FROM KURZWEIL.NET:  September 23, 2012 by Peter Garretson

Artist’s concept of a Kardashev Type 2 civilization (credit: Chris Cold)

Lt Col Garretson – one of the USAF’s most farsighted and original thinkers – has been at the forefront of USAF strategy on the long-term future in projects such as Blue Horizons (on KurzweilAI – see video), Energy Horizons, Space Solar Power, the AF Futures Game, the USAF Strategic Environmental Assessment, and the USAF RPA Flight Plan. Now in this exclusive to KurzweilAI, he pushes the boundary of long-term thinking about humanity’s survival out to the edge … and beyond. – Kurzweil Ed.

It isn’t enough just to plan for two or 20, or even the fabled Chinese 100 year periods. We need to be thinking and planning on the order of billions of years. Our civilization needs inter-generational plans and goals that span as far out as we can forecast significant events.

For this discussion, I define a “significant event” as an event about which we have foreknowledge and which will fundamentally change our planning assumptions.

For the full article click here …

3 thoughts on “What our civilization needs is a billion-year plan

  1. I think we humans are all too happy planning the future and despite history we allways think that this time is different and we will get it right (Again) Right now the EU is working on its regulations on biofuel. It seems biofuel is a very bad idea and has been from the beginning. We are not good at geting these things rigth. Also planing on such a scale implies centralization, state control or some other authority. Just as the EU has spend billinos on biofuel we will waste uncountabel resources if we were to direct and control our future. I am convinced that what we need to secure our future is to free the creativity of individuals to better their lives. Let people find solutions to their problems and as they improve their standard of living concern for environment and the future will become more important to them. There is no way we can plan what is best for 7 billion individuals we differ to much. Also planing necesarily requieres some force to compel those who do not agree with our plan. I simply will not support use of force as I find it morally wrong.

  2. First – We have to become a Type 1 Civilization or the Game is Over. This will or will not happen in the next 100 to 300 years.Yes we need long term plans.Ask any CEO of a top 500 Company about his or her last 5 Year Plan and how it turned out! We are NOT good at predicting the short term future let alone “significant events” or the longer term. There is an Extinction Level Event on Planet Earth about every 300,000 Years.It has a very low probability of occuring within any human life time (lets say any 100 year period) but it will have catastrophic consequencies.The future of mankind will be determined billions of years before the Sun becomes a Red Giant. Our “Billion Year Plan” is meaningless unless we survive the next 10,000 Years.The standard version of the Drake Equation usually ascribes the value “10,000 Years” to the probable life span of a technological civilization.

    Our HIGH RISK Period as a Civilization is the next 200 years.We have to understand the concept of exponential change – where it all happens very quickly in the last few moves.

  3. This is fascinating stuff! I do have one issue with the posting, however. It says that “the most significant near-term external problem we can forecast is that we have only about one billion years before the Earth becomes uninhabitable.” This may not be true. The scientific consensus actually suggests that we are currently on a path that virtually guarantees an average global temperature increase of at least four degrees Centigrade over the coming century. This is enough to cause sea level rise of over twenty feet. Massive and unpredictable changes will also occur in every other aspect of our lives, including where and whether we can continue to grow food. In other words, we may have less than a hundred years before the Earth becomes uninhabitable. We have, at present, no plan to prevent this from happening!

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