Scientists have described 14 possible “evolutionary traps” that humanity could potentially fall into. If this happens, it will, in their opinion, lead to our demise.
The corresponding study was published in the scientific journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, reports Science Alert.
Its authors are a group of scientists from Stockholm University in Sweden. According to them, the problem is that human dominance leads to dangerous consequences.
As scientists note, humanity is currently experiencing a polycrisis. This is the existence of several threats at once, including climate change and pandemics.
Humanity is threatened by 14 “evolutionary crises” at the same time. Photo: missisya/Depositphotos
“Humans as a species are incredibly creative. We are capable of innovating and adapting to many circumstances, as well as cooperating on a surprisingly large scale. But these abilities appear to have unintended consequences.” – noted co-author of the study Peter Sjögaard Jørgensen.
Out of 14 possible, scientists identified five global “dead ends”:
- simplification – systems become too specialized to adapt, for example, monoculture agriculture;
- economic “growth for the sake of growth”, which harms well-being;
- overstrain – using more resources than the planet can provide;
- global division – international conflicts;
Another five researchers attributed to technological traps:
- attachment to resources, in particular to fossil fuels;
- chemical pollution of the environment;
- existential technologies (for example, nuclear weapons);
- technological autonomy (in particular, artificial intelligence);
Scientists called the other four “dead ends” structural traps:
- short-sightedness – focusing on short-term economic benefits;
- excessive consumption of goods, which leads to a large amount of waste;
- gap with the biosphere – active urbanization and deterioration of the environment;
- loss of local social capital – the digital world reduces social interaction.
The researchers note that the 12 described problems, in addition to technological autonomy and loss of social capital, are already quite significant. However, “humanity still has a chance.”
“A very simple thing that everyone can do is to be more involved in nature and society, and learn about the positive and negative global consequences of our own local actions.” – explains Jorgensen.
We will remind you that earlier we wrote that scientists simulated the conditions of life on Earth after 250 million years.
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