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Tenuous is not a good word: While I’ve not done computer models, (many things at present are unmodelable) I can visualize various scenarios:
* Total collapse of the international monetary system, leading to a long term slump in trade.
* Individual nation’s economic collapse coupled with collapse of their social institutions.
* Reversion of the EU to individual nations, balkanization of nations as central governments fail.
* A planet that is 2.5 to 6 degrees C warmer than today.
* Many tropical regions becoming unlivable.
* Many ecologies collapsing or undergoing radical change as some critical species dies out.
* Wide spread decrease in range extent for many species.
* Extinction of many species.
* 1-2 billion refugees from tropical regions.
* 2-3 billion refugees from coast lines.
* Extensive crop failures and famine from shifting rain patterns.
* War over dwindling food and water.
2100 may dawn with only a billion people left alive.
Extinction? Not hardly.
I believe the only risk to humankind is the exact same risk it has always faced: Failure to coexist with our fellow human.
I see the history of the Western (our) world in 500 year incremented cultural epochs. Our current Western society, dating from 1517 can be described as the Protestant Reformation era. As with all Western Cultural epochs, it includes many phases and contradictions, but one cannot understand contemporary Western Culture without giving due credit to the influence of Martin Luther. Yes, of course Luther was heavily influenced by Greek philosophical perspectives, but Luther, along with the contemporary rise of the printing press, enabled a new human culture to flourish. The Reformation, of course, brought TREMENDOUS conflict and tumult. The 30 Years War in Europe, for example, which left millions dead. With profound cultural change comes conflict, and violence.
The 500 year Protestant Reformation society, as defined by its Faith, morality, and institutions, is collapsing. In its wake, we observe the rising of a new Internet culture. The transition is gradual, of course, but our septuagenarian great-grandchildren will fully understand what has been gained, and what has been lost, in transition.
It’s funny, how so many thinkbwe have a population problem, when the populatuon growth is caused by overproduction of food.
This idea of interplanetary post-humans is fascinating and I believe will shape “lowly” in a similar way such as when a famous person likes your tweet. We will increasingly have ambient relations with non-physical “beings”. Perhaps this dates back to empowering dolls or toy trucks with an animated life. The definitions of what life or intelligence or awareness is and will become is a cultural process and so these interplanetary explorers will be willed into a certain humaness, even if they are not quite the wet sentience that we are used to.