In their book titled Rethinking Humanity, RethinkX Founders Tony Seba and James Arbib describe a transition from an age of extraction to an emerging age of creation. The extraction age began with agriculture and continued through the industrial period. The authors describe the age of extraction as follows:
Extraction became the prevailing system of production and exploitation emerged as a core principle of the Organizing System. Cities harnessed resources and people from as far afield as their technological capability allowed in order to force feed their production systems. They took what they found in nature – plants and animals initially and then other resources – and harvested them to break down, process, and produce the things they needed or wanted, namely food, energy, and materials.Tony Seba, James Arbib – Rethinking Humanity
The authors position an entirely new system of production that is emerging in a way that decreases our dependency on resources and the environment. For example, food production shifts from extraction, where we grow plants and animals to break them down into the things we need, to a model of creation, where foods are built up from molecules and cells. This recent article portrays that future by explaining how everything will be grown in a lab. Meat and dairy are already being produced by the convergence of science and technology, as price points come down and the ability to scale expands.
By 2021 those costs had been substantially driven down. Chicken is looking likely to be first type of lab-grown meat to hit commercial shelves, with the world’s first industrial-scale cultured meat facility recently opening in Israel. The company behind the factory says it can currently produce over 1,000 pounds of lab-grown chicken per day.Rich Haridy – Blood, brains and burgers: The future is lab-grown everything
Creation is not limited to food, as the article describes an ability to grow wood, diamonds, blood, and human organs in a lab. We know that new forms of energy will be created versus extracted, and large-scale material creation is on the horizon. Therefore, this age of creation is a piece of the coming tipping point. It represents a massive change to our human journey and challenges our current belief systems. We’ve had similar period in our human past, but as our RethinkX friends have said, this is likely the fastest, deepest, most consequential disruption in history.
Just like the chemical and petrochemical industries disrupted plant and animal-based materials and created a panoply of materials that did not exist in nature, so new technologies will disrupt extractive resources and chemical synthesis by creating a near-infinite array of materials with hitherto unheard of capabilities at a fraction of the cost and resource utilization of extraction-based methods. Indeed, precision biology and PF are to the 21st century what the chemical and petrochemical industries were to the 20th century. Together with CRISPR, additive manufacturing, and nanotechnologies, they will allow us to manipulate matter, energy, and information at smaller scales with far greater efficiency to build materials with combinations of properties that are stronger, lighter, and more flexible, all with minimal waste. Tony Seba, James Arbib – Rethinking Humanity
I just finished another good book. Tony Orb takes us to the precipice in a new book that explores existential risk. He looks at natural risks like asteroids, comets, supervolcanic eruptions, stellar explosions, brightening of our sun, and orbital dynamics. He then explores those risks stemming from human activity (anthropogenic). These include nuclear weapons, climate change, environmental damage, pandemics, unaligned artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, biotechnology, and back contamination (from space microbes). The remainder of the book focuses on quantifying risks and safeguarding humanity. I highly recommend the book for those looking well into the future and focused on humanity. I have added the book to my library. Here is the Amazon abstract.
This urgent and eye-opening book makes the case that protecting humanity’s future is the central challenge of our time.
If all goes well, human history is just beginning. Our species could survive for billions of years – enough time to end disease, poverty, and injustice, and to flourish in ways unimaginable today. But this vast future is at risk. With the advent of nuclear weapons, humanity entered a new age, where we face existential catastrophes – those from which we could never come back. Since then, these dangers have only multiplied, from climate change to engineered pathogens and artificial intelligence. If we do not act fast to reach a place of safety, it will soon be too late.
Drawing on over a decade of research, The Precipice explores the cutting-edge science behind the risks we face. It puts them in the context of the greater story of humanity: showing how ending these risks is among the most pressing moral issues of our time. And it points the way forward, to the actions and strategies that can safeguard humanity.
An Oxford philosopher committed to putting ideas into action, Toby Ord has advised the US National Intelligence Council, the UK Prime Minister’s Office, and the World Bank on the biggest questions facing humanity. In The Precipice, he offers a startling reassessment of human history, the future we are failing to protect, and the steps we must take to ensure that our generation is not the last.