Into the Extinction? No way!

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Into the Extinction? No way!
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Homo sapiens will survive the next mass extinction -- it's just a matter of how we'll do it.
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so I just spent the past several years of researching the end of the world and by the way with a peculiar sense of optimism and that is what I wanna talk to you about today so a lot of the research that I did when it in a book that I published last year and that here's the fine picture of it and I even have a few copies of it available in spare euro or a good conversation give you 1 and what are the things that I do as a writer and science journalist and so I like to put science into context that's how I defined my job so I take scientific discoveries and the history of science and try to place in a larger social context it's meaningful for my readers sometimes at the very small contact and sometimes that is an enormous context and that's certainly the case when you're talking about something like the end of the world and it turns out that if you're thinking of the end of the world certainly there's a lot of things that can me but I can't tell you how many times I've been asked if I'm going to deal with the important question of the Zombie Apocalypse but which I have to apply and sorry that's actually not a scientific phenomenon so kind outside my purview but what I just in the course of my research which admittedly began with the kind of science science-fictional question which was what would be the equivalent in the real world in the world of natural history of Godzilla attack what what would what would be some kind of real world equivalent of that and I think the answer is a phenomenon that's called mass extinction and you may have heard about the idea of mass extinction before and it's often used popularly to me a lot of different things but it has a specific scientific definition which is it's a moment in history to win over 75 per cent or more of all species die out and this has happened about 5 times in the history of since multicellular life evolved about 450 million years ago so we have had these events before and all explain in a minute why people were worried that we might have 1 again on the most recent mass extinction and probably the most famous is the extinction of the dinosaurs that most of the dinosaurs were killed off about 65 million years ago when a flaming ball once space if the planet and then off a series of events that was about killing off about 75 per cent of species on earth on including of that most the dinosaurs not all of them balloon and the think about mass extinction is that the prettiest format tinctions which all just as exciting as the dinosaurs 1 and they also begin with these kinds of cataclysmic event of 1 was cause for example by a very rapid appreciation has suddenly the ice caps screw enormous Vinay train and then they grew again and which was terrible terrible for life on the planet and other methods tinctions were caused by mega volcanoes of super wildfires they are to be gone like these cataclysmic events but this I don't really murder is most of those species on earth the real killer
always turns out to be climate change and habitat change and if you look back in the history of the planet which is basically when I began this research project I had to go back into the time and look into geology and what are the things that you
find when you look at these i geological period I just happen to love this particular representation of the geological periods is that a lot of them are divided up by extinction events 1 of the ways that we divide up here are the periods of the earth is of I think up there with extinction here
so begins a new period of time and there's some of these are helpfully marked on this chart and and the distinctions take about a million or 2 million years which I think is useful to think about when looking at a chart like this because it shows you just how fast that really is in geological time it extremely fast to have an event where basically what's happening is most life on earth is dying most of the life on Earth dies out and when that period is over when that million years or 2 million years over you got an entirely new set of ecosystems basically the planet is destroyed and reborn and that's phenomenon that became extremely interesting to me and I started out really wanting to write about death and I became more interested in the question of how the hell does like recover from 1 of these events where there's a cataclysm and then there's you know and sometimes millions of years of climate change certainly hundreds of thousands of years and so that brings me to a story that I like to
tell which is about my favorite mass extinction and you know it that the dinosaur mass extinction which I know it's very popular and there's been lots of TV shows about it people like at 1 of my favorite mass extinction is the 1 that took place at the end of the Permian period sometimes just called into Permian extinction was about 250 million years ago and and
then sometimes it's just called the Great dying and Peter scientists call that I would you know they're not usually from to to the phrases like that the great kind with the worst mass extinction the planet ever saw 95 per cent of all multicellular life on the planet died out and in even in fact died out it was a really tough time and it was caused by mega volcanoes which again sound really often it makes you think that there were these 2 huge explosions on but in fact it was actually pretty slow process and what happened was on at this time 250 million years ago all the continents under were actually in 1
