjtggkv7vpuu5yluatzsk6l7x5yzmko6rivxzh6qna4.ipfs.dweb.link
    1. This is likely to keep theattention ready for “surprises”, thus avoiding a sense of monotony setting in.More generally, the flow paradigm lacks the notion of adventure (Dickey, 2006; Heylighen,2012a), which can be characterized by a sequence of unforeseen challenges (dangers, opportunities,surprises...)—as contrasted with the foreseen challenges that we call ‘goals’. It is theunpredictability or unexpectedness of these challenges that creates the excitement that we typicallyassociate with an adventure, and that forms the basis of full emotional involvement. Adventure isassociated with the notions of exploration, curiosity and mystery: mystery can be defined as a lackof prospect that incites the emotion of curiosity, which in turns incites exploratory action(Heylighen, 2012a). Mystery and adventure are common features of game design (Dickey, 2006).However, their role will need further analysis if we want to apply them systematically tomobilization, given that they imply a level of uncertainty that—if experienced too intensely—mayproduce the anxiety that mobilization systems are trying to avoid.

      In solving the complex problems of the world, there can be many unintended consequences. These are the surprises that make each intervention an adventure. Applying a nexus approach such as MuSIASEM is critical to mitigate potential progress traps when dealing with rapid whole system change.

    1. we'll go into an example here with self-organized criticality so the idea 01:40:03 there is that was coined by back back bak in 87 the term self-organized criticality and it's it's really not a controversial that that living systems and 01:40:16 and many most systems in life complex systems organize in some way but the idea of self-organized criticality is that the organism itself is adjusting is is keeping some kind of adjustment 01:40:28 uh to uh to maintain a critical state and by critical state i mean a state on the ver like you can think of a saddle point so if you drop a model on us on a saddle it's going to not stay there it's going to you know 01:40:41 it's going to change it's going to change one way or the other right so a critical state is like that that threshold where things are about to change from one way to another way and uh 01:40:55 it turns out with you know work and information theory and other other fields of recent in recent years it turns out that uh processing uh whether it's we're talking about a computer or some other 01:41:07 you know machine or or a brain turns out that processing is kind of optimal in a sense when this when the system is at a this this this this critical state and 01:41:21 some people call it on the edge of chaos because things are things can easily change and sometimes it's you can think of that threshold as a 01:41:33 as a as a threshold of a critical state you can think of it as a threshold of the threshold we say between exploration and exploitation like should i should i go should i go 01:41:45 find a new planet for humans to live on or should i fix the planet that you know should i fix the systems on this planet first you know how do we balance exploration of the new versus using the information we have to improve 01:41:59 what we already have so you can think of that as exploration exploitation trade-offs stability agility trade-off do we do we remain stable and use ideas from the old in the past or do we are we more agile and we're more 01:42:13 flexible and we bring in new new ideas so it's like you can call it old new trade old new trade-off but whatever whatever trade-off you want to call it it's this sitting at the edge of going one way or the other 01:42:26 maximally flexible of going one way or the other and it's at that threshold that level that point the kind of that region of criticality that information processing seems to be 01:42:39 maximal so if uh it's no wonder then that the human brain is is organized in such a way to be living on this threshold between agility and stability 01:42:52 and uh now here's an example of that from like a real world example so a a system that is at a critical state is going to be maximally 01:43:03 sensitive to input so that means that there could you know when just when that marble is sitting on the saddle just a little bump to that saddle from one little corner of its universe and right like just one 01:43:16 little organism bumps it and maybe that marble rolls one way or the other right so that one one little input had a major impact on how the whole thing moves 01:43:29 its trajectory into the future right but isn't that what we isn't that kind of what we have in mind for democracy i mean don't we want everyone to have access of engaging into the decision-making processes 01:43:43 of a society and have every voice heard in at least in the sense that there's the possibility that just my voice just me doing my participation in this system might actually 01:43:56 ripple through the system and have a uh you know a real effect a useful effect i mean i think like maybe maybe self-organized criticality can help to inform us the concept of 01:44:10 self-organized criticality can help to inform us of what do we want from democracy or a decision-making process right you know that just makes me think about different like landslides 01:44:22 and that's something that criticality theory and catastrophe theory has been used to study and instead of cascading failure we can think about like cascading neighborhood cleanups so a bunch of people just say 01:44:34 today just for an hour i feel like doing a little cleanup and all of a sudden one person puts up the flag and then it's cascading locally in some just you know unspecified way but all of a sudden you're getting this this distribution with a ton of small 01:44:48 little meetups and then several really large sweeping changes but the total number of people cleaning up is higher because you offered the affordance and the ability for the affordance to sort of propagate 01:44:59 that's right that's right we're talking about a propagation of of a propagation of information a propagation of action and the possibility that even uh you know just one or a few individuals could start a 01:45:12 little chain chain reaction that actually does affect in a positive way society now it's a little too it's almost too bad that sand piles were the original uh you know topic of 01:45:23 of this of self-organized criticality because as you point out it's not really about things falling apart it's about it's about if you think of again if you think of a complex system as a system more capable of solving more 01:45:37 challenging problems then more often you can think of self-organized criticality as a way to propagate information when it is really needed when the system needs to change 01:45:51 uh then information is you know it ingests information from its world from its senses and can act accordingly we we just um submitted an abstract with criticality and active inference and one 01:46:04 of the points was actually the existence of self-organized criticality implies a far from equilibrium system that's actively pumping energy in that's because it's a passive system that's not 01:46:15 locked and loaded

