Hoist With Our Own Petard

by Eubie on May 3, 2013

Warden Norton's wallhanging“The world is coming to an end, I don’t even care… as long as I can have a limo and my orange hair!”–Earache My Eye, Alice Bowie

Question: What happens when you put a bunch of smarty-pants, know-it-all eggheads in a room together? Answer: Doom!

Well, a prediction of doom, anyway. Apparently, Oxford University (nesting place for a whole bunch of Big Brain types) has a Future of Humanity Institute that likes to gather these deep thinkers together to think deeply about the future, and what they’ve come up with collectively is existential angst… as in, ‘REPENT! THE END IS NEAR!’ Here at the HUB, we’re not much for genuflection or confession, but we do worry about threats to the Prime Directive. Prime Directive, you say? All living organism are predisposed to thrive (reproduce and expand) and survive. According to the scientists and philosophers at Oxford’s F of H Institute, humanity’s development of sophisticated technologies may lead to our extinction, and this could take place in the not-too-distant future. In the soon-to-be-published Existential Risk Prevention as Global Priority–we skimmed it… a bit too much math–these guys assess the risk of various extinction events (nuclear war, zombie apocalypse, collision with rocks in space, etcetera, etcetera) and generally conclude that uncertainty about the fallout from our developments of humanity-serving technology might be our undoing. Yes, it is a paradox. Death by good intentions. No good deed goes unpunished. Sorry, there are just way, way too many catchy cliches that fit this topic not to get seduced into trotting a few out for display.

Oh, what’s a ‘petard‘ you ask? It’s a French bomb thingamajig, seized upon by Bill Shakespeare to breathe poetic life to Hamlet’s plot for revenge. Come to think of it, Hamlet didn’t survive, either.

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