We can afford some measure of chaos in our choices: we certainly do not need a global totalitarian dictatorship to set our priorities for life or death. But we can also afford some degree of guidance, especially if it is rational, sensible, and ultimately most humane.
It has been more than two decades that I have touted and developed the idea and theory of global meta-systems: in a nutshell, human systems of the anthropo-sphere must approach basic global design strategies for the sake of promoting sustainability, adaptability and long-term stability of human systems, and these design strategies come to rest upon five basic sets of problems the solution of all of which promotes such a long-term adaptive global meta-system.
Meta-system refers in this case primarily to a super-system composed of systems and their sub-systems, in which the higher meta-system or super-system level provides a common meta-systemic context within which its systems and sub-systems are logically comprehended and functionally integrated with their environments. Global meta-systems may or may not produce their own synergetic effects, depending upon how integrated they become at the super-system level, but many examples of meta-systems are primarily oriented to the providing of a meta-systemic context in which its systems and their subsystems may function in a stable and, in the case of the earth, an enduring and long-lasting manner.
The challenges of the global meta-system today is that it by and large lacks any deliberate effort at organization, beyond political-diplomatic and human development or aid organizations.
For any global meta-system on earth to become effective in realizing its promise, the following five sets of challenges must be met:
1. At the infrastructural level the development of a solar-hydrogen fuel based global infrastructure and economy becomes paramount to the consideration of the kind of long-term civilization we seek to build. This entails that the wealthy oil producing countries situated primarily in hot, arid desert zones, would do well to turn their sand into glass and produce solar energy that can be converted to other forms of energy and to the production of fresh water. Their glass can also go into production of industrial scale greenhouse operations.
2. At the structural level the development of areas and zones of protection and preservation of eco-bio diversity becomes important, that is free from human encroachment and habitat loss. Important as well would be the inter-connecting of these areas and zones by “human free” corridors that permit the migration of individuals of different species from one region or area to another. This entails that most human agriculture should go to large scale covered greenhouse production, semi-automated to replace large numbers of field workers, as well as the deliberate design and building of human habitation either skyward (upward or vertically,) or else, downward into the earth (or some interesting mix of both,) in order to reduce the overall infra-structural global footprint of human populations.
3. At the superstructural level, a global government is necessary to provide directional integration of the emerging anthropo-sphere, one that is democracy-based and primarily grass-roots (easily accomplished through the Internet,) and this includes human systems development focused upon education, recreation and knowledge systems-based structural and social development. This global government would seek to foster relative health and wealth of a growing human population as well as the provisioning of screens of opportunity for the majority of this growing global population to realize a better life for themselves and for their families.
4. Achievement of technological Artificial Intelligence singularity is critically necessary for human systems integration and entails that a lot of human labor displacing work can be accomplished more effective and more efficiently by machines than people, potentially free people up to pursue more intelligent objectives in their lives living hand-to-mouth especially with menial labor type jobs. The cybersphere that is a result of the increasing integration of computing systems into a collective synergetic system and meta-system, will increasingly interpenetrate and integrate with the human anthropo-sphere, and people will become critically dependent upon these artificial, increasingly autonomous systems.
5. Finally, the quest becomes necessary for travel, colonization, exploration and observation of outer space, deeper and deeper into the extant universe, becomes an important unifying and organizational priority. This pursuit must be made in many directions almost simultaneously or concurrently. It is important to pursue “biosphere” studies both on earth and in Outer space. It is important to develop both observational and communication/transportation hubs and grids in Outer space, presumably first targeting Earth-Lunar spaces and regions, and later branching into Earth-Martian and even Earth-Jovian regions of Space. It is also important to establish and develop semi-permanent human Space colonies as well also to promote the development of technological and production capabilities in Space not possible to develop on Earth due to its gravity, atmosphere, its geo physics, etc.
It is my main argument that these are the five main lines of effort necessary to be accomplished, if the social-environmental and primarily political-economic hurdles to achieving global developmental civilization are to be overcome. Without achieving any of these five problem-design sets, it is likely that human adaptation on earth will continue to fight an up-hill battle and risk global failure. Whatever our contemporary complex loyalties and identities, whatever the patterns of organization and stratification of current and near future human social systems, these considerations must find productive and human-based compromise with the global requirements and challenges that humankind now faces building its future in terms of global civilization.
The biggest risks humankind faces during the remainder of the 21st Century is its own antiquated ideas of political-economic stratification, self-serving ideologies and nativist chauvinisms. The greatest risk is that relatively minor sets of unpredictable events, regional or interregional environmental-social circumscription, triggered by large scale natural disasters or pandemic outbreaks of new strains of virus, cascading to the declaration of war between states and their people, and escalating to use of weapons of mass destruction in contexts no longer clearly governed by the dynamic balance of external powers or mutual detente. We run these risks as much in the next decade as we do in the next Century, because human development of civilization, becoming near completely horizontal away from its original vertical modality of transmission, no longer counts chronological, historical time as a critical constraint in the same manner that human systems did even half a Century ago, when information transmission still tended toward the diagonal.