magnet continent called Pangea and up in the northern part which is now Siberia and at a volcano began to go off on also explosive it was 1 of those types of volcanoes were basically enormous crack open the earth and lover begins seeking out on people least slowly but this went on for about a thousand years I find it search surface with several different pulses of love that may be left with a hundred years and it took 50 years off I'm
just a continuous flow of love for thousand years but a lot of that love came at a time of talks a lot along a toxic gas is lots of carbon and basically what happened was over that thousand years was the 1st had been natural equivalent of our industrial revolution the atmosphere was bodily loaded with carbon and it led to
climate change radical climate change was ocean acidification the likes of which we've never seen of coral reefs died off the basic plan wife died or on land and almost nothing survive and their habitats for changing tremendously things were heating up and then in the period after the fermion which is the early try after that sort of the time when dinosaurs 1st starting off but at that time the dinosaurs
were relatively small they were more like dogs on the early traffic was struggling with the results of this climate change from this by the volcano and you had I actually really often animals like this that great picture here that a try 16 and there are a lot of alligator like creatures that were mostly beating each other and the other on the left you see this that I would like a weird tail and that has really goofy looking I creatures published a story and it was the greatest survivor of the traffic period so there's a lot of questions about that why was this animal more than any other animal really able to get through this period of radical change in the environment while all these other species were dying out member 95 % species list of managed to arrive of the the uh progeny of list resource speciated they became a bunch of different creatures on this kind of thing I would have looked like this that it looks sorta like hate lizards I and they were probably a referral words so they were probably waiting room I maybe the equivalent of a fungus that time and they went everywhere they migrated down to the south of the continent to get away from the worst of the the habitat changes caused by the mega volcano they adapted to it kind of new ecosystems they were just in credibly adaptive animals so the question is
if you were looking at mass extinction at an upcoming threat
which we are what kind learn from something like this the forest and right now a lot of environmental scientists in a lot of geologists believe that we really are in the early stages of a mass extinction and this would be our 6 and there's a couple of really basic reasons to be worried about 1 of course is we are entering a period of radical climate change and we know from looking at these previous 5 mass extinctions that that was the real killer there was some precipitating event but ultimately what was really deadly with habitat for changing I'm and that interferes with the food supply that interferes with an animal's ability and plants ability to thrive because often they're used to a particular temperature the use to a particular type of food and that goes away and of 5 so question is and and also what we're seeing now as many of you probably know is that they're incredibly elevated levels of extinction that we're seeing among land animals especially so there's always some animals going extinct that's just part evolution some people died while some creatures died from life forms died also some people died that's not really revolution and and and some speciate so you lose a species that you gain a couple of new species and so that's that's called basically just the background extinction level heroes in the summer that right now we're seeing real spike above that background extinction level we're seeing elevated numbers of birds dying off elevated numbers of amphibians dying off and and other animals to assure we could have a party in in the mall and field really really crappy afterward and that's danger side and in fact some scientists believe that this is the 6th extinction started 15 thousand years ago when all the mega fauna the Americas in Australia died off you know like the holy manage to the masses ions and all the other animals that have heavy metal bands named after them and when those creatures died out there but that live in the beginning of what will be the ending up for a whole bunch of ecosystems so the question is like I said how do we how we survive a situation like that we can only really know how to survive by looking back at the previous survivors and thinking about what they did and how they made it through the so I have to do it
using some bad news about that when it comes to humanity and the good news is that if you evaluate homosapiens just as an animal OK leave aside the fact that we invented open source software and we have social media and we have got all this bitch and staff you just look at as purely as animals we have exactly what was thesaurus had we had the population numbers so we can adapt to almost any environment on the were good at running away from disaster and we can be almost anything but that's really important in fact we can eat garbage and survivors may have noticed and so where's that as animals the question is because the were such let's it spans the animals we have things like civilization politics and art and science and technology how are we going to make sure that those things survive without how we survive in the diet to the style in the style to which we become accustomed and in that case the future preoccupation for me and it's a question I'm still trying to answer in my work and I think obviously we've got the ability to adapt so where we where we look to adapt in the realm of civilization in the realm of science and technology my answer
