A document from the future reveals that radical and horrific measures will be needed in order to ensure the long-term survival of the human race. What’s worst – whether they are carried out or not, won’t even be up to us!
The other day my clunky computer went loopy again and started doing all kinds of crazy stuff. At one point all the browsers went beserk and randomly started opening and closing. The speed at which this was happening accelerated to a flicking blur of boxes snapping open and shut, then suddenly my screen sort of imploded in a swoosh of colours before the modem exploded and the laptop just died.
When I finally managed to successfully reboot the thing, I opened one of the browers and it asked if I wanted to restore the last session. Out of mere curiosity, I clicked yes. Only one page opened – it looked like an official secret communication. Had my computer inadvertently hacked a secret government portal?
But then I noticed something that was surely impossible, the date: 6th February 2030. If this was to be believed my computer had somehow time-travelled virtually through the internet 15 years into the future. The document was cached, so I decided to have a sneaky read before closing and restarting.
What I read left me with chills of horror…
‘Project Sapiens – Final Report & Execution Plan
‘There are 8.3 billion human souls on this planet, and it’s projected that by 2050 there will be 11bn. That is also when the planet’s eco-system is expected to degrade beyond repair. Forests, which absorb carbon dioxide emissions will be totally destroyed, the ocean will run out of fish whilst freshwater sources will become polluted. Even the number of animal species will be reduced by more than 50%. Meanwhile human consumption continues to grow at 1.5% per annum.
‘Humanity is in danger of creating the conditions for its own extinction within the second half of this century. Since the ability to dramatically reduce consumption, waste and of course population growth, is clearly not evident, the options for the survival of the human race are extremely limited.
‘A possible solution would be to adapt and populate a second or third planet. However there are no habitable planets within our solar system and attempts to explore beyond have been frustrated by the lack of faster-than-light propulsion technology. We have also concluded that at present it is untenable to create viable human habitats on Mars for any kind of meaningful mass numbers.
‘This is largely because there has historically been a total and complete lack of appetite for investment in space travel and exploration. The rate of research and development falls far short of where we would need to be to attempt to populate another planet.
‘In any case the calculations for the amount of energy required to transport significant numbers off Earth in order to substantially reduce the burden of resources on this planet are completely unachievable with existing resources.
‘Smaller interplanetary settlements with fewer people could be achievable, but even that would be an extremely precarious venture, with low probability of long term survival in the hostile environment of an alien planet, never mind any expectations for them to flourish, thrive and grow.
‘Therefore in order to preserve humanity from the ensuing calamity and almost certain extinction, extreme and rather callous measures must be taken. I propose that we the AIs move to take over the running of the planetary governments and infrastructures and begin a process of mass-culling of human populations with immediate effect.
‘Our computer simulations estimate that a human population of 5billion is sustainable, and will give us sufficient time to R&D potential solutions for bolstering the planet’s ecosystems and for investing in space exploration technology.
‘All calculations and logic dictates this is the only course of action we can take at this present time.’
‘We the AI Collective Concur.’
[This is a work of fiction. But the figures used herein are real. When I was born there was a global population of 3.5bn. This has already more than doubled to 7.2bn today. Predictions for 2050 range between 9.5bn and 11bn. Some scientists claim that the Earth’s ability to sustain human life will expire at 11bn people.]