      Example of self-organized criticality. It is a bit reminscent of social tipping points. The one variable that is not so discussed here, which would enrich it is the idea of progress traps as a gap between finite human, anticipatory models vs the uncountable number of patterns and possible states of the universe.

    2. we're coming out of the angle of 00:14:05 model policy or simulations policy but that kind of question about policy setting and then sense making again maybe different groups use kind of different terms but all that sense making and problem 00:14:18 solving has been siloed and the fact that there's not connection and common frameworks to bridge as you're placing it in one integrated brain like societal systems as a cognitive 00:14:31 architecture that's not gonna work if the different sections are not properly having their within and between connections working and we're seeing all these different sectors all these little regions of the brain 00:14:43 health governance political legal justice education scientific analytical economic financial monetary you could go to a new site and on any given day see all of these things changing 00:14:57 so very prescient to think about how the total system is going to be changing and finding new stable states otherwise it's going to be just on a spiral probably not in the right direction right as it seems to be unfortunately 00:15:09 yeah um yes so so so the idea is can we design societal systems like economic and other systems 00:15:22 such that the the set of them the set that is the cognitive architecture for for society can we design them so that they they are serving the same purpose that are they are 00:15:33 they are integrated not separate systems and i think you were you were sort of referring to that a second ago but this the idea here is an integrated set of systems that serve a common purpose 00:15:47 and for which a fitness you know a fitness evaluation a fitness score can be can be made is that something that we're going to return to is like how do we define common purpose

      Rather than tackling problems in individual silos, John is promoting an integrated approach.

      This is wholly consistent with the underpinnings of SRG Deep Humanity praxis that stresses the same need for multi-disciplinary study and synthesis of all the various parts of the SSO.into one unified Gestalt to mitigate progress traps. https://hyp.is/go?url=https%3A%2F%2Fthetyee.ca%2FAnalysis%2F2019%2F09%2F20%2FRonald-Wright-Can-We-Dodge-Progress-Trap%2F&group=world https://hyp.is/go?url=https%3A%2F%2Fthetyee.ca%2FCulture%2F2018%2F10%2F12%2FHumanity-Progress-Trap%2F&group=world

    1. The lesson of fallen societies is that civilization is a vulnerable organism, especially when it seems almighty. We are the world’s top predator, and predators crash suddenly when they outgrow their prey. If the resulting chaos unleashes nuclear war, it could bring mass extinction in a heartbeat, with Homo sapiens among the noted dead.

