Sunday, March 11, 2007

Global Warming vs. The Singularity

A draft report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) takes the dry science from a report issued last month and presents it as a prediction of how global warming will change life on Earth. The major points are covered in this article from the AP:
WASHINGTON (AP) - The harmful effects of global warming on daily life are already showing up, and within a couple of decades hundreds of millions of people won't have enough water, top scientists will say next month at a meeting in Belgium.

At the same time, tens of millions of others will be flooded out of their homes each year as the Earth reels from rising temperatures and sea levels, according to portions of a draft of an international scientific report obtained by The Associated Press.

Tropical diseases like malaria will spread. By 2050, polar bears will mostly be found in zoos, their habitats gone. Pests like fire ants will thrive.

For a time, food will be plentiful because of the longer growing season in northern regions. But by 2080, hundreds of millions of people could face starvation, according to the report, which is still being revised.
Oh no! Fire Ants! Everybody panic! I'm suprised they didn't mention "killer" bees since they'll be moving further north.

Even assuming the IPCC is completely correct in their assessment of Global Warming, their analysis is bogus. In these predictions we see that even scientists fail to grasp Kurzweil's Law of Accelerating Returns and its ramifications.

In the unlikely event humanity survives to 2050, the world by that time will contain non-human superintelligence, and therefore is not predictable (the essence of the Singularity). Will global warming cause the predicted effects? Who cares? We have a great deal more to worry about than that.

If we don't address the existential risks facing humanity, climate change won't matter. And if we do find a way to survive, climate change will be a trival problem to solve.

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