Part 1: Bibliographic Entry
Piper, Kelsey. “How Technological Progress Is Making It Likelier than Ever That Humans Will Destroy Ourselves.” Vox, Vox, 19 Nov. 2018, www.vox.com/future-perfect/2018/11/19/18097663/nick-bostrom-vulnerable-world-global-catastrophic-risks.
Part 2: Background and Credibility of Author & Source
Kelsey is a Staff Writer for Vox’s new vertical with a focus on the global poor, animal welfare, and risks affecting a stable future for our world. She previously worked as the head of the writing team at Triplebyte and ran Stanford Effective Altruism during college. According to Kelsey’s Twitter bio she writes “about bad things like AI, pandemics, global poverty, factory farming, and good things like the people fixing them.”
Part 3: Precis
In this article, Kelsey provides commentary on the harmful long-term impacts of advanced technology and makes the point that the exponential growth trajectory of technology will lead to the demise of humanity and our planet. Throughout the text, Kelsey refers to the work and knowledge of Oxford professor Nick Bostrom. Bostrom co-founded the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford and wrote the book Superintelligence. Later on in the article, Kelsey also delves into the history of nuclear weapon development and ties it into the problems with advanced technology and how it is employed for capitalist and imperialist agendas. Finally, Kelsey concludes the article by restating her concerns surrounding technology and how vulnerable it can make human civilizations.
Part 4: This article was very intriguing and eye-opening in many ways. Although I was familiar with the topic beforehand, I still found myself learning a great deal from the well-researched text. I found it especially interesting how the author was able to tie in nuanced questions and reservations surrounding this topic and offered both philosophical and practical solutions and perspectives.
Part 5: Quotables
“Bostrom observes, though, that it doesn’t take very many people who would act destructively. Even if only one in a million people were interested in using an invention violently, that could lead to disaster.”
“A ‘vulnerable world,’ he argues, is one where ‘there is some level of technological development at which civilization almost certainly gets devastated by default.’”