is that 1st we need to look at the we need to look at cities because they're 1 of our most amazing technological innovations there also quite pragmatically the place where the most people live now the majority of homosapiens currently living in urban environments and you in predictions if you trust those suggest that by the middle of this century 67 per cent of people will be living in cities that's a huge majority it's going to be higher in the developed world so here in
Germany and you're going to see an even props up to 75 per cent of of Homo sapiens will be living in the city so we got a local quantities partly just because we won humans to survive that's why most humans are but also cities are these incredible crucibles of innovation and scientific development in artistic and cultural development they also have some bad attributes that we can talk about later but here greater place to focus your energy if you're thinking about how to save the world had they not just humans but ecosystems from a mass extinction so take a brief detour
I've already admitted that in order to answer these questions about half extinction I had to go back in time into geological time and to think about cities I think it's useful to go back about 7 thousand years in time to 1 of the very 1st
cities that we know of existing so this picture here is a short haul Holyoke it a Neolithic city that the rise and I know about 7 thousand the US is quite
sanctions and it's the oldest city that we know of that that has been excavated and so in southern Turkey at that time and around the time when people were living in to solve the people were also developing agriculture are in a very systematic way and in fact is a really interesting debate that I won't get into you about which came 1st agriculture or the city the answer seems to be yes they came together and need them for each other and the interesting about to solute if you look at this picture is that looks the very different from most cities that we have in the model today 1st of all people did not have trees and begin to their homes through the roots and so the city has the look of a bit of a like a wasp
nest it's a bunch of cells pressed together and people don't tend to have a larger houses than each other is sort of a 3 class division in cities as far as we know if we just based purely on how much acreage each person had and they have a lot of interesting early Iet's spiritual traditions that had to do with the city they had a tradition which later was adopted in source realism which is when someone died they took their body outside the city and animals with clean the bones and the bones will be bleached obstacle 1 no stinking anymore and then they would bury the bones of the dead in the floor of their homes and over time because the city was made basically of dirt breaks in have fire works at that time they would build new homes on top of the death of the old home and so that's why these early cities are often called tells because tell means now and so over time the city would actually become more and more elevated I and so not only was the new version of the city which by the way the last for a couple of thousand years is really awesome I'm over time this city was built on the bones of the people who had lived there but also on the structures that those people have built and 1 of the uh archaeologists who works on which Ian Hodder and observed that it was kind of like this city was its own society materialize there's a way in which cities are a kind of an effort that social in mortality rates of way that we preserve the shape of our society and our built structures we preserve the dead in that structure very maintenance and but it also tells us something about how the city functions for humans which is that it changes over time it's a reflection of our society is a reflection of our civilization but the actual physical shape the city's change as their needs change as a society so what was important the people of to you the things that they cared about eye on necessarily are problems anymore they built this city to make it sound like Sami built this city and to make things easier for
them on the planet so that they could have a shelter all the time they create agricultural areas that they can have food and what their needs were being met but today we have very different needs we know now that in order for us to be comfortable in our environment we don't just need a little boxes filled with phones we also need to maintain the environment around our cities in order for us to be comfortable in the future we have to make sure our environment is sustained and stable otherwise we're going change the climate were in loser our food security things are going to get ugly so lots cities need to change they have to change the physical structures need to be
different so as we look to the future of the city we have to be thinking about what do we need to do you how do we need to build them so that we can be comfortable and we can maintain our environment to keep us comparable to me just a really basic sense like 1 thing in homo sapiens totally loves they have noticed I see caps you would be like ice
caps related to the kind of cooler on the planet and I just kind of a weird aberration in geological time by the way usually the planet has been
