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自分が読んで興味深く感じた英文記事を中心に取り上げる予定です

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宇宙派対地球派

 




映画『ノア 約束の舟』や『トランセンデンス』を観た感想としては、正直どちらも退屈だったのですが、「人類と地球の未来」については考えさせられるものでした。

『トランセンデンス』についてはWiredが特設ページを作っていて、人工知能の現状などを知ることができます。映画でもあったのですが、反対派と賛成派に分かれるようですね。

映画『トランセンデンス』公開記念 WIREDスペシャルページ

- 人類を滅ぼす可能性があっても、人類は「神のような機械」を作るべきなのでしょうか?
それについては、賛成派と反対派にわかれるでしょう。
デ・ガリスは、賛成派を「コスミスト」=「宇宙派」、反対派を「テラン」=「地球派」と呼んでいます。宇宙派は「人類ごときが宇宙の進化をとめてはいけない。たとえ人類が滅んでも神となる人工知能をつくるべき」という人たち。一方、地球派は「人類がもっとも大切だ。人類を滅ぼすような人工知能は不要だ」という。
デ・ガリスは、21世紀後半に地球派と宇宙派の間で大戦争がおき、「ギガ・デス」、すなわち、数十億人が死ぬことになるだろうと言います。これは「人工知性戦争」と呼ばれ、欧米の一部では大きな論争を呼んでいます。



いつも通りちょっと強引かもしれませんが、「人類と地球の未来」についての地球環境問題での論争を今週のNatureの社説でも取り上げています。

Storm warning
Environmentalists are divided over whether it is possible to have a ‘good’ Anthropocene.
25 June 2014

The lightning rod for the latest storm was a fairly benign talk given in New York this month by New York Times environment writer Andrew Revkin on the difficulty of applying numerical targets and goals, on carbon emissions say, to real-world behaviour. It might have gone largely unnoticed, except that Revkin included in the talk’s title the idea of a ‘good’ Anthropocene — the informal name for the period, beginning at the Industrial Revolution, in which humans have substantially altered Earth’s ecosystems. To place the words ‘good’ and ‘Anthropocene’ together, even with the former in quotation marks, is heresy to some. In Scientific American on 19 June, the Australian ethicist Clive Hamilton delivered a broadside against those who argue that human ingenuity, not behaviour change, is the best response to rising carbon emissions. “Such unbounded optimism is dangerous, wishful thinking,” he wrote, because it plays into the hands of those who would protect the status quo, whatever the environmental consequences.

Perhaps there is more to this than division along the optimism–pessimism axis; whether someone is the sort of person who sees an atmosphere half-full or half-empty of carbon dioxide. As is made clear in a useful report published this week by the UCL Policy Commission on Communicating Climate Science in London, public discussion of climate change has deeper psychological roots. It is “as much about what sort of world we wish to live in, and hence about ethics and values, as it is about material risks to human wellbeing”.

Natureの社説の立場というのは、まずは地球環境問題を広く伝えることが大事だというところで、ecopragmatistになることを肯定しています。

Natureで紹介されていてClive Hamiltonのコラムは以下です。地球環境問題を解決する技術を人類が将来的に見出すのではという態度は徹底的に批判しています。

The New Environmentalism Will Lead Us to Disaster
So-called ecopragmatists say we can have a “good Anthropocene.” They’re dead wrong
Jun 19, 2014 |By Clive Hamilton

The revolutionary meaning of Earth-system science is lost on the ecopragmatists. In reality, the arrival of the new epoch represents not merely the further spread of human influence across the globe but a fundamental shift in the relationship between humans and the Earth system—one in which human activity now accelerates, decelerates and distorts the great cycles that make the planet a dynamic entity. The radical distinctiveness of the Anthropocene lies in the fact that humans have become a novel “force of nature,” one that is shaping the geologic evolution of the planet. So far-reaching is the impact of modern humans that esteemed palaeoclimatologist Wally Broecker has suggested that we have not entered a new geologic epoch, a relatively minor event on the geologic time scale, but a new era—the Anthropozoic—on a par in Earth history with the development of multicellular life.

Some climate science deniers believe only God can change the climate; ecopragmatists, by contrast, see humans as “the god species.” Here is what the god species and this kind of thinking are certain to give us: an atmosphere with 500 ppm of CO2 (probably closer to 700 ppm) and a climate that is hot, sticky and chaotic. It will indeed take omnipotence to fix the problem without calamity. For those who prefer orthodox climate science, such unbounded optimism is dangerous, wishful thinking.

同じく社説に紹介されていたUCL Policy Commission on Communicating Climate Scienceのレポートは以下のリンクで読めます。科学者と一般市民との建設的な対話の必要性を訴えています。

UCL Policy Commission on the Communication of Climate Science
Time for Change? Final Report
Download the UCL Policy Commission's final report.

Summary of main recommendations:
Communication
There is a need for the general public and climate scientists to engage in constructive dialogue, and for climate scientists to convey a big picture that provides a context for the discussion of new scientific results and their consequences. The authentic and personal voice of climate scientists in this process is essential for the general public to establish trust in the findings of climate science.

Andrew Revkinのブログにアクセスしてみると、論争していることがわかります。Revkinに肯定的な立場を紹介しているポストはこちら。

Two Climate Analysts Weigh the Notion of a ‘Good’ Path in the Anthropocene
By ANDREW C. REVKIN JUNE 22, 2014 9:50 AM

Revkinを批判しているブログの一例はこちらです。

Words Matter When Talking Global Warming: The ‘Good Anthropocene’ Debate
BY JOE ROMM JUNE 19, 2014 AT 10:24 AM UPDATED: JUNE 19, 2014 AT 4:28 PM


The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural HistoryThe Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
(2014/02/13)
Elizabeth Kolbert

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Six Extinctionを書いたElizabeth Kolbertの以下のツイートを紹介しています。

Elizabeth Kolbert
‏@ElizKolbert
2 words that probably should not be used in sequence: "good" & "anthropocene." Very smart essay by @CliveCHamilton: http://bit.ly/1ihSVqG

ここで注意したいのは、ここでの議論は「地球環境問題はない」というようなものではないということです。Natureの社説の書き出しが以下なんですが、the attitudes of those who agree that there is a serious problem to deal withとあるように、地球環境問題は認めていて、地球環境問題という深刻な問題にどう取り組むかという態度で議論が分かれています。

Winston Churchill called it the enemy within. Leonardo da Vinci noted that: “As every divided kingdom falls, so every mind divided between many studies confounds and saps itself.” If there is one word that sums up current attitudes to the climate problem and society’s response to it, then it is ‘divided’. And that describes just the attitudes of those who agree that there is a serious problem to deal with.

地球環境問題で一番過激な立場は、映画『ノア 約束の舟』でノアが苦悩した「人類は地球にいるべきではない」というWorld Without Usという考えでしょうか。また『トランセンデンス』の人工知能のように、人類を凌駕する存在が生まれれば、人類の存在など取るに足らないものになるかもしれません。

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