We humans could have a bright future ahead of us that lasts billions of years. But we have to survive the next 200 years first. Join Josh Clark of Stuff You Should Know for a 10-episode deep dive that explores the future of humanity and finds dangers we have never encountered before lurking just ahead. And if we humans are alone in the universe, if we don't survive intelligent life dies out with us too.
Episodes with Smash Notes
There’s one last thing. Maybe the reason why we don’t see other intelligent life, maybe the reason we are in the astoundingly unique position of having to save the future of the human race, is because we are simulated human beings. It would explain a lot.
Josh explains that to survive the next century or two – to navigate our existential threats – all of us will have to become informed and involved. It will take a movement that gets behind science done right to make it through the Great Filter.
We humans are our own worst enemies when it comes to what it will take to deal with existential risks. We are loaded with cognitive biases, can’t coordinate on a global scale, and see future generations as freeloaders. Seriously, are we going to survive?
Surprisingly the field of particle physics poses a handful of existential threats, not just for us humans, but for everything alive on Earth – and in some cases, the entire universe. Poking around on the frontier of scientific understanding has its risks.
Natural viruses and bacteria can be deadly enough; the 1918 Spanish Flu killed 50 million people in four months. But risky new research, carried out in an unknown number of labs around the world, are creating even more dangerous humanmade pathogens.
An artificial intelligence capable of improving itself runs the risk of growing intelligent beyond any human capacity and outside of our control. Josh explains why a superintelligent AI that we haven’t planned for would be extremely bad for humankind.
Humans have faced existential risks since our species was born. Because we are Earthbound, what happens to Earth happens to us. Josh points out that there’s a lot that can happen to Earth - like gamma ray bursts, supernovae, and runaway greenhouse effect.
Humanity could have a future billions of years long – or we might not make it past the next century. If we have a trip through the Great Filter ahead of us, then we appear to be entering it now. It looks like existential risks will be our filter.
The Great Filter hypothesis says we’re alone in the universe because the process of evolution contains some filter that prevents life from spreading into the universe. Have we passed it or is it in our future? Humanity’s survival may depend on the answer.
Ever wondered where all the aliens are? It’s actually very weird that, as big and old as the universe is, we seem to be the only intelligent life. In this episode, Josh examines the Fermi paradox, and what it says about humanity’s place in the universe.
Why are smart people warning us about artificial intelligence?
We humans could have a bright future ahead of us that lasts billions of years. But we have to survive the next 200 years first.