Discover: Study Warns of 14 Human Evolution Traps
A recent study has found that humanity is facing the alarming prospect of falling into 14 evolutionary dead ends known as “evolutionary traps,” a term that encompasses a wide range of potential pitfalls, from climate change to artificial intelligence. The research, conducted during the Anthropocene era, underscores the urgent need for global cooperation and societal transformation to avoid these dangerous traps.
The Potential Dangers of Evolving Technology
Remarkably, scholars have applied the concept of evolutionary traps to entire human societies for the first time. They’ve identified that humankind could become ensnared in 14 evolutionary dead ends, including climate tipping points, misaligned artificial intelligence, chemical pollution, and the rapid spread of infectious diseases, signaling the increasingly precarious state of the Anthropocene era.
Era of Achievements and Challenges
The era of human evolution has been a remarkable success since the inception of the Anthropocene. However, this proposed geological epoch that centers on human influence is showing visible signs of strain. Scientists have noted a concerning trend: multiple global crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, food shortages, economic instability, and warfare, are emerging in a concurrent manner, giving rise to what’s known as a polycrisis.
Envisioning the Severity of Evolutionary Traps
Of the identified 14 traps, 12 are in an advanced state that may prove difficult to reverse. To compound the issue, societies are continuing to regress in 10 of these 14 categories. Disturbingly, these traps tend to exacerbate each other, heightening the risk of societies getting stuck in multiple dead ends. Notably, the autonomy of artificial intelligence and digitalization’s diminishing impact on social capital constitute the two less advanced dead ends.
A Clarion Call for Action
Despite these alarming findings, the researchers maintain that it is not too late to overcome these potential stumbling blocks. They advocate for a proactive endeavor to transform our societies. The Anthropocene has thus far been an unforeseen consequence of our actions, prompting the vital need for heightened awareness and global collaboration. The necessity for collective human agency to guide our future in a positive direction is evident, and our ability to innovate and engage indicates that we can escape dead ends and business-as-usual.
Reference: “Evolution of the polycrisis: Anthropocene traps that challenge global sustainability” by Peter Søgaard Jørgensen, Raf E. V. Jansen, Daniel I. Avila Ortega, Lan Wang-Erlandsson, Jonathan F. Donges, Henrik Österblom, Per Olsson, Magnus Nyström, Steven J. Lade, Thomas Hahn, Carl Folke, Garry D. Peterson and Anne-Sophie Crépin, 1 January 2024, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.