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June 30th, 2007
Blessed are the doomsayers
Doomsaying went out of style thanks to the euphoria caused by the end of the Cold War. An idealistic complacency settled in, and much of society lived in utter denial of humanity's ongoing apocalyptic potential.
These days, in our post 9/11 world, disaster scenarios have once again regained currency. The fall of the bi-polar geopolitical arrangement has led to a much more unstable multi-polar global regime, while the United States exhibits a hegemonic attitude despite not actually being one.
Further, an entirely new generation of apocalyptic threats have been uncovered by scientists and technologists. Theoretical possibilities include catastrophic devastation in the wake of deliberately engineered pathogens, self-replicating molecular nanotechnology run amok, run-away global warming, and poorly programmed artificial intelligence. There are undoubtedly many more. Humanity will in short order have access to a growing arsenal of apocalyptic technologies; we'll soon be spinning plates—and eventually one of them is going to fall.
Societies need doomsayers to eliminate passivity and indifference so that a safe future can be engineered.
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