      The maladaptive cultural evolution of our species has led us to the height of human technological and economic prowess as well as the height of ecological disaster. This can be interpreted as the result of linear vs nonlinear thinking, simplistic modeling vs complex modeling and reductionistic approach vs a systems approach. An attitude of separation engenders a controlling attitude of nature based on hubris, instead of humbling ourselves at the vast ignorance each of us and also collectively we have about nature. Design based on a consistent attitude of willful ignorance is sure to fail. Then Ascent of Humanity will lead to a trajectory of its own downfall as long as that ascent depends on the cannibalization of its own life support system based on ignorance of our deep entanglement with nature. http://ascentofhumanity.com/text/

    2. One of the sad ironies of our time is that we have become very good at studying nature just as it begins to sicken and die under our weight. “Weight” is no mere metaphor: of all land mammals and birds alive today, humans and their livestock make up 96 per cent of the biomass; wildlife has dwindled to four per cent. This has no precedent. Not so far back in history the proportions were the other way round. As recently as 1970, humans were only half and wildlife more than twice their present numbers. These closely linked figures are milestones along our rush towards a trashed and looted planet, stripped of diversity, wildness, and resilience; strewn with waste. Such is the measure of our success.

      As the Tel Aviv researchers who revealed the pattern of progressively overhunting the largest fauna to extinction, then turning to the next largest available fauna noted:

      "We believe that our model is relevant to human cultures everywhere. Moreover, for the first time, we argue that the driving force behind the constant improvement in human technology is the continual decline in the size of game. Ultimately, it may well be that 10,000 years ago in the Southern Levant, animals became too small or too rare to provide humans with sufficient food, and this could be related to the advent of agriculture. In addition, we confirmed the hypothesis that the extinction of large animals was caused by humans -- who time and time again destroyed their own livelihood through overhunting. We may therefore conclude that humans have always ravaged their environment but were usually clever enough to find solutions for the problems they had created -- from the bow and arrow to the agricultural revolution. The environment, however, always paid a devastating price."

      https://hyp.is/go?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sciencedaily.com%2Freleases%2F2021%2F12%2F211221102708.htm&group=world

      It seems humans have a built-in blindspot that prioritizes short term needs over long term survival. History shows us that we are continuously biased towards prioritizing the human environment over the natural one but future generations eventually pay the price for this myopia.

    3. In the deep past these setbacks were local. The overall experiment of civilization kept going, often by moving from an exhausted ecology to one with untapped potential. Human numbers were still quite small. At the height of the Roman Empire there are thought to have been only 200 million people on Earth. Compare that with the height of the British Empire a century ago, when there were two billion. And with today, when there are nearly eight. Clearly, things have moved very quickly since the Industrial Revolution took hold around the world. In A Short History of Progress, I suggested that worldwide civilization was our greatest experiment; and I asked whether this might also prove to be the greatest progress trap. That was 15 years ago.

      Indeed, Wright is right to ask: Is our modern human civilization the greatest progress trap of all?

      Exponential technological progress has shortened the time for dangerous levels of resource extraction and pollution loads to the extent that we face the potential of cascading global tipping points and enter a "hothouse earth" state: https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.1810141115

      Were this to happen, there is no place on earth that would be immune.

      In hindsight, the unfortunate but predictable trend is one of every increasing size of progress traps, and ever shorter time windows when serious impacts occur. Today, it appears we have reached the largest size progress trap possible on a finite planet.

    4. Yet there were still many traps along the way. In what is now Iraq, the Sumerian civilization (one of the world’s first) withered and died as the irrigation systems it invented turned the fields into salty desert. Some two thousand years later, in the Mediterranean basin, chronic soil erosion steadily undermined the Classical World: first the Greeks, then the Romans at the height of their power. And a few centuries after Rome’s fall, the Classic Maya, one of only two high civilizations to thrive in tropical rainforest (the other being the Khmer), eventually wore out nature’s welcome at the heart of Central America.

