We're Not Dumb Enough To Survive As A Species, But Are We Smart Enough?

Russell Glynn Derickson

Abstract


Abstract

We as a species have been endowed by nature with an intelligence superior to all other species on Earth. With that intelligence, though, we have created technologies and engaged in enterprises that have allowed our populations to grow unchecked, at least temporarily, creating vast ecological damage that threatens our very survival as a species. If we were as “dumb” as non-human species, nature would keep us better in check. But are we smart enough to correct for our destructive ways, overriding certain behaviors encoded in our DNA that once served our survival, but now turn against us in our modern circumstances of planetary limits? A look at the collapse of ancient societies and at modern conditions of widespread environmental assault suggests we indeed may not be smart enough to survive as a species. Thus, it would seem we are in a “zone of jeopardy” in our level of intelligence. The circumstance is tragic, because intelligence evolves slowly, much slower than the rate at which ecological destruction occurs by our own hands.

There is, however, hope. Technology has led to environmental harm but can also lead us out of the malaise. By a concerted process of widespread “informatization” on both local and global scales, we can construct the knowledge and wisdom to extend our intelligence and moderate our destructive behavioral traits. Novel “global groupware” is proposed and conceptualized for this purpose, based in part on GIS (geographical information system) technology within a WYSIWIS (What You See Is What I See) visual framework to capitalize on our highly visual nature as a species. The global groupware, tentatively named EarthVisionware, would be an actual Internet-based, technological product and would function to create a shared mental model between members of society on all its scales (from local to global), through visual images, critical data, computational tools, and compiled information that is readily comprehended by everyone. As with astronauts returning from the spectacular view in space with a new sense of Earth, its citizens, and themselves, the global groupware with its visual framework will serve to catalyze epiphany through dynamic images of Earth, but will also engender and direct positive action, and, through a watchdog feature, monitor exploitative or injurious behavior that springs up in our ranks. The global groupware will not be stand-alone. It will work in coordination with other ongoing and planned sustainability initiatives.

Keywords


Keywords: species intelligence; DNA-driven behavior; global groupware; WYSIWIS framework; GIS; sustainability; evolutionary processes

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