warmer there haven't been ice caps as you may know antartica used to the tropical and show that was also my research is that I'm sorry that was 30 million years ago the tropical and without getting an idea of how recently it was there were no ice caps so we need to make sure those ice caps stayed there and that has to be something that we think about as we're building our cities you have to be thinking how do we make a city that isn't plundering the planet for energy sources that will produce more carbon and make ice caps go away quickly so this is really obvious solutions to that and then 1 thing is to be thinking of cities as being metabolism of the part biological so I think things like really obvious things like we need more wind power we need to take advantage of and naturally occurring sources of energy we need more solar we need carbon neutral sources of energy this is all basic steps many governments are already working on this even in the United States and the Department of Energy is working on this and that was great about the yes Men and because I haven't talked about how they tended to be from the Department of Energy and predicting this this carbon neutral future events in the real life Department of Energy in United States is investing tons of money millions of dollars in laboratories all over the US to develop a better sources of alternative energy I and some of those sources of energy go way beyond things like just solar or doing things like recycling water and they're looking into things like how do you read engineers life forms microbial life forms for example to be new sources of energy so for example people at the DOE but also scientists and we're looking at the future of energy very obsessed with things like allergies because 1st of all allergies really easy the engineer to do a lot of different things it's also already a great source of energy it's a great source of food on but it just if you genetic tweets algae can be turned into something that can for example purify water or that can serve as an even more on productive energy sources can stop producing hydrogen energy for example and we can be using a things like flannel bacteria that we can treat them what we can genetically engineered and to provide a light source and making global can add a phosphorus genes and you could 1 day have a new house be growing basically going mold to like your house and and what is interesting so so long that the future of the city I think is is just going to be changing of power sources but actually changing fundamentally house is built and that's part what's interesting about a lot of these moves to do things like genetically engineer not allergies and this is a larger project in synthetic biology which is just a new field which is about engineering biology instead of simply understanding how biology is put together and 1 project I think is really interesting that come out of synthetic biology designed for cities and
is something called bacillus below and there's 2 reasons why it's interesting when it has a great name if you're a by teacher laughing and into it was actually created by several years ago by a group of students in Scotland and they want to come up with a self healing concrete so and there's a lot of interest now especially among the architects and designers in material that she'll themselves because they're more sustainable and they're better in terms of environmental concerns in a lot of cases
and but also had they're just they're great for other kinds of disasters and emergencies that come up in
cities so what students did was they took a common bacteria they engineered at 2 a produced here once it was in connection with concrete and it produces a kind of toxins
and over time group to fill a crack and we're looking at here in this picture is just over time what happened when they occur at some concrete they put the vessel of light into it on an over time grew in the epoxy grew in and and by the time that the crack was still the bacteria died and by the way all of this kind of design with synthetic biology 1 of the key aspects of it is engineering microorganisms that die once they've done a thing they're supposed to do whether it's filling in concrete or healing the whole animal shit forests and seeing high levels of toxins in the environment but the point is we don't want like a runaway concrete growing on your face and he gets the the kind of off but I we only want that to happen consensually shall we say and so this is a particular bacteria does have a kill switch where it dies and it's done and then you can see it as a kind of a beta test this idea of how this is an incredibly evocative project because what it suggests is that 1 day cities could be made of materials that we don't have to constantly be patchy remember placing you can have a city that basically looked almost think of through it but it would be alive and it would the you covered in scars because cracks healed themselves it would be covered in algae that was being useful water filtration of runoff and maybe inside of your house would be full of algae they were growing for energy ontology using for life and life would be a little bit during but it would be sustainable the city would not be in contradiction with the environment around it