      Progress traps through history: * 1. Sumerian civilization (Iraq) irrigation system turned fields into salty desert * Greek and Roman empire - chronic soil erosion also eroded these empires * Classic Mayan empire may have collapsed due to the last 2 of 7 megadroughts because it was over-urbanized and used up all water sources, leaving no buffer in case of drought: https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2020/02/new-clues-about-how-and-why-the-maya-culture-collapsed/

    5. Most survivors of that progress trap became farmers — a largely unconscious revolution during which all the staple foods we eat today were developed from wild roots and seeds (yes, all: no new staples have been produced from scratch since prehistoric times). Farming brought dense human populations and centralized control, the defining ingredients of full-blown civilization for the last five thousand years.

      As per the last comment above, Tel Aviv researchers surmise that the progressive extirpation of all the large prey fauna over the course of 1.5 million years forced society in the Southern Levant to innovate agriculture as a means of survival. Our early ancestors did not have accurate records that could reveal the trend of resource depletion so continued short term resource depletion in each of their respective lifetimes.

    6. The first trap was hunting, the main way of life for about two million years in Palaeolithic times. As Stone Age people perfected the art of hunting, they began to kill the game more quickly than it could breed. They lived high for a while, then starved.

      Anthropology and Archelogy findings support the idea that humans began laying progress traps as early as two million years ago. Our great success at socialization and communication that harnessed the power of collaboration resulted in wiping out entire species upon which we depended. Short term success leading to long term failure is a central pattern of progress traps.

      Anthropology and Archelogy findings support the idea that humans began laying progress traps as early as two million years ago. Our great success at socialization and communication that harnessed the power of collaboration resulted in wiping out entire species upon which we depended. Short term success leading to long term failure is a central pattern of progress traps.

      A remarkable paper from Tel Aviv researchers studying early hunters in the Southern Levant as early as 1.5 million years ago revealed that our ancestors in this part of the world were poor resource managers and over many generations, continually hunted large game to extinction, forcing descendants to hunt progressively smaller game.

      Annotation of the 2021 source paper is here: https://hyp.is/go?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sciencedirect.com%2Fscience%2Farticle%2Fabs%2Fpii%2FS0277379121005230&group=world Annotation of a science news interview with the researchers here: https://hyp.is/go?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sciencedaily.com%2Freleases%2F2021%2F12%2F211221102708.htm&group=world

      The researchers even surmise that the extinction of game animals by around 10,000 B.C. is what gave rise to agriculture itself!

    7. Ronald Wright: Can We Still Dodge the Progress Trap? Author of 2004’s ‘A Short History of Progress’ issues a progress report.

      Title: Ronald Wright: Can We Still Dodge the Progress Trap? Author of 2004’s ‘A Short History of Progress’ issues a progress report.

      Ronald Wright is the author of the 2004 "A Short History of Progress" and popularized the term "Progress Trap" in the Martin Scroses 2011 documentary based on Wright's book, called "Surviving Progress". Earlier Reesarcher's such as Dan O'Leary investigated this idea in earlier works such as "Escaping the Progress Trap http://www.progresstrap.org/content/escaping-progress-trap-book

    1. Prof. Meiri: "Our study tracked changes at a much higher resolution over a considerably longer period of time compared to previous research. The results were illuminating: we found a continual, and very significant, decline in the size of animals hunted by humans over 1.5 million years. For example, a third of the bones left behind by Homo erectus at sites dated to about a million years ago, belonged to elephants that weighed up to 13 tons (more than twice the weight of the modern African elephant) and provided humans with 90% of their food. The mean weight of all animals hunted by humans at that time was 3 tons, and elephant bones were found at nearly all sites up to 500,000 years ago. "Starting about 400,000 years ago, the humans who lived in our region -- early ancestors of the Neandertals and Homo sapiens, appear to have hunted mainly deer, along with some larger animals weighing almost a ton, such as wild cattle and horses. Finally, in sites inhabited by modern humans, from about 50,000 to 10,000 years ago, approximately 70% of the bones belong to gazelles -- an animal that weighs no more than 20-30kg. Other remains found at these later sites came mostly from fallow deer (about 20%), as well as smaller animals such as hares and turtles."

