Sustensis is a Think Tank providing inspirations, suggestions, and solutions for the period of Humanity’s transition to the time when it will coexist with Superintelligence. It proposes to start that process with an urgent reform of democracy based on new Universal Values of Humanity, promoting a planetary, rather than a national outlook, and evolving the most mature organisation, such as the European Union, into a Human Federation.
The posts and entries are archived and continuously updated under the main tabs and there is a comprehensive SEARCH facility. The links will lead you mainly to other pages on this website, to justify certain judgements or proposals or to provide explanatory information.
The contents is provided mainly by myself and other collaborators. I am a futurist, a member of Chatham House and London Futurists, having spent most of my life working world-wide as a consultant for large global companies. I have also lectured on postgraduate courses at the University of London and Universities in Central Europe and wrote many articles on the subjects covered by this website.
In 1994, I founded SUSTENSIS, a Management Consultancy focused on Business Sustainability, which tried to answer this question: “How can companies survive for ever?”, obviously not literally. During that time, I was helped by over 50 partners.
Over the last 10 years I have been immersed in an entirely new domain – Artificial Intelligence. Since then, I have gradually adapted the Sustensis’s metaphor to a global context: “How can Humanity survive for ever?” That has led to converting Sustensis into a Think Tank on Humanity’s transition to coexistence with Superintelligence. Anyone interested in an introduction to the subjects discussed on this website may wish to view the videos of my lectures and presentations.
My wide range of interests, in futurism, politics, technology, science and culture, gave me the necessary insight into exploring complex subjects discussed in my books:
“Who could save Humanity from Superintelligence?” – A SUMMARY
In the next 20-30 years an intelligent agent will surpass any human being in every skill or task that we could master and on top of that it may look like a smart gentleman whom it would be really difficult to distinguish from other people walking in the street. Such ability to have any skill and perform any task better than any human is called Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). Nick Bostrom, a well-known authority on AI, whom I will be quoting several times in this book, has defined it as Superintelligence, i.e. “an intellect that is much smarter than the best human brains in practically every field, including scientific creativity, general wisdom and social skills”. I shall use this term, rather than AGI, in this book.
Very soon after it has been created, such Superintelligence, embodied thin a computer network, and personified in any shape or form, like a humanoid avatar, will be capable of redesigning itself. Repetitions of this cycle will result in the so called runaway effect, or an intelligence explosion, where such a smart being designs successive generations of increasingly improved, powerful copies of itself, creating intelligence far exceeding human intellectual capacity (3). Once Superintelligence has reached that capability it may be impossible for a human to comprehend it (we would have lost control over it sometime earlier). Humanity will have reached the point known as Technological Singularity. Ray Kurzweil, currently the Chief Technologist at Google and one of the most reliable futurists, predicts that Technological Singularity event will happen by 2045. .
Reality around us does change at almost exponential, rather than linear pace, which I frequently emphasise in this book. Barely a year has passed since the last edition, and I have decided to update the previous version to reflect the most current, very significant shifts in geopolitics and our civilisation’s readiness to respond to deep crises, about which so much has been said in this book. Furthermore, comments and feedback from readers have been an additional motivation for introducing some updates that may better justify some proposals made in the book. Let me list some of the most significant changes made in this edition, directly related to the subjects discussed in the book:
- We are in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemics that has already changed the world we live in, with more profound changes coming in the post-pandemic period
- Great Britain has finally left the European Union
- The introduction by the EU of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and its phenomenal impact not only in the EU but throughout the world
- The new European Agreement on Migration confirmed by the European Council in June 2018 and its far-reaching implications on stabilising some of the African economies, which could be the beginning of the Global Wealth Redistribution Fund discussed in the last part of the book
- An increase in the US isolationist policies
- The growing threat of China as it is coming closer to the date when it will become an unquestionable world’s leader
- A potential Fast Track federalization of the EU in a chaotic, post-pandemic situation, which may trigger the birth of ‘special’ EU Zones, discussed in Part 4
- Significant increase in funding in the area of EU Defence, currently under some disguise, which in fact lays down the foundations for the future EU Army.
I have embedded these new events into the relevant parts of the book. Additionally, following some comments and suggestions from the readers, I have made some other changes throughout the book. However, contrary to some suggestions, I have not removed several chapters deemed as the subjects not directly related to the main theme of the book. Although I recognize that the variety of subjects mentioned in the book may be quite demanding for an average reader, I decided to keep them because otherwise some conclusions, which I have made, would have no supporting evidence.
The POSTHUMANS series has its origin in my first book “Who Could Save Humanity from Superintelligence”. That book was addressed primarily to academics, politicians, and readers already familiar with the subjects discussed there. The three books of the series expand those subjects and present them in a way, which may be more suitable for a casual reader.
“Federate to Survive!” is about WHAT are the existential risks that threaten our survival as a human species. Superintelligence is the most imminent and supreme existential risk, as is the climate change, both of which have a tipping point in about 2030. Therefore, minimizing those risks should take precedence above any other goals of our civilisation. The secondary theme in this book is the selection of an organization, which could start the federalization of the world and guide us through this most perilous period in the humans’ existence. I have used 10 criteria to select the best candidate from the world’s largest countries and organizations, which seems to be the European Union, despite its own problems.
“Democracy for a Human Federation” continues from where the previous volume ended, proposing HOW we can survive existential threats. We need two elements to achieve that: Democracy and a Human Federation. The key reason for an urgent deep reform of democracy is to minimize existential risks, including the risk of delivering a malicious Superintelligence, by priming it with new Universal Values of Humanity. This is also an absolute prerequisite for the federalization of the European Union, which is the first step towards building a Human Federation. This secondary theme presents three scenarios for the EU’s federalization and an outline of the European Federation’s Constitution.
“Becoming a Butterfly” is the third book in the series, asking WHO we may become after 2050, assuming we will survive existential threats. Its focus is on Superintelligence. This is a mature form of an ever faster and more intelligent, self-learning Artificial Intelligence. If that final product becomes a malicious entity, it may make us extinct in a few decades. However, if we do it right, it will not only protect us from existential risks but also create unimaginable prosperity in the world of peace, and endless possibilities for human self-fulfilment.
Superintelligence will also offer an evolutionary path for humans to become Posthumans. The most important in that evolutionary paradigm shift will be the handing over to Superintelligence the set of human values, which best reflect who we are as humans. This must start right now and continue throughout the process of maturing AI to its ‘adulthood’, until we reach the moment when humans will pass control over their future to Superintelligence. From then on, humans may gradually merge with Superintelligence as individual digital Posthumans but acting in unison as a single superintelligent being.
The books’ agenda for Humanity’s Transition to its Coexistence with Superintelligence is supported by this website. I invite experts in various domains of knowledge to join me in making this site relevant to people interested in certain aspects of human progress in the context of evolving Artificial Intelligence to ensure that when it emerges as Superintelligence, it will become our friend rather than foe. If you are a member of NGO, you may be interested in how you can align and strengthen your agenda with some of the proposals put forward on this site.
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