and I think over time you might get cities that were essentially I'm they were carbon neutral they were recycling water they were basically functioning as part of the environment around them of course that also have really often high-speed Internet and all the technologies that we like to have other they would look more like something out of science fiction they might look like trees they might look like the mountains and that of course and any actually of course even odd engineering capabilities could reach into things like shepherding the atmosphere itself you know not just caring for the for the city and the environment around it and making sure that we're not stomping on animals migration patterns that actually intervening in the carbon cycle which is the government these I'm periods of icehouse greenhouse that ourselves portents were alive asimportant for habitats so some core point we really need the intervening in the way our atmosphere functions so that we can keep those ice caps that we like so much in which the planet and a shit about because in a cyclical basis the planet gets rid of those ice caps because it's designed to do that it's a huge carbon cycle the chemical computer and how so what I'm saying here I like to characterize as pragmatic optimism because although it sounds like I'm incredibly excited about how you have to I think it's a really builds a fantastic city is the fact is that they this is based on technologies that we have in the lab today which could be deployed very soon that's 1 element of pragmatism beta part of that is we don't know for sure that this will happen on this is the a vision to strive for this is something that we can work toward but of course there's always the possibility that we would do that and then our future but will look something like you know living in a cave and of us on which we may be eating bugs anyway because it turns out there really great source of energy of all talk but nobody really wants to have that kind of living underground in cannibals because we destroyed the environment maybe the radiated and there really are multiple pathways to human survival and I guess the as I said earlier the good news the bad news is that we're going to survive either way you wouldn't survive in our biological cities that live in harmony with the environment organist surviving some terrible impoverished famine written pandemic whittled away I'm they know worth saying justified just to be happy that we make it this far we we build cities that don't destroy the environment anymore we managed to do enough environmental remediation that the climate changes that occur are something that we can survive in relative comfort and so we had often mass extinction well the fact is that
the planet is still fucking dangerous even if were to hold a good citizens totally carbon neutral were still running into the fact that flaming rocks from space you can actually hit the planet and destroy us and Megan volcanoes of probably not something they were going to be able to stop even if we have wind energy so planetary life is going to continue to manage our future so ultimately as we get further into the future hundreds of years thousands of years in the future are goal for survival have to do to start building these are some cities off the world I don't care where we can build them in giant halo world maybe we can build them on uninhabited Ross somewhere in the point is that hopefully no one's living near means and the point is that we need to in order to survive we need to use scatter further from this world and what things that I often and find entertaining about talking to people about this like we've all grown up with for many of us have grown up with things like Star Trek and Star Wars and it's all basically white people in spaceships on which human forms right like we're making space a look exactly the same and we're gonna use rocket fuel or work driver to turn out by the way what drivers like polluting subspace or something like that and maybe that's uh that's too but anyway it's including group and rocket fuel is really if we get this space you're not to use rockets we're going to do is we're gonna have to build technologies perhaps like anything we've seen before something like this space elevator here which is actually an idea that was thought about for seriously by the American space agency NASA in the nineties and UN has also been contemplated even like Google which of course google right they have like a robot army now so the thinking of everything and mean and I think they briefly entering the idea of building a space elevator this is all there is basically a sustainable way of getting people and objects off the planet and we use they are thin tether which is stretched out of 100 kilometers and on the end of that have the that starts 100 kilometers or sorry 100 thousand kilometers from from the planet and and at the end you have a counterweight and actually here this picture we seeing is a you're sort of in the counterweight appear which is like a space station and you can see down the tether there's a little space elevator coming out which of course is not to be little it's an awful lot of and the idea is that if you can build a device like this and you could be bringing people up that elevator constantly but there's many different ideas of how to be fueled some of them completely crackpot some of them only mildly crackpot a lot of women will lasers and but the idea that it would be a carbon neutral way of getting out of the gravity well which is a really hard problem how do you do that on a carbon neutral fashion but the point is that the future of our species may look
a lot different than you think I and if there is anything that we can learn from the history of mass extinctions on this history of surviving mass extinctions it's that 1 thing is absolutely certain regardless of whether we go to space regardless of how we build our cities we're going to be involved in you know 800 thousand years so if were still around we're not going to be Homo sapiens anymore at the average lifespan of the mammalian species is about a million years and usually at that time after that point a speciate they go extinct sometimes too but they turn into other species we evolved from another species of Homo erectus who is totally about ASR homo erectus invented fire so thanks to homo erectus for all that and so that means that when humans evolved when homo sapiens evolved we actually are you have often
often as tools ever we have fire I'm an are progeny they go to space or stay here and biological cities will not be like us