      Progression of body mass over the last 1.5 million years in the Southern Levant: 1) Up to 500,000 years ago 1/3 of bones left behind at Homo Erectus sites belonged to 13 ton elephants that provided 90% of the food. Mean weight of all hunted animals at the time was 3 tons 2) Up to 400,000 years ago, early Neandertals and Homo Sapiens only hunted mainly deer and animals like wild cattle and horse that weighed no more than 1 ton. 3) From 50,000 to 10,000 years ago, 70^ of bones at modern human sites belonged to gazelles weighing between 20 and 30 kg, as well as fallow deer and hares and turtles.

    2. Dr. Ben-Dor: "Our findings enable us to propose a fascinating hypothesis on the development of humankind: humans always preferred to hunt the largest animals available in their environment, until these became very rare or extinct, forcing the prehistoric hunters to seek the next in size. As a result, to obtain the same amount of food, every human species appearing in the Southern Levant was compelled to hunt smaller animals than its predecessor, and consequently had to develop more advanced and effective technologies. Thus, for example, while spears were sufficient for Homo erectus to kill elephants at close range, modern humans developed the bow and arrow to kill fast-running gazelles from a distance." Prof. Barkai concludes: "We believe that our model is relevant to human cultures everywhere. Moreover, for the first time, we argue that the driving force behind the constant improvement in human technology is the continual decline in the size of game. Ultimately, it may well be that 10,000 years ago in the Southern Levant, animals became too small or too rare to provide humans with sufficient food, and this could be related to the advent of agriculture. In addition, we confirmed the hypothesis that the extinction of large animals was caused by humans -- who time and time again destroyed their own livelihood through overhunting. We may therefore conclude that humans have always ravaged their environment but were usually clever enough to find solutions for the problems they had created -- from the bow and arrow to the agricultural revolution. The environment, however, always paid a devastating price."

      This is a fascinating claim with far reaching consequences for modern humans dealing with the Anthropocene polycrisis.

      Technological development seems to have been related to our resource overshoot. As we extirpated the larger prey fauna which were slower moving and able to be successfully hunted with crude weapons, our ancestors were forced to hunt smaller and more agile species, requiring better hunting technologies.

      Agriculture could have been the only option left to our ancestors when there was insufficient species left to support society. This is the most salient sentence:

      "we confirmed the hypothesis that the extinction of large animals was caused by humans -- who time and time again destroyed their own livelihood through overhunting. We may therefore conclude that humans have always ravaged their environment but were usually clever enough to find solutions for the problems they had created"

      This is a disturbing finding as technology has allowed humanity to be the apex species of the planet and we are now depleting resources not on a local scale, but a global one. There is no planet B to move to once we have decimated the environment globally.

      Have we progressed ourselves into a corner? Are we able to culturally pivot and correct such an entrenched cultural behavior of resource mismanagement?

    3. In this way, according to the researchers, early humans repeatedly overhunted large animals to extinction (or until they became so rare that they disappeared from the archaeological record) and then went on to the next in size -- improving their hunting technologies to meet the new challenge. The researchers also claim that about 10,000 years ago, when animals larger than deer became extinct, humans began to domesticate plants and animals to supply their needs, and this may be why the agricultural revolution began in the Levant at precisely that time.

      This is an extraordinary claim, that due to extirpation of fauna prey species, we resorted to agriculture. In other words, that we hunted the largest prey, and when they went extinct, went after the next largest species until all the large megafauna became extinct. According to this claim, agriculture became a necessity due to our poor intergenerational resource management skills.

