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mootcat t1_ivjstqv wrote

I reached much the same conclusion, but I'm afraid your timeline severely underestimates the rate of decline we are experiencing.

We're looking at a conflagration of many factors, from the many currently active climate feedback loops, to demographic induced collapse in most major countries. Failure of our debt based monetary system is currently underway and it goes without saying that all of these factors compound upon one another and drastically raise the likelihood of total annihilation via nuclear war.

Most estimates I've found (which tend to underestimate modern rates of decline) place total global collapse around 2040. From everything I've seen playing out recently, that's overly generous.

Something that many of us take for granted is how instrumental a globally connected world has been in enabling the rapid state of advancement we've witnessed over previous decades. Even barring total governmental failure as we're seeing in several smaller nations, a dissolving of globally protected trade will hamstring progress and production on many things vital to advancing technology (hence the United States desperation to reshore chip production and prevent China from having access to any advanced chips).

That's all to say, the race is going on right now and I honestly have no idea if any nation will be able to maintain enough control and production to realize anything close to AGI. And even if it is realized, there's a high likelihood of it being misaligned or used against the general population.


sticky_symbols t1_ivlktyi wrote

If you're right, this is absolutely critical to the logic we use in the AGI safety community. We estimate around maybe 2040 for AGI, too, but delaying that progress is considered a good idea to allow more time for safety research.

If there's a good chance of collapse, it is not a good idea to delay AGI.

Any sources or references would be very helpful. I'll try to make good use of them if you make time to provide some.


mootcat t1_ivm721j wrote

Totally, here we go.

Climate change is the biggest driver of all other pressures IMO, so we'll start there. This is a report by the US military describing the risk of power grid failure and inability to maintain control over its forces due to resource scarcity, etc by 2039. Here's an article summarizing it for brevity.

It wouldn't be a bad idea to look at the IPCC's estimates (summary for policymakers is probably the easiest to understand, but you may want to find experts discussing the charts/data). Take into account that they have consistently underplayed and underestimated the speed and impact of climate change. Our current rate of change is worse than even their worst case scenarios.

This recent paper delves more into the already in play, and soon to be active feedback loops. This is 1 of 3 videos that delve in depth into discussion of these points.

The actual impact of these changes aren't discussed as much, but decrease in global food supply, fresh water supply, and the uninhabitability of major towns and cities are all massive concerns. The drought in the US is rapidly become a major concern that must be dealt with while we Pakistan is still crippled from a third being underwater from floods. Crops all across the world were heavily impacted this year alone, and things will only be getting worse.

I am least informed on the specifics of demographic disparity related collapse, but here's an overview paper or two. While these make very little of the near future implications, Geopolitical experts like Peter Zeihan believe we are currently being impacted and will see deglobalization in the very near future. He tends to put a 1 to 2 decade timeframe on deglobalization (collapse for many) and believes it's already well under way based on the inability to replace workers.

On the subject of monetary collapse, the quick and dirty is that we operate on a debt based system. 95%+ of money is simply debt, leverage at a 10x ratio to take out more debt. The USD (global reserve currency) is inflationary and ultimately we end up between a rock and a hard place of losing control to hyperinflation or not being able to pay debts and witnessing a snowballing debt collapse that will throw the world markets into chaos. We have pushed the system to its limits and are facing the results now. There are many, many sources relating to this subject. The Price of Tomorrow, by Jeff Booth is one of the more accessible works addressing this issue, but there's many many more and you can find tons of people discussing it on YouTube. The world of finance is massively controlled and influenced, so I would look to those that have proven to be correct historically, not official sources like the Fed who constantly lie (inflation is transitory, we're having a soft landing, etc).

The Triffin Dilemma (dollar milkshake theory) addresses this to an extent.

I am most knowledgeable about the economic angle, so please let me know if you'd like additional explanation or sources, this was at best a cursory overview.

Now where things get really concerning is when you look at how optimized modern society is and how it is entirely reliant on everything working perfectly, specifically gas and oil flowing freely (we know this cannot continue if we want a survivable future).

Nate Hagens is an excellent resource for this form of discussion. He has tons of detailed videos that address various aspects of the unsustainability of modern living and our inability to continue supporting a world population of this size. By his estimates we have 5-10 years before massive shifts in power and a collapse scenario.

What I've been increasingly aware of is that collapse doesn't happen all at one. It's already been taking place for a while, but is now exponentially advancing. Countries like Sri Lanka and Pakistan have recently collapsed and many more will follow like dominos. As resources become more scare, we see the really scary stuff start to go down. Cutthroat competition on a global scale vis a vis any means necessary. The Russia-Ukraine conflict is the first of many. Civil uprisings and violence will grow across the globe as tension mounts between polarized groups like in the US, or between ever more oppressive governments and their people like in China and Iran.

There is no diffusing the situation. We are in a global tragedy of the commons scenario enabled by our competition for resources and attempts at infinite growth within a finite environment.

My best guess is that we have 5-10 years to rush advancements in artificial intelligence to hopefully help with breakthrough discoveries. We can buy more time with geoengineering, but it's also a risky proposition.


sticky_symbols t1_ivnhl14 wrote

This is amazing. Thank you so much. I am interested in what you know about the economic angle, but I'll read and watch some of your sources before I ask for anything more.