anymore they won't be human if a good a space wouldn't have to engineer ourselves to the radiation resistance may have to change ourselves this and other environments we may adapt to other environments so the future is going to look really years no matter how we survive but it's not going to look like a bunch of white dudes in a spacious and that's fantastic that a guarantee from the nature and evolution that we're going to be something different when we survived and that's really what we have to look forward to that
constant change and the whole is always that we can help that change go
in interaction that maintains the plan in a way that as I said that keeps is in the lifestyle to which we become accustomed with a lot of scientific innovation and fantastic part on or it might take
this in a darkened terrible direction and it's really up to us right now to make that decision so thanks very much and that the I think we can have questions somewhere those like a microphone somewhere have things like that at
however what monomers Joseph from here from of California notice wandering alone do you think human beings over exercise the dual plays a negative role in how we perceive the future of and do you
think that meets human beings will be more pessimistic in how we approach societies of the future and sigh and the 1 part of what is it that makes us more pessimistic that the
electron from the early Middle organ of your of your brain can help to receive danger
yeah do you think that plays a major role in how we and foster new technologies and how we assume our ability to handle this is all that's
interesting question I mean there's been a number of studies in neuro science that show that humans tend to remember negative experiences better
than positive experiences and if you've ever been part of an internet community you know exactly what I'm talking about but we always remember the nasty e-mails better than the friendly ones and there's a good evolutionary reason for that which is like don't make the same mistake again and and I think that in some ways having that capacity can be very good for us so the problem is
that we also tend to forget those negative experiences that a species level so we remember the personal net negative experiences those things that they can have rain like 0 my god like dichotomy flake
like 15 years ago but but it's really hard for us to remember something like 0 my god to colonized the americas 500 years ago and it killed a bunch of people that was terrible we never wanted to that again on let's go colonize a planet and oppresses people on the the planet and say that this
fantasy of how we might reenacts a terrible crime in history and and so I think In this sense what we need to do is develop that memory for negative experiences in a more ah civilizational way and and
even maybe extended to things like remembering what happened in the previous mass extinctions which is it was climate change and that really destroyed life on the planet and we could as a civilization the thinking about that keeping that in mind I think it would make it easier for us to make decisions now to build the cities and to build better technologies and and I I wanna do that I've actually read papers where people things like taking drugs or modifying that humans to be more sympathetic to the more the better able to remember these kinds of things yeah yeah I good and and you know that the the 1 way that we will modify ourselves we may have to modify ourselves to the more collaborative or more socially aware but it sounds creaky but so do a lot of these possible futures so see I don't think it's so much remembering negative stuff that causes problems in your going forgetting it is what really causes the problem more questions
I and I wonder how the the next coming mass extinction will be different
and so on next to having a lot of these we will have this the efforts of new group of fans everywhere and if there's a disaster changes everything on a planet like in just 1 province explodes so is it that all the surviving will like turned into a of freaky reasons giant tarantulas
and no because I'm really actually have had to put potentially several radiation disasters before on the planet and in fact in the in the order and mass extinction there's a theory which is the mean there's a lot of theories that it so there's 1 theory which is you know heavily disputed so take result this 1 theory that the place features that describe were brought
on by a nearby supernova which bombarded the cosmic radiation which would've actually
ionized particles in the stratosphere and cause there to be a very reflective cloud layer which would have brought on a very quick cold snap and and which would have resulted in this rapid glaciation everything in Bush's getting back and was all ocean life at that time so glaciation of really bad deal and so I think that's what would
happen to the radiation disaster wouldn't necessarily be all that much different from
say a mega volcano disaster or any other kind of disaster that radically transforms habitat because that's the real disaster right it's the sum some precipitating event whether it's radiation whether it's an enormous wildfires but then over time you got that million years of die off that because habitats exchange and so of course when you have some nuclear disaster now it does result in cancer annotations deputations but
unfortunately it doesn't agree like giant graph and super spiders which would be awesome and cool and doesn't create Godzilla yet as far as I know I it actually just causes down on it causes and localized famines because of course killing off food sources and things like that so in a way that every mass extinctions starts out in its own unique way but it always ends up looking like starvation always ends up looking like food sources are going away habitats going away species are dying and you know when a species dies somebody he that he she is pretty much always what conservative names and species you don't believe but and I'm the trust you actually in her pressed people boys for have lost the what the fuck lost 4