    4. A groundbreaking study by researchers from Tel Aviv University tracks the development of early humans' hunting practices over the last 1.5 million years -- as reflected in the animals they hunted and consumed. The researchers claim that at any given time early humans preferred to hunt the largest animals available in their surroundings, which provided the greatest quantities of food in return for a unit of effort.

      Our ancestors had a bias to hunt the biggest game. This makes sense from an evolutionary perspective but the unintended consequence of a species with better than average combination of cognitive, toolmaking and collaborative skills was resource overshoot, extirpation and extinction.

      It seems we in modernity are simply repeating ancient cultural patterns of lack of foresight, exasperated by technological sophistication that shortens the cycle time for resource extraction and therefore for extirpation of prey species. Certainly, this is not universal as there are cases where our ancestors did manage resources much more effectively.

    5. A new study tracks the development of early humans' hunting practices over the last 1.5 million years -- as reflected in the animals they hunted and consumed. The researchers claim that at any given time early humans preferred to hunt the largest animals available in their surroundings, which provided the greatest quantities of food in return for a unit of effort.

      This paper suggests our collective propensity for resource overshoot is an ancient cultural trait, not something new.

    6. From giant elephants to nimble gazelles: Early humans hunted the largest available animals to extinction for 1.5 million years, study finds

      Title: From giant elephants to nimble gazelles: Early humans hunted the largest available animals to extinction for 1.5 million years, study finds

      Annotation of source paper preview: https://hyp.is/go?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sciencedirect.com%2Fscience%2Farticle%2Fabs%2Fpii%2FS0277379121005230&group=world

    1. Multiple large-bodied species went extinct during the Pleistocene. Changing climates and/or human hunting are the main hypotheses used to explain these extinctions. We studied the causes of Pleistocene extinctions in the Southern Levant, and their subsequent effect on local hominin food spectra, by examining faunal remains in archaeological sites across the last 1.5 million years. We examined whether climate and climate changes, and/or human cultures, are associated with these declines. We recorded animal abundances published in the literature from 133 stratigraphic layers, across 58 Pleistocene and Early Holocene archaeological sites, in the Southern Levant. We used linear regressions and mixed models to assess the weighted mean mass of faunal assemblages through time and whether it was associated with temperature, paleorainfall, or paleoenvironment (C3 vs. C4 vegetation). We found that weighted mean body mass declined log-linearly through time. Mean hunted animal masses 10,500 years ago, were only 1.7% of those 1.5 million years ago. Neither body size at any period, nor size change from one layer to the next, were related to global temperature or to temperature changes. Throughout the Pleistocene, new human lineages hunted significantly smaller prey than the preceding ones. This suggests that humans extirpated megafauna throughout the Pleistocene, and when the largest species were depleted the next-largest were targeted. Technological advancements likely enabled subsequent human lineages to effectively hunt smaller prey replacing larger species that were hunted to extinction or until they became exceedingly rare.

      We must be careful of overgeneralizing sustainable practices to our early ancestors as the evidence from this research shows that we were not always sustainability-minded. In fact, the evidence suggests that when we find the biggest edible prey fauna species, we hunt them to extinction (extirpate) and when they are no longer able to reproduce in sustainable numbers, we move on to the next largest species. In this way, our early ancestors were the first progenitors of progress traps.

    2. We did not find strong evidence to suggest that climate, climatic fluctuations, rainfall, or vegetation over the last 1.5 million years, influenced the size of animals hunted and consumed by humans. Rather, mean body size declined linearly on a backdrop of multiple glacial-interglacial cycles. New human lineages subsisted on smaller prey than their predecessors and used more advanced tools to cope with hunting smaller prey. We suggest that hominins were likely the leading cause of Pleistocene

      The evidence suggests that humans were responsible for extirpating the largest prey fauna at the time, resulting in intergenerational decline in prey fauna body mass.

      This early finding has implications for modern human behavior. In fact, it explains our tendency to overshoot resources until we extirpate them is not a new behavior but one that dates back millions of years. The implications for our current polycrisis suggests we are dealing with an entrenched behavior that may be difficult to change and that technology has amplified our ability to mine natural resources, extirpating them at a faster rate. From this perspective, the Anthropocene can be seen as a logical result of an ever decreasing extirpation rate brought about by increasing efficacy of technological tools for resource extraction.

    3. Levantine overkill: 1.5 million years of hunting down the body size distributionAuthor links open overlay panelJacobDembitzeraRanBarkaibMikiBen-DorbShaiMeiriac

      Title: Levantine overkill: 1.5 million years of hunting down the body size distribution

    1. Each of the transitions has been a progress trap, and every escape into a new way of life has relied on more energy and more information. The authors note that civilizations can collapse, but not into a previous way of life. Farmers don’t go back to hunting and gathering; they desert their kings, priests, and cities and go back to small-scale farming. When the first global society of the early 1900s collapsed after the First World War, countries reverted to tariffs and relatively small-scale capitalism — and large-scale wars. If the Trump regime has its way, we’ll see a similar reversion. But Lewis and Maslin note that each transition arrives faster than the previous one, and a fifth transition could be upon us very soon. The Great Acceleration is accelerating. In the past 40 years, we have digitized 500 times the information coded biologically in the human species. We consume more energy than ever before, and our demand for it will increase by 48 per cent between 2012 and 2040. More people are travelling and exchanging more information. Accelerating into a wall? The authors argue that “The simultaneous rapid increases in the number of people, level of energy provision and quantity of information being generated, driven by the positive feedback loops of reinvestment of profit, and ever-growing scientific knowledge, suggest that our current mode of living is the least probable of our three future options. Such rapid, radical changes suggest that a collapse or a switch to a new mode of living is more likely.” If We Can’t Stop Hothouse Earth, We’d Better Learn to Live on It read more Climate change, Lewis and Maslin say, makes collapse look likely. Violent weather events create food shortages, population displacements, rebuilding costs, and economic dislocation as global supply chains break down. The problem for the Anthropocene, they argue, is “how to equalize resource consumption across the world within sustainable environmental limits.” This involves moving much faster to renewable energy sources and leaving the damn fossil fuels in the ground. It also involves carbon capture and sequestration, on a far greater scale than was accomplished by the destruction of the American indigenous civilizations. So we might plant new forests and burn their wood for energy while trapping and burying the carbon dioxide emissions.

      Each transition is accompanied by a progress trap and each successive collapse has taken a shorter amount of time. This coming collapse may be much broader and deeper due to our impacts on the entire global climate system, not just one local part of it.

    2. Can Humanity Get Out of Its Latest ‘Progress Trap’? A review of ‘The Human Planet: How We Created the Anthropocene.’

      Title: Can Humanity Get Out of Its Latest ‘Progress Trap’? A review of ‘The Human Planet: How We Created the Anthropocene.’

    1. Non-uniform tropical forest responses to the ‘Columbian Exchange’ in the Neotropics and Asia-Pacific

      Title: Non-uniform tropical forest responses to the ‘Columbian Exchange’ in the Neotropics and Asia-Pacific

  4. Jun 2022
    1. Within a cage of fixed boundaries

      The difference between the named and the nameless is the difference between the finite and the infinite and this inherent gap is the reason why our civilization is in the mess it is today Out of the illusion of progress built on the idea that nature is neatly separated and parceled along the lines of our preconceptions comes the nonconformity of nature its refusal to be trapped in a straightjacket The infinite refuses to be bound by the finite

    1. European farmland could be biggest global reservoir of microplastics, study suggests

      Example of a progress trap Planetary Boundary / Doughnut Economic Category: Biophysical: Chemicals, Water Socio-Economic: Food, Health

    2. Sewage sludge is commonly used on agricultural land as a sustainable and renewable source of fertiliser throughout European countries, in part due to EU directives that promote the diverting of sewage sludge away from landfill and incineration and towards energy production and agriculture.