and that that is a city boston monsters and they're really good role in the ecosystem and so I think yeah they all this they all lined up with this kind horrible outcome of just everyone starving the so from Montana
other way over and native Americans nectar of group you need in need of food that is required of fertilizer all
that uh have used the US food systems due the uncertainty here on out but it's a really good question I think 1 of the most pressing issues facing us is food security and part of the issue here is food availability and part of it is looking at agricultural techniques and so when you're thinking about things like cities in changing the way we live in cities I I didn't go into this but a huge part of that also involves changing the way we think about agriculture the changing the way we think about
land use because agriculture is ultimately land use and a huge amount of our current problems around habitat change including stuff like ocean acidification come from things like an enormous factory farms where you have tons of agricultural runoff going into the ocean undergoing going to other water supplies by landlocked areas and poisoning them in acidifying them so I think that 1 way to frame survival for homo sapiens is to appeal to people's desire to have food security and 1 of the things have found in many of us have found in talking about issues around climate change in habitat change is well he's in United States is a lot of push back on that there's a lot of time people just don't believe that there's such a thing as climate change but everyone believes in
wanting to have food and understand the idea that it would start running out in a be a very bad situation and so I
think that like that's a huge part of performing cities basically and you big part of it is performing farming techniques so I look forward to patch do we have
time for another question that the I was interested by your take on on infrastructural change on
but as a species we've been able to establish infrastructure incredibly fast I be like that will have to change as we have more and more people DCC seasteading or around cities were societies at sea on as a plausible future for human beings considering that most of the earth is actually surface water which you I think that that would be awesome
my my feeling about how we need to be dealing with the growing
homosapiens population is that we do need to concentrate people in cities for all kinds of reasons as economic reasons and economies of scale allow you to provide better health care and the food for people if they're group together and allows for better waste management and recycling and if you could create as city and that was part of its local environment so was carbon-neutral it wasn't polluting the waters around it I I think why not because it's as long as you have that economy of scale and there's plenty of ways you can do farming in the ocean but there's also a lot of very
delicate ecosystems in the ocean as well and so for example around coral reefs as we as we have seen recently in the last 20 years and ocean acidification is really destroying the basic
part of food chain the coral reefs so you have to be careful about where you build a system and it can't just be on top of an old oil rig necessarily although that's very charming and it has to be something that is pretty futuristic not like anything we have now and but I would love to see that I mean why not as long as it's functional so the goes he's dead and if could socialist study and 1 day that will happen and love I'm Michael
have a question about the information dimension of a such a mass extinction so you believe self concepts like the foundation of the long
now there will be important because we could use a life of an animal but a
lot of information would be lost the I'm sorry asking what whether we would lose a bunch of information during a mass
extinction as well as there is this describing mass extinctions 1 of the
things I noted was that they take a while and so the question is what kind of mass extinction is it happening out over a period of about a hundred thousand years 203 hundred these things take time so it's not necessarily going to be an asteroid hitting the planet and like taking out a huge amount of information on but it is a good question any mean we obviously have to be thinking about redundant data storage and we have to be thinking about storing data that
isn't just Wikipedia we have to be thinking about storing genetic data and things like so many different nations have the balls and the most famous 1 is off the coast of Norway in a cave I where they have a lot of seeds that preserve the genetic
diversity of crop plants and that those are the kinds of things that I think we really need to be thinking about that kind of data that the diversity of species data on but I'm I'm a little bit less worried about a scenario where for example the internet goes down and we lose every piece of information on the internet could happen and and I hope we do have redundant back and you know in invariant features deep beneath the CEO whatever the hell they are but I
think what what we're really talking about is much more an issue around data needed to improve access to food and improve our ability to get a carbon neutral fuel so that's the kind of data that was concerned about the environment of the we have time for 1 more the so much food for
thought the obtained by considering the 2 guys