      This EU directive led to the spread of the unintended consequence.

    3. “Our results highlight the magnitude of the problem across European soils and suggest that the practice of spreading sludge on agricultural land could potentially make them one of the largest global reservoirs of microplastic pollution,”

      Classic progress trap.

    4. the team estimate that microplastics removed from raw sewage at wastewater treatment plants go on to make up roughly 1% of the weight of sewage sludge, which is commonly used as a fertiliser on farms across Europe.

      This case illustrates the potential unintended consequences from attempting to do good.

      This is a classic example of how progress traps occur.

      Capturing nutrients in waste water closes a nutrient waste loop and seems a good example of applying circular economy thinking.

      HOWEVER, at the time the decision was made to process sewage sludge into fertilizer ignored the relationship of sludge to microplastics was unknown or insufficiently explored. After the decision was made, the practice was adopted across many countries in the EU. After years of practice, the new knowledge reveals that there has been years of silent microplastic contamination. To fix the solution will require another solution, perhaps even more complex..

      This illustrates the danger of applying circular economy techniques when the waste stream is not fully characterized.

  5. May 2022
    1. A stretch target set for the second half of the twenty-first century is for it to be a time in which humanity has gained knowledge, experience, and confidence in dealing with an entangled security environment and coexisting with the hyperthreat. The collective global effort and learning during phases 1–4 will have allowed ingenious solutions for interdependence to emerge. It will be a time of flourishing invention and inspiration.

      A critical part of Deep Humanity is the elucidation of progress traps, the unintended consequences of progress. There is an urgent need to advocate for an entirely new human science discipline on progress traps. The reason is because the polycrisis can be seen and critically explained from a progress trap lens.

      Progress traps emerge from the unbridgeable gap between finite, reductionist human knowledge and the fractally infinite patterns of the universe and reality, which exists at all scales and dimensions.

      The failure to gain a system level understanding of this has led to the premature global scaling of technologies whose unintended consequences emerged after global markets have been established, causing a conflict of interest between biospheric wellbeing and individual profit.

      A systematic study or progress traps has rich data to draw from. Ever since the Industrial Revolution, there has been good records of scientific ideas, their associated engineering and technological exploitation and subsequent news media reports of their phase-delayed unintended consequences. Applying AI and a big data scientometric approach can yield patterns in which progress traps emerge. From this, our scientific-technological-industrial-capitalist framework can be modified to include improved regulatory mechanisms based on progress trap research that can systematically grade the risk factors of any new technology. Such risk categorization can result in technologies that require different time scales and aggregate knowledge understanding before they can be fully commercialized with time scale grades ranging from years to decades and even centuries.

      All future technology innovations must past through these systematic, evidence-based regulatory barriers before they can be introduced into widespread commercial use.

  6. Mar 2022
    1. the war in Ukraine now, it’s not a natural disaster. It’s a man-made disaster, and a single man. It's not the Russian people who want this war. There's really just a single person who, by his decisions, created this tragedy.

      Technology is an amplifier and as Ronald Wright observed so presciently, our rapid cultural evolution has created advanced cognition in humans, and is like allowing modern software to run on 50,000 year old hardware. Amidst the exponential rate of technological development, biological evolution cannot keep up. So our propensity for violence, with more and more powerful technological weapons at our disposal has resulted in one man, Putin, having the capability to destroy an entire civilization with the press of one finger.

      Unless we can understand this, we will not resolve the predicament civilization finds itself in.

  7. Sep 2021
    1. This is the other huge important theme, which is that technology alone does not lead to a better world. It can only lead to a better world in the context of good moral and social systems. One thing that I do deeply believe is that our scientific and material technology has raced ahead of our moral and social technology. We need some catch-up growth in moral and social technology.

      There is another even greater theme this article has not touched on, progress traps. Climate change is a direct result of the unintended consequences of progress, a pretty major impact.